Sunday, April 29, 2012

You Need to Reduce Your Impact with a Factor of 120!

In response Trainer points out that if the rich economies grow at 3% until 2070, and by that stage the poorest nations have attained similarly high living standards – which seems to be the aim of the global development agenda – total world economic output and impact could be 60 times larger than it is today. If we assume that sustainability requires that fossil fuel use and other resource consumption must be half of what they are today (and the greenhouse problem would probably require a far larger reduction than this), then what is needed is something like a factor 120 reduction in the per unit impact of GDP, not merely a factor 4 reduction. - Ted Trainer
Photo: Edgar Fabiano

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Major Segment of Today's Population Actually Wants Dead Urban Regions

Our civilization is intelligent enough to accomplish what it wants. The problem is that a major segment of today's population actually wants dead urban regions. People seek the very things -- such as a simplistic monumental geometry, monofunctional zoning, priority for automobile traffic, fenced-off commercial and residential blocks, and forcing all poor people into huge apartment blocks -- that destroy the life of a city. The poor have picked up the same images, so after moving up in society they inevitably join with other middle-class citizens in killing their city. Urban legislation creates the type of city we have today; a radically different legislation might re-create a living city once again, if people can be convinced that their lives and their children's lives would become better. - Nikos A. Salingaros
Why do people want this? Photo from Øverbymarka, Gjøvik

A Timbered Choir

Even while I dreamed I prayed that what I saw was only fear and no foretelling,
for I saw the last known landscape destroyed for the sake
of the objective, the soil bludgeoned, the rock blasted.
Those who had wanted to go home would never get there now.

I visited the offices where for the sake of the objective the planners planned
at blank desks set in rows. I visited the loud factories
where the machines were made that would drive ever forward
toward the objective. I saw the forest reduced to stumps and gullies; I saw
the poisoned river, the mountain cast into the valley;
I came to the city that nobody recognized because it looked like every other city.
I saw the passages worn by the unnumbered
footfalls of those whose eyes were fixed upon the objective.

Their passing had obliterated the graves and the monuments
of those who had died in pursuit of the objective
and who had long ago forever been forgotten, according
to the inevitable rule that those who have forgotten forget
that they have forgotten. Men, women, and children now pursued the objective
as if nobody ever had pursued it before.

The races and the sexes now intermingled perfectly in pursuit of the objective.
the once-enslaved, the once-oppressed were now free
to sell themselves to the highest bidder
and to enter the best paying prisons
in pursuit of the objective, which was the destruction of all enemies,
which was the destruction of all obstacles, which was the destruction of all objects,
which was to clear the way to victory, which was to clear the way to promotion, to salvation, to progress,
to the completed sale, to the signature
on the contract, which was to clear the way
to self-realization, to self-creation, from which nobody who ever wanted to go home
would ever get there now, for every remembered place
had been displaced; the signposts had been bent to the ground and covered over.

Every place had been displaced, every love
unloved, every vow unsworn, every word unmeant
to make way for the passage of the crowd
of the individuated, the autonomous, the self-actuated, the homeless
with their many eyes opened toward the objective
which they did not yet perceive in the far distance,
having never known where they were going,
having never known where they came from.

Wendell Berry

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Min SAAB 9-3 er mer energigjerrig enn meg

Underlig, men jeg forbruker mer energi når jeg går til butikken, enn når jeg kjører min SAAB 9-3. Dette fordi med dagens industrijordbruk forbrukes 10 kalorier for å produsere 1 kalori. Dette i kontrast til tradisjonelt jordbruk, hvor man fikk tre kalorier ut for hver kalori investert.

MPG of a Human

Det beste du kan gjøre er å starte dagen med en god porsjon havregraut, da havre er av den minst energikrevende maten. Ikke hell av vellinga som flyter opp, da det er denne som reduserer kolesterolet. Vær også forsiktig med kanelen, selv om denne senker blodsukkeret tærer den også hardt på nyrene.

Food TypeEnergy Out/Energy In
Shrimp0.009
Lamb0.012
Pork0.037
Salmon (farmed)0.057
Tuna0.058
Beef (grain fed)0.064
Eggs0.112
Chicken0.181
Milk0.206
Tomatoes0.6
Herring1.1
Apples1.1
Potatoes1.2
Peanuts1.4
Dry Beans1.8
Rice2.1
Wheat2.2
Corn2.5
Soy4.15
Oats5.1
Det finnest knapt noe du kan spise med bedre samvittighet enn havregraut! Det er slankende, det reduserer kolesterolet, og det er energigjerrig å produsere. Foto: CryptoDerk

Bjørvika, sjokkerende og deprimerend

Karsten Alnæs sin beskrivelse av bjørvikautbyggingen er meget presis:

Sjokkerende og deprimerend

Stjernearkitektene elsker å sjokkere oss, ved å voldta våre nedarvede biofiliske instinkter. Noe de ikke bryr seg det minste om, er at det er meget deprimerende å bli voldtatt. Nei, de elsker å voldta, og nå har de skjendet og skamfert vår hovedstads historiske juvel, Bjørvika!

Barcode Oslo. Foto: Håkond Prestvik

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ser vi Guds finger i Kvartal 42, Kristiansand?

