“There are many ways of understanding simple things, but generally the opposite is true for difficult ideas.”
Miyamoto Musashi translated by Stephen F. Kaufman

The Martial Artist’s Book of Five Rings

EdgeRyders and Living on the Edge 3

n

I am back (already a week) from a 10 day journey to Matera in Italy where partook in the LOTE3 EdgeRyders gathering. I have been hesitant about putting my thoughts into writing but decided to do so for my own personal journal. What, if anything, this may contribute to EdgeRyders is not on my mind as I write these words.

Travel

It was a demanding and inefficient journey which had many parts which did not come together nicely. Europeans seem to be used to traveling and traveling is fairly inviting if you live in Europe – a 2 hour flight can land you in a new world. This is new to me. I haven’t traveled much in my life and most of that was from Israel so flights were longer and more of a grandiose event.

Yet, I am quite happy with my “performance”. Half a year ago I would come back from a day in the city with a headache. No headaches this time … and this was much more demanding than a day in the city. It did take me a week to arrive completely (to be able to get on and stay present on the mat for an entire practice sequence).

We flew to and from Rome and made the journey from and to Rome by bus (6.5 hours). The journey to Matera was in the night so there was nothing to see. The journey from Matera was in the morning so I could see the part of Italy that we drove through … and there was still nothing to see. Roads, concrete and plowed fields … a look that seems to be taking over the world … making it all look the same … left with me with a sense of emptiness and disinterest.

Diversity

I was amazed by the diversity of people in this gathering (I was also pretty amazed that I was part of it). The group is filled with gifted people. The dominant vibe of the event was not one that appealed to me but that just made the gifts even more precious. In every session I was present in, no matter how I felt about it, there was a constant presence of precious moments where light would come to the surface and fill the space …  someone would say or do something that was deeply refreshing.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in the presence of a more diverse and rich group of people. That is the crown jewel of this event for me. It is a precious and demanding social achievement.

Intellect and Spirit

There is a dominant voice in the community that I would describe as intellectual. I experience it as limiting and aggressive. It seems to radiate strongest from the group at the core of the community. It had a defensive flavour.

However I also sensed that there were other voices … voices from the heart (and other parts of the body). I was not present at the previous two LOTE events … but I wondered if this wasn’t a growing voice.

I had this image in my mind of a maturing energy. An energy that started as an intellectual pursuit but has (inadvertently?) drawn to it a spiritual pursuit. And these two voices have not yet found a harmonious existence.

I believe that intellect needs direction from the heart otherwise it is likely to get lost (and still seem very smart).

“The intellect’s evolutionary purpose has never been to discover an ultimate meaning of the universe. That is a relatively recent fad. It’s historical purpose has been to help a society find food,detect danger, and defeat enemies. It can do this well or poorly, depending on the concepts it invents for this purpose … Knowledge has grown away from this historic purpose and become an end in itself, just as society has grown away from it’s original purpose of preserving physical human beings … and this growing away … towards greater Quality is a moral growth. But those original purposes are still there. And when things get lost … it is useful to remember that point of departure.”

Robert Pirsig

Community

When practicing a long sequence of yoga postures breathing can be a challenge. My teacher taught me to observe the breath before continuing from one pracice to the next … he spoke of “waiting for the breath to cease to be demanding and to become at your service”.

I believe the purpose of community is to be in service of its individuals. The EdgeRyders experience was, for me, more demanding than nourishing … but that may be due to my own capacities and limitations.

Presence

There was a phase in my career where I had days and weeks of back to back meetings. I was impressed myself at the time for being involved and contributing to so many things.

Then I met Shahar and through him encountered a discipline of arriving. Dancers would take at least 30 minutes, sometimes an hour of lying on the floor allowing themselves time to arrive … allowing their emotions, thoughts and energy to join the physical body in the space. Having learned this skill I looked back at my “efficient” career and realized that I didn’t really attend most meeting. I was there in body but my mind was filled with contents from previous and upcoming meetings.

In LOTE3 I found myself in a reality I had heard of but never witnessed first hand. A room where people are sitting together but many participants are actively using laptops or smartphones.  In LOTE3 this activity had a worthy purpose – to document what was happening for the sake of others who were not present with us. But to me what this meant was that we weren’t really together in the first place. Granted there were some people who seemed to be really good at this … the skill to send out live twitter updates is impressive … one I do not have (nor one I care to develop). I can at best take a few notes … and that too I do knowing it will, even if shortly, detach me from the space.

Yoga

I came to LOTE3 to contribute to the Burning Edge theme by offering Yoga in the mornings. I shared this wish with the community and the community replied with keen interest … so I decided to go. Very few people showed up. From what I can tell, this was mostly due to the early hour (7:30am) coupled with the fact that many people stayed out to socialize (and drink) late into the night.

That made my investment in the community inefficient … almost wasteful.

