Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Sunday, October 11, 2015

What Is Agrilogistics?

It's an agricultural program that has been running without much change--only upgrades to more intense versions of itself--since about 10 000BC, when it began at the start of the (warmer) Holocene.

The basic elements of the program are: settle down (stop hunter gathering), farm grains.

There is an implicit logic to this program. Sometimes it's directly stated, sometimes it emerges from how the program executes:

1. The law of noncontradiction is inviolable.
2. To exist is to be constantly present.
3. More existing is better than any quality of existing.

When left to run for 12 000 years, agrilogistics successfully illustrates the flaws in this logic: it generates the global warming that it was designed to avoid, causing mass extinction.

A survival paradox emerges: the attempt to survive at any cost no matter what the appearances are (how the logical axioms pan out) is precisely the dynamic of murder-suicide. Agrilogistical machination is an example of what Freud calls death drive.

Exhibit A: in the New York Times. We've successfully bred the bitter taste out of grains, with the result that they are supremely unhealthy. The breeding of the biggest, juiciest, sweetest grains has eliminated biodiversity and has resulted in a more-than-ironic unintended consequence. Thanks Cliff (again!).

We know from food science that newborn babies make the “bitter” wincing face when they taste something bitter.

“Bitter” is a warning light: this substance could be poisonous in sufficient quantities. Think of how hard wired that is. Cyanide, which is required for life to evolve, tastes bitter in its common form (just try an almond or an apple pip).

Bitter is the taste of tannins. In small quantities, tannins are very helpful at diminishing cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and diabetes.

The attempt to avoid death results in death: precisely, the death drive, a maniacal urge to live (to diminish stimulation) that ends up being self-destructive.

It's like: you eat McDonalds to avoid the taste of bitter or sour. Then you die more quickly.


D. E.M. said...

This program is voraciousness itself, swallowing up everything in its path & releasing its pesticide-laden feces into the ocean.
We need to be viruses inside this system, knocking it out from the inside as much as possible.
At least that's how I'm going out, as a virus of their own making....

James B said...

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ― Rumi