“Stupidity is an attempt to iron out all differences, and not to use or value them creatively.”
Bill Mollison

Permaculture: A Designers' Manual

Google & Organic Food


A few months ago we had an opportunity to join a group that organized purchases and delivery of organic food products. These kind of groups are currently typical in Israel where organic foods are still drastically more expensive then their counter-non-organic products. These groups make organic products more affordable by dealing directly with the farmers and establishing a self-operated distribution center. This means that all members shoulder part of the responsibility of keeping the mechanism operating.

This  included a minor shift in consumption habits. The distribution center is open once or twice a week for a few hours and you have to place your order a few days in advance.  This is why we didn’t join. We did not want to trade our buy-as-needed consumer habits for a planned purchase. We discussed this for some time and realized that we prefer the freedom to choose when and what we buy over the benefits of cheaper organic products. The result is that we conume organic grains but non-organical fruits and vegetables.

Rationality & Economy

WARNING: The following paragraphs describe a system of FAITH and not a scientific truth. If you feel like arguing then please either make an effort to relax your mind (tip: think of me a silly person and humor yourself by reading on) or stop reading and go   somewhere else.

I believe rational thinking is just one of many tools at my disposal in life. For many years I was addicted to it and lived by it alone. Over recent years I have become acquainted with other tools which I believe give me a better overall experience in life. These tools are often referred to by names such as intuition, spirituality, creativity, etc.

(COMMENT: To me these are very personal words – their meaning to me is based on an accumulation of personal experience. The only way I know for me to share them with you would be for us to spend time together – to accumulate shared experience. Until we do I ask, as you read on, that you use them with care, attention and an open mind, there is a very good chance that your interpretation differs greatly from mine.)

Economy is one example of a system of rational thought. The past decade, and recent months have demonstrated that the system is faulty. It has to some degree collapsed and caused widespread ripple effects. Many of its greatest followers are now talking about an expected radical change in it’s core concepts and mechanisms.

I agree change is coming but I disagree with most of the economic-worshiping prophets (some of whom I respect as business thought leaders) – because their prophecies are mostly limited to the trappings of rational thought. Everything needs to be picked at until it is completely broken down into little understandable pieces which give a sense of (economic) predictability control (which seems to narrow down to making more money!).

Now we come to a major faith junction:  control (and any of its artifact predictions) is a misapprehension. Occasionally rationality works – this is a chance occurrence. Most of the time it is wrong. The fact that is it wrong is well hidden by it’s inherit mandate to keep digging … until a chance occurrence occurs – and rationality is hailed. Most of the time rationality is just plain wrong.

Intuition & Ecology

Every morning I look out on another system altogether – an ecological system. It is tempting to call this system “nature” – but that is another rational misapprehension. Rationality (and for that matter misapprehension) are also natural. This system has other qualities – intuition, creativity and spirituality, etc… are words that dance around it and shed some inspirational light on it.

From where I am sitting it looks like ecology is a system of doing (as in actual action!) what’s best, while economy is a system of doing what is thought to be best. To me, the ecological odds seem much better then the economic odds.

I tend to think of ecological systems as systems in which:

  1. Acting entities are striving for constant improvement – for quality.
  2. Action is an expression of these good (as in high quality) intentions.
  3. Consequences ripple out extensively and reach deep into the system.
  4. Ripples inform acting entities.


Google is an aggregation of many systems. When it was very young it was dominated by ecological patterns – it is indeed a product of creativity. As it grew it incorporated (!) additional systems – many of them rational and economical. Today it is dominated by the latter. It now wears ecology as a fashionable badge in servitude of it’s economical systems, and it’s best chance of finding an innovation is looking elsewhere.

Rationally & Economically – every time I consume (utilize) a Google service – I am calling on a huge collection of resources (if anyone actually put together a list – it would be staggering). Some have already been allocated & invested regardless of my request, others are allocated and spent exclusively for me. Google expends these resources on my behalf and pays for them. Since I do not directly pay Google anything, and since Google is a dominated by economic forces, it is driven to balance this equation in other ways.

Ecologically I am striving for quality, so I care how Google does this. Economically & ecologically I don’t care for the way it does. There are no free lunches.

Consuming Google

In the case of organic vegetables I made a choice – spontaneity over organics. In the case of Google I made another choice – ecology over economy. My choices in regard to Google make economical sense to me and feel ecological good.

I consume as little of Google as possible. Most of my Google consumption is made up of searching the web. I have a google user account which I use rarely use for basic SEO related issues (I once paid Google with an open heart – I don’t expect that will ever happen again). I don’t use Gmail and I stay logged out of Google 99.9999% of the time – so that they cannot associate my activities with my registered profile.

There is nothing wrong with Google – this is the way things are. Google is a case in point. Ecology has an upper hand on economy – quality endures and accommodates rational misapprehension. Economy as we know it (and systems subscribed to it) will one day (maybe soon?) be gone, ecology is here to stay. Ecology is about what is good, not about what looks good.

I wonder: did you choose how you use Google or did someone choose for you?

This entry was posted in AltEco, Business, Coming Through, Expanding, Featured, inside, outside. You are welcome to read 6 comments and to add yours


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