“Here, we come to a grave impasse. There is no doubt that the once-off yield of a ploughed and fertilised monoculture, supported by chemicals and large energy inputs, can out yield that of almost every other production system. But at what public cost? for how long maintained? with what improvement in nutrition? with what guarantee of sustainability? with what effect on world hunger? on soils? and on our health? There is abundant proof that such forced yields are temporary, and that plough cultures destroy soils and societies.
These are some very akward questions to ask of the agricultural establishment, for very few, if any, modern agricultural systems do not carry the seeds of our own destruction. These systems are those that receive public financial support, yet they destroy the countryside in a multitude of ways, from clearing the land of forest, hedgerow, and animal species to long-term soil degradation and poisoning. We are thus obliged, by entrenched bureaucracies, to pay for the destruction of our world, regardless of the long-term costs to be borne by our children and our societies.”
“Swimming pools have crept across the affluent suburbs so that, from the air, these ponds now resemble a virulent aquamarine rash on the urban fringe. The colour is artificial, like that blue dye that imitates an ocean wave obediently crashing down the toilet bowls of the over-fastidious. Chemicals used to purify the water are biocides, and we are biological organisms; if fish can’t live in our pools, we should also keep our bodies out of the water. When chlorine isn’t being used as a war gas, it is being dumped into our drinking, bathing and swimming water, where it forms carcinogenic chloroform.
Innovative pool designers now filter natural pools below a base pebble bed, using the pebbles as algal/bacterial cleaners, then cycle it through a reed-bed to remove excess nutrients before cascading it back, freshly oxygenated, into the pool. Such pools can be delightful systems with tame fish, crayfish, rock ledges, over-arching ferns, and great good health.”
—Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual
“In human systems, we have confused the order of hierarchical function with status and power, as though a tree stem were less important than the leaves in total. . . What we should recognize is that each part needs the other, and that none functions without the others. . . Thus, we can see how rivers change their whole regime if we alter one aspect. We should also see that water is of the whole, not to be thought of in terms of its parts. Thus we refute the concept of status and assert that of function. . .We need each other, and it is a reciprocal need wherever we have a function in relation to each other.”
—Permaculture: A Designer’s Manuel
“Order is found in things working beneficially together. It is not the forced condition of neatness, tidiness, and straightness, all of which are, in design or energy terms, disordered. True order may lie in apparent confusion . .
“Thus the seemingly-wild and naturally-functioning garden of a New Guinea villager is beautifully ordered and in harmony, while the clipped lawns and pruned roses of the pseudo-aristocrat are nature in wild disarray.
“Neatness, tidiness, uniformity, and straightness signify an energy-maintained disorder in natural systems.”
—Permaculture: A Designer’s Manuel
Love is reckless; not reason.
Reason seeks a profit.
Love comes on strong, consuming herself, unabashed.
Yet, in the midst of suffering,
Love proceeds like a millstone,
hard-surfaced and straightforward.
Having died to self-interest,
she risks everything and asks for nothing.
Love gambles away every gift God bestows.
Without cause God gave us Being;
without cause, give it back again.
Gambling yourself away is beyond any religion.
Religion seeks grace and favor,
but those who gamble these away are God’s favorites,
for they neither put God to the test
nor knock at the door of gain and loss.
When Matty was real small and his brother used to sit on the pot and read comics to a peewee audience, neighbor kids ages four and five supposedly being minded by a grown-up somewhere near, with Matty in the doorway ready to shout out chickie, which was the warning word, and there’s Nick on the pot reading to them from Captain Marvel or the Targeteers, his pants hanging limp from his kneecaps, and he did lively dialogue, declaimed and gestured, developed a voice for villains and for women and an airy stabbing screech for gangster cars and cornering tightly in the night, scaring the kids at times with his intensity of manner, then pausing to loose a turd that would splattingly drop, that would plop into the water, the funniest sound in nature, sending a happy awe across the faces of his listeners–it was the creepiest delight of all, better than anything he might deliver from the paneled pages.
Don DeLillo, Underworld
It is senseless to claim that things exist in their instancing only. The template for the world and all in it was drawn long ago. Yet the story of the world, which is all the world we know, does not exist outside of the intruments of its execution. Nor can those intruments exist outside of their own history. And so on. This life of yours is not a picture of the world. It is the world itself and it is composed not of bone or dreams or time but of worship. Nothing else can contain it. Nothing else be by it contained.
–Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain