Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Overview of Christopher Alexander's Eishin Campus in Japan

Click on the image for a magnification. More images here.

Kommentar hos Kulturverk angående muligheten for "infiltrering" av samfunnet gjennom tilbaketrekning

Les artikkel her.

Min kommentar:

“Simpelthen nekte dette samfunnet fremfor å agere mot det.”

Nå kom jeg på hvorfor denne setningen gjorde slikt inntrykk på meg. Det var jo nettopp slik de første kristne gjorde, de trakk seg tilbake fra samfunnet og viet sine liv til bønn og askese. Dette var et vesentlig bidrag til at det romerske imperiet gikk opp i sømmene, da det var svært avhengig av at borgerne engasjerte seg i handel og styring for å holde imperiet sammen. Også mange velutdannede gikk over til kristendommen og viet sine liv til bønn og stille kontemplasjon, i motsetning til protestantene, som viet/vier sine liv til bønn og masseproduksjon (nødvendigvis fulgt av massekonsumpsjon).

Er noe lignende mulig i dag? Hvor man trekker seg ut av samfunnet og vier sine liv til bønn, meditasjon, filosofi, askese og permakultur. Forskjellen er dog at mens de første kristne hadde flere hundre år på seg til å “infiltrere” samfunnet innenfra, har vi kun noen årtier til disposisjon før økosystemene går opp i liminga.

Hvor utenkelig må ikke det å vie seg til bønn, askese og stille meditasjon være for dagens unge, som blir rådville etter fem minutter uten internettdekning!

Snøhetta Architects Plan for a New Mountain Church

Snøhetta planlegger spektakulær fjellkirke

Let's pray to God this nihilist  ego-"church" will never be built

Min kommentar til artikkel om ny klimanøytral bydel i Trondheim

Les artikkelen på forskning.no:

Klimanøytral bydel – miljøvennlighet i praksis

Min kommentar til artikkelen:


19682010
Dette er i utgangspunktet et godt forslag, men det er et stort MEN! Dette er at området er planlagt av forskere, planleggere og arkitekter, noe som gjør at området ALDRI kan bli genuint personlig.

"IF ONE THING, MORE THAN ANY OTHER, distinguishes a real neighborhood from the corporate machine-architecture of the 20th-century developer, it is the fact that real people have — together — conceived it, planned it, and built it. It is this human reality which makes it worth living in, pleasant to be there, and valuable." – Christopher Alexander

Alexander har nylig kommet med ei ny bok kalt The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth: A Struggle Between Two World-Systems, som tar utgangspunk i byggingen av Eishin Campus utenfor Tokyo, bilder her: http://eishin.ac/about/

Eishin ble til en viss grad vellykket, til tross for fiendtligheten og saboteringen av prosjektet fra entreprenørselskapet Fujita. Derfor fikk Alexander kun gjennomslag for ca halvparten av sine visjoner.

Men prosjektet ga store bidrag til den prosessen man må følge for å skape bærekraftig arkitektur, dette er en stegvis eller morfologisk prosess, hvor man ikke tar utgangspunkt i fastlåste planer, eller et nådeløst og anti-humant mekanistisk verdensbilde. Alexander kaller denne prosessen for system - A, mens dagens system kaller han system - B.

Ellers er flere av forslagene i denne artikkelen å finne igjen i Alexanders A Pattern Language, den mestselgende boka om arkitektur på Amazon.com, men ignorert av planleggere og arkitekter. Den mest verdifulle form for miljøvennlig bygging er selvorganisering med utgangspunk i Pattern Languages: http://permaculturenews.org/20...

Arkitektforslaget ovenfor er direkte stygt, det kan med en gang slås fast at disse bygningene er basert på modernistisk ideologi og ikke er evolvert ut fra de 15 egenskapene for helhet som man finner i naturen og all kultur fram til modernismen: http://www.tkwa.com/fifteen-pr...

Man finner heller ingen form for ornament, i tråd med den rasistiske arven fra Adolf Loos: http://www.metropolismag.com/p...

Derfor ville jeg selv, som såkalt "miljøfanatiker", ikke ønske å bo her!

Men når sant skal sies, det er jo dagens boformer som er utopiske, og kommer til å bryte fullstendig sammen med energi- og ressurskrisene som kommer: http://www.levevei.no/2013/04/...

I tillegg dyrker dagens suburbia og Corbus Tower in the Park den mørke siden av handikapprinsippet, dagens bostruktur er en historisk anakronisme, en legemliggjøring av hva system - B - perversitet kan lede oss inn i:

"The practical result of government promotion of monoculture development is that for most of us there are two communities: a community in which we work and shop, and a bedroom community in which we are stored." – Kevin Carson

Forslaget i Trondheim er helt sikkert godt ment, men det bryter ikke med de innarbeidede prosedyrene og det gamle tankegodset til system - B, og er derfor ikke noe for meg.

Jeg vil innstendig be om at man har høyere ambisjoner, og har som mål en fullstendig og absolutt eliminering av system - B tenkning. Kun slik kan menneskene ha en framtid på jorden.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Rise of Planetary Consciousness is Just Another Version of the Old Religion of Progress

How many times have we all heard that economic growth was going to take care of resource depletion and environmental degradation, or that scientific and technical advances were going to take care of them, or that a great moral awakening—call it the rise of planetary consciousness, or any of the other popular buzzwords, if you wish—was going to take care of them.
As it turned out, of course, none of those things took care of them at all, and since so many people placed their faith on one or the other kind of progress, nothing else took care of them, either. - John Michael Greer
Another excellent article from John Michael Greer's ongoing series of essays about civil religion and the faith of progress:

The God with Three Heads

An excerpt:
Far more often than not these days, as a result, the mainstream American version of faith in progress fixates purely on the supposedly unstoppable feedback loop between scientific and technological progress, on the one hand, and economic growth on the other, while moral progress has been consigned to bit parts here and there. It’s mostly on the left that faith in moral progress retains its former place in the blend—one of the many ways in which the leftward end of the American political landscape is significantly more conservative, in the strict sense of the word, than those who call themselves conservative these days—and even there, it’s increasingly a fading hope, popular among the older generation of activists and among those who have moved toward the fringes of society and mix their faith in progress with a good solid helping of its erstwhle antireligion, the faith in apocalypse: it’s from this unstable mix that we get claims that the morally better world will arrive once evil, and most of the planet’s population, are blown to smithereens.

It’s by way of this latter process, I think, that faith in moral progress tends to pop up in the literature of peak oil, and even more often in conversations in the peak oil scene. I’ve long since lost track of the number of times that someone has suggested to me that if industrial civilization continues down the well-worn track of overshoot and decline, the silver lining to that very dark cloud is that the rigors of the decline will force all of us, or at least the survivors, to become better people—“better” being defined variously as more ecologically sensitive, more compassionate, or what have you, depending on the personal preferences of the speaker.

Now of course when civilizations overshoot their resource base and start skidding down the arc of decline toward history’s compost bin, a sudden turn toward moral virtue of any kind is not a common event. The collapse of social order, the rise of barbarian warbands, and a good many of the other concomitants of decline and fall tend to push things hard in the other direction. Still, the importance of faith in progress in the collective imagination of our time is such that some way has to be found to make the future look better than the present. If a future of technological advancement and economic growth is no longer an option, then the hope for moral betterment becomes the last frail reed to which believers in progress cling with all their might.

