A human mono-culture is the foundation of today’s visions of the future – one powered by ingenious replacements for oil, found not on Earth, but in the transcendent intellect of Man! The natural, sublunary world will be married to social needs – some species will predominate for man-food and some for man-medicine, while others will be set aside for her recreation. Flowery meadows for bright butterflies will “delight” school parties, while close-cropped sheep lawns will keep uplands beautifully naked and pretty as a picture. Other kinds of lawns will cushion the feet of golfers, while “wild moorland” will be preserved for shooting parties in which Man can rediscover her primal nature. Of course some bluebell woods will be fenced off from the ravages of the timber-fired power stations which will supersede coal. Timber is natural and so it must be good – the twinned words natural and sustainable drive the post-modern fantasy. Wood-converted, once coal-fired power stations (for just London and suburbs) will burn three times the total annual (for all uses) timber production of the whole of Britain. That impossibility is glossed over as another driver of human ingenuity. The ingenuity engine is powered by a targeted education, which will in turn empower the next generation to solve what is insoluble today.
Meanwhile, the only solution to climate change, rapidly depleting resources and increasingly lifeless soils is to make something from nothing. That ridiculous quest is pursued as realism.
So, crop yields will be increased by changing the nature of species to match human needs – something from nothing in an ingenious genomic splice. As plant hunters once brought the world’s wild species home to English cottage gardens, so gene hunters are projected to bring wild evolution up to comfortable, contemporary date. Enclaves of biodiversity will be “preserved” for future genetic mining – rain forests are customarily proposed to be “valuable” because of the genetic pharmaceutical properties, which future human generations may discover there.
The story goes that algae will be cultured to make fuel – by the power of the sun – something from nothing. Children are told by their parents, that trees are like solar panels – clever as people. But apparently-clever people have forgotten that both algae and trees need food to grow and that food comes from somewhere and that somewhere else must be diminished to replace the complex biomass we’ve just reduced to mere gas and ashes.
I think that Nowhere, Erehwon, Utopia, midsummer night’s dreams, Arcadia and the ordered stars will make a better beginning than the careless, abstract futurism of post modernity.
My midsummer night’s dream pursues nothing which does not exist in both nature and human nature and which may partially satisfy the deep, intrinsic needs of us all – to be parts of the whole.
FIT THE SIXTH
If ever a social movement was scientific, then the Great Re-settlement was scientific, because it became aware of what was settled – awareness more than understanding, because understanding is a utopian idea for night time tales – Awareness is for daylight. Disillusion with the narrow ideologies and cult-sciences of post-modern education, opened a new, more sceptical, but wide-open eye on nature. Natural truth is attractive, because it is illusive. Understanding is for the dignities of state. I have previously presented the thought (in other books) that the language of state and the language of tools have different and inherited functions. The state-maker’s language is serious, parochial, stupid, and guarded, whereas the tool-maker’s is funny, diffident, curious, intelligent and convivial. So it has always been. Of course, beneath the facade of our presented roles, we are all the same and by chance may adopt either language. I make the distinction, to emphasise the attraction, which soon became a fashionable attraction, of taking up a trade and abandoning the corporate wage. The trial and error of techniques is playful and funny – It uses our inner child. So the world of tool-making spread with unexpected rapidity – across national, social and cultural boundaries.
No doubt, my listeners will have observed for themselves how chance circumstance can evoke both the best and the worst of human nature. The worst – when the undefined, small injustices and wrongs of our lives, (undefined, but apparent perhaps as simmering, subjugated emotion) find a common scapegoat (equally undefined) with others for unleashed revenge. Newspapers such as the Daily Mail make money from stirring such emotions with an equally (and conveniently) vague reasoning. Objects of hate are always ill-defined. Fear followed by hate is a natural reaction, which allows us to retaliate to potentially invading armies, religions or ideas. Today, such hate is directed at vague shadows which suggest that our ways of life must change – wind turbines, meteorologists, overly-moral Islam…..
The last two UK governments have used hate to maintain oil and gas – and oil and gas pipeline interests in “vulnerable” regions. Democracy, economic growth and the British way of life must be protected at all costs from religious “fundamentalists”, invading diseases, “terrorist activists”, loony, limp green technologies, badgers, the Nanny State and spongers. The language is unnervingly close to the state language of Stalinist Russia, or Fascist Germany – the state newspaper: the Daily Mail. Both Tory and New Labour parties compete in the same terms and the state broadcaster: the BBC has become just that. To counter the certain truths that resources are being consumed to extinction and that Earth is warming beyond the point where her current species can maintain a balance – the BBC will “impartially” present an equal weight of the opposite view that climate is too big for human influence and that resources can be mined forever. However, it gives no air-time at all to the Flat Earth Society, or to the Colonise the Moon Society and so its impartiality is highly-selective.