To bring a further sense of irony to this story … there was the session itself about the burning edge. I was silent because I had too much to say and could not find something clear enough to contribute to the space. But my main train of thought was – for starters how about eating and sleeping better? … oh yeah … and trying out this Yoga thing in the mornings …

This example is a very subjective one … but I had the impression that the community is lacking in its ability to back intentions and words with actions … coherently, clearly and efficiently.

Design

The design session was shot down. It was a painful experience.

I am trying to harness the intensity of the experience into a constructive effort on the platform.

Conclusion

From where I am right now I do not intend to participate in another LOTE.

I am happy that EdgeRyders has lost its sheen of importance … that was quick … a sign of progress for me personally.

I am still curious about its potential and my ability to contribute to it.

It is very difficult to participate in such an event and maintain a bubble of visual privacy … it took lots of conscious effort for me to mostly stay out of the way of all the cameras that were active.

I did have an opportunity to make a few personal connections for which I am grateful.

I may have planted some seeds that may flower in the future … thought their maturity is out of my hands.

There were surprises which made the entire excursion a precious experience for me.

I’m happy that I went. I am happier to be back in my retreat.

On with life 🙂

Following are a few images that made their way into my camera (which I didn’t use too much). This is a live collection of media from the event and this is a nice gallery of photos.

 

 

 

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Crash 2016

n

Also from DemocracyNow:

via David Korten

Watching this brought even further into the light that the most substantial contribution that I can make to this world is a shift in my own consciousness. No amount of composting, rainwater harvesting, naturally grown foods … none of this can prevent the melting of the polar caps and the release of transformative amounts of methane into the atmosphere. None of this can stop financial predators.

Submitting my consciousness to this information opens up two paths before me. One is a path of succumbing – a depressing futility that renders actions useless – nurturing inaction. The other a path of activism – an urgent and agressive need to act … which to me feels as futile as inaction. Neither path appeals to me.

Which brings me back to consciousness. The only thing that feels substantial to me is creating life circumstances that support an evolution of my consciousness. It can seem (it has to others and to me) that the current expression of my life is that of retreat I am also starting to discern a movement into immersion. There is a retreat from the material and social world. There is also an immersion in an honest and raw experience of consciousness – a clear and unyielding reflection of my own perception – how I perceive the world rather than what the world is … and that feels like a substantial and inviting avenue of doing and exploration … and it seems that it has already spread beyond me, through my actions, into the lives of others … so who knows where this is all heading 🙂

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Thoughts on the Philippines

n

Disclaimer: as I, who have retreated to soft rolling hills in north-eastern Romania,  was watching this video I was having breakfast. I found two ducks eggs this morning (after many months with no duck eggs) and made an omlet from them, with dried mushrooms and cheese. I also made a lovely fall salad of spinach, salad leaves, cabbage, carrot and onion.

source: DemocracyNow

As I was listening, despite the warm omlet, cold shivers traveled through my spine and abdomen.

It IS too late. There is nothing we can do to change the short and mid-term effects of global warming. All we can do, especially those of us who are most vulnerable, is hold on tight and find shelter. Anything we do manage to do in the near future may have effects on future generations … though I have my doubts about our capacity as a human species to do much right now. Sandy didn’t put a dent in American consumerism. Chinese walking with breathing-masks didn’t put a dent in Chinese real-estate development. What can we expect the cry of the Philipphines to do when it too will quickly fade from public awareness? Consciousness will eventually shift, there is no doubt in my mind about that … just as there is no doubt that it will take many more typhoons and deaths for that to happen.

The brutal irony of this situation is that the most constructive thing in terms of overall ecological health is the devastating storm itself. That is the planet healing. That is our planetary ecological system responding to the current ecological stresses, moving energy, trying to restore a healthier balance in the ecosystem. Such storms and anomalies will continue until the planetary ecology is healed and there is nothing we can (nor should) do to stop it. We can however learn from it. We can, though it will continue to come with a devastating price, learn to embrace it, to appreciate it and to reshape our lives with it.

We have been building up to these stormy times for a long long time. It is a storm we have unleashed. It would be naive and foolish and wasteful to even think that we can stop it. This is us, as a species, learning that fire burns by reaching into the fire. Now comes the burning sensation. I have faith in human nature. We will learn not to reach into the fire. Our wounds will heal and we will have earned scars of wisdom … but that is a long and gradual journey that can only grow from the present, not change it.

George Carlin was right when he said “The planet is fine, the people are fucked”:

Closing thought (also inspired by the words of the Philippines representative): Skiing season is starting and is the only sport I enjoy watching (used to enjoy doing it too). I would love to see this Skiing season take a huge hit due to a boycott of the coming Russian winter olympics. The Russian olympics are a rare opportunity to come together around nature (arctic drilling), human rights (sheesh the list is long), gay rights, civil rights, balances of power in government, etc. It is way more important to me that we come together in values then we do in sports. Boycotting Russia is an opportunity for valuable unification – a simultaneous disintegration and re-integration. It is hard for me to understand or accept how there can be any athletes that are actually willing to participate in this event.

