Sunday, June 20, 2010

On Learning

These days I call myself a farmer, However, I was not born into the farming life. In my late teens and early twenties, I began to have the creeping suspicion that my privileged upbringing in a first-world household, my secondary education and suburban lifestyle had left me completely bereft of any useful skills with regard to the fundamental situation of being a human animal on the planet. When I came of age I had this gnawing suspicion that in the first eithteen years of my existence on earth I had learned next to nothing of the kind of skills that would allow a person to survive in the natural world. Skills that had been of vital importance to all our common ancestors for the first fifty-thousand years of our tenure on the planet had been all but lost and abandoned in our time. Of course, such skills were not valued by the majority of my peers because no monetary value accrued to them. And yet I was profoundly disturbed at my own lack of basic orientation in regards to right relationship with the living environment. I set about to begin and try to rectify this situation. I had absolutely no faith in the long-term viability of our modern civilization. I was yearning to find a path with heart that could lead me back to an essentil connection with the earth. (Stephen Leslie writing in Small Farmer's Journal, Spring 2010, p. 68)

When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school,
It's a wonder I can think at all.
(Paul Simon, "Kodachrome")

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
Consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
No overseer or ruler,
Yet it stores its provision in summer
And gathers its food at harvest.
(Proverbs 6:6-8, NIV)

My son, do not forget my teaching,
But keep my commands in your heart,
For they will prolong your life many years
And bring you prosperity.
(Proverbs 3:1-2)

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