Filadelfia i Kristiansand skal byggje ny storstue og vel så det med eit fleirbruksbygg på 18.000 kvadratmeter. Arkitektkontoret som er valt, Kristin Jarmund Arkitekter AS, seiast å vera mellom den norske arkitektureliten, noko som i praksis tydar at dei er til for eliten. Og som om ikkje dette er nok hevdar arkitektkontoret at dei under planarbeidet har vore inspirerte av Michelangelos ”The Creation of Adam”, kvar vi ser Guds finger gje Adam livet. Det vert òg hevda og at bygget representerar framtida med sitt modernistiske uttrykk.

Illustrasjon av det nye forsamlingslokalet til Filadelfia i Kristiansand. Kilde: Kristin Jarmund Arkitekter AS 

La oss vona at bygget berre representerar ei vonlaus fortid, med sitt minimalistiske, eller skal vi heller seia minimale formspråk.
For example, much of the building stock erected during the 20th century has been a transformation of the concrete and glass cubes, planes, and cylinders of early Modernism. Other kinds of product design have followed suit, adapting tools to an essentially industrial visual aesthetic rather than to fundamental human needs, or even to any genuine “functionalism”. Since only limited transformations are possible for the primitive geometries of cubes and the like, the result has been a limited architectural vocabulary with repetitive variations of the same result over and over again. Michael Mehaffy & Nikos A. Salingaros
Eg er freista til å kalle Kristiansands pinseforsamling sitt nye senter for dørgande kjedeleg ”kitsch” for eliten, med modernistane sitt avgrensa formspråk av kubar, flater og sylindrar. Sjølv ”elg i solnedgang” vert til samanlikning som ei flaske brusande champagne. Dette er trist, då pinsevenene elles er kjende for å representera alt anna enn eliten.

Moderne arkitektur er den modernistiske liberalismen sitt ansikt overfor omverda, slik denne er omtala i Charles Siegels bok om klassisk liberalisme. Som med alt anna representerar modernistane òg eit brot med tradisjonell religion, eit av slagorda til Bauhaus var å starta frå null, dette er inkje anna enn bodskapen til ein kult.
Few people today connect architecture with religion. And yet, up until about the last two centuries, architecture could not be distinguished from religion. Today, architecture has broken away from religion in forming its own cult. Architecture competes with religion because it promises transcendent pursuits to its practitioners. It offers mystical enchantment, with insights left to be discovered purely by the power of creativity, and thus an opportunity for any initiate. The architect sees a chance for transcendental expression beyond the utilitarian uses of a building. Despite the modernists' proclaimed insistence on functionalism, they too were enchanted by their own ideas of formal expression. 
From this, it is not surprising that architecture misused the workings of religion to further itself. Nikos A. Salingaros
Vel, det kan sjå ut til at Filadelfia i Kristiansand har valt å konkurrera med seg sjølve gjennom sitt grandiose byggeprosjekt, med ein visuell bodskap som motseiar alt tradisjonell religion har formidla opp gjennom årtusena. Tradisjonelt har religiøs arkitektur vore særmerka med eit informasjonstett uttrykk, som nyare forsking viser at løfter menneskesinnet til eit høgare nivå, det transcendentale mennesket!

Illustrasjon av Herb til mitt leserbrev i
Oppland Arbeiderblad 25. februar 2011
Men ein treng ikkje vera religiøs for å gle seg over informasjonsmetta arkitektur og fasadar, det held å vera biofil. Biofili, eller naturkjærleik, er ikkje noko vi berre kan gle oss over i Guds frie natur, den har alltid vorte reflektert i tradisjonell arkitektur, inntil anti-tradisjonalistane erobra vår kultur for om lag eit hundreår sida. Dette er øydeleggjande både for våre kognitive evnar og vårt mentale velvære.
This implies that the environment is crucial to the development of our brain: our mind is an integral part of our environment, and if we wish it to engage our intelligence, the environment should embody the same degree of organized complexity as our neurological processes themselves. Two possible connective scenarios are thus strikingly contrasted. 1. In an information-sparse, minimalist environment, our mind stops at the skull’s interior. 2. In a coherently complex environment, our mind can extend into and interact with the visual information stored outside. In the latter case, we are situated in a vastly richer information field that drives our brain’s growth in order to process and interpret this information.Michael Mehaffy & Nikos A. Salingaros
Å velje dette kubistisk-anti-biofile arkitekturuttrykket var uklokt, og vil neppe gjera pinsevenene i Kristiansand klokare med åra, snarare tvert imot!

Nokon vil hevda at stjernearkitektane sine skinande fasadar og forvirrande former er spanande og gjev dei eit ”kick”, noko dei har heilt rett i. Dette er den same kjensla som vi får når vi stirar utfor Preikestolen og ned i Lysefjorden, alarmfunksjonane i hjernen går på høggir. Men eit konstant ”kick”, som denne fasjonable arkitekturen er, vert berre sløvande, ikkje nærande. Sjølv har eg utsyn til Mjøsa og Totenbygdene frå stuevindauget, dette er som ei vitamininnsprøyting kvar dag.

I tillegg bryt planane for Kvartal 42 med dei tre lovene for strukturell orden, mellom dei den universelle skaleringslova.