To many of my readers, this may seem like a good idea; many others may consider it inevitable. I’m far from convinced that it’s either one. For more than thirty years now, the conviction that progress will somehow bail the industrial world out from the consequences of its own bad decisions has been the single largest obstacle in the way of preventing more of those same bad decisions from being made. How many times have we all heard that economic growth was going to take care of resource depletion and environmental degradation, or that scientific and technical advances were going to take care of them, or that a great moral awakening—call it the rise of planetary consciousness, or any of the other popular buzzwords, if you wish—was going to take care of them. As it turned out, of course, none of those things took care of them at all, and since so many people placed their faith on one or the other kind of progress, nothing else took care of them, either. - John Michael Greer

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Ved stille vann

Foto: Vaido Otsar

Simpelthen nekte dette samfunnet fremfor å agere mot det

I den siste filmen fra Matrix-trilogien kjemper motstandsbevegelsen tappert mot maskinene ved bruk av egne maskiner, men nytteløst. Tilslutt innser Neo (kristussimuleringen i filmen) – gjennom å erkjenne seg selv og sin skjebne – at han må frigjøre seg totalt fra the Matrix, det hypervirkelige, for å frigjøre verden. Kanskje må hver og en av oss gjøre denne jobben for å fri oss fra hypervirkeligheten. Ikke anskaffe oss nye ord eller ting, men fri oss fra de vi allerede har. For begrepene sannhet og løgn er ikke nok når deres innhold betyr sannheten om sannheten og løgnen om løgnen – den simulerte. Så om konklusjonen ikke er at vi alle skal gå hen å bli taoister – et simulert begrep i seg selv i vår tid, så er det i det minste at vi bør tenke før vi snakker, sette oss når vi kan gå, og nekte fremfor å agere. Simpelthen nekte dette samfunnet fremfor å agere mot det. Og det er det motsatte av nihilisme. Det er med mot-stand, ikke ustand, kampen skal kjempes. En kamp som ikke kommer til å handle om kvinners, arbeideres, ytringers eller klassers rettigheter og friheter, men om kampen for det virkelige imot det uvirkelige eller hypervirkelige. Det er vår fiende i en fremtid avkappet eksistensielt følt fortid. Og fremtiden er i stor grad allerede nåtid. Så sett deg. Sitt stille. Eller unn deg et gjensyn med Matrix-trilogien. Ja, hele trilogien. - Ivar Sagbakken

Key Theses on P2P Politics

From the P2P-blogg:

1. Our current world system is marked by a profoundly counterproductive logic of social organization:

a) it is based on a false concept of abundance in the limited material world; it has created a system based on infinite growth, within the confines of finite resources

b) it is based on a false concept of scarcity in the infinite immaterial world; instead of allowing continuous experimental social innovation, it purposely erects legal and technical barriers to disallow free cooperation through copyright, patents, etc.

2. Therefore, the number one priority for a sustainable civilization is overturning these principles into their opposite:

a) we need to base our physical economy on a recognition of the finitude of natural resources, and achieve a sustainable steady-state economy

b) we need to facilitate free and creative cooperation and lower the barriers to such exchange by reforming the copyright and other restrictive regimes

3. Hierarchy, markets, and even democracy are means to allocate scarce resources through authority, pricing, and negotiation; they are not necessary in the realm of the creation and free exchange of immaterial value, which will be marked by bottom-up forms of peer governance

4. Markets, as means to to manage scarce physical resources, are but one of the means to achieve such allocation, and need to be divorced from the idea of capitalism, which is a system of infinite growth.

5. The creation of immaterial value, which again needs to become dominant in a post-material world which recognized the finiteness of the material world, will be characterized by the further emergence of non-reciprocal peer production.

6. Peer production is a more productive system for producing immaterial value than the for-profit mode, and in cases of the asymmetric competition between for-profit companies and for-benefit institutions and communities, the latter will tend to emerge

7. Peer production produces more social happiness, because 1) it is based on the highest from of individual motivation, nl. intrinsic positive motivation; 2) it is based on the highest form of collective cooperation, nl. synergistic cooperation characterized by four wins (the participants x2, the community, the universal system)

8. Peer governance, the bottom-up mode of participative decision-making (only those who participate get to decide) which emerges in peer projects is politically more productive than representative democracy, and will tend to emerge in immaterial production. However, it can only replace representative modes in the realm of non-scarcity, and will be a complementary mode in the political realm. What we need are political structures that create a convergence between individual and collective interests.

9. Peer property, the legal and institutional means for the social reproduction of peer projects, are inherently more distributive than both public property and private exclusionary property; it will tend to become the dominant form in the world of immaterial production (which includes all design of physical products).

10. Peer to peer as the relational dynamic of free agents in distributed networks will likely become the dominant mode for the production of immaterial value; however, in the realm of scarcity, the peer to peer logic will tend to reinforce peer-informed market modes, such as fair trade; and in the realm of the scarcity based politics of group negotiation, will lead to reinforce the peer-informed state forms such as multistakeholdership forms of governance.

11. The role of the state must evolve from the protector of dominant interests and arbiter between public regulation and privatized corporate modes (an eternal and improductive binary choice), towards being the arbiter between a triarchy of public regulation, private markets, and the direct social production of value. In the latter capacity, it must evolve from the welfare state model, to the partner state model, as involved in enabling and empowering the direct social creation of value.

12. The world of physical production needs to be characterized by:

a) sustainable forms of peer-informed market exchange (fair trade, etc..);

b) reinvigorated forms of reciprocity and the gift economy;

c) a world based on social innovation and open designs, available for physical production anywhere in the world.

13. The best guarantor of the spread of the peer to peer logic to the world of physical production, is the distribution of everything, i.e. of the means of production in the hands of individuals and communities, so that they can engage in social cooperation. While the immaterial world will be characterized by a peer to peer logic on non-reciprocal generalized exchange, the peer informed world of material exchange will be characterized by evolving forms of reciprocity and neutral exchange.

14. We need to move from empty and ineffective anti-capitalist rhetoric, to constructive post-capitalist construction. Peer to peer theory, as the attempt to create a theory to understand peer production, governance and property, and the attendant paradigms and value systems of the open/free, participatory, and commons oriented social movements, is in a unique position to marry the priority values of the right, individual freedom, and the priority values of the left, equality. In the peer to peer logic, one is the condition of the other, and cooperative individualism marries equipotentiality and freedom in a context of non-coercion.

15. We need to become politically sensitive to invisible architectures of power. In distributed systems, where there is no overt hierarchy, power is a function of design. One such system, perhaps the most important of all, is the monetary system, whose interest-bearing design requires the market to be linked to a system of infinite growth, and this link needs to be broken. A global reform of the monetary system, or the spread of new means of direct social production of money, are necessary conditions for such a break.

16. This is the truth of the peer to peer logical of social relationships: 1) together we have everything; 2) together we know everything. Therefore, the conditions for dignified material and spiritual living are in our hands, bound with our capacity to relate and form community. The emancipatory peer to peer theory does not offer new solutions for global problems, but most of all new means to tackle them, by relying on the collective intelligence of humankind. We are witnessing the rapid emergence of peer to peer toolboxes for the virtual world, and facilitation techniques of the physical world of face to face encounters, both are needed to assist in the necessary change of consciousness that needs to be midwifed. It is up to us to use them.

