Saturday, April 07, 2007

Random Images

Their have been two points I have kept coming back to lately with a strangely disparate range of conversations and topics.

The first one is that even though I hate this culture I will not hate myself for living in it, I and everyone I know has been forced to make choices we dont want to make such as the jobs we have been forced into working. We have been raised and indoctrinated and have struggled for years to overcome what we have been taught to believe. But I won't take responsibility for the system I have been born into and I think it is counterproductive to feel guilty about the choices we have been forced to make. Instead we should pour our time and thought into bringing this system down and creating a new fair and equitable society.

The second thing I keep coming back to is that indigenous knowledge i far more advanced than our own. That the "highest" achievements of our culture come nowhere near the beauty or knowledge nessacary for person living a sustainable life.

I will probably write a lot more about both of these but its interesting how often they seem to come up.


maps said...

What is 'indigenous knowledge'?
What is 'indigenous'?

Aboriginals, Maori, Moriori, Basques: all indigenous, in the sense of being tangata whenua, yet very different from each other.
And internally different, too: isn't Maoridom, for instance, riven by cultural and class diffferences? What do Tame Iti, Mike Smith, Graham Latimer, and Kiri Te Kanaw have in common? Romantic European myths of the noble savage are not going to get you very far in a study of any indigenous people.

John said...

Yea I agree with you, I base my (and it is only mine) definition of indigenous loosely on ecology. So if humans are viewed as a new species entering a landscape then they will cause a large disturbance as they take over ecological niches previously occupied by other species. Unlike other species human behaviour is regulated by culture as well as our physical place as an omnivore. So for me an indigenous culture is one which has been in a place long enough that their culture and behaviours have adapted to allow them to live sustainably their.

I realise that this definition has flaws and that all organisms live within fluctuating equilibriums.

The second thing I need to write about is the role of various types of agriculture and climate on class structure. I am of the opinion (once again I dont know enough about this) that maori society reflected the fact they had colonised New Zealand within the past 1000 years, that they were an agricultural people and that the climate was fairly harsh.

I believe that in this current age it is vital for us to come to learn the ways that indigenous peoples lived sustainably over very long periods. I think that design systems such as permaculture which are based on traditional and indigenous methods and religions and cultural practices from indigenous peoples are nessacary if we are to stop killing the planet.

I have quite a lot I want to explore around these topics and will write at greater length soon.

maps said...

The problem with this definition of indigenous culture is that it excludes almost all real-life indigenous societies.

Take Maori, for instance - it isn't really true to say they lived sustainably before contact with outsiders, and after contact they aggressively adapted to the new technologies and economic system the Europeans had brought. They wanted to take industrial technology and capitalism and use them on their own terms, and they were doing so well that the Europeans had to wage a series of wars to dispossess them and break up their intensive agriculture economy. To present them as noble savages who had industrial society and its trappings forced on them is to deny the reality of Maori history, and also some of the greatest achievements in this history.

It seems to me that you are essentially trying to present your own primitivist worldview, whic is something that has emerged from a particular milieu of industrial Wrstern society, as some sort of continuation or equivalent to the practices of indigenous peoples.
I don't see how this can be done, except perhaps in the case of some hunter gatherer peoples.