mechanical scythe. Critics of that book called it nostalgic and conservative, as they do with all books like. Into this little assemblage slides the tang of the blade. But I didnt know how to. At least in part because of the previous wave of agricultural improvementsthe so-called Green Revolution, which between the 1940s and 1970s promoted a new form of agriculture that depended upon high levels of pesticides and herbicides, new agricultural technologies, and high-yielding strains of crops. Withdraw not with cynicism, but with a questing mind.
He is the author of several books, including the poetry collection Kidland and his fictional debut The Wake, winner of the Gordon Burn Prize and the Bookseller Book of the Year Award.
Kingsnorth is the cofounder and director of the Dark Mountain Project, a network of writers.
But in this spirited Very Short Introduction.
Cyber Terrorism : Computers and the internet are becoming an essential part of our daily life.
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After all, we have weed whackers and lawnmowers now, and they are noisier than scythes and have buttons and use electricity or petrol and therefore they must perform better, right? More babies meant more hunters. Mowing with a scythe shuts down the jabbering brain for a little while, or at least the rational part of it, leaving only the primitive part, the intuitive reptile consciousness, working fully. They had spelled the end of their hunting and gathering lifestyle by getting too good. Your blade tip jams into the ground, you blunt the edge on a molehill you didnt notice, you pull a muscle in your back, you slice your finger as youre honing. We have been falling into them ever since. Then they were buried, by Thatcher and Reagan, by three decades of cheap oil and shopping. Give it as much time as it needs to dry in the sun.
There is no likelihood of the world going their way. By his own admission, his arguments are not new. Each of these improvements tends to make society bigger, more complex, less human-scale, more destructive of nonhuman life, and more likely to collapse under its own weight. If you want human-scale living, you doubtless do need to look backward. And like the neoliberals, they think they have radical solutions. As Wells demonstrates, analysis of the skeletal remains of people living before and after the transition to agriculture during the Paleolithic demonstrate something remarkable: an all-around collapse in quality of life when farming was adopted. Certainly if you have a five-acre meadow and you want to cut the grass for hay or silage, you are going to get it done a lot quicker (though not necessarily more efficiently) with a tractor and cutter bar than you would with a scythe. Each improvement in our knowledge or in our technology will create new problems, which require new improvements. In his own case, he explains, he had to go through a personal psychological collapse as a young man before he could escape what he saw as his chains.
If you think you can magic us out of the progress trap with new ideas or new technologies, you are wasting your time. If you have got it right, you should see a field lined with long, curving windrows of cut grass, with clean, mown strips between them. Value it for what it is, try to understand what it is, and have nothing but pity or contempt for people who tell you that its only value is in what they can extract from. It is in this context that we now have to listen to lectures from the neo-environmentalists and others insisting that GM crops are a moral obligation if we want to feed the world and save the planet: precisely the arguments that were made last time. Writing is fulfilling too, intellectually and sometimes emotionally, but physically it is draining and boring: hours in front of computers or scribbling notes in books, or reading and thinking or attempting to think.