17. At present, the world of corporate production is benefiting from the positive externalities of widespread social innovation (innovation as an emerging property of the network itself, not as an internal characteristic of any entity), but there is no return mecachism, leading to the problem of precarity. Now that the productivity of the social is beyond doubt, we need solutions that allow the state and for-profit corporation to create return mechanisms, such as forms of income that are no longer directly related to the private production of wealth, but reward the social production of wealth.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Follebu kirke

Follebu kirke er en kirke fra 1260 i Gausdal kommune, Oppland fylke. Klikk på bildet for en forstørrelse.

Four-Dimensional Hypercube

Essay by David Bollier: "The Next Great Internet Disruption: Authority and Governance"

Very promising essay by David Bollier. Can government change like Wikimedia disturbed Encyclopedia Britannica, retailing in all sectors, the music industry, metropolitan daily newspapers and book publishing?

The Next Great Internet Disruption: Authority and Governance

An excerpt:

A Network Architecture for Group Forming Networks

"If we take Reed’s analysis of network dynamics seriously, and apply his logic to the contemporary scene, it becomes clear that the best way to unlock enormous stores of value on networks is to develop tools that can facilitate GFNs.  This will be the next great Internet disruption.  But to achieve this, we must develop a network architecture and software systems that can build trust and social capital in user-centric, scalable ways.

Necessarily, this means that we must begin to re-imagine the very nature of authority and governance.  We must invent new types of digital institutions that are capable of administering authority recognized as authentic and use algorithmic tools to craft and enforce “law.”

The idea that conventional institutions of governance (and government) may have to change may seem like a far-fetched idea.  Who dares to question the venerable system of American government?  Traditions are deeply rooted and seemingly rock-solid.  But why should government be somehow immune from the same forces that have disrupted Encyclopedia Britannica, retailing in all sectors, the music industry, metropolitan daily newspapers and book publishing?  Based on existing trends, we believe the next wave of Internet disruptions is going to re-define the nature of authority and governance.  It is going to transform existing institutions of law and create new types of legal institutions – “code as law,” as Lawrence Lessig famously put it.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Talk about Human Overpopulation

More Painful Pictures from Bjørvika, Oslo

More painful pictures from Bjørvika, Oslo, here.

The Spark: Documentary about P2P Resilience and Thrivability Experiments

THE SPARK is a documentary about a genius technologist and a rebel educator, two pioneers from opposite spectrums with one goal in common: Build a sustainable community.

Exclusive footage from the Open Source Ecology farm in Missouri and from an urban farming in disadvantaged Afro-American neighborhoods in the U.S.

Watch the trailer here:

Romedal kirke

Romedal kirke på Hedemarken

Strandlykkja kapell

Strandlykkja kapell ligg i Tangen sokn i Hamar Domprosti. Ho er bygd i tre og blei oppførd i 1915. Kyrkja har langplan og 90 sitjeplassar. Kyrkja har vernestatus listeført. Arkitekt: H. Børve.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ved Mjøsas bredd

Er det ikke vakkert ved Mjøsas bredder? Vi mennesker er så flinke til å pynte på skaperverket, når man ser noe slikt som dette rører det ved hjertet. Er trygg om at Gud kjenner seg stolt fordi han skapte mennesket!

Tok dette bildet i dag fra den pågående utvidelsen av E6 mellom Kolomoen og Minnesund. Klikk på bildet for en forstørrelse.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Modernisme og rasehat

Noe jeg ikke var klar over er at moderne arkitektur har et dypt rasistisk opphav. Følgende sitat er hentet fra dette essayet:

Toward Resilient Architectures 3: How Modernism Got Square
In his famous essay of 1908, “Ornament and Crime,” the Austrian writer/architect Adolf Loos presented an argument for the minimalist industrial aesthetic that has shaped modernism and neo-modernism ever since. Surprisingly, he built this argument upon a foundation that is accepted today by almost no one; the cultural superiority of “modern man” [sic], by which he meant Northern European males.

Loos proclaimed that, in this new era of streamlined modern production, we had apparently become unable to produce “authentic ornamental detail.” But are we alone, he asked, unable to have our own style do what “any Negro” [sic], or any other race and period before us, could do? Of course not, he argued. We are more advanced, more “modern.” Our style must be the very aesthetic paucity that comes with the streamlined goods of industrial production — a hallmark of advancement and superiority. In effect, our “ornament” would be the simple minimalist buildings and other artifacts themselves, celebrating the spirit of a great new age.

Indeed, the continued use of ornament was, for Loos, a “crime.” The “Papuan,” he argued, had not evolved to the moral and civilized circumstances of modern man [sic]. As part of his primitive practices, the Papuan tattooed himself. Likewise, Loos went on, “the modern man who tattoos himself is either a criminal or a degenerate.” Therefore, he reasoned, those who still used ornament were on the same low level as criminals, and Papuans. - Michael Mehaffy og Nikos Salingaros
Dette betyr at moderne skolebygg, barnehager og kirker er rasistiske symboler! På samme vis som Eishin Campus er et oppgjør med disse mørke undertonene i vår kultur.

Hønefoss nye kirke, et rasistisk ikon!

I blått mellom vissne strå

Klikk på bildet for forstørrelse

Beautiful Images of the Eishin Campus (Higashino High School) in Cherry Blossoming, by Famous Architect Christopher Alexander

Follow this link!

Photo: Takeshi Kakeda

The book describing the making of this beautiful campus. Buy it here!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Eremozoikum – «ensomhetens tidsalder»

Det er her grunn til å minne om hva som står på spill. I den kjente amerikanske biologen Edward O. Wilsons bok The Diversity of Life (1994) har han skapt ordet eremozoikum – «ensomhetens tidsalder». Dette fordi økosystemene bryter sammen når tallrike planter og dyr forsvinner for alltid. Menneskene risikerer å bli igjen med sine milliarder på en nedbygget, forurenset, biologisk lutfattig klode.
Sitatet er hentet fra denne sjeldent bra artikkelen:

The Empathic Civilisation


Book: Why We Cooperate, by Michael Tomasello (Boston Review Books), 2009

Description

"Tomasello, co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, studied the cooperative behavior of one-year-old children—and compared it to that of apes. The results, which build on decades of similar studies, show that even preverbal children have a natural inclination to share and help others, much more so than nonhuman primates (this doesn’t contradict de Waal’s argument in The Age of Empathy; it just means our cooperative behavior is more evolved). Remarkably, Tomasello includes critiques of his argument by four other leading scientists, many of whom debate his interpretations of the facts—thereby embedding his cooperative values in the book itself. Why We Cooperate is a scientific treatise, and it might be a trifle dry for some tastes—but its data and arguments are critical to our understanding of ourselves as species. (Folks interested in the science of human empathy and cooperation might also read Born to Be Good, by my former Greater Good colleague Dacher Keltner, which was published in January 2009.)" (http://shareable.net/blog/the-ten-best-shareable-books-of-2009)

