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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

decisions



Introducing my venus fly trap, the recent addition to the windowsill ecology in my flat. So far it has consumed ants, a couple of flies and even a spider which may have been persuaded gently to venture across one of the treacherous traps.

Providing a controlled environment for our windowsill ecology would seem fairly easy but as I have recently found it seems that it's the 'control' of the environment that throws everything into possible chaos. One way to control ants in a flat is for people to not leave food scraps lying around, easy for some and somehow not so easy for others, now we have ants. So cleaning up I find some ant poison which I squeeze into a convienient container and then hours later the ants are carrying the poison back to their home, ruthless I know. The next day I notice that my exceptionally keen hunter of a fly trap has, yes you're right, sneared some ants. Now I am faced with some questions and choices to make, were those particular ants carrying poison, do I now chop off the arm of the venus fly trap, will the venus survive, do I just wait and observe the ensuing carnage as a lesson for messing with nature?

Though this may have seemed a cheesy example, how often do we make uninformed decisions as an immediate response to a problem, lets face it the ants are doing me a favour, they are carrying away the food scaps that have been left out, and are very tidy ordered creatures which some people could learn alot from. So my own rationale for wiping out an entire colony of tiny creatures because some large creature is messy, hardly seems fair, never mind the possible chaotic domino effect on the rest of the local environment.
When it comes to sitting down and really considering my options to remove the ants as quickly as possible I reached for the poison because it was there, it was available. Surely if someone had gone to the trouble to design the packaging and provide clear instructions then it must be the best solution. Perhaps this is what my subconscious was thinking. Or it happened because I had seen it done before and considered it my only option.
To be honest the decision wasn't very considered, and given the chance to sit down and think it over would have had different outcomes, but not necessarily new outcomes that I wouldn't expect either, I'm pretty sure I already know what I would have done different, so yes ashamedly you could call it careless decision making.
The fact that I already know what my 'other' decision would have been is easy to say in hindsight, but funnily enough alot of the time when we have a decision to make or are indecisive we interestingly enough don't surprise ourselves with the final outcome. Talking about decision making during the week and how most of the time if you result in flipping a coin you'll find you're wishing it to be one side over the other, or changing it to best of three to get a different result after seeing the first decision.
Maybe because we've already decided.
Which could mean that the interesting part is figuring out why we made that decision, what educated us to do so. Here's an interesting (but exceptionally boring) clip on how the brain works in regards to decision making. (They need to learn something from TED talks).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

writing


There's something very concluding about writing thoughts down as opposed to letting them drift past without recording them in any cohesive manner. And if I'm really honest, they sometimes sound like shit when I write them down. Maybe that's the brilliance of blogging, it's like a filter which helps straighten out my own thoughts which sometimes turn out to be very unresolved, but this is a process which helps form them into something I am able to better articulate later on.

At this stage - yes i am wanting this project to expand my own knowledge of sustainability and what it looks like for me, and on the other hand i want to make really nice surfboards. So both of these things are combined to make my project. But seeing as sustainability is something that reaches into every pocket of my life, it makes it hard to just pin the focus on surfing, which is a large pocket nonetheless. So I find myself thinking about what veges to buy = seasonal, what shop I'm gonna buy them from = maybe a market somewhere, how I'm going to cook them = or eat them fresh? So many choices are made everyday which most of the time are done by a gut feeling with a little knowledge/wisdom which has managed to filter through. These conscious choices are linked to my exploration of design and sustainability, because the subject itself is a prominent discussion throughout the western world. Current discussions include the "impact of humanity upon supporting ecosystems, the potential for behaviour modification based on consciousness research and the impact of technology upon the fundamental dynamics of human consciousness itself". All of which are based around - human nature. But then, what is human nature? The term itself eludes to the fact that it must be based around a set of characteristics or 'things we tend to do' which define us as humans. Is it the presence of these characteristics that we are interested in this discussion, that ultimately humans have the ability to care, show empathy, compassion etc? How does this develop, does this come from a spiritual component? I just found some text which makes some interesting reading...The 2005 World Sustainable Building Conference,
Tokyo,

- ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE DESIGN THROUGH REFLECTIVE PRACTICE

Amongst those engaged in thinking through the extent of the current ecological crisis there is overwhelming consensus that reclamation of human nature’s spiritual / biological nexus is a fundamental prerequisite for rehabilitation (see for example Naess 1986, 1989, 2002; Siu 1957; Capra 1983, 2002; Laszlo 1989, 1995;
Varela et al 1991; Suzuki 1997; Ricard & Trinh 2001). Characteristically such critiques start with a review of the cultural triggers that have given rise to contemporary Western culture. Therein they trace the cumulative effect upon the human psyche of the separation of mind and body in scientific, philosophical and religious thought. Such dialectical dualism is presented as significantly loosening the spiritual / biological nexus within human nature and to eventually giving rise to a homo-centric and ego-centric mind-set which, now armed with ever more powerful technologies, drives societal and environmental abuse.