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Author Topic: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism  (Read 2629 times)

Yei

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #60 on: July 16, 2019, 01:10:25 am »
Which maize are you referring to? Heirloom varieties, the original grass plant or modern corn. Most, if not all of them rely on wind for pollination. The shedding of kernels is usually done by wildlife like deer. Modern corn, especially gmo is not great at germination, but it still happens without human interference. Before Gmo and the spraying of roundup, a lot of seed corn was more carefully pollinated to prevent cross pollination. I have seen a lot of corn planted, grown, and harvested, not once were the kernels soaked or even received having been soaked. I have also seen a lot of corn the following year growing in bean fields and ditches. That being said, it still leaves it altered through selective breeding and now actively genetically modifying it. Seed corn tends to be pink or purple if it is GMO.

I was specifically referring to agricultural maize, as 'wild' varieties are more commonly referred to as teosinte, and the two plants bear such little resemblance to each other that they might as well be different plants.

I'm not sure why you are mentioning pollination, since I used the terms propagation and germination, not pollination.

I can't speak to the specific fields you have witnessed, but there could be many possible explanations. It is possible that the seeds were pre-treated and you just didn't know, or that the soil was moist enough to facilitate germination anyway. The maize you saw growing the next year may have been planted at a later date. I don't know, because I have no knowledge of the fields in question. And, while animals can sometimes spread viable maize seeds, this is definitely uncommon and maize could not survive as a type of plant relying on this form of propagation. In retrospect, I probably should have added a disclaimer onto my last post, noting a few exceptions may exist. But they don't contradict the general rule that maize as a 'species' is dependent on humans.


Klaw

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #61 on: July 16, 2019, 07:09:23 am »
I was specifically referring to agricultural maize, as 'wild' varieties are more commonly referred to as teosinte, and the two plants bear such little resemblance to each other that they might as well be different plants.

I'm not sure why you are mentioning pollination, since I used the terms propagation and germination, not pollination.

This isn't just fields I have witnessed. I grew on said farm, worked on farm and still have my father and uncle working fields. There is little I don't know about field corn.

Pollination is part of propagation. As far as germination is concerned, unless the seeds can be soaked and then redried for a planter it isn't happening. The left over corn found in soybean fields and ditches were defiantly not planted. I am just trying to understand where you got this information, or if it is about a fairly unsuccessful variety that came from the selective breeding. I know without doubt that both sweet corn and field corn do not need this intervention or farmers across America would be bankrupt.

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #62 on: July 16, 2019, 07:19:32 am »
Pollination is part of propagation.

I just thought I would add some clarity. I was responding to propagation from the perspective of plants reproducing in the wild.

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #63 on: July 16, 2019, 06:21:32 pm »
But they don't contradict the general rule that maize as a 'species' is dependent on humans.

There's also that maize ears are completely enclosed by a husk, unlike most other grains. That's bound to be an obstacle to seed dispersion without assistance.

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #64 on: July 16, 2019, 06:31:26 pm »
This isn't just fields I have witnessed. I grew on said farm, worked on farm and still have my father and uncle working fields. There is little I don't know about field corn.

Pollination is part of propagation. As far as germination is concerned, unless the seeds can be soaked and then redried for a planter it isn't happening. The left over corn found in soybean fields and ditches were defiantly not planted. I am just trying to understand where you got this information, or if it is about a fairly unsuccessful variety that came from the selective breeding. I know without doubt that both sweet corn and field corn do not need this intervention or farmers across America would be bankrupt.

You grew up growing maize? Guess what, so did I. I do not ever recall one any maize growing wild from our plantings. Granted, it was a long time ago, so I looked this up. I couldn't find any information saying that maize could grow wild, outside of occasional circumstances. In fact, all the notes I found said the opposite, that it was extremely rare for maize to germinate without human help.

