possessing technology and the technology possessed

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by Lumbuck Thornton, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    Do you think technology can influence the mindset of those who have access to the technology?
    What are the appropriate technologies and appropriate mindsets associated with use of permaculture as a technology?
    Can there be technologies that possess that are healthy?
     
  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I have taken technology to mean anything constructed - a very broad definition.
    1. Absolutely.
    2. The mindset would be the ethics and principles of permaculture. Appropriate technologies would meet those requirements. In summary the would be those that can be made from locally available materials using locally available tools. Something that the use of adds to the EMERGY or EROEI equation rather than diminishes it.
    3. Yes. I'm thinking of a community hall that is built to inspire (in the way that a good religious building can). Everyone who walks through the door feels the load lighten and the desire to connect with their fellow man increase. Or a house that encourages people to be together comfortably. A shed full of tools so inviting that it encourages people to create things of utility and beauty. Each of these possess the intent of the creator of the technology. (In the case of most of our modern technology that intent is to make a buck - so it's no wonder that using it makes us feel poorer somehow.) This positive intent possesses the users of the technology.

    Windmills or watermills made from local timber. Aqueducts and spiral screw pumps to move water. Chicken tractor compost making machines. Bamboo deer scarers. I can think of many healthy happy examples.
     
  3. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    I like the community hall idea. The one I was thinking of in its simplest form was a large partial shade dome constructed out of vines at our community garden to escape the sun but also provide a great backdrop for photo’s, music, plays, speakers and other community events. Almost like a Community Bower - look our for the funny dancers !
     
  4. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Here is an example of 2 pieces of technology that are designed to do basically the same job, but that require/foster a different mind set for their use...

    The Chainsaw and the Cross-cut saw.

    I personally would trade the apparent ease and convenience of the chainsaw for a good friend (or even a new acquaintance) on the other end of the cross-cut.

    This replacement of a simple technology is just one in a thousand cuts that have fractured our society into a society of individuals rather than a cohesive whole. Using a cross-cut may be one of a thousand small band-aids we can use to bind ourselves together again. :)
     
  5. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I'd push when you pulled Grahame. That would be a really nice way to make friends. Chainsaws don't make you new friends.

    I can picture a whole bunch of wonderful Heath Robinson style contraptions made from bamboo and hemp twine that make life fun.
     
  6. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Except when you cut down a tree for someone who doesn't know how, quickly and safely. Slab it up, cut into rounds for firewood, tip your hat and walk away.

    It's all on how you use the tool, not the tool itself.
     
  7. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    I won't deny that a good person can wield any tool to a good purpose. But there are some tools that have an intrinsic worth that can bring the good out of a person, a tool like the cross-cut saw can be shared by a skilled operator and a novice and still get pretty good results. With the side benefit of giving the novice some experience. The experience shared is what I think gives it greater value. I'm not saying a chainsaw ain't no good...

    But I reckon me at one end and Eco at the other is gonna make for a more bonding experience than me with my earmuffs on blocking out the world. I'm not saying we can't bond around the chainsaw, but it doesn't lend itself to it so much. And given the original question I think you can see that the two technologies can definitely encourage different mindsets :)

    But I could just be some crazy hippy at the edge of town ;)
     
  8. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Your theorising. Go buy a crosscut saw, but first you need to take an axe and work on your felling notch (a single person job for a smaller tree - two person job for a larger), swinging an axe, swing for swing in close proximity to each other. Finish that. Then take your crosscut saw and fell your tree making sure you keep your cut quick and even to avoid barber chairing and taking your head off, making sure your holding wood is even to not change your direction of fall.

    Then, cut that whole tree up together and lug that thing out.

    But, to get Eco there, you probably should have sent a pigeon out earlier.

    Or, you could embrace appropriate technology, cut the whole tree down before the notch was even 1/5th of the way through, and have Eco there (from an email you sent earlier) who could help lug out your biscuits as you cut them. Working as a team, fulfilling different roles.

    While you were crosscutting this tree for the whole day, nothing got done at home. Which is why Forestry was a huge employer back in the day because it was back-breaking and very dangerous work which required brute strength and specific skills.

    I'm also not sure how your crosscut saw is going to address your heavy leaner without potentially killing someone. That's ok, plenty of farm kids to go around.
     
  9. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    I guess what I am saying is that all technology effects the mind of the user and their behaviour and potential. Sometimes that can be beneficial to the world and other times it can be detrimental whether it is a cross cut saw or a chainsaw. I just wonder if there some way of coming up with an example of another world of living which is quite different and a contrast that better uses appropriate technology but leaves the mind and health open to reach its full potential or at least be more sustainable or capable of defending sustainability which is very much under threat.
     
  10. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    What technology shuts down the operator's mind? I can only think of certain facets of TV and modern media.

