Formalism and Convention as Flimsy Band-Aids


“When you get right down to it, there are few agricultural practices that are really necessary. The reason that man’s improved techniques seem to be necessary is that the natural balance has been so badly upset beforehand by those same techniques that the land has become dependent on them.

This line of reasoning not only applies to agriculture, but to other aspects of human society as well. Doctors and medicine become necessary when people create a sickly environment. Formal schooling has no intrinsic value, but becomes necessary when humanity creates a condition in which one must become “educated” to get along. . . . To the extent that trees deviate from their natural form, pruning and insect extermination become necessary; to the extent that human society separates itself from a life close to nature, schooling becomes necessary. In nature, formal schooling has no function.”

Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

2 thoughts on “Formalism and Convention as Flimsy Band-Aids”

  1. you speak as though formalism and convention are separate from us. There is no formalism without persons to enact it and likewise without social norms we cannot be who we are. We are complicit and dependent upon these social rules. We are dialectically entwined in these practices of which you speak, we are the product as well as the perpetrators.

  2. I don’t speak; this was a quote from Masanobu Fukuoka, a farmer in Japan.
    The aforementioned quote is not talking about detachment or separation of convention from humanity; rather it is critiquing this very attachment in which, as you say, we are so complicit and dependent upon. These conventions and formal arrangements that we have made based upon convenience and commerce are in fact, Fukuoka-san is saying, only separating us from essential attunement with nature. Or in my own words: we have created illusory spectacles of grandeur and learning, while in reality all we have created are complicated systems of addiction and reliance—all while ignoring or actively destroying natural systems that function perfectly, without the need for science, bureaucracy, and formal education.

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