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #65 on: July 16, 2019, 06:45:56 pm »
You grew up growing maize? Guess what, so did I. I do not ever recall one any maize growing wild from our plantings. Granted, it was a long time ago, so I looked this up. I couldn't find any information saying that maize could grow wild, outside of occasional circumstances. In fact, all the notes I found said the opposite, that it was extremely rare for maize to germinate without human help.

I am not going to argue this, all I know is what has gone on in the Midwest growing field corn my 44 years of life. Everything I have seen about it online says nothing about soaking or hand germination. I am sorry, but maybe you are talking about a different variety. The closest I could think of is the fields that are cross breeding seed corn to make hybrids of corn both resistant to disease and insects. When I was a kid we would have some fields where we walked beans and had to pull or chop down corn that had come up from the previous year. If for some reason you think I am lying I don't know what to tell you.

Donal2018

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #66 on: July 17, 2019, 01:54:22 pm »
The problem is that these definitions have very fuzzy edges. For example, a space station is obviously artificial. I don't think anyone will disagree with you on this one. But humans can also build lakes, forests, and even rivers. This can lead to a situation where we have two ecosystems that are effectively identical, but one is artificial and the other natural. We can also look at this through the perspective of agriculture. We'd define agriculture as artificial right? Well plants are natural, and a few animals also practice agriculture. There are forms of farming that mimic parts of natural ecosystems, sometimes so closely that the two are difficult to distinguish at first glance. Large parts of the Amazon rainforest, including some soils, were built by humans, yet people often consider the jungle to be a 'pristine' environment. So are farms 'artificial' or not?

What about natural ecosystems which humans modify, either through logging, pollution, or through regulation? How much human interference is needed before a natural environment can be considered artificial? Do we consider maize to be natural, or artificial? It is a plant, purely biological, but can only propagate with human help. What about avocados, which also need humans to propagate effectively? Do we count these plants as artificial?

And how do we deal with the converse? What happens when an artificial environment becomes invaded by nature? Be it a backyard garden full of insects, or an apartment building that becomes a giant bird nest. Is there a point where something can switch from being 'artificial' to being 'natural'?

My ultimate points is, what is the foundation of your definitions? Not the definitions themselves, but the perspective you use to frame their scope. For example, is the distinction about an objects origins (artificial built by humans)? Is it about a particular relationship with humans, with human use and modification making something 'artificial'? Note also, that one of these definitions makes natural/artificial intrinsic, and the other conditional. Both also look at objects at different scopes. The first might be applied to individual objects, while the second might be best for ecosystems. Either can be very useful in certain circumstances, but as you might have guessed, have flaws. So, perhaps the best resolution would be to have several definitions for natural and artificial, and apply them to the situations where each would be best applied, while recognising that there will always be some fuzzy edges.

One last complication, is that people sometimes use the idea of as natural to mean something occurring within normal expectations. Conversely, unnatural (though, not necessarily artificial) is used to mean unexpected, or outside of normal conduct. For example, one argument against homosexuality is that it is 'unnatural.' Of course, it is perfectly natural. However, it wasn't commonly acknowledged and so appeared to be stranger and outside of normal experience than it really was. As homosexuality has become more socially acceptable and depicted more frequently, such claims have become less and less common. Not an essential part of this discussion, but worth keeping in mind.

[belated response, been busy]

This issue of human modified ecosystems is tricky. You are right that some definitions are fuzzy. I don't know if I have good answer to your post. Maybe a partial solution is looking at the difference between Nature and the Artificial as a continuum rather that two discrete categories with no overlap.

So, maybe a pristine ecosystem is more natural, whereas a human modified ecosystem is less natural, but not as artificial as an urban or built environment. An artificial lake is not as natural as a naturally occurring lake, but both are more natural that a pit filled with chemical or nuclear waste. So, a continuum. More natural to less natural to more artificial. I don't know if that description helps you, but it was what I could come up with.

Are farms natural? I think that they are natural systems that have been modified by human activity. So again, they are a mix of natural systems and human modified systems. A field full of solar panels is maybe less natural than a field full of corn. It might be a matter of degrees.