Where am I leading with my own tale of shadowy ill-defined forces? Yes. Adversity can bring out both the worst and the best of human nature – The best is perhaps for those night-time tales – the better may be good enough.
As I’ve said, the way out from the mire, or world of shadowy ill-defined forces – is through it to the other side, not to change it from within – We can prudently pay the mire-geld, but the language of tools is incomprehensible to those who use the language of state. The best remedy is to remain convivial, curious and self-doubting and to keep walking. Civilization is what we do. Meeting strangers while walking, leads to interesting conversation – shadowy lives become interesting lives and the unexpected brings unexpected remedies. But when a state meets another state, minds close – look to history.
The history of the Great Re-settlement flowed through courses of least resistance, beneath closed minds of the state – and to an extent invisible to it. The law through which citizens wandered was for the most part no obstacle. The justice system which had been inherited by post-modernity had evolved through history to fit a common humanity – not the inveiglements of power. Power has administered unjust policies, unjust wars, unjust subsidies and unjust taxes for which law was not to blame. That power has regularly inveigled the law because it was powerful is no fault of the law. We have seen how power has done the same to science in recent times and to religion in deeper history. Law, science and religion remain innocent of their misuse by the powerful. Law, science and religion (or if you like, a common, shaping and perceptive, moral spirit) are the foundations of all societies from hunter-gatherer to the oil-cultures of today.
Since the resettlement was a populist movement its popularity influenced every strata of hierarchy – even some filthy-rich lawyers, politicians, “consultants”, bankers and media people felt its pull in their hearts before humanised heads had set feet on its road.
Of course, planning guidance based on (recent) precedents was the hardest to overturn. I mean severely-restricted rural housing, wind turbines banned from national parks and from “scenery” in general – and on the other hand, false “development” such as super markets, which both reduced employment and increased the expensive likelihood of owning a car – also, the construction of anachronistic retail/industrial parks, high-speed railways and increased air-port capacity for the twilight of consumerism.
Well, some planning officers, being human, felt the pull in their hearts and new precedents were incrementally established – following the “guidance” of a social tide.
The heart of law is and always has been the maintenance of the common good. The great resettlement was propelled by that notion. That corrupted law has come to protect some enclosed commons as the property of the self-interested, is self-evidently a weakness to be remedied by interested lawyers. Theft is difficult to defend as a foundation of justice. So the ideas of returned commons and of limits to property were re-established in ordinary conversation.
Commons such as roads, market squares, market halls, town halls and harbours are but half-thought of as commons today. The great resettlement declared them so by general conversation. Other commons, such as soil and water, which are also vaguely accepted as commons, were emphatically defined as beyond property. However, after the Scottish Declaration of Sequestration, (which left fossilised biomass in the ground) living biomass was newly-defined as a common. In truth it is the central common around which all others are satellites. Considering biomass (life) we must observe that the greatest mass of all passes through soil – through land property.
To regard biomass as a common became necessary to maintain crop yields. A farmer can continue to supply a town with produce, only if green wastes and sewage from the town are returned to her fields. So the farmer can own her cabbage, but not its biomass, just as a household can own its garden, or gardenage but not its soil. The property or enclosed common of the cabbage can be bought and sold (at its labour value). What is bought and sold is labour. The cabbage biomass flows through fungi, bacteria, compost, the cabbage itself, into human biomass, green waste, compost and soil. Biomass as a common became a visionary inspiration to ideas of money-flow and to how economies are integrated conduits – receiving and returning tribute to their primary ecologies.
The biomass of all species transcends or subverts the forms of those species, because it flows formlessly and indefinably between them all. Once that simple idea became accepted, some consequent ideas became obvious. The idea of life as liquid meant that to diminish the mass of life in one area, lowered the sea-level of the whole. Such a lowering does not occur, when life flows from one form to another, but only when life disappears into lifelessness – death is an essential part of life, but lifelessness is not necessarily so.
Such lowering occurs by burning – gas and ashes, may, or may not be returned to a life-cycle, but in all cases the tide will fall.
A lowering can also occur by an unbalanced fermentation – for instance, if too much waste is returned to a field, then excess fermentation will release nutrients (salts and minerals) to water courses and gas to the air – some, but not all of those nutrients may be taken up by various species elsewhere, but life will be diminished locally and (to a lesser extent than by burning) sea level will fall.
My listeners can see at once how commons of biomass could be seen as a model for the common values and social justice systems of communities.