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Apple’s Embodied Energy

n

Apple is apparently just ahead of getting a new campus approved with a huge unified “ecological” round building surrounded by green park spaces.

I couldn’t watch the entire video because I got nauseated by the superficial sweet-covering and false-hubris of the Apple real-estate guy who sounds like a hyped up … well … real estate agent.

I am assuming that maybe (just maybe) the completed campus will behave ecologically. But what is not mentioned at all (and is often ignored when people talk about ecology is embodied energy – the energy that has gone and will go into making the new campus – this includes everything from the pollution costs by people travelling to meetings in the design process through to the manufacturing of all the raw materials and transporting them to the site.

One good example of embodied energy in the presentation is the trees. Trees have already been grown for Apple so that they me planted in mature form on the campus. Each such tree is already heavily loaded with embodied energy due to the fact that it is being grown inside containers and not inside the earth. Each such tree will have to be transported to the site – this includes heavy machinery for loading/offloading/transportation/planting. An alternative, given California’s super convenient climate, would have been to plant a seed on site not to mention a whole range of solutions between that simple act and the strategy Apple has chosen. Ecology and sustainability are long-form and do not sit well with immediate gratification.

And that’s just the trees. The presenter mentions that every single detail, in the spirit of Apple’s approach to design, has been considered and tailored – the way the rounded glass is manufactured and the sprinklers. I can’t begin to fathom the overall embodied energy that will go into creating this thing and reshaping its environment. I don’t think anyone can. But that (as embodied energy often does) pulls the rug out from under the feet of “ecological” claims. And probably in 20 years or so (way before any ecological returns can be made on the embodied energy invested in it) this building will go out of style and be replaced by another fashionable and of course “even more ecological” building.

Why is this happening? What makes this possible? Do you own an Apple product? How many? Have you considered the embodied energy of those devices? Have you considered the unquantifiable embodied energy represented by the quality of life of the slaves who made them?

This potential ecological tragedy is a huge joint venture that goes way beyond Steve Jobs, Apple, their architect and the city council of Cupertino.

source: Raymond Pirouz

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“The Internet” breaking free of USA control

n

two things:

  1. something good coming out of all that NSA mass spying?
  2. is there really a single “root server” which controls DNS?

” … Right now, the Internet is governed by a set of organizations with diverging responsibilities. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) helps assign domain names and top-level domains (the letters, like “.com” or “.org,” that come after the dot). Two other groups develop the standards for how information is shared and displayed through the Internet and on the web. And five regional Internet address registries assign IP addresses to Internet-connected devices.

… In the 1990s, the U.S. government found itself in control of the servers which controlled the domain name system behind the burgeoning web. For a number of reasons, it didn’t want to entirely retain this power, and it sought a way to delegate it. So the government—the Clinton administration, at the time—privatized control of the “root” DNS servers in a non-profit body called ICANN, which would administer domain names. This happened in 1998; since then, ICANN has operated the system. Since then, too, its power and independence has grown, and the U.S. reaffirmed its delegation of the DNS to ICANN while insisting it could step in in case of emergency.

Most recently, in September 2009, the U.S. and ICANN agreed on an “Affirmation of Commitments” The U.S. permitted the corporation more independence, but retained its power to take over the root server in an emergency.

… So when the Uruguay statement mentions “accelerating the globalization of ICANN,” it’s essentially reopening negotiations which ended four years ago. Moreover, the statement frames ICANN’s independence as an eventual, unavoidable end to history. Talk about “accelerating” something, and you’re suggesting its an incontrovertible process.

… The NSA leaks, says Froomkin, have “become a way for a lot of different agendas to meet.” …

… So this statement is tied to the NSA. But it’s not entirely provoked by the NSA. Rather, it lets countries (with their own spying services) and companies (who often want more freedom on the web) complain about the U.S.’s small corner of Internet oversight, and possibly find a reason to re-negotiate with the country.”

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Li Fi

n

… as in Wi-Fi just with light … how cool is that? At first read it seemed kind of ridiculous but I quickly warmed up to the idea:

“A one-watt LED light bulb would be enough to provide net connectivity to four computers, researchers say …

Visible light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum and 10,000 times bigger than the radio spectrum, affording potentially unlimited capacity.

But there are drawbacks: block the light and you block the signal …

the technology was still in its infancy and needed further developments in microchip design and optical communication controls before it could go mass market.”

source

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From hurt to sick

n

After leaving abruptly Andreea went into a series of very hectic and busy days … 3 consecutive births that aligned perfectly one after another but left her without sleep for 3 or 4 days.