Discussion

David Bollier:
"Do humans have a natural propensity to form commons? That is certainly one way to interpret recent findings by scientists studying the innate behaviors of babies. It turns out that very young children show a natural willingness to help other out and cooperate.
While all of us have healthy dollops of ego and selfishness, experiments have shown that children have an almost reflexive desire to help others even before parents and culture begin to shape those instincts. The cooperative impulse can be seen in children across cultures, and it is a trait that our closest evolutionary ancestor, primates, do not have. In one experiment, for example, when an adult pretends to be searching for lost objects, infants will start, 12 months old, to point at the “lost” objects.
These are some of the findings of Why We Cooperate, a new book by Michael Tomasello, a developmental psychologist and co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. An account of the book by Nicholas Wade was published in today’s New York Times.
Tomasello’s book, which studies the capacity for cooperation among young children, helps “identify the underlying psychological processes that very likely supported humans’ earliest forms of complex collaboration and, ultimately, our unique forms of cultural organization, from the evolution of tolerance and trust to the creation of such group-level structures as cultural norms and institutions.”
Besides innate propensities to cooperate and help, children at age three learn how groups of people create rules for group behavior. (Sounds a lot like commons-building to me!) A key concept in this process is what Tomasello calls “shared intentionality.”
Shared intentionality “is close to the essence of what distinguishes people from chimpanzees,” writes the Times. “A group of human children will use all kinds of words and gestures to form goals and coordinate activities, but young chimps seem to have little interest in what may be their companions’ minds.” Based on these findings, Dr. Tomasello believes that the best parenting methods are those that help children discover the logic of social cooperation: “Children are altruistic by nature,” he writes, but because they are also selfish, parents need only push a bit on the cooperative side of things.
“Shared intentionality” is arguably the factor most ignored in prisoner’s dilemmas experiments. Test subjects rarely have the chance to communicate freely with others, develop a certain relationship of trust, and come to an agreement about how to proceed — i.e., “shared intentionality.” Not surprisingly, most prisoner’s dilemma experiments conclude that humans are selfish and calculating, and that collective action and cooperation is improbable.
Dr. Tomasello believes that shared intentionality is the foundation of society (and I would argue, the commons), because it allows social norms to emerge. It also provides the means for punishing those who flout those norms. In terms of evolutionary science, cooperation offers a competitive advantage over individual competition because it tends to produce more impressive results: more food can be gathered or hunted, greater safety can be achieved, more ambitious projects can be implemented.
I was fascinated to learn that the extraordinarily large “sclera,” or whites of the eyes, in human beings is an evolutionary trait that aids cooperation. The sclera enables people to track the gaze of other people and coordinate their own behaviors accordingly. All species of primates have dark eyes with very little sclera, but the sclera of humans is three times larger than any primate. This makes it easier to track a person’s gaze. As the Times put it, “Chimps will follow a person’s gaze, but by looking at his head, even if his eyes are closed. Babies follow a person’s eyes, even if the experimenter keeps his head still.”
Dr. Tomasello believes that tracking other people’s gaze evolved “in cooperative social groups in which monitoring one another’s focus was to everyone’s benefit in completing joint tasks.” Once cooperation was seen as mandatory for survival, people developed social rules, ways of enforce the rules, language to help coordinate activities, and norms to honor altruism.
Times reporter Wade cites another recent book that seems to confirm and expand upon Tomasello’s findings. The Age of Empathy, by Dr. Frans de Waal, a primate specialist, believes that “empathy is an automated response over which we have limited control.” We are hard-wired to reach out to each other and empathize.
What then accounts for all the aggressive, anti-social behavior that one sees in contemporary life? Dr. de Waal sees such behavior as connected to cooperation; we often behave in nasty ways to those outside of our local group as a way to strengthen our internal group cohesion.
Cooperation, then, is for “insiders,” aggression for “outsiders.” Which nicely states the moral drama that humans have been engaged in for millennia: Is the stranger worthy of our love and respect? Are we our brother’s keeper? One might argue that our moral development as a species is all about expanding the circle of who is to be considered “one of us.” (http://www.onthecommons.org/content.php?id=2583)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Land and Resource Scarcity (Capitalism, Struggle and Well-being in a World without Fossil Fuels)

This book brings together geological, biological, radical economic, technological, historical and social perspectives on peak oil and other scarce resources. The contributors to this volume argue that these scarcities will put an end to the capitalist system as we know it and alternatives must be created. The book combines natural science with emancipatory thinking, focusing on bottom up alternatives and social struggles to change the world by taking action. The volume introduces original contributions to the debates on peak oil, land grabbing and social alternatives, thus creating a synthesis to gain an overview of the multiple crises of our times.

The book sets out to analyse how crises of energy, climate, metals, minerals and the soil relate to the global land grab which has accelerated greatly since 2008, as well as to examine the crisis of profit production and political legitimacy. Based on a theoretical understanding of the multiple crises and the effects of peak oil and other scarcities on capital accumulation, the contributors explore the social innovations that provide an alternative.

Using the most up to date research on resource crises, this integrative and critical analysis brings together the issues with a radical perspective on possibilites for future change as well as a strong social economic and ethical dimesion. The book should be of interest to researchers and students of environmental policy, politics, sustainable development and natural resource management.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Min kommentar hos Kulturverk vedrørende dypøkologiens tredje lag

Min kommentar til artikkel på Kulturverg ang. dypøkologiens tredje lag. Les artikkelen her.

I min opprinnelige kommentar kom jeg til å skrive "intensifering" istedenfor intensivering, som en norsk avart av det engelske "intensifying". Dette er rettet opp her.

Min kommentar:

Jeg vil gi forfatteren rett i at av de få virkelig suksessfulle eksemplene vi har sett i Vesten i nyere tid, hvor man har lykkes i å forene arkitektur og struktur med mennesket, jorden og universet, dvs. en dypere forening av hva jeg vil kalle “the Pattern Language” og “the Form Language”, så har disse en nyreligiøs kontekst. Det kanskje beste eksemplet er økolandsbyen Damanhur i Nord-Italia: http://www.natursamfunn.no/index.php?damanhur

Den vestlige kristne kirke har så godt som blitt fullstendig oppslukt av moderniteten. Jeg øyner allikevel et lite håp iom. at Nikos A. Salingaros har blitt plassert som en høyt respektert rådgiver for den katolske kirke innen feltet arkitektur, et felt som har blitt undervurdert mht. den enorme betydning det har som fundament for en bærekraftig sivilisasjon.

Slik jeg ser det må en åndelig økologi utfolde seg gjennom en utfolding og intensivering av sentra gjennom de 15 helhetsutvidende transformasjonene som genererer liv. Christopher Alexander har slått fast at all materie, organisk som uorganisk, er konstruert av sentra, som igjen er en utfoldelse av de 15 transformasjonene dokumentert i bok 1 i The Nature of Order, The Phenomenon of Life. Det er kun gjennom en evigvarende intensivering av sentra det åndelige kan åpenbare seg, og etter Alexanders observasjoner vil denne intensiveringen etter hvert nå et punkt hvor man står ansikt til ansikt med hva noen velger å kalle Gud, de som er ukomfortable med denne termen vil velge et annet uttrykk, Alexander benytter gjerne betegnelsen “the I”.

Dette er hva jeg velger å kalle dypøkologi på det tredje plan, og de dypere lag av nyreligiøsiteten har utvilsomt nådd hit. Et plan hvor egoet har blitt oppslukt av det åndelige. Personlig mener jeg vi har tre nivåer, egoet eller vår selvhevdelse (det nivået moderniteten er nedsunket til), det biofile hvor vi responderer på og gjenskaper organiske strukturer for vårt velvære og vår lykke, og det åndelige eller spirituelle hvor egoet forsvinner i en evigvarende intensivering av sentra gjennom de 15 transformasjonene, som universet har utfoldet seg selv gjennom siden “the Big Bang”. Dette er slik jeg ser det meningen med vår eksistens på jorden, og kan ses på som en tilstand av bønn, Alexander kaller det for helskapsutvidende transformasjoner. Hvor meningen med livet er å hver dag være en del av en helhet, og hver dag intensivere denne helheten gjennom intensivering av sentra.
We now understand that even in the building of something small, when system-A is used it will have a large impact on the people who are involved in it, and they themselves will be changed. In a significant way, it will contribute to changing the world. When a group of people make their environments for themselves, this has massive consequences. Because they are bringing forth the real content of their own existence, becoming aware of what their bodies know, this activity allows their instincts to reveal previously undreamt-of knowledge about themselves. This has a liberating and transforming effect on their consciousness, and ours.

