Thursday, April 14, 2016

How common everyday unexceptional human beings teach Intellectuals to more fully appreciate Nature

“When I say, ‘Trees suckle their children,’ everyone knows immediately what I mean.” Peter Wohlleben
Gordon Welters for The New York Times

This was a nice article when I first read it back in January 2016. Unfortunately, the Elites of this world's leadership throughout history have always had issues when it comes to communicating to the masses of humanity. And this is irrespective if the higher authority is a politician, clergyman or scientist. They are all on equal footing and that footing has always been on shaky ground. By nature, an intellectual talks down to people, often in condescending tones if the elite feels the audience being addressed is beneath them on an educational level. Once again, it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever if that Elistist happens to be a politician, clergyman, businessman or even scientist. I've always observed intellect-speak purposefully used to make a subject matter incomprehensible to the average person, which I would assume is to stifle any questioning of their authority. The individual above in the forest photograph is, German Forester, Peter Wohllebenwho not long ago wrote a book which was meant to help the average person  more fully appreciate the uniqueness, complexity and sophistication with which nature is put together, irrespective of how anyone believes it originally got that way. He has taken flack from several intellectual Biologists for his usage of several simple common everyday words and expressions where using them as metaphors is meant to teach common folk, otherwise viewed as non-relevant by the present "Human are Non-Exceptionalism Movement." Seriously, you think I'm kidding ? Take this one paragraph about how unexceptional the human brain is from the journal Science Daily
"People need to drop the idea that the human brain is exceptional," said Vanderbilt University neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel, who directed the study. "Our brain is basically a primate brain. Because it is the largest primate brain, it does have one distinctive feature: It has the highest number of cortical neurons of any primate. Humans have 16 billion compared with 9 billion in gorillas and orangutans and six-to-seven billion in chimpanzees. It is remarkable, but it is not exceptional."
Yes, every so often we are treating to something so exquisitely stupid which turns up in a science journal and told this something apparently worth celebrating by those within the Scientific Orthodoxy. Ever hear of these imbecilic worldview debates called, "arguments from poor design" ? We now have 100+ years of enlightenment and technologies based on this worldview of poor designs found in Nature are apparently proof of evolution. This flawed thinking has brought us climate change, oceans dead zones, ecosystem destruction etc and apparently some responsible researchers are taking notice. For example there is now a push by some of these scientific researchers that mankind needs to copy the designs found out in nature. Unfortunately they are going up against a powerful Scientific Orthodoxy which has been pimping otherwise. In otherwords the official view is still that nature is badly designed. Yet, some are waking up to the secular transhumanist religiosity which has infected science resulting in the ruination of Earth's ecosystems through badly designed technology under the influence of lousy bad design arguments. 
Biomimicry: Streamlining Innovation for Ecologically Sustainable Products
But oddly enough there are others who also understand the important need of not talking down to people, but rather using simple illustrations which try and elevate the average person's knowledge of our natural world. They do so with dumping the usual intellect-speak. And they are not always appreciate by the elites who insist this does nothing but dumbing people down. Here are a few selected paragraphs from the interesting New York Times article:
"Mr. Wohlleben, 51, is a very tall career forest ranger who, with his ramrod posture and muted green uniform, looks a little like one of the sturdy beeches in the woods he cares for. Yet he is lately something of a sensation as a writer in Germany, a place where the forest has long played an outsize role in the cultural consciousness, in places like fairy tales, 20th-century philosophy, Nazi ideology and the birth of the modern environmental movement."
Seriously ?  Nazi Ideology in Forestry ? Exactly & the consequences for questioning the prevailing Scientific Orthodoxy with regards to anything they establish as "Settled Science" or "Consensus" hasn't changed! 
Industrial Forestry in 1930s Germany
Created by Yesteryears Forestry Intellectuals