Eg har tidlegare vore inne på regjeringsblokka og denne si monotone repetisjon, nybygget i sørlandshovudstaden vert vel meir som ein tilfeldig repetisjon, noko som neppe er meir tilfredsstillande for vårt velvere, men som nok blir rekna som kulare. Mon tru om det ikkje er dette som er den djupare orsaka til valet av dette arkitektuttrykket, at pinsevenane ynskjer å framstå som kule, slik at dei kan verta rekna mellom våre dagar sine heilage?

Bygget er meint å framstå som eit ikon i bybilete. Dette vert inkje eit ikon til Guds ære, men til modernistane sin kult, der stjernearkitektane er dei heilagkåra.

Men attende til Guds finger og skapinga av Adam, som skal ha vore inspirasjonen til denne arkitekturen. Michelangelos bilete vil verta å finne att på hjørnet av bygget mot Lundsbroa. Dessverre er eg redd for at dette vert den einaste staden vi kan sjå Guds finger hjå bygget.

The Creation of Adam, av Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564)

Men kan vi verkeleg sjå Guds finger? Nei, vi kan ikkje det, vi kan berre sjå spora etter den, lik då Jesus bøygde seg ned og teikna i sanda framom farisearane, som ville steine kvinna dei hedde gripe i hor. Vi kan berre sjå spora, teikningane.

Fram til nyleg har ikkje desse spora vore tydelege for oss, sjølv om dei alltid har vore der og vi har teke dei for gjeve. Men no er dei kartlagde, vi kan klart sjå teikningane etter Guds finger over jorda, frå den minste blome til universets yttergrenser. Christopher Alexander har vist oss desse, og han har kalla dei for dei 15 verdiane for liv, eller dei 15 transformasjonane som gjev liv.
I believe the fifteen transformations I have discovered will turn out to be naturally occurring, and necessarily occurring in all complex systems. The laws leading to their existence, will turn out, I think, to be inevitable or necessary results of the unfolding of wholeness, under the right conditions. And I believe, too, that our 20th-century notion that mechanical effects without the guiding influence of these fifteen transformations, can create the beautiful structures we encounter in the universe, is simply wrong. In other words, it is the action of wave motion, mitigated by the fifteen transformations, that creates the beauty of the breaking wave; it is the operation of natural selection, mitigated by the action of these fifteen transformations, which generates discernible and coherent forms in the play of genetics and evolution; I believe it is the operation and unfolding of the most ordinary flower or stem of grass, mitigated by the operation of the same fifteen transformations, which generates the beauty of the flower. I believe that it is the same fifteen transformations which mitigate and channel the crumbling and heaving and bending of the geologic strata which generated the beauty of the Himalaya; and these fifteen transformations, too, which mitigate the action and swirling of the vortices on Jupiter, or the rippled piebald configurations we call a mackerel sky. Christopher Alexander, New Consepts in Complexity Theory, side 21
Til alle tider har menneskeborna vara Guds finger og har atterskapa teikningane etter denne i kva dei skapte, fram til modernistane ville restarta verda frå null og kasta alle verdas evolverte formspråk på sjøen. Soleis kappa dei av Guds finger, og den menneskeskapa verda ligg kaotisk attende, venleiken har forlate oss.

Venleik skapa ut av dei 15 transformasjonane, eller "Guds finger", som modernistane foraktar. Bilete visar Jupiter med månane Io, Europa, Ganymede, og Callisto.

Alexander har dokumentert at dei 15 eigenskapane hjå levande struktur gjeng att i all tradisjonell arkitektur og kunst, vi har spegla naturen i kulturen vår. Det vi såg var vårt sanne spilebilete, då vi er skapte i Guds bilete, vi såg Guds andlet i dei 15 verdiane for liv. Men modernistane tola inkje å sjå Guds andlet, dei freista å lemlesta det, lik den ukjende fanatikaren som gjekk laus på andletet til sfinksen i Egypt.

Dei 15 livsverdiane er limet som held heilskapen i hop, lik ligninen som held vedcellene saman i treet. Og dess sterkare dei er konsentrerte, dess sterkare kjem eit objekt, ein bygning, ein by eller eller eit landskap til sin rett. Dei vert gjeve liv av Guds magiske finger, lik då han skapte Adam. Lell, det er ikkje magi, det er vitskap, dokumentert i The Nature of Order.

Desse 15 verdiane har, likesom eit alfabet, vore opphavet til tusenvis av unike formspråk opp igjennom historia. Tradisjonalistane elska å boltre seg med desse formspråka og kom fram med nye formspråk, jugendstilen er kanskje er den fremste bragda deira. Art deco etterlet seg mange rikt utforma skyskraparar, i samsvar med den universelle skaleringslova, definert av Salingaros, som går att i all tradisjonell arkitektur. Tradisjon er soleis inkje noko berre for romantikarar, men reflekterar sjølve strukturen i universet, noko vi inkje kan klare oss forutan. Mennesket lev inkje av berre brød åleine!