I was slowly recollecting myself … and for the most part getting better

Then the day before yesterday, just past 13:00 Levente appears. He came to check on me Andreea had been trying to reach me from the previous evening and for some reason (!?) my phone wasn’t ringing.

A couple of night before that Andreea dreamt I had died … we don’t take our dreams literally and not too seriously … but we do pay attention to them and let them, if possible, assimilate …

When she couldnt’ reach me she panicked, for real … and so called Ildi and Levente and asked them to check on me

Andreea and I spoke, everything was fine …

I went outside to move my body a bit … some light physical work, and to my surprise came back with rough breathing

Later that evening we spoke and Andreea said she felt her anxiety leave … and given our connection … it may have passed on to me

Practiced at rough breathing … I waited it out slowly, patiently and it passed … and was replaced by a resurrection of my sensitive throat … with more intensity.

Since then I have drifted into illness … weak, soar throat, congested … though to my surprise not too distracted …

Taking natural stuff to support my body and riding it out.

time and again surprised by the intensity and depth of the connection Andreea and I have …

a demanding relationship

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NSA Snooping

n

Fascinating read on an evolution of cyber-warfare.

My mind latched on to one underlying question: how much of the world is actually “out there” and how much of it is a manifestation of our imagination?

via Michel Bauwens

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Of Jobs and Farming

n

A new name to me – Frithjof Bergmann speaks of lost jobs due to  automation and globalization (two widely cited causes) and farming (a much less cited cause):

via David Korten and The Partially Examined Life

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Something hurt

n

Andreea left abruptly from her last visit (last weekend) … she was called to a birth.

It wasn’t just how she left, but also how she was here.

When she got on the bus, we were both choked by tears … we were both hurting.

Something in me was hurt during that last visit.

The days since then I’ve felt deflated, low energy, low motivation … I’ve been living with a background headache.

Today my calves hurt, my gums are sensitive, my throat is sensitive … something in me was hurt.

Thankful for quiet days, good food … looking to recollect myself.

 

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Food Sharing & Living Without Money

n

An interesting video about a German who lives off the wastes of society, demonstrating that we live in a world of abundance and that scarcity is a misperception rooted in our relationship with the prevalent abundance. I have mixed feelings/thoughts about this (there are english captions):



As I was watching it I thought about strawbale and earthship construction methods. Both are prominent players in the eco-construction field and both rely on the wastes generated by modern day society. This dependence on waste questions, in my mind, their sustainability. If one day we stop massive monoculturing of straw-producing crops (or leave the straw to decompose and nourish the soil in which it grew) and stop moving around on tires and, for example, start moving around on magnets (or bicycles, or heck stop moving altogether) then both these construction methods become obsolete. What then? We are still going to need to build houses – how will we go about doing that?

I live in a Romanian village. There is no waste here. Everything is used, then reused, then reused and continually used even when things are unsafe or unreliable to use. This mentality has its limitations. Animals, for example, are also used … and mistreated. Forests are used … illegaly harvested and entire ecosystems are in a state of deterioration. Soil is used … and is dying, infertile and inable to hold water. People are used … there is very little sharing and giving … most giving is done in barter mentality that can be as careless and ruthless as money.

I placed myself in this reality and in this reality a life cannot be created through sharing. I find myself reflecting on many issues faced by leading edge thinking of more modernized societies and I often, by trying to apply their solutions to the reality in which I exist, come to the conclusions that their logic is incomplete or flawed simply because it is not applicable here in a Romanian village. They seem to imply that the Romanian village would first have to become a wasteful modern city-like entity and then, upon the waste, we could apply these new “solutions”. I believe that Romanian village life presents a raw challenge and a valuable playground for experimenting with a better future.

It is in that spirit that I questioned the ideas in this movie. Raphael is a courageous and committed person. He is a force of nature that is much needed in a modern city-scape. His existence complements and balances the wasteful habits that modern cities have become. His efforts may inspire others and may give birth to new ideas. But his view, to me, is incomplete. His solution makes him a parasite on the back of a beast that itself is threatened – making his life-balance as fragile as that of the people who’s waste he consumes.

My financially-poor neighbors (destructive though they may to their environment) are still the most resilient people I’ve met … yet their way of life is dying and to me unappealing. In this reality I ask myself what to do? In this reality I see the useful functions that money can have and I live with nagging and difficult (for me) questions not on how to escape money but how to shape it into a better tool.

A few meta-observations came to me as I re-read this post.