After the publication in May of Mr. Wohlleben’s book, a surprise hit titled  "The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How they Communicate - Discoveries From a Secret World," the German forest is back in the spotlight. Since it first topped best-seller lists last year, Mr. Wohlleben has been spending more time on the media trail and less on the forest variety, making the case for a popular reimagination of trees, which, he says, contemporary society tends to look at as “organic robots” designed to produce oxygen and wood.
Notice the second part of the last sentence above which reveals how most people view forests in economic terms ? " . . contemporary society tends to look at as "organic robots" designed to produce oxygen and wood." There was an article in the online journal,, titled, What’s that Forest Worth? Disaster Assistance (finally!) Takes Nature into Account , which exposes the flaw of human thinking of a forest as having no more value than it's economic short term money making potential. Often times the human choice of what is considered beautiful in nature is almost identical. Plants are selected for color and form, aside from economic value. While other plants are rejected as having little economic or eye-appeal importance from a flawed human perspective. Imperfect human beings are drawn to eye candy and like real candy, while enjoyable in moderation, isn't exactly healthy in the long run. Take the  Chaparral plant community in mediterranean climates (California). These plants for decades have been demonized for being invasive even in their own natural habitat after wildfire. Often times reforestation programs are delayed because studies need to be done first after a wildfire event. Nature doesn't do studies, it is programmed to respond almost immediately in a disturbed landscape [not years]. When Foresters finally do move in, they find chaparral has moved in and therefore label the undesirable vegetation invasive competition which needs removal prior to tree planting. In ignorance, these forestry experts ignore the fact that Chaparral actually serves not as a competitor, but as Mother or Nurse Plants to Tree Seedlings. See the example 
Adenostoma fasciculatum (chamise or greasewood): Worthless Brush or potential Nurse Plant ???
Apparently this same warped view of Forests and other woodlands is prevalent in Germany as well. 
"PRESENTING scientific research and his own observations in highly anthropomorphic terms, the matter-of-fact Mr. Wohlleben has delighted readers and talk-show audiences alike with the news — long known to biologists — that trees in the forest are social beings. They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the “Wood Wide Web”; and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots."
“With his book, he changed the way I look at the forest forever,” Markus Lanz, a popular talk show host, said in an email. “Every time I walk through a beautiful woods, I think about it.”
"Though duly impressed with Mr. Wohlleben’s ability to capture the public’s attention, some German biologists question his use of words, like “talk” rather than the more standard “communicate,” to describe what goes on between trees in the forest."
"But this, says Mr. Wohlleben, who invites readers to imagine what a tree might feel when its bark tears (“Ouch!”), is exactly the point. “I use a very human language,” he explained. “Scientific language removes all the emotion, and people don’t understand it anymore. When I say, ‘Trees suckle their children,’ everyone knows immediately what I mean.”
"Still No. 1 on the Spiegel best-seller list for nonfiction, “Hidden Life” has sold 320,000 copies and has been optioned for translation in 19 countries (Canada’s Greystone Books will publish an English version in September). “It’s one of the biggest successes of the year,” said Denis Scheck, a German literary critic who praised the humble narrative style and the book’s ability to awaken in readers an intense, childlike curiosity about the workings of the world."