Modernistane, i alle utgåver, har derimot eit lutfattig formspråk av kubar, flater, sylindrar og dess like, som dei vrid og vender på for gjere dei spanande. Dei vert og stadig meir skinande. Dei gjer alt i deira makt for å kalla på merksemd. Dessverre har og pinsevenene i Kristiansand lete seg lura, lik skjora let dei seg blende av alt som skin og glimrar, men det er berre skrot og uekte stas.

For desse vindauga er nytta tre av Alexander sine livsverdiar, og det er iaugefallande kor mykje rikare uttrykket vert ved å tilføre berre tre av desse verdiane. I nybygget i Kvartal 42 glimrar dei derimot med sitt fråver, dette vert ein bygnad totalt blotta for liv. Illustrasjon: Nikos A. Salingaros

I ein av mine artiklar hjå PRI-Australia kjem eg inn på det ansvaret vi har for å oppretthalde og styrke heilskapen i verda. Det gamle greske ordet hamarita har sitt opphav i å misse på målet, og er i vår kultur betre kjend som ordet synd. Eg vil seia det so sterkt at heile meininga med eksistensen vår er å styrkje heilskapen ikring oss, å gjera verda til eit levande heile. Kan det tenkjast ei større synd enn å øydeleggje eller svekke denne heilskapen?

Christopher Alexander nyttar omgrepet heilskapsutvidande transformasjonar, eller ”wholeness-extending-transformations”. Dette skjer gjennom å nytta dei 15 verdiane for liv, eller transformasjonane, som utvidar heilskapen og styrkjer han. Ilag formar dei sentra, som igjen byggjer opp sterkare sentra og ein stadig aukande intensitet eller heilskap. Slik kan vi byggja bygg og byar like intense og levande som det vakraste landskap. Alt anna er å spotte Gud, og det er det pinsevenene i Kristiansand no er i ferd med å gjera. Guds finger er inkje til stades i Kvartal 42, Kristiansand!
. . . I believe he (Alexander) is likely to be remembered most of all, in the end, for having produced the first credible proof of the existence of God . . . Eric Buck, Department of Philosophy, University of Kentucky

Chilean Documentary: Preparing Pucon for Post-Growth Realities

Pucon in Transition is a wonderful documentary giving voice to the local people involved in a Transition project. Subtitled in English.

Introducing 'The Doughnut' of Social and Planetary Boundaries for Development

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Complexity = Simplicity

  • The strange thing is that only a complex society can support the simpler way, while the complicated societies we have today has nothing to do with complexity, but are all about fragmentation. It's hard for people to see this, but complexity = simplicity:
    http://www.metropolismag.com/p...
  • Andy
    So you are saying that simple societies never existed prior to the development of complex societies?
    Many people seem to think that a solar array on their remote farmhouse = simplicity.

  • Yes, you are correct, that is also a sort of simplicity. But nature always search for the simplest way, and that's why nature can be so complex. Also the people living in that farmhouse of old times, lived in a very complex relationship with their surroundings. Please read Salingaros' essay, and you will understand. For me that essay was like a flash of insight, and I suddenly saw the world in a new light. 
Ted Trainer and the Simpler Way. Go directly to the essay here (pdf)

The benefits of a lower energy civilization

Friday, April 20, 2012

Three Great Posts on Christopher Alexander

I was lucky to find these three posts, a series, by Regis Medina.

- Christopher Alexander still matters

- Living in Code

- Christopher Alexander's Theory of Centers

Have a nice read!

Stol på magefølelsen

Christopher Alexander har slått fast at vi har en 90 prosent sammenfallende oppfatning av pent og stygt når vi er ærlige mot magefølelsen, dvs. våre nedarvede biofiliske instinkter. Smaken er altså ikke som baken, delt. Dette bekreftes av ytterligere en studie, i Forskning.no, men med fokus på forbrukervalg. Studien kan lastes ned direkte her.

Foto: Shamil Khakirov 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

David Holmgren: The Reverse of Globalization


David Holmgren: The reverse of globalization

Fermacell-plater

Naturligvis kan heller ikke fermacellplater måle seg med heltrepanel, men er et godt alternativ til "reine" gipsplater, med 80 % gips og 20 % cellulosefibre. Også et godt valg som diffusjonsbrems.

Snøhetta slår til igjen

Dette kalles et "naturhotell", men er et anti-naturhotell, da det bryter med lovene for strukturell orden. Legg merke til dyra som liksom i religiøs opphøydhet beundrer dette modernistiske ikonet. Patetisk! Foto: Snøhetta

Her råder uorden og tilfeldig kaos. Vindushullene, uten innramming, symboliserer maskinalderens presisjon. I naturen finner vi selvsagt ikke denne typen unaturlig presisjon, noe som bidrar til at dette visjonære makkverket fremstår som et fremmedelement. Legg merke til vindmølla de har klattet på i bakgrunnen, for å symbolisere bærekraft. Denne bryter også med helheten vi finner i naturen, hele prosjektet er strukturødeleggende. Foto: Snøhetta

Denne illustrasjonen er hentet fra et glimrende essay av Nikos A. Salingaros hos PRI-Australia: Why Monotonous Repetition is Unsatisfying. Ytterligere bevis for falskheten i dette påståtte naturprosjektet kan man finne i Christopher Alexanders Harmony-Seeking Computations: a Science of Non-Classical Dynamics based on the Progressive Evolution of the Larger Whole 

