Why farmpunk?

A farmpunk could be described as a neo-agrarian who approaches [agri]culture, community development and/or design with an anarchistic hacker ethos. "Cyber-agrarian" could supplant neo-agrarian, indicating a back-to-the-land perspective that stands apart from past movements because it is heavily informed by conceptual integration in a post-industrial information society (thus "forward to the land" perhaps?) The art and science of modern ecological design—and ultimately, adapting to post-collapse contexts—will be best achieved through the combined arts of cybermancy and geomancy; an embrace of myth and ritual as eco-technologies. In other words: the old ways of bushcraft and woodlore can be combined with modern technoscience (merely another form of lore) in open and decentralized ways that go beyond pure anarcho-primitivism. This blog is an example of just that. Throughout, natural ecologies must be seen as the original cybernetic systems.

**What we call for at the farmpunk headquarters**
°Freedom of information
°Ground-up action + top-down perspectives
°Local agricultural systems (adhering to permaculture/biodynamic principles) as the nuclei of economies
°Bioregional autonomy
°Computers are optional but can be used for good—see peer to peer tech, social media for direct popular management of natural or political disasters (e.g. Arab Spring), or the mission of the hacker collective Anonymous

Sunday, December 7, 2008

if nominator

The title of this blog post is an anagram of "information". As Anu Garg, the wizard behind wordsmith.org, says: "Anagrams never lie". (Giggle. I believe this is an exceedingly Hofstadterian statement!) :D

Various arts of word-changing to divine esoteric meaning abound in the occult, mystical and apocryphal teachings of all ages. Some essentially involve ciphering, as with gematria, where numerical values are assigned to different letters of the alphabet. Other methods of graph-o-mancy are more concerned with uncovering "hidden" connections within words that connect a word to other words, or transform the word into something else entirely. In Kabbalistic hermeneutics, temurah is one of three ways of meditating on text in scripture. It is essentially a mental exercise of anagram-generation with words in the Torah. But, before I digress further, let's apply this...

I take "if nominator" (a noun) to mean: A mechanism for revealing and proposing (nominating) options (or: if statements). This is, then, an esoteric meaning of "information".

This new word-form then indicates this:

Information should generate innovation.

Maybe I came off as giving "synthetic information" a hard time in my last post. I can't emphasize enough how important it is that we not occlude the true point. Since it's one of the theses of this blog that the world will be saved with an integrated combination of green things and informatics, it is my great pleasure to pontificate... in a discordian manner, of course! ;)

Information itself can not be demonized. It is not "good" or "bad", and its division by some (including me) into categories of "environmental" and "synthetic" or "organic" and "artificial", does not correspond to its value. In fact, such categorization is a rhetorical device - a program for thought, merely.

The point is this:

•Information must serve the people, NOT the corporations.
•It should be enabling and empowering, not controlling.

Antecedently, information should be free.

To further explore the imperative of us creators (artists, mad scientists and ecological designers alike) to properly deal with information, I want to evoke some wisdom from McKenzie Wark's book A Hacker Manifesto. (Salutations, brother!) Btw, please go find books this guy wrote, farmpunks... he's a master arranger-of-words & re-arranger-of-thought! To summarize a bit; In the opening chapter, he defines information as an abstraction of private property, which is itself an abstraction (of nature). Hackers are those who parse and recompile that information in order to create further abstraction: innovation. However, because of the nature of the hacker ethic to promote freedom-of-information and to end abuse of intellectual property, innovations generated by hackers are taken advantage of by the very group that hackers seek to disassociate themselves from. They are subordinated as a class in society by the 'ruling class' (financiers and CEOs) because the latter seek to turn novelty into profit.

In the last paragraph of the introductory chapter in the manifesto, he really captures what I've been trying to grok:

"The time is past due when hackers must come together with workers and farmers - with all the producers of the world - to liberate productive and inventive resources from the myth of scarcity. The time is past due for new forms of association to be created that can steer the world away from its destruction through commodified exploitation. The greatest hacks of our time may turn out to be forms of organizing free collective expression, so that from this time on, abstraction serves the people, rather than the people serving the ruling class."

Italics added.


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