Ascension - Vibrant landscape expressive painting, looking up through
an Aspen tree forest in the mountains of New Mexico near Santa Fe
 from Johnathan Harris Fine Art 
"The popularity of “The Hidden Life of Trees,” Mr. Scheck added, says less about Germany than it does about modern life. People who spend most of their time in front of computers want to read about nature. “Germans are reputed to have a special relationship with the forest, but it’s kind of a cliché,” Mr. Scheck said. “Yes, there’s Hansel and Gretel, and, sure, if your marriage fails, you go for a long hike in the woods. But I don’t think Germans love their forest more than Swedes or Norwegians or Finns.”
 "MR. WOHLLEBEN traces his own love of the forest to his early childhood. Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s in Bonn, then the West German capital, he raised spiders and turtles, and liked playing outside more than any of his three siblings did. In high school, a generation of young, left-leaning teachers painted a dire picture of the world’s ecological future, and he decided it was his mission to help."
"He studied forestry, and began working for the state forestry administration in Rhineland-Palatinate in 1987. Later, as a young forester in charge of a 3,000-odd acre woodlot in the Eifel region, about an hour outside Cologne, he felled old trees and sprayed logs with insecticides. But he did not feel good about it: “I thought, ‘What am I doing? I’m making everything kaput.’ ”
To stop and interject a thought here, I think many people who have pursued an interest in something they loved like Forestry or even commercial landscaping like myself, have at one point questioned themselves when it came to unsustainable environmental  destroying conventional maintenance practices. I know I did when it came to synthetic insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and synthetic fertilizers. Once you discover how nature has actually operated successfully for countless 10s of 1000s of years prior to the 1950s business motivated "Green Revolution" , then you realize that something more in the way of a big change is desperately needed. 
"Reading up on the behavior of trees — a topic he learned little about in forestry school — he found that, in nature, trees operate less like individuals and more as communal beings. Working together in networks and sharing resources, they increase their resistance."
"By artificially spacing out trees, the plantation forests that make up most of Germany’s woods ensure that trees get more sunlight and grow faster. But, naturalists say, creating too much space between trees can disconnect them from their networks, stymieing some of their inborn resilience mechanisms."
Yup, sure enough. The prevailing Scientific Orthodoxy which backs Industrial Forestry and various sectors of responsible Science which discovers incredible mutualistic mechanisms are polar opposites of each other. Sadly, only one has the power and money behind them to push economic agendas and the other limps along on whatever non-commercial grant funding they can obtain from generous sources who actually care. 
"Intrigued, Mr. Wohlleben began investigating alternate approaches to forestry. Visiting a handful of private forests in Switzerland and Germany, he was impressed. “They had really thick, old trees,” he said. “They treated their forest much more lovingly, and the wood they produced was more valuable. In one forest, they said, when they wanted to buy a car, they cut two trees. For us, at the time, two trees would buy you a pizza.”
"Back in the Eifel in 2002, Mr. Wohlleben set aside a section of “burial woods,” where people could bury cremated loved ones under 200-year-old trees with a plaque bearing their names, bringing in revenue without harvesting any wood. The project was financially successful. But, Mr. Wohlleben said, his bosses were unhappy with his unorthodox activities. He wanted to go further — for example, replacing heavy logging machinery, which damages forest soil, with horses — but could not get permission."
"After a decade of struggling with his higher-ups, he decided to quit. “I consulted with my family first,” said Mr. Wohlleben, who is married and has two children. Though it meant giving up the ironclad security of employment as a German civil servant, “I just thought, ‘I cannot do this the rest of my life.’”
"The family planned to emigrate to Sweden. But it turned out that Mr. Wohlleben had won over the forest’s municipal owners." So, 10 years ago, the municipality took a chance. It ended its contract with the state forestry administration, and hired Mr. Wohlleben directly. He brought in horses, eliminated insecticides and began experimenting with letting the woods grow wilder. Within two years, the forest went from loss to profit, in part by eliminating expensive machinery and chemicals."
"Despite his successes, in 2009 Mr. Wohlleben started having panic attacks. “I kept thinking, ‘Ah! You only have 20 years, and you still have to accomplish this, and this, and that.’” He began therapy, to treat burnout and depression. It helped. “I learned to be happy about what I’ve done so far,” he said. “With a forest, you have to think in terms of 200 or 300 years. I learned to accept that I can’t do everything. Nobody can.”
Photo Image from Wikipedia
The Crooked Forest (Polish: Krzywy Las), is a grove of oddly-shaped pine trees located outside Nowe Czarnowo, West Pomerania, Poland. To an Industrial Science Forester these trees are worthless in terms of economic value. But to the average common not so exceptional human being they are brilliant works of Art.
"He wanted to write “The Hidden Life of Trees” to show laypeople how great trees are. Stopping to consider a tree that rose up straight then curved like a question mark, Mr. Wohlleben said, however, that it was the untrained perspective of visitors he took on forest tours years ago to which he owed much insight."
“For a forester, this tree is ugly, because it is crooked, which means you can’t get very much money for the wood,” he said. “It really surprised me, walking through the forest, when people called a tree like this one beautiful. They said, ‘My life hasn’t always run in a straight line, either.’ And I began to see things with new eyes.”

