There is hope in honest error; none in the icy perfections of the mere stylist.
- J. D. Sedding
"Complexity itself can be deceiving. Biogenic complexity constrains entropy flows with checks and balances. What we take to be man-made artificial complexity (technology) is, paradoxically, a simplification process that increases flows by editing away inefficiencies. The ecology of a prairie will keep the soil active and healthy indefinitely, while the ecology of a fossil-fuel-subsidized cornfield will leach the soil of useful nutrients and physically erode it in less than a human lifetime. The ecology of a pond, with its diverse hierarchies of life and multitude of biological niches and food chains, is much more complex than the Crown Point, New York, trout hatchery with its monoculture of fish, its inputs of manufactured fish food, and its staff of attendants cleaning waste out of the cement hatchery impoundments. The natural pond also has more chance of continuing indefinitely into the future. The built-in constraints of inefficient biogenic economies reduce the flow of potential, often to the point where systems based on inefficient economies last for geologic epochs, not just a few decades in the case of a fish hatchery. Everything that we identify with nature takes the form of inefficient systems. Biogenic or living systems are self-stabilizing. They are self-buffered. Small differences are dampened out. Entropy is stalled within them. They exhibit negative feedback tending toward long-term stability. Call this condition “negative entropy.” Everything we identify with the man-made substitutes for natural bioeconomies, that is, technologies, tends toward positive feedback, which is self-amplifying, self-reinforcing, and destabilizing, featuring the removal of constraints to entropy flows and leading to the certain eventual destruction of that system. Call this condition “positive entropy."
"The manipulated people in modern cities must be fed, and feeding them involves an extension of industrial farming. Food plants must be cultivated in a manner that allows for a high degree of mechanization — not to reduce human toil but to increase productivity and efficiency, to maximize investments, and to exploit the biosphere. Accordingly, the terrain must be reduced to a flat plain — to a factory floor, if you will — and natural variations in topography must be diminished as much as possible. Plant growth must be closely regulated to meet the tight schedules of food-processing plants. Plowing, soil fertilization, sowing, and harvesting must be handled on a mass scale, often in total disregard of the natural ecology of an area. Large areas of land must be used to cultivate a single crop — a form of plantation agriculture that lends itself not only to mechanization but also to pest infestation. A single crop is the ideal environment for the proliferation of pest species. Finally, chemical agents must be used lavishly to deal with the problems created by insects, weeds, and plant diseases, to regulate crop production, and to maximize soil exploitation. The real symbol of agriculture is not the sickle (or for that matter the tractor) but the airplane. The modern food cultivator is represented not by the peasant, yeoman, or even the agronomist — men who could be expected to have an intimate relationship with the unique qualities of the land on which they grow crops — but the pilot and chemist, for whom soil is a mere resource, an inorganic raw material."
"As you can probably tell, my background in revolutionary theory comes from Marxism, which I consider to be a brilliant critique of capitalism. But as to what should be implemented in capitalism’s place, I don’t think Marxism has shown us the answer. One of the reasons for this, I believe, is that communism, socialism, and all other left ideologies that I know of speak only about redistributing the spoils of raping the earth more evenly among classes of humans. They do not even address the relationship of the society to the earth, Or rather, they assume that it will stay the same as it is under capitalism - that of a gluttonous consumer. And that the purpose of the revolution is to find a more efficient and egalitarian way to produce and distribute consumer goods.
This total disregard of nature as a life force, rather than just a source of raw materials, allowed Marxist states to rush to industrialize without even the most meager environmental safeguards. This has resulted in such noted disasters as the meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the oil spill in the Arctic Ocean, and the ongoing liquidation of the fragile forests of Siberia. It has left parts of Russia and Eastern Europe with such a toxic legacy that vast areas are now uninhabitable. Marx stated that the primary contradiction in industrial society is the contradiction between capital and labor. I believe these disasters show that there is an equally important contradiction between industrial society and the earth."