The Helpful Gardener
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The Theory Of Relativity

An interesting choice of title for the chapter. F-san gives us his dislike of science in a chapter titled after the most famous scientific theory of all time. He berates Einstein for the incomprehensibility of his theory, as if the lack of understanding on most folks part is a shortcoming of Einstein's.

Yet we tend to not understand Nature in the same way we do not understand E=MC2. It is simply a concept to most folks, an ideal to strive after, or a mental construct that bears little relation to the reality. Do you love nature as you watch the rattlesnake kill and devour the mouse, or as the botrytis greys and curls the buds from your peonies? Do we value worms and bees as we value puppies and kittens? Are the "weeds" in our gardens lesser plants because they lack an acceptable aesthetic in our eyes (despite having higher values of nutrition or more attachments in the food web)?

Relativity is to be visited in all things other than non-discrimination. If we truly value nature, we accept all things therein as a part of that value. It is fine to regulate or curtail within the framework of that system; nature is red in tooth and claw and interaction between species is often violent or confrontational. But to work outside of the natural framework, to attempt to sidestep the balances of natural controls, is to invite the collapse of the whole, which we seem to be engraving invitations for as we speak.

But I guess it's all relative... :wink:

HG
Scott Reil

gershon
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There are two passages in this chapter which seem to me to be what Mansanobu is focusing on.

1. ..." bringing about a more pleasant and peaceful world, it would have been commended.

2. "A citation for disturbing the peace of the human spirit should have been awarded instead."

In between these two is the phrase "it caused people to think that the world is complex beyond all possible understanding."

More and more, I'm ignoring other people's advice on a lot of things and just observing what happens. I'm also admiring people who have opinions opposite from mine. My only hope is they are having fun doing what they want.

I take pleasure in using things my parents owned. The bread machine bought in 1976. My father's drill he bought in the 50's. The cast iron skillets my grandmother brought with her from Poland in 1904. The spade my father used to turn our garden as a child.

I have a Troy-bilt Horse tiller. I like the way it prepares the soil and things seem to grow better. When I taste the soil, I can feel the structure is better when I till than when I don't till. Many times modern things really are better.

The books I mostly read are hundreds, even thousands of years old although they are printed on new paper.

Later in this short chapter, he says "To the extent that one lives in the relative world of the intellect, one loses sight of time that is beyond time and of space that is beyond space."

There are a couple words in this passage that mean nothing to me in English. "Lives" and "Intellect." In my teachings, lives might be "Chi" and would refer to those intellectual things that make us want to pursue something.

"Intellect" could have several meanings and I'm not sure how to compare this to what I've been taught.

Perhaps the most significant passage is "That night as we were finishing the evening meal, I recalled over tea." People crave a mutual interest to discuss and to do things together. The loss of that seems to be the biggest loss to society in the last 50 years. Perhaps previous generations forever have said the same thing.

It's a strange world where I'm dependent on so many others for my life, yet I could disappear and few would notice.

Bobberman
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Opinions vary as does nature! Minds work in strange ways as does the universe. New concepts are promoted and explained every day if you want to listen! The closed mind sets back the world of man!! Who would have thought that super large stars would die once its core formed iron! The soil works the same way and can lock up foods for plants unless man helps it along! Natures way works with one key element TIME but man lacks that time so we have to move foward in a quicker way using experience and our creative mind!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

The Helpful Gardener
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Whoa there, Bobber "the soil can lock up foods for plants unless man helps it along"?

Soils in a natural state do not lock up anything that the local ecosystem wants or needs. Soils out of balance can lock things up, but that is the hand of man imbalancing them in any case; natural progression of soils is generally a smooth slope from bacterial soils to fungal soils. In some areas (deserts, plains) there is not enough moisture and the progression is arrested, but it is not lack of fertility. In any area left to it's own devices, nature provides...

You can get bacterial lock in a soil beaten to death by tillers, because the fungal component is completely destroyed, as is the tilth, making for compacted, less aerobic soils, which favor bacterial growth, particularly of the facultative anerobic variety. But a good soil left be becomes a better soil...