How this social process works is not yet well understood. What we do know is that when people are given an environment built by others, and built for quite different motives (profit, for instance, or prestige), such a transforming, healing process does not take place. People’s consciousness is not stimulated positively. Rather, they become passive and are likely to find themselves diminished and oppressed.

This massive opportunity for human growth is a necessary part of awakening. But in the modern world, such a process cannot now happen on its own accord. Things are too complicated. A social structure which allows it to happen must first be in place. This is precisely the meaning of system-A, as we have described it. It is a kind of building process which allows people’s consciousness to come into being. It helps self-awareness to arise, and freedom to exist. It also helps people’s awareness of their connection to the Earth. That is a fundamental human need, experienced by everyone. But when houses, offices, and apartments are abstract and impersonal, there is no way that people can connect themselves, and establish that necessary bridge to Earth. – Christopher Alexander, The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth, page 481-482

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Shared Values

In principle, values are those things most important to us, the things we value.
For most people, they are ideals, beliefs, rules to live by. We are generally drawn
to people who share our values. At the core of every defined group of people are
shared values.

Practical Tip: Discuss values as a group and make a written, short, agreed-to list
of the values you have in common. Simply having a discussion about values helps
us understand each other. Deciding which values we share defines our group and helps
people decide if they want to join the group and it also helps people decide to
leave. A written list of shared values also serves as a code of ethics, a place
to turn for guidance when the decision making gets tough.

Shared values are the steadfast ground on which we stand when things are in turmoil. Craig Freshley

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Religion of Progress

A really great essay by John Michael Greer!

My comment on the essay:
Progress these days mean the same as Modernism. Modernism was a break with all traditional values, especially within the field of architecture. Modern architecture is the anti-architecture of all traditional architecture, and had to be so because they looked at the past as the opposite of progress: http://solidarityhall.org/modernism-as-a-cultural-discontinuity-an-architectural-comment-2/ 
I found this essay very illuminating!
Read the original essay here, or on Resilience here.

The essay:

To suggest that faith in progress has become the most widely accepted civil religion of the modern industrial world, as I’ve done in these essays, is to say something at once subtler and more specific than a first glance might suggest. It’s important to keep in mind, as I pointed out in last week’s post, that “religion” isn’t a specific thing with a specific definition; rather, it’s a label for a category constructed by human minds—an abstraction, in other words, meant to help sort out the blooming, buzzing confusion of the cosmos into patterns that make some kind of sense to us.

To say that Americanism, Communism, and faith in progress are religions, after all, is simply a way of focusing attention on similarities that these three things share with the other things we put in the same category. It doesn’t deny that there are also differences, just as there are differences between one theist religion and another, or one civil religion and another. Yet the similarities are worth discussing: like theist religions, for example, the civil religions I’ve named each embody a set of emotionally appealing narratives that claim to reveal enduring meaning in the chaos of everyday existence, assign believers a privileged status vis-a-vis the rest of humanity, and teach the faithful to see themselves as participants in the grand process by which transcendent values become manifest in the world.

Just as devout Christians are taught to see themselves as members of the mystical Body of Christ and participants in their faith’s core narrative of fall and redemption, the civil religion of Americanism teaches its faithful believers to see their citizenship as a quasi-mystical participation in a richly mythologized national history that portrays America as the incarnation of liberty in a benighted world. It’s of a piece with the religious nature of Americanism that liberty here doesn’t refer in practice to any particular constellation of human rights; instead, it’s a cluster of vague but luminous images that, to the believer, are charged with immense emotional power. When people say they believe in America, they don’t usually mean they’ve intellectually accepted a set of propositions about the United States; they mean that they have embraced the sacred symbols and narratives of the national faith.

The case of Communism is at least as susceptible to such an analysis, and in some ways even more revealing. Most of the ideas that became central to the civil religion of Communism were the work of Friedrich Engels, Marx’s friend and patron, who took over the task of completing the second and third volumes of Das Kapital on Marx’s death. It’s from Engels that we get the grand historical myth of the Communist movement, and it’s been pointed out many times already that every part of that myth has a precise equivalent in the Lutheran faith in which Engels was raised. Primitive communism is Eden; the invention of private property is the Fall; the stages of society thereafter are the different dispensations of sacred history; Marx is Jesus, the First International his apostles and disciples, the international Communist movement the Church, proletarian revolution the Second Coming, socialism the Millennium, and communism the New Jerusalem which descends from heaven in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelations.

The devout Communist, in turn, participates in that sweeping vision of past, present and future in exactly the same way that the devout Christian participates in the sacred history of Christianity. To be a Communist of the old school is not simply to accept a certain set of economic theories or predictions about the future development of industrial society; it’s to enlist on the winning side in the struggle that will bring about the fulfillment of human history, and to belong to a secular church with its own saints, martyrs, holy days, and passionate theological disputes. It was thus well placed to appeal to European working classes which, during the heyday of Communism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, were rarely more than a generation removed from the richly structured religious life of rural Europe. In precisely the same way, Americanism appealed to people raised within the framework of traditional American Christianity, with its focus on personal commitment and renewal and its tendency to focus on the purportedly timeless rather than on a particular sequence of sacred history.

The properties of a True Collaborative Society

H Luce Says:
April 2nd, 2013 at 11:25 pm
Any enterprise which advertises itself as a “collaborative society” and yet is run as an entrepreneurial business with a small or one-man leadership group, accountable to no one within that “society”, should not be recognized as a “collaborative society” but rather as an attempt by an entrepreneur to amass enough intellectual and monetary capital and get a product with a market in place and the physical plant to produce it at the expense of his work force, in order to go into a “for-profit” business organization.

A true collaborative society should have the following properties:
1. The members of the society are partners and co-owners, each with an equal share in the business;
2. Each member owns the right to an equal share of the profits generated, and the right to decide whether to take his or her full share, to put part of the share back into the business for the acquisition of capital goods, and has the right to inspect the financial records of the society at any time;
3. The decision-making takes place by a consensus process, which necessarily limits the size of the society.

Of course, questions will arise, and more rules will have to be put down to deal with those questions, but these seem to be a minimum set.

Here’s the current version of the Rochdale Principles:

“Values

Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

Principles

The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership

Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2. Democratic Member Control

Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.

3. Member Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

4. Autonomy and Independence

Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.

5. Education, Training and Information

Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6. Co-operation among Co-operatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7. Concern for Community

Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.” (from ica.coop/en/what-co-op/co-operative-identity-values-principles)

Of course, democratic control can be fairly easily subverted by means of voting blocs to convert the cooperative into a regular for-profit business which is why a consensus process, along with the fractionation of ownership of the capital, including intellectual property (perhaps under a variant of the Creative Commons licensing scheme) and capital improvements, should be used in order to thwart attempts at this.