  1. Wow! There is a growing global society of deeply motivated and caring people who are compelled to question, challenge and create a better world.
  2. Wow! These people were born from the patterns of the existing world. That indicates that the existing world we can be so critical of has embedded in it DNA the potential for becoming better.
  3. Wow! Many of these people seem to be rooted in a “protesting-against” mentality. That indicates that they are still indirectly defined by and tied to the patterns they want to change. I have a feeling that’s a good thing(just getting used to it myself). What may not be is not acknowledging this relationship and not appreciating its evolutionary role.
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EdgeRyders – Living on the Edge

n

My short excursion to Rosia Montana this summer gave birth to something new. I met there a young man who attended both the cooking rocket stove workshop and one of the yoga sessions. I remembered he attended both but I did not know anything about him, nor his name … until he contacted me sometime after the event. His name is Andrei and according to his twitter profile he was from Strasbourg and was associated with a community called Edgeryders. Hinted by the German Strasbourg I assumed Edgeryders was a German name of a physical community in which he lived and tried to read it accordingly “ed-gar-eeders” or something. It was only on my 2nd or 3rd visit that somehow I figured out it was to be read as “Edge Riders”.

I then found and immersed myself in EdgeRyders. Browsing the website does not clarify what EdgeRyders is and I am not inclined to try explaining it. I resonated deeply with the name (given where my life has taken me). Once inside I felt a strong pull. When I joined the site I started receiving update messages letting me know about activities taking place inside it. I found myself flooded by inviting information with a growing number of open browser tabs I wanted to spend more time in.

A strong signal came when I discovered that Noemi, one of the prominent voices and founders of EdgeRyders, is from Cluj. On my next visit to the city we met face to face, Andreea was there too. After the meeting Andreea and I shared our fascination that there are young people, like Noemi, who begin their adult life with understanding and values that we, Andreea and I, have had discover via a long and tiring journey of escaping from the truths we were handed when we headed out into life. We don’t experience such connection often so when we did with a complete stranger we felt a surge of hope for the world we live in.

It seems that EdgeRyders have a tradition of meeting face-to-face once a year. This year the event is called Living on the Edge 3 and is happening in Italy and I will be joining them. That I am going, and the ease with which I decided to go, is still a surprise to me.

I have been living in retreat for over 2 years. Yet inside my retreat I have been awakening to something new. I think it started with Cutia Taranului – a community supported agriculture project we created – where, having decided to retreat from society, I found myself at the heart of a social project. Though, on further consideration, I think it started when the myth of “self-sustainability” crashed in my  consciousness. I have not lived, in this lifetime, with a sense of community and I now believe that community is key to sustainability and yet I have no idea what community is or can be. When I moved out to Bhudeva I wanted to be left alone, now I want to be left together.

Actually, the decision to go to Italy reflected to me how much I have retreated. I got a surprising wave of direct and indirect feedback of congratulations and happiness that I am “stepping out of my cave”. A friend asked me in recent weeks if I am happy … and I answered that I am not. He then asked me if I can recall when I was last happy and what makes me happy … and I could … with surprising ease. I am happy when I teach Yoga. I was happy when I was working with Shahar. I gave up both before moving to Romania and put even more distance between myself and those activities upon moving out to Bhudeva.

So joining EdgeRyders in Italy is not only me coming out of retreat but also a first attempt to partake in community and a shot at happiness. I will be giving Yoga sessions in the mornings (four sessions which will hopefully give enough time to build up something of depth and substance). I’ll also be facilitating a session on design focusing on the EdgeRyders online presence with a hope of opening a path for me to express my creative energies in a new context.

The event will take place in a small city called Matera. This will be my longest stay in a city in 18 months. I have found much comfort from this video of Matera:

 

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The War on Consciousness- Graham Hancock

n

This is the 2nd talk that I mentioned was censured from TED a while back. It amuses me that I am rarely anymore drawn to TED talks and even more rarely interested or touched by those I view. But when it came to these two censured talks I was 2 for 2.

In this talk Graham Hancock offers a valuable question about consciousness altering drugs. He suggests that such drugs are responsible for our becoming symbolic creatures (a precious claim that deserves much more elaboration). He suggests that by removing them from our lives and culture we have introduced a spiritual detachment which is the source of so much self inflicted destruction and suffering.

It it a very passionate talk, at times to passionate … which earned even more of my respect. It makes a less fluent talk that it could be and required more effort from me … an effort I was happy to put in.

As I watched it a 3rd time in preparation for this post – another train of thought appeared in my consciousness. I have not had access to consciousness enhancing drugs. I have spent a good portion of my life living in detachment and consciously unaware of it. I have spent another good portion being aware of the sense of detachment  – a period which has brought me to this point in time where I am making an effort to see beyond detachment. It may be true that by using consciousness enhancing drugs this transition I am currently in may have been different, maybe more fluent, maybe more joyful, maybe easier.

However I do believe (not a firm belief because I have no way to compliment it with experience) that maybe as a species, we have, by removing such drugs from our life-menu, created circumstances which require us to find alternative paths of enhancing our consciousness. Maybe in another 40,000 years another creature of consciousness will look back at us, as Graham Hancock has at our ancestors, and point out this crazy and disruptive time as when new paths of consciousness were discovered that led to further evolution beyond the symbolic-story-tellers that we currently are?

