186 of 191 people found the following review helpful
Phenomenology or Farming?,
This review is from: The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming (Hardcover)
Some have said that the Fukuokan philosophy is the tap root of what is now more broadly called Permaculture, only Masanobu Fukuoka was a Japanese farmer, working with rice and winter grain in a southern Japanese climate. Both are no-till methods that shun the use of chemicals. However, Fukuoka should be set apart from farming in general and Permaculture in particular, in that The One-Straw Revolution is essentially a profound work of literary philosophy. Indeed, in many cases it reads like a naturalist's bible. Although the book is dressed in the language and anecdotes of a farmer, the message looms much larger. We read of a man who came to terms with the problem of death, and then decided to form a profoundly new (or is it old?) relationship with nature. In essence, the nugget of his wisdom is that, instead of struggling to control and command nature, we must learn to work with and learn from nature. Allow me to share one quote:"To build a fortress is wrong from the start. Even though he gives the excuse that it is for the city's defense, the castle is the outcome of the ruling lord's personality, and exerts a coercive force on the surrounding area. Saying he is afraid of attack and that fortification is for the town's protection, the bully stocks up weapons and puts the key in the door." Now I ask you, does the following paragraph sound like the words of a farmer or a philosopher? From the face of it, one might think Fukuoka is here criticizing the nuclear arms race, but he is actually talking about the warlike mindset of farmers who see leaf-munching pests as evil enemies that must be fortified against, sought out and destroyed. Whether we are talking about bull weevils or communities, though, his advice is sound. We must change our frame of reference and establish a different relationship with the world. Concise and yet elegant, Fukuoka's prose is pregnant with meaning. Altogether, this work provides poetic an intelligent critique of industrial agricultural practices and the linear notions of nature and progress that underlay those practices. In fact, Fukuoka goes as far as to declare that the scientific method itself limits our experience and knowledge of nature. An invaluable, timeless work that will move you, even if you have never picked up a hoe.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 26, 2010, 12:51:39 PM PDT
Barbara Austin says:
Posted on Mar 26, 2010, 12:54:46 PM PDT
Barbara Austin says:
Posted on Apr 28, 2011, 1:49:03 PM PDT
Posted on Feb 25, 2013, 2:15:08 AM PST
Cool review, despite that it brought out some looneys. Sounds like a more mellow Japanese Derek Jensen with actual practical ideas. Is this mostly a philosophical book or are their practical ideas based on actual experience that can generalize to managing land anywhere?
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2013, 4:21:33 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 25, 2013, 4:24:46 AM PST
Uh, Bruce, I might be a "looney" but I actually farm 720 acres, not including those of my family's I help with. I believe there are better ways than poisoning the earth all the time, but I have heard the whining. I have heard the whining of imperfect produce in the grocery store and I have heard the whining in the elevator when I sell my crop and lose thousands for minor issues (a percent of protein let's say). And we are immaculate farmers. Its a very nice review and I think I will buy the book for my collection of ag (agriculture) books. You never know where you will learn something new. However, I also have to wonder sometimes if it hasn't bee a long time since this fat country has been hungry. Farming without chemicals is not pretty, efficient or simple.
Posted on Jun 21, 2014, 1:59:33 AM PDT
James Chou says:
i've picked up a hoe before ;)
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2015, 1:41:57 AM PST
Tim Greig says:
" I also have to wonder sometimes if it hasn't bee a long time since this fat country has been hungry. Farming without chemicals is not pretty, efficient or simple." Not sure if that was a particularly useful thought process to swing people towards modern agricultural methods.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2015, 9:01:30 AM PST
>> Uh, Bruce, I might be a "looney" but
When did I make any reference to you, or even farming? I have no idea or not if you are a looney, but you don't read very literally and you are kind of sensitive.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 8, 2016, 7:31:56 AM PST
wow, are you always this bitter and angry? clearly you missed the message of the book
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 8, 2016, 7:33:46 AM PST
Congrats on farming your 720 acres. Depends how you define efficient doesnt it? Expeditious maybe not, smart in the long run yes
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