    I think a better example would be a scythe and a whippersnipper in regards to the previous conversation. A scythe can be quicker than a snipper, can be shared with others, is good physical exercise, is appropriate technology, is sustainable, is long-lasting. Why do we need the snipper?

    What about the brushcutter?
     
  11. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    Technology changes the decision making of the user and the decision making of others - you should go and use the brush cutter......
    Then there is the keeping up with Jones’s, the need to pay someone to “maintain” the lawns. There is electric or petrol and what this says about the owner?
    There is a real question about whether there is any room for lawns in permaculture - it was one of the first big arguments held at the top.
    What if an enterprising permaculturalist went droving with a mob guinea pigs in suburbia, fencing off patches of lawn and sitting back with a deck chair in between occasional moves of the little fences.
     
  12. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    I've been having similar thoughts.

    Do you think technology can influence the mindset of those who have access to the technology?

    I think this depends on the person, the technology and its ultimate use. With weapons technology being an obvious extreme, if given the ultimate weapon, some people will use it. However, when you look at a organization like NASA, who has access to some of the highest tech around, they're using some of it to monitor climate change, weather patterns, forest fires, forest deforestation and other things that most of us are interested in. Then you have people who will only read one half of the story, usually the half they're interested in, and use it to solidify their position(even we fall prey to this). It's not necessarily because of technology, but a willful ignorance of all the facts whether it supports your argument or not. I have to admit that reading climate change denial literature is distasteful to me, and that's part of the problem.

    What are the appropriate technologies and appropriate mindsets associated with use of permaculture as a technology?

    Permaculture is a design science that makes use of "appropriate technology". I'm not sure that permaculture should be called a technology. It's kind of akin to calling the scientific method a technology. "Appropriate technology", on the other hand, is somewhat vague and left open to interpretation. Using large, earth moving, diesel guzzling, carbon spewing machines to do the earthworks is perfectly acceptable, at least right now. I'm not sure at what point using fossil fuels becomes unacceptable, but it will probably be more to do with monetary price than anything. I haven't tried to hand dig a series of swales on a broadacre system, but it's probably possible. Ponds and dams, on the other hand, would be more difficult unless you have the correct terrain to make it easy(a naturally occurring wet spot could be converted to a pond or dam-it's always easier to extend a system!).

    While electronics might be one of the more wasteful technologies around right now(from birth to waste stream that is), they are very useful to gather information. Let's face it, most of us may not have even heard about permaculture unless we had access to a computer and the internet. Using electronic sensors gives us data that may be very beneficial in regards to climate change adaptation, even if the data gathered is of no use to us now(temperature, ozone levels, barometric pressure, soil moisture, water levels, etc) since it can take upwards of 10 years to show any real trend, and even longer for serious climate/weather data. You may be able to create microclimates to grow certain plants, but it becomes useful to a wider audience if you have the scientific data to back it up and to show exactly what happened. Permaculture suffers from a lack of scientific data, but trying to figure out exactly what data to gather with such a design system is still giving me headaches. Showing that the land produces a lot of food and ecosystem functions is not enough, though it may be enough for most people who aren't concerned with having data back up permaculture(which is perfectly fine, that wasn't a insult).

    Then we can talk about energy systems in the form of electricity. While solar is spouted as a savior, I'm not seeing too much information on the fabrication side of solar panels. It may be mostly harmless, but it's also big money right now. Big Money tends to try to hide any ill side effects of their technologies. I'd rather see some form of organic light emitting diode technology that can be partially composted afterwards.

    Can there be technologies that possess that are healthy?

    Human or animal powered technologies are probably the healthiest just because of the exercise involved, but things like carpal tunnel syndrome can also be a problem from repetitive movements. Manufacturing compost using piles and then transporting the compost elsewhere may be a good technology. I guess it really depends on your point of view, like so much of life. I'd prefer to use animals in their evolutionary function than to use power tools to do the job: Chickens shredding compost and adding nutrient while they feed themselves and lay eggs high in omega-3. Using pigs to maintain a forest system Having a pair of wolves taking care of deer, coyotes and foxes. While the last one may be higher on the dangerous scale, a simple adjustment in practices can prevent most of it(don't leave small children unattended, protect your livestock, tranquilize and give the wolves any injections they may need, especially rabies vaccinations-assuming they have any vaccinations for wolves). Having a contained trophic pyramid would be awesome in my opinion, and should be the ultimate goal(even if it takes a few lifetimes). Any technology used to get to the point of a full trophic pyramid would be healthy(humans are not necessarily at the top of the pyramid). An extreme use of technology would be to destroy populations of organisms(humans included) to allow for ecological balance to occur again. This kind of thinking is what got us in trouble in the first place.
     
  13. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    Wow, thank you for a massive contribution !
     

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