Here’s an interesting look at the development and history of the Rochdale project: usaskstudies.coop/pdf-files/Rochdale.pdf

Monday, April 15, 2013

Recovery of Earth and Humanity

Using the comprehensive paradigm of conceptual tools and stepwise actions, and taking the great care that has been described, it is within our power to recover the deeper aspects of human nature and work our way toward a compassionate and ethical civilization. It is possible to recover ourselves, our world, and a future for our children and their children -- one that is rooted in profound and lasting values.

Knowing that our devastated civilization cannot be repaired in a hurry, we may assume it can be rebuilt and reaffirmed only if we go very deep into the foundations of this new potential civilization. That requires, as underpinning, a renewed physical world, together with a new way of building and looking after land.

We can begin now. We can lay out a new way of thinking which is, perhaps, deep enough to give us the stepping stones we need to replace the disastrous errors we made during the last century.

If we have sufficient courage, we can make a difference in our lifetimes. In a couple of hundred years we may have recovered our selves, our wits, our common sense, together with a newly inspired framework, giving us back real architecture as the locus of our new life and recovery. – Christopher Alexander, The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth, page 475

At Odds With the Very Nature of Any Good Building

The simplified, stark, attention-seeking forms of many modern buildings -- especially those that are considered notable -- are at odds with the very nature of any good building in which there are necessarily thousand-fold layers of subtle adaptations. - Christopher Alexander
Foto: Rafał Konieczny

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Brilliant Essay by David Graeber

A brilliant essay by David Graeber, with a lot of original thoughts.

- A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse

Some excerpts:
It would explain a lot. In most of the world, the last thirty years has come to be known as the age of neoliberalism—one dominated by a revival of the long-since-abandoned nineteenth-century creed that held that free markets and human freedom in general were ultimately the same thing. Neoliberalism has always been wracked by a central paradox. It declares that economic imperatives are to take priority over all others. Politics itself is just a matter of creating the conditions for growing the economy by allowing the magic of the marketplace to do its work. All other hopes and dreams—of equality, of security—are to be sacrificed for the primary goal of economic productivity. But global economic performance over the last thirty years has been decidedly mediocre. With one or two spectacular exceptions (notably China, which significantly ignored most neoliberal prescriptions), growth rates have been far below what they were in the days of the old-fashioned, state-directed, welfare-state-oriented capitalism of the fifties, sixties, and even seventies. By its own standards, then, the project was already a colossal failure even before the 2008 collapse.

If, on the other hand, we stop taking world leaders at their word and instead think of neoliberalism as a political project, it suddenly looks spectacularly effective. The politicians, CEOs, trade bureaucrats, and so forth who regularly meet at summits like Davos or the G20 may have done a miserable job in creating a world capitalist economy that meets the needs of a majority of the world’s inhabitants (let alone produces hope, happiness, security, or meaning), but they have succeeded magnificently in convincing the world that capitalism—and not just capitalism, but exactly the financialized, semifeudal capitalism we happen to have right now—is the only viable economic system. If you think about it, this is a remarkable accomplishment. - David Graeber
It does often seem that, whenever there is a choice between one option that makes capitalism seem the only possible economic system, and another that would actually make capitalism a more viable economic system, neoliberalism means always choosing the former. The combined result is a relentless campaign against the human imagination. Or, to be more precise: imagination, desire, individual creativity, all those things that were to be liberated in the last great world revolution, were to be contained strictly in the domain of consumerism, or perhaps in the virtual realities of the Internet. In all other realms they were to be strictly banished. We are talking about the murdering of dreams, the imposition of an apparatus of hopelessness, designed to squelch any sense of an alternative future. Yet as a result of putting virtually all their efforts in one political basket, we are left in the bizarre situation of watching the capitalist system crumbling before our very eyes, at just the moment everyone had finally concluded no other system would be possible. David Graeber

Energy Advice: Think Long Term and at the Local Level!

Interview of Nikos Salingaros by Mumtaz Soogund on Defimedia, Mauritius, 8 March 2013.

Dr. Salingaros recently joined the CT (Centrale Thermique) Power debate in Mauritius, and in this light graciously agreed to share his views on the matter with the readers of News on Sunday.



MS: A coal-powered plant proves to be a massive investment in the long run, and people are talking more and more about renewable sources of energy. Are they viable and would they be equally efficient in Mauritius?

NS: Of course, it is very easy to build a coal-powered plant today, because the techniques have already been developed for several years now, but we must think about the long term. Where does the coal come from? Does the equation include the cost of transporting the basic materials? Is the source of coal and its low price guaranteed for decades? No. Because once the decision is made, the nation is linked to this energy source and a particular distribution technology, and it would be too expensive to change afterwards; and I here I am speaking about the generations ahead. Renewable energy is not as developed now, but at least it does not bind the country to a solution that is antiquated and probably unstable. The great advantage of alternative energy sources is their scale: the technology allows a distribution of several “central power stations”, small enough so that one does not even call such a power plant “central”. A country may today make the decision to skip over old technologies such as coal, to arrive directly at the methods of the future for extracting renewable energy.

MS: Should the energy sector be addressed separately from the term sustainable development?

NS: Not at all! Energy is closely linked with sustainable development (or not). Without energy, there is no possibility for development, but if you pay too much for energy, we’re stuck anyway and development suffers, becoming a victim of constraints and instabilities. The country must have a very clear idea of sustainable development, tied to a plan for producing and consuming energy. The two go together. And even if you use “clean” energy for the purposes of unsustainable development, you will win nothing.

MS: The government highlighted that our energy demands are increasing and thus warrant a new power plant. However, very little is being heard about reducing our energy consumption. What design alternatives/ideologies can we adopt in order to achieve a lower energy consumption?

NS: The energy waste worldwide is appalling. A population can be happy with much less energy than we think we need today. Look into the past. Those days with very little energy! Add our medical and scientific advances to the traditional model of society, for a healthy life. The result does not even approach the image of crazy consumption encouraged by the media! The media puts across the wrong impression: that we are compelled to consume a huge amount of energy. Why? To play childish games of copying the rich and energy independent countries? A wise government will promote a practical and educational program to reduce energy consumption as a central factor in its program of sustainability and independence. The right word here is to seek “independence” from global industries that control energy, zeroing in on possible local solutions.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Ingen bit for stor

Når det kommer til sjokoladekake er ingen bit for stor

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Without the 15 Transformations of Wholeness a New Permanent Culture Can Not Grow

Read the article on PCN on where this comment was made here.

I want to give you two quotes from Alexander's latest book, The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth. As these quotas shows, the 15 properties are the basic transformations shaping the Earth. Ever since the Big Bang and throughout human history these properties have transformed every element of the universe into living structure, until industrial revolution and most essentially the rise of Modernism in the last century.

There might be other planets in the universe where this happened too, but probably it happened for the first time at Earth in the last century, this during a time span of soon 14 billion years that have now passed since the beginning of the universe.

As Alexander has shown in the "Nature of Order"-series, wholeness can only be achieved through these 15 transformations. Any system not achieving wholeness is doomed to collapse. This is why they are essential to a new permanent culture, and MUST again be brought to life: http://permaculturenews.org/2012/08/10/permaculture-nature-civilization/
Morphogenesis then occurs by the repeated application of the fifteen transformations on the centers in a configuration. We call them transformations from now on, not properties, because each one is expressed as an instruction -- an action of transformation -- which can be applied to a configuration, then giving a concrete geometric result, thus transforming the overall wholeness. Each transformation can be applied to any centers in a given configuration, and thus transforming the configuration in a huge number of different ways. The fundamental and important generic idea at the core of what follows is that taking these actions continuously extends the wholeness of a structure. - Christopher Alexander, The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth, page 430-431
Here are the fifteen properties, now expressed as fifteen transformations that generate life. These provide the active juice with which a living system provides the range of possibilities with which we may work. EVERY LIVING SYSTEM USES THESE TRANSFORMATIONS. They are the active elements which go to work. - Christopher Alexander, The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth, page 431
If anarchy, with that I mean self-organization, shall work, this system must generate wholeness, if not it will collapse, just like any other mechanical system. The fifteen transformations on the other hand, unfolds themselves through morphogenesis, like any living system. Without them a new permanent culture cannot grow!