The War on Consciousness- Graham Hancock at TEDxWhitechapel from Ben S on Vimeo.

 

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Nordic Everyman Rights

n

A good example of commons in practice taken from How Nordic Europe Is Guarding the Commons”:

“Nordic Everyman Rights, as they are called, means that everyone in most Scandinavian and Baltic countries is guaranteed access to nature’s bounty. Even on privately owned land, a person may legally set up camp for one night, pick wild foods, gather dry twigs for fire, fish with bait, then walk, ski or cycle across the land – as long as s/he does not encroach on a person’s yard or privacy.

… In stark contrast, most other countries enforce strict property laws that exclude others from the freedom to roam or gather on private land that they do not own.

Land ownership exists, of course, in the Nordic countries but it does not come with exclusive usage rights, and this is the crucial difference. The alternative “Nordic way” engenders a sense of collective responsibility toward the land based on communal attitudes about the Earth, relying on notions of stewardship as opposed to control of nature. In places where everyone has a right to travel freely, it also means that owners can’t hide their destructive practices behind locked barriers.”

 

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The Blue Economy

n

I came across this great introduction to the Blue Economy via Michel Bauwens and the P2P Foundation. I hadn’t heard of this before.

Reading it felt like someone took pemraculture thinking and applied it with great relevance and detail to industry/business/economy. In some ways it feels even more mature then other permaculture domains which I have found to be abstract and out of touch. Here I am finding specifity, simplicity, relevancy and applicability.

It is a mouth-watering colllection of applicable, sustainably abundant ideas that can be used to shape and inspire future businesses. I still experience the financing entry barrier … though it is on a much more accessible scale.

Much more information at BlueEconomy.eu

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Visiting Bucharest to See Sting

n

I started writing this post shortly after am arriving back home from spending a weekend in Bucharest with Andreea to see Sting in concert. This was at the end of July … a delay caused by a combination of lack of motivation to write, business and internet connectivity issues.

Travelling

We travelled there and back by bus – it’s an 8.5-9 hour journey (with a 15 minute and 30 minute break). The other options are by a night train (with sleeping carriages) – and it’s twice as expensive as a bus and approximately the same journey time (sometimes longer). And then there are flights which cost more then twice the price of a train but are super comfortable – an hour and we could be there.

On the journey there we sat behind the driver – Andreea’s preferred place where she can see the road which makes the drive easier for her (prevents slight sickness). It also meant we had a spectacular view to the driver’s horrific driving. I am convinced that if the bus had a pointed metal triangle sticking out the front … the driver would have gone full Mad Max on many other cars. There were quite a few near accidents … but it is a “normal” thing in Romania. Even if the driver is OK (which was the case on the way back) the oncoming traffic always includes people willing to overtake traffic in crazy places … inviting plenty of almost accidents.

The horrific driving on the way there was “nicely” complemented by the horrific pop-music the driver chose for entertainment. The music was accompanied by video-clips (small TV above the driver). It seemed that as we progressed in the journey the girls clothing got skimpier and indeed just before we stopped about half-way in Velcea there was video clip with two naked girls in bed playing lesbian. There was something extremely primitve – biological in the music and images – pure sex (biological reproduction) peppered with bullshit social ideas (many of which seem to take place on luxurious yachts). However I could also see in it feminine power and control. Who knows.

Our Dogs

Liviu arrived at Bhudeva shortly after we set out on the road to Bucharest. He calles us on the phone with the most hillarious question, he gave the dogs food (as in put in their plates in front of them) but they wouldn’t touch it. Since our dogs roam free all day the only consistent practice of discipline we adhere to is feeding. They are not allowed and will not touch their food until they are given permission. You can place it before them and walk away and they won’t touch it. They need to be given explicit permission to eat. I was amused to learn that the discipline holds firm even in the presence of a stranger who does not know about our habits and agreements 🙂

Corn

This is the time of year where corn has peaked and is now maturing. Romania is covered in corn (at least those parts we met on the road). I would guess 95% percent of fields are corn.

As I watched these I thought of a theme that I believe has been presented in numerous sci-fi films (including one I recently saw: Oblivion). It is the theme of a race (either ourselves or aliens) sucking life energy out of the planet. I thought of this as I gazed upon the fields of corn … it isn’t science as fiction … it is exactly what is happening with the fields of corn. Corn is a crop that consumes a lot of energy and soil fertility (I was surprised to learn that each giant corn plant produces 2 or maybe 3 ears of corn at most!). It’s a staple crop for both animals and people … and it sucks life out of soil … especially as a vast monoculture that is grown year after year.

Religion & Intellect

I’m allergic to religion. Romania is a very religious country (mostly flavors of Christianity). One common expression of Religion in Romania is people making the cross gesture when passing churches or “on the road crosses”. You can see this in the city when people are walking and on buses. It is an instinct and is repeated everytime a religious person is awake and aware of a passion religious location. It creeps me out most when I see it in young adults or kids.

