If Survival+ deepens and adds to your understanding of the current socioeconomic structures (ERE#Chapter2), then The Ecotechnic Future (written by John Michael Greer, the guy behind The Archdruid Report) will deepen your understanding of the role of succession (ERE#Chapter3) in how cultures evolve. Note that TEF and ERE uses succession in different ways. ERE is [as usual] focused on the individual level and pursues a bottom-up understanding of what actually creates the culture. TEF seems to focus more on a top-down understanding. Both approaches complement each other.

An interesting concept that gets introduced in TEF is scarcity industrialism. This is a form of industrialism that works on the decomposition of consumerism repairing broken things or repurposing them. For examples, the book considers steel girders from buildings as a raw material for black smithing. I’m right onto that. One of the ongoing suggestions of ERE is taking up some form of repair/maintenance. For instance, I repair bicycles. It should be kept in mind that learning skills alone is no good. I can have the right tools and the right skills, but there wouldn’t be any way for me to repair a broken brake if I didn’t also keep a store of brake cables and brake housing on hand.

This starts with the household economy. As many are beginning to note, your first steps should start at home. If we combine this with the idea of “cultural conservers” this is also something that plays well into the ERE concept. Many people (myself included) have little idea of how to live (also see ERE#Section4.1). Instead we have split our culture into product, profession, and process(*). What we want to preserve is the process, the tacit knowledge of doing things. For instance, Roman pottery was once mass produced globalized (on a continental scale) and found outside the empire. Two hundred years later, even kings did not own pottery as good as what was used by common households earlier on. Apparently the UK lost use of the pottery wheel. This is the risk when culture is turned into a profession.

(*) TEF discusses this in the concept of science, but I think it goes deeper than that. For science, consider that it is more nuanced that it is typically described. For a few people it is a profession; a fairly narrow subject they deal with on a professional basis. For most people, including the scientists, it is a product: a tangible product, an equation in a book, an answer. Very few people think of science as a process that governs how they think about the world: observation, hypothesis, theory.

TEF also makes a point out of R-selected and K-selected species. This is something I wanted to elaborate further on in the ERE book, but I decided to drop it. The book is worth reading just for this discussion. ERE is neither R-selected or K-selected. I suspect, the R-K axis is too one-dimensional to fully capture ERE.

It also touches briefly on ecosophy which is a more integrated way of looking at nature. For more on this, I think Bateson is your best bet (see booklist).

I think on point where ERE can be helpful to many of these concerns is that it liberates the time and resources to do something. Many people are either dependent on a job, or they are tied down/locked into supporting large amounts of stuff and debt liabilities which makes it hard to do anything further than complain about things on the interwebs. It would be ironic indeed if the world descends into a second dark age with a bunch of solutions written on hard disks and internet servers which are going to be unreadable within a couple of decades due to software rot.

Originally posted 2010-11-01 23:05:35.