There’s something magical about growing food, its a bit like printing money, it seems naughty, something to hide, but the truth is its wonderfully liberating. To directly produce and supply a household with nutrient dense food is one of life’s pleasures. It was not always like this, there was a time when we used to rely on the supermarkets for all consumption, and swallowed the cost, put up with the shop, snarled at the food and packaging. I also hated the indirect consumption, no relationship, no satisfaction, no responsibility, money ultimately robs us of establishing a direct relationship and therefor should be used sparingly.
It is important to recognise and appreciate the positive and negative attributes of direct experience verses indirect experience. Direct experience comes with no one or anything in between, instantaneous observations and reactions. Indirect experience is reading or listening for the accumulation of knowledge, which is the standard approach of most education. A simple thought experiment might highlight the distinction and importance of each discipline.
Consider two school classes of ten year olds, class one and class two. The aim is to teach both classes to ride a bike, assuming they cant yet. Class one is going to learn directly, the kids are lead to a field and become familiarised with bikes and there features. They are given 2 weeks practice before being evaluated.
Class two is going to learn indirectly with the help of a teacher and a blackboard, starting with familiarising the kids with a big drawing of a bike. The kids have 2 weeks to remember a 20 step process of how to ride a bike.
After 2 weeks the results are in,class one successfully produced proficient cyclists, the kids were asked to write there own 20 step process of how to ride a bike but failed to match the test requirements.
Class two was successful at regurgitating the required information but not one child was able to ride a bike.
This fictional experiment is conceived to draw attention to the lack of general practical life skills or commonsense that are absent from current society, however, our indirect knowledge is vast and we have become isolated or narrowed through specialisation. As the volume of knowledge accumulated by humanity became great, increasing specialisation appeared in response. The more specialised the knowledge the more the whole picture is lost. Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple. We are failing to recognise the weakness of indirect experiences or objective thinking, when we think and talk about objectivity, traditionally we understand it as a kind of disembodied, transcendent “conquering gaze from nowhere, in which the subject is split apart, distanced from and set above the object of enquiry, inadvertently loosing responsibility through separation. Another weakness is the world has become so specialised it cant view anything in its entirety.
“The body seems separate from the universe, but it is actually intrinsically one with the universe and could have no independent existence”
Suppose for a moment, an embodied perspective from a position within the world, and undeniably responsible. What kind of world would be created if this was the basis of all thinking.
I would imagine we could recognise our own negative contributions to the world and therefor make appropriate changes. We might recognise our hedonistic and decadent society, is drunk with entertainment and malnourished from cheap food, all part of the “bread and circus” so we dont realise our political processes have become hijacked by corporations, oligarchy and tweedism. Voting for the political parties on offer is like voting for MacDonalds, Burger king or Kentucky fried, we only get variations of the same stuff. Perhaps we continue to find what else is going on and discover 40% of the worlds agricultural land is seriously degraded, that 1.5 billion people are starving yet we throw away 1.5 billion tonnes of food globally every year. How would we behave if we lost faith in the endless growth paradigm, hopefully after the hangover we reacquaint ourselves with commonsense and realise we shouldn’t drag our entertainment baggage from the hold of our sinking ship.