Viktige trender

Foto: Smithsonian
Related reading:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Welcome to the Anthropocene

Keiser Report: Anti-Bank Currency

Majora Carter’s Tale of Urban Renewal

TED Talks In an emotionally charged talk, MacArthur-winning activist Majora Carter details her fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx — and shows how minority neighborhoods suffer most from flawed urban policy.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Majority Rules, Even for Toddlers and Chimps

A new study offers some news for parents: even toddlers have a tendency to follow the crowd. That sensitivity isn't unique to humans either; chimpanzees also appear more likely to pick up habits if "everyone else is doing it." ... 
- Listen Up, Parents: For Toddlers (and Chimps), the Majority Rules

Today we have turned into an insane flock of mindless consumers heading for the cliffs. How to make the majority permaculturists?

What is the crowd's opinion?

What's striking me, in the kindergarten children have no role models, except other children. A result of the modernists segregation of function and people. Is it any wonder that the world has gone insane?

All this is a result of fragmentation and complication, the opposite of complexity. How to make the crowd understand the meaning of life is complexity, and that complexity can save our civilization?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Økonomisk vekst vil svi av jordkloden!

Det er ikke kun drivhuseffekten som vil varme opp jordkloden, økonomisk vekst i seg selv vil medføre fatale konsekvenser. La oss se hva som kan skje med en årlig vekst på 2,3 prosent:
  • Om kun 400 år, så lenge som Fantomet har regjert i de dype skoger, vil vi forbruke like mye energi som den samlede solinnstrålingen.
  • Om 1400 år vil energikonsumet tilsvare det som stråler ut fra soloverflata, men på jordklodens mye mindre areal. Da nytter det ikke lenger med sandaler for ikke å brenne tærne i sanda!
  • Om 2500 år vil vi svi av like mye energi som hele vår galakse sammenlagt, med sine 100 milliarder stjerner. Dette vil få selv sola til å blekne! 
Exponential Economist Meets Finite Physicist, by Tom Murphy

En storm av hurtige stjernefødsler i galaksen Centaurus A. Paradoksalt nok, med dagens vekstrate vil energikonsumet på jorda raskt overstige all energien som skapes her. 

Jeg minnes en sang fra bedehuset, som lyder som følger:
Himmel og jord skal brenne, høyder og berg forsvinne...
Vel, forhåpentligvis får vi stoppet dagens hjernevaskede konsumentsamfunn før vi kommer så langt. Noen som fikk lyst til litt "degrowth"?

Monday, April 9, 2012

En herlig lavteknologi vedkløyver!


Tenk hvor flott denne vedkløyveren kunne fungere med et vasshjul. Her trengs hverken diesel eller traktor.

Familien er ikke en bevegelse

Kanskje er det et tegn på at familiebevegelsen er i ferd med å miste oppsluttning og at Santorum har gått for langt, selv om det er for tidlig å konkludere noe sikkert ennå, sier Hilde Løvddal. - Forskning.no
Her hører vi en sann modernist snakke. Familien har aldri vært en bevegelse, den har alltid vært fundamentet i alle kulturer. Det er tvert imot anti-familiebevegelsen som er en bevegelse innen nyere modernistisk historie.

Dette er ingen bevegelse!
Concerning the structure of the gens itself, Marx and Engels argued that it had been organized in such a manner so as to ensure the patrilineal passage of property from one generation to the next through partible male inheritance, primogeniture, or (more rarely) postremogeniture.[76] Families also functioned as the most basic unit of socioeconomic organization.[77] They remained fairly vague as to the specifics of what would replace the family in a postcapitalist society, but generally suggested that the form of the family would be abolished.[78] Luckily for those architects inspired by political Marxism (like Meyer, Nikolai Miliutin, and Teige), later theorists belonging to the movement made further contributions to the critique of the family and the inequality of the sexes. This critique was deepened by radical authors like August Bebel,[79] Clara Zetkin,[80] Rosa Luxemburg,[81] Vladimir Lenin, and Aleksandra Kollontai. “Millions upon millions of women in…families live (or, rather, exist),” wrote Lenin, “as ‘domestic slaves,’ striving to feed and clothe their family on pennies, at the cost of desperate daily effort and ‘saving’ on everything — except their own labor.”[82] For Kollontai, the most important aspects of the “woman question” in the modern age were the dissolution of the traditional family structure[83] and the achievement of economic independence.[84] Ultimately, she concluded that “women can become truly free and equal only in a world organized along new social and productive lines.”[85 - Ross Wolf
Mann og kvinne forenet i ekteskapet har alltid vært den minste komplementære enheten i alle kulturer gjennom alle tider, fram til modernistisk liberalisme fikk fotfeste.
For example: if the built environment has to spring from the connection between complementary elemental units, because that is how complex functional systems arise, then the same must be true of the social order. That conclusion strikes people today as outrageous. It would put us back—for example—to the union of man and woman in marriage as the basis of society. - James Kalb

The Architecture of Hell

The satanic is rebellion against God. In more abstract and secular terms, it is rebellion against all order that is not a matter of unconstrained human choice. Either way, contemporary intellectual culture often tends toward the satanic. Extreme idealization of human autonomy makes willfulness, transgression, and subversion seem like virtues. They destroy traditional standards, which are felt as shackles, and emancipation is thought the highest human good.

