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

Monday, November 8, 2010

Why you can't just blame religion: part two

Read the first post in this series here.

Some popular theories of religion focus on defining it as designed to serve some members at the expense of others. But it is not as simple as that. Such theories often reflect political bias and a projection of intention onto founders or religious leaders that simply is not there. I'm always amazed at how many staunch atheists I know who are conspiracy theorists, btw. So the projection of intention onto things is okay when they do it but not when other people do it? Lul.

It would seem to me that "corruption" in or of religious groups (too often referenced in popular discourse) is largely an emergent property—a type of social entropy that naturally unfolds, perhaps revealing "design flaws" in social systems over time. Power and influence accumulate in a small sector of the group and becomes unavailable to the majority of members. Take religious reformation movements, for example. Perhaps they illustrate the need to re-establish "low-entropy" systems through reformation, and the process starts again, though it may be filtered through a different schema. (This is consistent with the definition of entropy as the amount of unavailable energy in a system). David Sloan Wilson writes: "religions not only adapt to their social environments, but also change their social environments, leading to an endless cycle of corruption and renewal..."

So, to all the atheists out there - If religion is 'maladaptive', its 'maladaption' is a function of process, not necessarily intrinsic qualities of a religion! Which leads me to the rather dry, yet tempting conclusion that people are agents of action, not religions. Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

Moreover, such 'corruption' can sometimes be unwittingly helped along by prestige bias - mimicry of prestigous or successful individuals by the laity (animals do it too). This can help explain behavior of members of religious cults, for example, who idolize their leaders. There is a human proclivity to mimic the behaviors of successful individuals - this has been studied in the field of evolutionary psychology and anthropology. In the animal kingdom, we can see "success" as ability to successfully attract a mate - thus the common scenario of young males in a band of chimpanzees, for example, copying the behaviors of an alpha male. On the other end of the spectrum, discussions of egalitarian groups (egalitarian in an intra-group sense, not inter-group) are also interesting. However, even here it seems like there exists a "flat hierarchy" where some sort of active process requiring constant feedback is needed to manage 'inevitable social entropy'.

Social cybernetics takes critical thought to a whole new level.


Cassandra said...

I would also like to add a revelation I had the other day in church on Sunday morning at Park Street: Christians are members of the only establishment that largely exist to benefit non-members nationally and internationally. This is done through monetary means, voluntary and unpaid service, and prayer. Prayer may seem an intangible waste of time to some, but I still count it here because it is still a person or group taking the time out of their day to purposely focus on someone other than themselves. In no other organization I can think of do members "pay" to benefit mostly non-members. Just an interesting thought to add to the discussion.

the faun said...

Thanks for sharing that Cassie! I think prayer, or other types of meditation/contemplation are definitely integral to human well-being.