Back in the 20th Century there was another Forester from a similar cultural background as Peter Wohlleben, an Austrian Forester and self-taught physicist, Viktor Schauberger, often ran into brick walls with the prevailing intellectual elites of the 1930s German ideological mindset. Both men came to their conclusions based on observation of natural phenomena found in the great outdoors. As Viktor Schauberger experienced, Wohlleben experiences the same thing with biologists bent on demonizing anything outside of their worldview of things. So with Schauberger it was the conventional Physicist and Wohlleben it is the conventional Biologist. Many of today's modern scientists are committed to the business interests of the Corporate entities who employ them. When called on the carpet for fraud or other less than honest behaviour, most will cop out with  a good old Nuremburg Defense plea of, "We were just following orders." I live in Europe and have traveled through many forests here. Most are artficial industrial plantations which reveal little of the old natural old growth characterisitics Peter referenced in this article. Much of the diversity of life is sadly missing in most of these European areas.

I also sympathize with Peter Wohlleben's reasons for anxiety as a result of not having enough time to learn and accomplish all that he wishes to do in sustainable forestry. More people probably relate to this more than he may think, since especially outdoor enthusiasts feel similar identical feelings of aging frustration when there is so much more to life than this pathetic bubble of a lifespan of 70 to 80 years average. Add to the fact that the misuse and abuses of science and technology are actually responsbile for accelerating the reverse engineering of our natural world, time is quickly running out to reverse things. The dismantling is evident in the change and disruption of climate mechanisms all over the globe and even an illiterate person of limited education is capable of observing such disastrous changes because many are people who farm the land and dependent on stable seasonal phenomena. Incredibly many well educated university ideologues refuse to see this and claim to have the science on their side. Industrial celebrity darlings like Patrick Moore, Henry Miller and Mischa Popoff come to mind. Something is clearly going wrong with our planet's natural systems. 

For those interested, I've found an updated 2002 version on a PDF of Swedish Author, Olof Alexandersson's book on Schauberger's life and researchcalled "Living Water." It a fun read and does not seem to have the spelling errors in English that the original version.

There are a couple of major blunders Biologists (not all) have been promoting for decades which have held science back. One major flawed has been the dogma used in these stupid time wasting debates about life's origins and proof of no designer called,       "Argument from Poor Design."  This has done more harm in hindering scientific understandng and indoctrinated the average human being in the industrial world to disrespect Nature more than anything else. There is absolutely no scientific experiment to come to the conclusions these religiously driven secular ideologues insist. The has allowed a montrous Biotech Industry to redesign nature in the vision they perceive it should be corrected (for profit of course) and we are all now paying the price for this. Commercial Urban Landscaping, Commercial Agriculture and Home Gardening all should be replicating where Nature does in the wild for promoting product and at the same time creating balance in pest control. The other doctrine which has killed our general understanding of Nature have been a flawed outdated Victorian Era dogma called, "Survival of the Fittest." This was an Imperialistic 19th century concept of human society, inspired by the principle of natural selection, postulating that those who are eliminated in the struggle for existence are the unfit. The reality of course is that this religious dogma was used to justify white European nations occupying foreign soil and promoting their dominance over what they perceived as primitive inferior cultures. But it also backfired in that it provided a degraded worldview of Nature itself. Only now are many in the scientific community beinging to appreciate that all along, Nature has actually been developed and maintained through'
 "Survival of the Mutually Cooperative."              
Something horrendously catastrophic (ecologically speaking) is clearly headed this way like the proverbial asteroid hitting the Earth. Most people will be caught unaware as they take no note of the degrading conditions around them. However, there are some thing people can do. Get outdoors. Today there is loads of activism for every kind of cause imaginable, and none of it bringing any unity. Ever notice house organizations target the young people to get involved ? This is because youth are vulnerable, lack a record of good life experience and they are the most impressionalbe. That doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing, only if the people pushing the cause are credible adults as well as their cause. Parents should be well aware of this and if school systems are unwilling to teach young ones appreciation for the natural world, then it's the parent's responsibility. Of course how well has that been working for us ? Once grown up and older, even former activists become burned out and apathetic. As individuals everyone has free choise to decide for themselves which direction they will take for themselves and their children. On that note I'll leave here on a bit of a humorous note below.

It's ultimately a parents job to instruct kids about morality and being good land stewards regading Nature. Not the State. 

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