A problem with that kind of free-floating emancipation is that no movement that embraces it can be self-sustaining. It will be parasitic, pathological and destructive. Man is not complete in himself but part of something larger. An order we create by our own will can’t sustain human life or even itself. It can only exist by setting itself against the remnants of natural and traditional order that are still needed to carry on social functioning. It disrupts the things that make life possible.

When theorists like Bernard Tschumi cite Sade favorably or emphasize violence and murder they offer their adepts hope of meretricious advancement through superiority to conventional standards. Nonetheless, perversions of thought do not make life better for anyone. They are especially likely to make things worse when the theorists are architects, and their theories actually get built.

The principles that order the built environment matter, because man is rational and symbolic. To act in a human way we must identify, classify and interpret experience quickly and consistently. That means applying coherent rational principles. We may be unaware of those principles, just as we may be unaware of the grammar of our own language, but we have them and live by them, and we pick them up from the symbols that surround us. We surround ourselves with things that make sense to us. Conversely, we learn to make sense of life by means of symbolic representations of how things are. We are immersed in a built environment that teaches us the principles that inform it.

What happens then when the City of Man is built not on the principles of utility, beauty and harmony but on those of Pandemonium—when willfulness, transgression and subversion stop being intellectual provocations and acquire credibility as principles of action through incorporation in the built environment?

Presumably, we get oppression, violence and lies. That’s supposed to be a good thing. The idea, I suppose, is that there is no God, no given order that transcends human will, so beauty, harmony and perhaps in the end utility are fraudulent and oppressive and must be fought. If so, though, where does the “must” come from? And why put up with the oppression of building anything at all? If you want destruction you can get it straight.

The intellectual appeal of nihilism comes from the hope it offers of a certain rigorous purity. The hope is deceitful, because we are dependent and constantly find ourselves in complex situations we must deal with somehow. There is no short-cut to intellectual purity. The choice we have is not between acceptance or rejection of an order of things that precedes and sustains us, since we always accept such an order, but among understandings of what that order is. God cannot be abolished. If He could then the inhabitants of hell would not be so obsessed by Him. Their obsessions mock their claims of freedom.

[The foregoing remarks were inspired by Nikos Salingaros’s Anti-Architecture and Deconstruction, a book that includes a short piece I wrote.] - James Kalb

Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (The Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University)

leavergirl Says:

Øyvind, I just read Scott’s Seeing like a state, where he describes in great detail how the mad modernist planners and gigantism cultists readily collaborated back and forth between America and the Soviet Union. A brisk movement of ideas and people. Here is a mad mad story for ya: the major American proponents of gigantic modern farms were offered a sweet deal by Stalin: practically unlimited land, and nearly unlimited numbers of intimidated muzhiks to work for you, and the crushing power of the state behind you! So they got together in a Chicago hotel and in two weeks designed the soviet state farm (sovchoz). (And no, it does not have a happy ending.)

James C. Scott on Wikipedia

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Farm of the Future?

leavergirl Says:

I gotta share with you all something quite horrifyingly insane. The “farm of the future” courtesy of the USDA, painted for the Nat’l Geographic in 1970.
The caption reads: Grainfields stretch like fairways and cattle pens resemble high rise apartments… Attached to a modernistic farmhouse, a bubble-topped control tower hums with a computer; weather reports and a farm-price ticker tape. A remote-controlled tiller-combine glides across the 10-mile-long wheat field on tracks that keep the heavy machine from compacting the soil. Threshed grain, funneled into a pneumatic tube beside the field, flows into storage elevators rising close to the distant city. The same machine that cuts the grain prepares the land for another crop. A similar device waters neighboring strips of soybeans as a jet-powered helicopter sprays insecticides.
Across a service road, conical mills blend feed for beef cattle, fattening in multilevel pens that conserve ground space. Tubes carry the feed to be mechanically distributed. A central elevator transports the cattle up and down, while a tubular side drain flushes wastes to be broken down for fertilizer. Beside the farther pen, a processing plant packs beef into cylinders for shipment to market by helicopter and monorail. Illuminated plastic domes provide controlled environments for growing high-value crops such as strawberries, tomatoes, and celery. Near a distant lake and recreation area, a pumping station supplies water for the vast operation.
[Click on graphic to see it rendered in crisp detail.]

Renegade Economist Christmas Special with Max Keiser

Og jula varer helt til påske...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Switching from School Institutions to Learning Practices

Problem
In a society which emphasizes teaching, children and students - and adults - become passive and unable to think or act for themselves. Creative, active individuals can only grow up in a society which emphasizes learning instead of teaching.