When I saw this on the way I thought about indoctrination – a more generic term for faith-based-education (that I believe encompasses religion). I asked myself what was my indoctrination as I was brought up in life and maybe still has a grip on me. The answer came quickly: mind/thought/intellect. I am definitely still working on balancing this one out in my life.

Oltea & Andrei

We were warmly welcomed to the home of Oltea & Andrei. They live in a central place close to one of the main squares in Bucharest in a spacious apartment in a cozy small building (compared to the typical mamoth blocks that dominate Bucharest and many other Romanian cities).

Oltea visited Bhudeva during our first winter here. There was an immediate connection that continued between her and Andreea. I felt immediately embraced and protected when we entered their apartment. Oltea had cooked up a warm vegetable dish which was nourishing and grounding and much appreciated.

Oltea was a changed person since I first (and briefly) saw her. I had plenty of pleasant conversations with Andrei discovering many shared visions and values. He is definitely on my short but growing list of good men. Unfortunately we did not get to meet their children who were away with their grandparents (which is also why they had space for us).

Electric Induction Cooking

In their apartment I experienced for the first time an electric-induction cooking surface (I am used to gas cookers). I was really impressed. I don’t know how energy efficient in terms of electricity consumption – but in terms of output it seems to be very efficient … things are heated very fast on it  and there is much less dissipated heat than I am used to with gas cooking. Using it was a great pleasure – it heats things very fast, there is a high resolution of control over heat levels (each cooker can be set on a level from 1 to 9), it has a keep-warm mode, it shuts off automatically, it is super easy to clean and it is very esthetic.

If it is efficient I would love to have something like it in our future home. I can generate electricity … I can’t generate cooking gas (well I probably can but it would be complicated) … and I would be happy not to have gas flowing into the house.

Modern Life

Being in the apartment reminded me of the potential comforts of modern city life. I was even slightly tempted … but not really. It is a life that is highly dependent on a constant flow of money, and a relatively expensive one at that … and I am not in the least bit tempted to become dependent on money again. I am happy to forgo many of the comforts for the safety I experience living away from money.

Bucharest

Bucharest was horrible for me. It is very dense, very crowded, very noisy, very busy … there isn’t a moment of silence in it. The contrast between it and Bhudeva is too much for me. I felt attacked and oppressed. I was sheltered in Oltea & Andrei’s home (which is much more than its walls). I was somehat sheltered in a tea-house I spent a few hours at. But otherwise I only wanted to hide from the city. The climate was also unpleasant … hot and humid indoors and out … that is compared to Bhudeva climate where it can be hot but dry outside but pleasantly cool indoors.

There is tons of information coming from infinite directions. I suppose you could get used to it … by practicing being it and learning to filter and ignore a lot of the information which bombarded me. But I am not sure I would want to go through that kind of training … it feels like a process of desensitization … a skill of ignoring rather than connecting.

When we came to Romania I thought it would be great … that I would be able to enjoy more rock concerts living in Europe. But having done it … I don’t expect I’ll be doing it again soon.

Sting

The venue was dull … a large parking lot at what I believe is some kind of convention center kind of place. We got there just when the first opening act ended and Mike and the Mechanics came on … and were really surprising. A tight and good energy band that gave a nice set of their own songs and a few Genesis hits. Really got the place into a good atmosphere.

Sting came on 20 minutes earlier then planned. It was the last concert of this leg of the tour … so maybe they wanted to get it done and go home. He and his band were fantastic. This was the same core musicians I had seen playing with him when I first saw him in Israel almost 20 years ago. It was a great concert. It made up for the 2nd time I saw him (also in Israel) in a lifeless performance. Though it didn’t live up to the my impression of the first performance … though I don’t know if that is possible. The first performance was an album tour so it had more specifity and wholeness to it while this concert was more like a greatest hits. There were one or two times where I felt moved … the rest of the time I was enjoying the music.

5 minutes after the concert ended a drenching rain came pouring down. We were able to find shelter and wait it out. Then there was a mess with taxis getting home (apparently there are taxis in Bucharest that charge almost 3 times then typical rate that most taxis in Bucharest charge … so beware!).

 

 

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Colombian Farmers Prosecuted for Saving Seeds

n

This movie came to me shortly after my contemplation on engineered death.

The results of a Free Trade agreement between the USA and Colombia: 2,000,000 tons of rice stolen from peasants – half of which was buried in landfills … in just one year … and that is just the opening act. Witness the debt machine systemically progressing

What strikes me most about this is that the attack is not just against farmers and rice. It is undermining the foundations of society itself – everything from the notion of legality through to relationships between local governance and people is being attacked. Maybe that’s a good thing Maybe it will give birth to new and better societies?