Min kommentar hos forskning.no vedrørende for lite dagslys i nye skolebygg

Les artikkelen her.

I the Eishin Campus utenfor Tokyo, utført av arkitekten Christopher Alexander, er alle klasserommene utført som enkeltbygg, bundet sammen av utvendige arkader. Slik får man dagslys inn i klasserommet fra begge sider. En utmerket bildeserie fra Eishin Campus finnes her.

En annen bekymring er de informasjonsfattige overflatene, etter modell av den østeriske arkitekten Adolf Loos, med sitt berømte utsagn om at ornamentering er en "kriminell handling" (sannsynligvis noe av årsaken til den fobien styresmaktene har mot grafitti). Det er en stor inkonsekvens at skolene, som skal fore elevene med informasjon, framstår som totalt informasjonsfattige i sitt ytre, med de konsekvenser dette har for den mentale helse og læringsevne.

Neste artikkel i the Metropolis Essays skal forresten dreie seg om nettopp Adolf Loos.

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Comment on PCN Regarding an Interview with Anarchist Stuart Christie

Read the article here.

I want to thanks for this article, as I've never really thought about that anarchy can be achieved using the technologies and discoveries of Alexander, as true anarchy not is chaos but self organization.

As I said in my other comment, the best way to achieve this, as I see it, is by using Alexander's pattern technology. But what we must not forget is that this is not alone enough to achieve a re-unification with nature. Personally I have by now read the first and the last book of Alexander's The Nature of Order, and these books are about form languages. As I interpret Alexander every true form language has its origins in The Fifteen Fundamental Properties of Wholeness.

These properties are like an alphabet that can form a myriad of different form languages, as they did throughout human history. Alexander has also done much work to document that these properties work through evolution and through every geological formation of the Earth, all the time from Big Bang.

Strangely, the last century humanity left The Fifteen Fundamental Properties of Wholeness, probably this has never happened before in the history of the universe. This is why resilience cannot be achieved under the influence of modernism, in any shape.

Image 35 in this slideshow shows clearly that a permanent culture can only be achieved when a true pattern language links to a true form language.

Only the unity between these two can again make our world whole, because all biological systems are linked the same way.

A third aspect that should be mentioned is the discovery of the Handicap Principle by Amoz Zahavi. This is in my view a metapattern, it looms above all other patterns like Mount Everest looms above all other mountains. This force can be used for good or evil, and after I learned about the Handicap Principle I can see how the good forces it can release is found in several Alexandrine patterns. But with the knowledge of this principle I've no doubt we can uncover new and very useful patterns growing the good forces of the Handicap Principle.

The Norwegian human behavioral ecologist Terje Bongard has written a whole book about how we can utilize the Handicap Principle in organizing society, unfortunately it's not translated into English yet. I've written an article about these possibilities in Norwegian language.

So my "recipe" is linking the Handicap Principle with the Pattern Language, which is linked with the Form Language, as a whole.

Please note that all three have their origins in science. This way we can make a very solid foundation for a new Permanent Culture, and we might call it anarchy.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

David Bollier: What is the Commons?

Ny argentinsk maur glupsk på trematerialer

Et stort antall argentinamaur er funnet i laster med planter fra Italia. Arten er svartelistet som en alvorlig trussel mot norsk natur. Den kommer inn i huset ditt, og spiser på det også.
- Maur fra Argentina truer Norge

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fascinating Series in Metropolis Magazine by Robert Lamb Hart: A New Humanism

In addition to a very interesting read, these new series about humanism in Metropolis are illustrated with beautiful sketches.
Contemporary knowledge of the biological foundations of “experience” is potentially as revolutionary in its own way as the re-discoveryof the arts and natural philosophy of Greece and Rome by the humanists of the European Renaissance. We now have effective ways to understand the exceptional skill of the artists and designers who, over millennia, have been creating the world’s great places. We can’t know what was in their minds, of course, but we can know why we respond to their work as we do.  Some very smart people are at work in this field, learning and writing about nature and human nature, and I have laid out a sketch that applies my understanding of their findings and ideas in an organized perspective—a way of thinking about design that I call “a new humanism.” - Robert Lamb Hart
Read the whole series from Metropolis Magazine:

A New Humanism

Paa isa paa Mjøsa i april

Klikk på bildet for forstørrelse

Rocky Resources

Very useful article for the Norwegian topography, from PRI!

Land, Terraces — by Jonathan Davis April 4, 2013


Every geographic area has a resource waiting to be used. I want to talk about areas that have stone easily accessible. Rocks can seem to be a huge obstacle to design and productivity, but there are some valuable advantages that come with having usable stone. Some advantages to using stone in a design can be: freeing the soil of obstacles to plant growth, being able to use that removed stone for retaining walls or other structures, using land far beyond what common ideology says it is worth, using otherwise unused material and simple beauty. Rocky landscapes can be very advantageous to a permaculture designer.

In many soils there are non-soil components, many times being large stones. Anything over 2mm in diameter is not soil. The stones that are in the soil can inhibit, at least to some degree, the growth of plant life and the ease of planting. Good examples of removing the stones from the soil for use can be seen in many fields in Britain. There is a large amount of work that is involved in removing these stones but in many cases removing at least some of them is worth the effort. Increased usability is the goal.

Removing stones from soil is just one side of the coin. The other side is the usefulness of those stones for building structures. I’m talking about retaining walls in particular. With a retaining wall, land can be leveled off, terraced, making it usable in the sense that it is easier to manage, so steep slopes do not have to be navigated. Terraced ground slows rain water, which helps it sink into the ground and combats erosion. A lot of areas are considered to be unusable because of slope, but terraced land becomes usable. Aeration can be increased by having a stone wall, as it lets air penetrate from the side, and not just from above. A stone wall also allows excess water to drain out. Stone walls also create unique microclimates, by absorbing heat from the sun and re-radiating it out to plants at night — allowing plants to grow that are not as cold hardy. A microclimate can also be created by using the walled terrace to block cold wind. It is the removal and use of the stone as a whole project that may make it worth doing, otherwise the juice may not be worth the squeeze.

According to the common ideology of food production, rocky, hilly land has little or no value. Permaculture finds the value others cannot see. For example, if a rocky, hilly piece of property is near a densely populated area and there is no farmland nearby, then people normally bring their food in, at great cost of energy, from further away. But, land that would normally be overlooked can give a permaculture farmer an advantage — as it is cheaper to buy, and can provide such locations with a closer source of produce. Common thought among ecologists is that most farmland has already been cultivated, and much of that has been eroded. With permaculture, the use of different kinds of land is possible, as soil-building can make almost any land entirely usable.