Solution
Instead of the lock-step of compulsory schooling in a fixed place, work in piecemeal ways to decentralize the process of learning and enrich it through contact with many places and people all over the city: workshops, teachers at home or walking through the city, professionals willing to take on the young as helpers, older children teaching younger children, museums, youth groups traveling, scholarly seminars, industrial workshops, old people, and so on. Conceive of all these situations as forming the backbone of the learning process; survey all these situations, describe them, and publish them as the city's "curriculum"; then let students, children, their families and neighborhoods weave together for themselves the situations that comprise their "school" paying as they go with standard vouchers, raised by community tax. Build new educational facilities in a way which extends and enriches this network. - Christopher Alexander, pattern 18 in A Pattern Language

Economists for the P2P Age: Steve Keen

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Kristiansand pinsemenighets nye menighetshus, neppe en gave til Gud

For en tid tilbake var jeg innom mine foreldre og tok som vanlig en titt på Vårt Land. Her kunne jeg lese at pinsemenigheten i Kristiansand skal få bygge nytt gudshus, men at dette har blitt redusert fra tolv til seks etasjer. Dette var en god nyhet, men det ville selvsagt vært en enda bedre nyhet hvis planene var blitt redusert til ingen etasjer.

Illustrasjon av det nye menighetsbygget til Kristiansand pinsemenighet. En ting er sikkert, man lovpriser ikke Herren med et slikt nihilistisk monster. Selvsagt, Le Corbusier ville vært meget tilfreds! Kilde: Kristin Jarmund Arkitekter AS

Meningen var å bygge et signalbygg, det blir kanskje ikke det signalbygget man ønsket seg, men det store spørsmålet er alikevel hva man ønsker å signalisere med bygget?

I en video vi lastet opp til Permasolutions nylig, ble det lagt igjen en megetsigende kommentar:
In the future Christopher Alexander will be remembered in the same breath as Galileo and Descartes. He has provided scientific proof that all physical matter is holy and demonstrated an empirical connection between the built environment and the human soul.
Mer om Alexanders funn kan lastes ned her: Empirical Findings from The Nature of Order

I slutten av forelesningen, under spørsmålsseksjonen, kommer Alexander med sitt berømte utsagn om at alt vi lager må være som en gave til Gud. Det mest slående med Kristiandsand pinsemenighets nye gudshus er fraværet av Gud, det finnes intet hellig ved dette bygget, det er tvert imot rein gudsbespottelse, og har sitt opphav i Europas mørkeste og mest nihilistiske ideologier (se også).

Den eneste grunnen til at pinsemenigheten i Kristiansand har kastet seg på dette prosjektet, er at de har et ønske om å framstå som kule!
Coolness started with jazz musicians, and still has something of the spirit of the night, of escape from everyday reality, of unconditioned freedom, of improvisation without a goal. It’s the liberal equivalent of the divine grace that bloweth where it listeth and none can define.

It has something in common with sanctity. The cool are in the world but not of it. They possess a certain disengagement, so that they are independent of their surroundings and not easily flustered or excited. They’re not conventional, and recognize immediately whatever they’re presented with. That gives them a sort of perfect pitch in matters of perception, expression, and practical decision.

Of course, coolness is also very different from sanctity. Sanctity is about eternity, coolness about today. It has religious aspirations, but its hedonism and individualism means it goes nowhere. The lives of the saints have enduring interest because they point to something beyond themselves, the lives of the hipsters don’t. James Kalb
Det er tragisk at Guds folk på jorden har henfalt til slik hedonisme, billedlig uttrykt gjennom en gudsforlatt arkitektur. Ønsker ikke Kristiansand pinsemenighet å være jordens salt?
The built environment, with its geometrical symbolism, talks about the culture that has created it, and expresses the intimate values of a culture. So, if in the past the built environment was interconnected with their physical and spiritual surroundings, the contemporary has expressed the excessive power of a mechanical culture determining the loss of human identity in favor of “artificial identity”. This artificial structure has transferred its cultural reductionism also to urbanism and architecture and caused laceration of society and deformation of ethical and esthetical values. This new design represents and symbolizes new values like hedonism and a devoid sense of nothing, and is the sculptural expression of our society. Biourbanism
Jeg vil på det sterkeste anbefale Kristiansand pinsemenighet og deres lederskap om å se forelesningen med Christopher Alexander:


Pris Gud, ikke kun med tungen, men også gjennom skaperverket!
This is a world view in which acceptance of the whole and efforts to heal the whole, in the built world, can be seen as the most profound and most important forms of prayer. They are consistent with modern science and yet call into question some of science’s most deeply rooted assumptions. - Christopher Alexander
Relatert lesning:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Greece: Back to the Land | European Journal

Greece is slipping further and further into debt. While the politicians search desperately for solutions, Greeks are turning their backs on the drama and heading for the countryside.For decades the trend was the other way round. Greeks were leaving the villages and heading for the cities. But the economic crisis and deep cuts have caused a dramatic rise in unemployment. More and more Greeks are coming to the conclusion that they will not find a job in the city. They are returning to their roots and moving back to the villages. 40 thousand people started farming in the past two years.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Short Documentary: Feeding the Soul at Jones Valley Urban Farm

In the heart of downtown Birmingham, Alabama lives a small three acre block where big things are happening. Feeding the Soul takes a brief look at the Jones Valley Urban Farm and highlights some of the incredible ways that this small farm is not only giving back to the city of Birmingham but is setting an example for the entire world to follow. Filmed over the course of the 2008 summer harvest, we witness the hardships and triumphs of a farm that's anything but ordinary.

