Jul 28, 2022Liked by Farasha Euker

Farasha, I enjoy reading your chapters very much. Great, great passion.

A few disconnected remarks, off the top of my head. I'm currently writing about E. F. Schumacher, who shared some influences with you. Guénon, Schuon and Coomaraswamy were very important to him. On the technology question, he couldn't go with them completely, but his 'intermediate technology' idea was an attempted compromise between their idealistic position and the pressing need to improve the conditions of traditional communities under siege from modern development. If you're interested, on the metaphysical front, you'll find a good synopsis of Sch's position in the epilogue to his A Guide for the Perplexed.

You write about establishing communities in retreat from the modern world. Gandhi's ashram provided a model of this kind, no? Gandhi, via Coomaraswamy, Joseph Kumarappa and Richard Gregg, was important for Schumacher.

Finally, reading you on modern medicine, I'm reminded of the great Illich, whom you've surely read. Also, Jacques Ellul's The Technological Society presents the workings of 'la technique' in great detail, in a way that appears to me to complement Lawrence's account of the 'machine'. Elsewhere in his work, Ellul's response was, like that of several of those mentioned above, a religious/metaphysical one: prayer, fasting, contemplation and great scepticism when it came to embracing, not just technology, but the modern mindset.

I could go on, but that's enough for the moment. Thanks to you, I'm reading Sherrard. Keep up your good work.

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"humanity of today is like some mass-produced product from China"

What a wonderful image.

"If a person trains one muscle group, such as the biceps, while ignoring another group, such as the triceps, injury is bound to follow. This is what we are doing today. We are building up the rational faculties at an ever accelerating pace, but we are ignoring the soul"

This is a very Orthodox line of thought. Nominalism (via Scotus, Ockham, and Bacon) has put our rational thought processes on steroids, but steroids have side effects. Like physical steroids damaging our emotions; our rational-logical body(mind)building has damaged our spirit. Nominalism has made Western man Masters of the Universe, but has left him spiritually unable to appreciate the universe he commands.

I know your view is that man went wrong long before Ockham or Bacon though; correct me if I'm wrong, but the plow was essentially the end of our Edenic existence as far as you're concerned. As much as I have sympathy for this view, I can not fully accept it. It's fine to say "we ought to live like the ancient hunter-gatherers" in the abstract (as you do), but what about in concrete terms? Let me give you some examples.

My daughter was born at 26 weeks. You say the Machine is death, but without the modern technology of the Machine, my daughter would likely be dead.

I personally have chronic kidney stones. Without regular surgeries (minor but still surgical), I would live a life of excruciating pain that would eventually result in my death from kidney failure. In short, without the Machine, I am dead.

My grandparents lived in Mexico for many years. They had friends down there who were part of Borlaug's (I'm sure you would say misnamed) "green revolution" in farming. Mini remembers the change in diet which occurred. She remembers no longer having to worry about feeding her family. That's the Machine. The Machine resulted in her family not starving.

Your articles talk in terms of groups, but all the action is at the level of individuals. Last time you and I were talking about how to humanely eliminate billions of people. Think of this as a more personal and individual critique along the same lines. You talk about destroying the Machine so humanity can reclaim life. But that destruction would result in the real death of real people: myself, my daughter (were she born post-Machine), and Mini's family. Are these things acceptable collateral damage in your view? Or is there an alternative? Is the problem the lack of man's spiritual life, or is the problem modernity itself?

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