Leaving things be is a BIG part of F-san's message. Man's "quicker" mind is far too ignorant of the natural system with it's long slow cycles, and leaps to far too many conclusions based on what he would LIKE to be true (some of the recent posts are fine examples of this thinking). THIS is the recurrent theme of this book...

The main theme of this chapter is cow vs. machine, nature vs. science, not tea, or philosophy.
The idea of relative phemonena is a structure given to experience by the human intellect.
Indeed, this appears to me to be what Gershon and Bobber have done in their interpretation of the chapter, they are discriminating in their own minds about what F-san says, and drawing conclusions based on their perceptions. I hear a much different story, one that will not allow me chemical fertilizers or tillers, and leaves me with a garden far more like Sensei's own. There is certainly a relativity there, and again one born simply of paradigm and perception. I leave it to your individual perceptions to draw what conclusions you may...
...the role of the scientist in society is analagous to the role of discrimination in your own minds.
Nature does not care what we think, or even for our science. It will do as it always does, whether we interfere or not. When we are of a mind to hear what Nature has to say, to follow her dictates instead of imposing our "quick" thinking on her, we will find a truly sustainable way to farm and garden. Until such time we will continue to mine our soil as a depleting resource...

HG
Scott Reil

Bobberman
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I agree that nature is at its best when time is not of the essence! Man works on a time basis so the two have to go their seperate ways and hope that they parellel each other and do not destroy either approach!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

The Helpful Gardener
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But Bobber, that is F-sensei's point, there isn't really middle ground (which if you search all through these threads, you will find I don't entirely agree with)...

But for the most part, I feel it to be true. It's like reading Cliff notes; how does this truly relate to reading the book? You have done it quickly, and there was a percieved value in that speed. But have you experienced the book? Have you taken full value of that experience? Or have you simply taken in someone elses view of their experience in reading the book? What sentence or phrase did you miss that might have opened your mind or even changed your life?

Wendell Berry talks about an organic farmer, who in a year when the corn prices were low because of a glut, ran hogs on his corn field. He made out well, but that was not the end of the story...
The year after he hogged the forty acres of corn with 360 shoats, the field was covered with an excellent stand of alsike clover. "It was pretty." Lancie says, but he didn't know where it came from.He asked around he neighborhood and discovered the field had been in alsike seventeen years before. The seed had laid in the ground all that time, waiting for conditions to be right, and somehow, the hogs had made them right. Thus, that year's very profitable corn harvest, which had been so well planned, resulted in a valuable gift that nobody planned--or could have planned. There is no recipe, as far as I know, for making such a thing happen. Obviously, though, a certain eligibility is required. It happened on Lancie's farm undoubtedly because he is the kind of farmer he is. If he had been plowing the farm every year and planting it all in corn, as his predecessor had, such a thing would never have happened.
Wendell's point (and F-san's) is that when we use nature and natural systems, we are granted gifts that sometimes we see, sometimes we value, but most of the time we are not aware of them, or do not understand how they came about. That does not lessen the values of these systems or gifts, nor does it alleviate the damages of our ignorance. But it points again and again to the natural systems as our greatest allies, when we usually treat them as our biggest enemies.

We turn again and again to what we know, tilling and chemicals, because it is what we know best. It always reminds me of the old Vietnam era saw, "We had to destroy the village in order to save it." The parallels there are hard to escape...

HG
Scott Reil

Bobberman
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I agree to natural and organic to a point but also see the other side! Without seeing the other side you are lost in your own convctions! Its like saying without evil there cannot be good! When you see the evil you can appreciate the good much better! The people and the system of defining the boundries is the problem so the solution is always on icy waters!The famous over used saying Think Outside The Box is a good example of what I am sayng! Inventors scientist and even teachers have to look to their imagination while keeping only one eye open to the sayings of others! I am probably talking over my head here and confusing everyone as to what I mean!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

gershon
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It's time for sleep, so I'll make this short.

I'm part of nature.

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