An Image of a Town

When we are as ordinary as that, with nothing left in any of our actions, except what is required – then we can make towns and buildings which are as infinitely various, and peaceful, and as wild and living, as the fields of windblown grass.

Almost everybody feels at peace with nature: listening to the ocean waves against the shore, by a still lake, in a field of grass, on a windblown heath. One day, when we have learned the timeless way again, we shall feel the same about our towns, and we shall feel as much at peace in them, as we do today walking by the ocean, or stretched out in the long grass of a meadow. – The Timeless Way of Building, by Christopher Alexander, Page 549
Photo: Benh LIEU SONG

Taking Back Our Public Spaces


It has been a long time decisions are taken for us but without us.

Once upon a time, there were collective spaces where people lived together and took decisions amongst equals, cultivated dialogue, fraternal cooperation and work for the common benefit.

Nowadays, our lives have been mortgaged to a political and economical system that has impoverished us and made us more dependent.

They called the political irresponsibility of putting in someone else's hands the affairs that matter to us "freedom".

We were educated within a childish and selfish outlook, articulating society in closed compartments where ruthlessness and mistrust prevail, rather than collaboration and respect.

We were "the people" and they made us "the public", we gave up being actors to become dejected spectators of a life managed from above.

The design of our cities is also a purely political issue: the arrangement of gardens, fenced by barriers, closed by night; flowers lined up like paving stones, bushes pruned like walls.

Urban space was thought up for a mute transit of vehicles, persons and merchandising. The stage is sterile and the flow never stops - because, if we stop, order is in danger.

We have realized business and state production ways do not respond to either our wishes or our needs, and, instead, it generates corrupt and unjust structures and is hugely damaging for the environment.

What would happen if we started managing the world ourselves, from below, in a different way?

Let's imagine, for instance, a transformed city, more natural, where, instead of so much tarmac, paving stones and sterile gardens, we grew aromatic herbs or plants from which we could extract natural remedies; where, instead of ornamental parks, we had orchards and ecological vegetable gardens, looked after by all together, children, grown ups, elders and youths.

What would happen if, instead of maintaining a highly expensive and often inefficient state public sector, we built a network of people's services, autonomous, where the labour that supported it was managed by people's assemblies and not according to the profit of a few; where each of us would contribute as we can and where we can; where we could develop in a wholly way as persons, both to give and to receive, not being mere passive consumers anymore?

It is not hard to imagine if we take into account that social state services are suffering ongoing cuts and the model of welfare state appears unviable, judging by the heavily indebted economical situation.

Today, our streets overflow with closed spaces: empty houses, unused plots, unfinished buildings. We start to see the ruins that reveal the decadent state of a society in crisis. A society that we do not choose but that we pay dearly.

Thus, we will take those unused spaces, previously usurped by the logics of private profit and public loss, giving them new uses for the benefit of all. So, we invite you all to participate into the new society we are constructing in those places.

We are not here to do abstract demands, it is not enough to be indignant, we are here to meet each other, populate a space and take life in our hands. We are the inhabitants, not mere passers-by, of a world that is our home, and it is our responsibility to build it.

Our strength will be measured by what we do, which, moreover, will be an example of what we are able to.

So, let's do it, we shall not wait anymore. - Grupoaveria
Related reading:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Interior of Saint-Maimbœuf Church in Montbéliard (Doubs, France)

Interior of Saint-Maimbœuf Church in Montbéliard (Doubs, France), taken in HDR. Photo: Bresson Thomas

Related reading:

Liberalism: A Counter-History by Domenico Losurdo

One of Europe's leading intellectual historians deconstructs liberalism's dark side. 
In this definitive historical investigation, Italian author and philosopher Domenico Losurdo argues that from the outset liberalism, as a philosophical position and ideology, has been bound up with the most illiberal of policies: slavery, colonialism, genocide, racism and snobbery.  
Narrating an intellectual history running from the eighteenth through to the twentieth centuries, Losurdo examines the thought of preeminent liberal writers such as Locke, Burke, Tocqueville, Constant, Bentham, and Sieyès, revealing the inner contradictions of an intellectual position that has exercised a formative influence on today’s politics. Among the dominant strains of liberalism, he discerns the counter-currents of more radical positions, lost in the constitution of the modern world order. - Verso
Read more at Verso Books!

Related books:

One of the World's Best Blogs (According to Michel Bauwens)

Thank you Ross Wolf for sharing all this information! Here are some starters:

Industrialism and the Genesis of Modern Architecture

The Graveyard of Utopia: Soviet Urbanism and the Fate of the International Avant-Garde

The Transformation of Utopia under Capitalist Modernity

The Soviet Avant-Garde: International Reflections of the OSA-ASNOVA (Constructivist-Rationalist) Split

The Spatiotemporal Dimensions of Abstract Art and the Genesis of Modernist Architecture

The Stalinization of Post-Revolutionary Soviet Art and Architecture

The Sociohistoric Mission of Modernist Architecture: The Housing Shortage, the Urban Proletariat, and the Liberation of Woman

At the Intersection of Nature and Architecture: Modernism’s Response to the Alienation of Man

Gaveøkonomien

Anbefalt lesning for i dag:

What Can We Learn from Gift Economies?

Her er mange spennende underlenker!
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