How to build a stone wall is important knowledge to have. Taking stones out of the soil on sloped land can be advantageous, because the stone can basically be rolled downhill. The easiest rock wall to build, and probably longest lasting, would be a dry stone wall. With a dry stone wall, the stones need to be large enough so the wall has the thickness to support itself and any weight on top of it. The wall should also be able to hold back the expanding and contracting soil behind it and even have a slight angle leaning in to the soil so that it does not get pushed over. Dry fit walls can expand and contract as needed, due to changing temperature and water content in the soil, and so plants can grow freely, without the wall cracking, as a typical masonry wall would. Backfilling a wall can be a task, but it does not have to be soil — other good fill can be added when available. Hugelkultur can be used in the design by adding wood to the terrace to add long lasting nutrients, organic matter, water-holding capacity and heat.

There is something inherently beautiful about a terrace; something that says "useful, bold and timeless". A retaining wall with a terrace on top speaks of human ingenuity, diligence and permanence. There is nothing boring or mundane about a feature like a terrace in the landscape.

Permaculture design has many uses for rocky ground, and stone walls are one of those uses with many advantages such as: helping plant growth, usability of removed stone, revealing the true value of land, having a place for otherwise unused material like logs and to just enjoy simple beauty. There are many opportunities with rocky resources waiting to be acted upon. There can be hard work involved in developing a rocky landscape but worth it in the long run.

Let us know your stony stories via comments below!

Påskekors



Plutselig, i løpet av påsken, fanget dette veggveveriet min oppmerksomhet, og jeg begynte å tenke på hvor enkelt det var, samtidig som det for meg synes å inneholde flere av Alexanders fundamentale verdier for helhet. Jeg vil nevne noen:
“In a surprisingly large number of cases, living structures contain some form of interlock: situations where centers are “hooked” into their surroundings. This has the effect of making it difficult to disentangle the center from its surroundings. It becomes more deeply unified with the world and with other centers near it.” - Christopher Alexander, p. 195, Book One, The Nature of Order

Thick boundary zones are old fashioned! Or so it would seem based on their utter scarcity in contemporary architecture where thin skins abound. So why would Christopher Alexander name ‘Boundaries’ as one of the 15 Fundamental Properties key to spatial coherence? Well, it seems that the natural world couldn’t really exist without them. Could the sun exist in the near vacuum of space without the massive boundary zone we call the corona? Could a cell nucleus exist without a substantial cell wall to both protect it from the outer environment and connect it to its source of life?

“Things which have real life always have a certain ease, a morphological roughness. This is not an accidental property” - Christopher Alexander, Book One, The Nature of Order, p. 210

“It is certainly noticeable that all great buildings do have various small irregularities in them, even though they often conform to approximate overall symmetries and configurations. By contrast, buildings which are perfectly regular seem dead.” - Christopher Alexander, Book One, The Nature of Order, p. 214

“The seemingly rough arrangement is more precise because it comes from a much more careful guarding of the essential centers of the design.” - Christopher Alexander, Book One, The Nature of Order, p. 211

Not-separateness is the degree of connectedness an element has with all that is around it. A thing which has this quality feels completely at peace, because it is so deeply interconnected with its world. There is no abruptness, no sharpness, but often an incomplete edge which softens the hard boundary. The element is drawn into its setting, and the element draws its setting into itself.

Not-separateness is a profound connection occurring at many scales between a center and the other centers which surround it, so that they melt into one another and become inseparable.

Living things tend to have a special simplicity, an economy developed over time in which all things unnecessary, or not supporting the whole, are removed. This does not preclude ornament, as even in nature ornament has its very necessary place. What simplicity does is cut away the meaningless attachments to an element, the things which often distract and confuse its true nature. When this is done, an object is in a state of inner calm.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Civil Religion

The word “religion” is a label for a category. That may seem like an excessively obvious statement, but it has implications that get missed surprisingly often. Categories are not, by and large, things that exist out there in the world. They’re abstractions—linguistically, culturally, and contextually specific abstractions—that human minds use to sort out the disorder and diversity of experience into some kind of meaningful order. To define a category is simply to draw a mental boundary around certain things, as a way of stressing their similarities to one another and their differences from other things. To make the same point in a slightly different way, categories are tools, and a tool, as a tool, can’t be true or false; it can only be more or less useful for a given job, and slight variations in a given tool can be useful to help it do that job more effectively.

A lack of attention to this detail has caused any number of squabbles, ranging from the absurd to the profound. Thus, for example, when the International Astronomical Union announced a few years back that Pluto had been reclassified from a planet to a dwarf planet, some of the protests that were splashed across the internet made it sound as though astronomers had aimed a death ray at the solar system’s former ninth planet and blasted it out of the heavens. Now of course they did nothing of the kind; they were simply following a precedent set back in the 1850s, when the asteroid Ceres, originally classified as a planet on its discovery in 1801, was stripped of that title once other objects like it were spotted.

Pluto, as it turned out, was simply the first object in the Kuiper Belt to be sighted and named, just as Ceres was the first object in the asteroid belt to be sighted and named. The later discoveries of Eris, Haumea, Sedna, and other Pluto-like objects out in the snowball-rich suburbs of the solar system convinced the IAU that assigning Pluto to a different category made more sense than keeping it in its former place on the roster of planets. The change in category didn’t affect Pluto at all; it simply provided a slightly more useful way of sorting out the diverse family of objects circling the Sun.

A similar shift, though in the other direction, took place in the sociology of religions in 1967, with the publication of Robert Bellah’s paper “Civil Religion in America.” Before that time, most definitions of religion had presupposed that something could be assigned to that category only if it involved belief in at least one deity. Challenging this notion, Bellah pointed out the existence of a class of widely accepted belief systems that had all the hallmarks of religion except such a belief. Borrowing a turn of phrase from Rousseau, he called these “civil religions,” and the example central to his paper was the system of beliefs that had grown up around the ideas and institutions of American political life.

The civil religion of Americanism, Bellah showed, could be compared point for point with the popular theistic religions in American life, and the comparison made sense of features no previous analysis quite managed to interpret convincingly. Americanism had its own sacred scriptures, such as the Declaration of Independence; its own saints and martyrs, such as Abraham Lincoln; its own formal rites—the Pledge of Allegiance, for example, fills exactly the same role in Americanism that the Lord’s Prayer does in most forms of Christianity popular in the United States—and so on straight down the list of religious institutions. Furthermore, and most crucially, the core beliefs of Americanism were seen by most Americans as self-evidently good and true, and as standards by which other claims of goodness and truth could and should be measured: in a word, as sacred.

While Americanism was the focus of Bellah’s paper, it was and is far from the only example of the species he anatomized. When the paper in question first saw print, for example, a classic example of the type was in full flower on the other side of the Cold War’s heavily guarded frontiers. During the century and a half or so from the publication of The Communist Manifesto to the implosion of the Soviet Union, Communism was one of the modern world’s most successful civil religions, an aggressive missionary faith preaching an apocalyptic creed of secular salvation. It shared a galaxy of standard features with other contemporary Western religions, from sacred scriptures and intricate doctrinal debates on down to steet-corner evangelists spreading the gospel among the downtrodden.

Even its vaunted atheism, the one obvious barrier setting it apart from its more conventionally religious rivals, was simply an extension of a principle central to the Abrahamic religions, though by no means common outside that harsh desert-centered tradition. The unyielding words of the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” was as central to Communism as to Judaism, Christianity, or Islam; the sole difference in practice was that, since Communist civil religion directed its reverence toward a hypothetical set of abstract historical processes rather than a personal deity, its version of the commandment required the faithful to have no gods at all. John Michael Greer
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...