In my mind the problem probably goes even deeper. What about soil health and fertility? It is easy to blame chemicals for destruction of the soil – but what about the monocultural/industrialized farming methods? Is this really farming? I’m convinced that the big-ag companies agendas could care less about these subjects, yet maybe their misguided actions are part of a larger evolutionary process we are witnessing? Maybe we can’t have as much rice as we are used to having? In a roundabout way advanced non-sustainable agriculture is attacking primitive non-sustainable agriculture.

If nothing else then head to 38:10 for this important observation from Rafael Correa president of Ecuador:

“Not a single developed country exercised Free Trade during their development process. This is a common error when dealing with development … trying to do what those developed countries are doing now that they are the competitiveness champions … and not doing what they did when they had our relative level of development.”

 

Posted in AltEco, Business, Intake, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Michel Bauwens: Collaborative Economy

n

I liked this:

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Satellite Images of Industrial Farms

n

During my last flight over Romania I remember looking down at the vast fields – endless straightlined patches interrupted by regular on/off ramps of a highway under construction. My first thought was the sheer amount of work and energy that goes into all those fields – incomprehensible. My second thought was about how appealing I found these esthetics of destruction. I stayed with that for quite a while … not so much about the landscape but more about what this said about esthetics and appeal.

I was reminded of this when I saw these satellite images of industrial farms:

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Five Dead Ducks

n

I’ve been ejoying lazy mornings. Though I can wake up early I spend the first few hours in bed – resting, reflecting, reading, writing … whatever I feel like doing. I wait for the day to make up its mind – most recent days have started cold and or windy and or wet … and if/when it clears up I head outside for work. If the day doesn’t lean my way my body will eventually ask to change position and my stomach for breakfast … so one way or another I get the day started.

The first thing I do, regardless of the day, as at least a quick round outside to feed/water the flock of ducks and chickens and to feed the dogs. Today I was greeted by an unpleasant image. Five dead ducks and one dead chicken. Two of the ducks were completely headless – which ultimately indicated that they were attacked by some kind of weasel/ferret-like creature which Andreea claims has signature killing – removing the heads and drinking their blood (and eating nothing else!). Vampire-like creatures. It was a depressing sight. One of the four remaining ducks was also visible injured (bloody neck) but moving around quite well. The chickens were happily pecking at the corpses.

This was probably a second attack. A few days earlier I found one dead duck … now knowing what happened. Now I know.

So my day started with moving the corpses to compost pile and then an unscheduled moving of the mobile coop and electric fence to a new location. I was just thinking about moving them to another location where they could enjoy some of the late green grass and moist soils but due to the shock those plans have changed. After consulting with Andreea we decided that I will move them to their final destination for the duration of winter – adjacent to their winter shelter in the barn.

This wasn’t my plan for the day but I settled into it quite nicely … quite surprisingly to. I started it with a sense of heaviness and so I quickly realized that I need to change vibe. I decided to start the task without any urgency or pretending to finish it in one go. It as a nice and sunny day with good visibility (making hard for predators to sneak up) and so I first let the flock range free. The chickens had a great time. The ducks stayed bunched together and next to their bucket of water.

I started by clearing the area with a scythe and then with a hoe in some of the places where the electric fence perimeter would go. I then hauled the mobile coop to its new location. With that done I went to herd the ducks (ducks can be herded, chickens not) and they quickly found the ramp into the barn and went inside. I think they were pretty terrified from the night. They did not come back outside today.

I then completed clearing space for and installing the perimeter fence, brought over the energizer, hooked everything up, tested the fence and … it wasn’t working. Shit, Fuck … were the first words to go through my mind. I quickly figured out that I had messed up the wiring. The are two green wires (dumb design) – one that leads the charge into the fence wires after passing through a lightning-catcher, the other leads to the ground … they were inverted. The energizer was feeding directly into the ground and the fence was useless (electrically speaking). This also explaing the slight but noticeable increase in our electricity bill in recent motths. Fuck, shit … again.

The dogs are well trained with the electric fence. They only touched it once (each) in their lives. I am convinced that they witnessed what was happening inside the fence but couldn’t do a thing about it – even though no current was passing through the fence. Fuck, shit.

Evening set in. I finished working. Had a couple of bowls of soup. Sorted the large bowl of cherry-tomatoes I picked (headed for pickling tomorrow). Did my yoga practice. Then spent a few minutes with the Shakuhachi. That’s when the emotional waves surfaced. I felt the fear and panic the animals must have experienced and aggression came through my playing. Then the energy settled. The last six breaths of my playing were dedicated to each one of the animals. One breath for each soul. I did not intend them to be the last six breaths of my playing but as each breath passed through the flute emotion built up in my throat. By the time the six breaths has passed nothing more could pass through my throat, so I stopped.

The next electricity bill should be back to normal.

Check the fence every time I move it. Harsh lesson.

 

Posted in Expanding, inside, Shakuhachi | You are welcome to add your comment