As far as artificial systems returning to a more natural state, such as birds nesting in a building or plants growing over some concrete, again, it might be helpful to think of the term natural having degrees or a continuum. An abandoned house that has turned into a den for feral cats is maybe more natural than an home that is free of wild animals. We actually have this sort of problem in my city, where run down or abandoned homes get taken over by nature and animals, birds, cats, mice, etc.. It is sort of about nature reclaiming parts of a city.

Your idea for using different definitions for different circumstances makes sense. I just sometimes get some cognitive dissonance when I have multiple definitions competing in my head. Your point about the difference between objects and ecosystems is well taken. I think the term "modified" is better than the term "artificial" for man-made lakes, farms, and other systems changed by human activities. They use natural things such as water, earth, and plants. Again, a field of corn might be a modified natural system, but is more natural than say a field of solar panels, or a landfill.

Donal2018

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #67 on: July 17, 2019, 02:32:59 pm »
One last complication, is that people sometimes use the idea of as natural to mean something occurring within normal expectations. Conversely, unnatural (though, not necessarily artificial) is used to mean unexpected, or outside of normal conduct. For example, one argument against homosexuality is that it is 'unnatural.' Of course, it is perfectly natural. However, it wasn't commonly acknowledged and so appeared to be stranger and outside of normal experience than it really was. As homosexuality has become more socially acceptable and depicted more frequently, such claims have become less and less common. Not an essential part of this discussion, but worth keeping in mind.

Yes, you are right. It is a different issue from the main one we have been talking about, but it is an important issue in itself. I think that is a case of a different use (or misuse) of the term "unnatural" by certain factions in our society (some extreme conservatives, for example). Cultural norms do not necessarily reflect what occurs in nature. I think that most reasonable people would agree that homosexuality is part of the "normal" human spectrum of sexuality. Homosexuality also occurs amongst animal populations. So, these things are natural, not unnatural.

As I said, I think that some cultural factions (conservatives) might misuse the term "unnatural', but this has to do with a cultural norm and not a reflection about what actually occurs in nature (including human nature). Fortunately much progress has been made in our society in recognizing that homosexuality is a normal part of human behavior.

Cultural norms from say the 1950s are much different than cultural norms in the early 21st Century today. The misuse of the term "unnatural' to describe normal human sexual behavior is, I think, not as common anymore. This even as some conservative parts of society begin to respect the human and civil rights of gay people.

More progress must be made, but we are certainly further along than we were since, say, the mid-20th Century. So, this misuse of the term "unnatural" is reflective of an old cultural norm that is hopefully dying out, and does not accurately reflect what actually occurs in "nature", human or otherwise.

[edits for spelling and readability]
« Last Edit: July 17, 2019, 02:36:37 pm by Donal2018 »

Yei

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #68 on: July 17, 2019, 06:17:38 pm »
I am not going to argue this, all I know is what has gone on in the Midwest growing field corn my 44 years of life. Everything I have seen about it online says nothing about soaking or hand germination. I am sorry, but maybe you are talking about a different variety. The closest I could think of is the fields that are cross breeding seed corn to make hybrids of corn both resistant to disease and insects. When I was a kid we would have some fields where we walked beans and had to pull or chop down corn that had come up from the previous year. If for some reason you think I am lying I don't know what to tell you.

I'm not saying you are a liar, I'm saying there may be a few pieces of information/context that you have forgotten, which would explain why we have different approach.

First, I looked up on Google, 'do maize seeds require soaking before planting' and I found several entries recommending that soaking be performed immediately prior to planting. I also found out that other seeds can also be soaked, allegedly to assist in germination. However, I few people on a forum I found said that they did not soak, but instead watered their field immediately. Also, modern planting systems can also alleviate the need (presumably with modern seeds) to pre-soak the seeds. This would explain why I consider soaking to be an important point. My perspective is focused on small-scale garden farming conducted by hand, where the practise would be effective.

As for 'wild' maize. I looked up 'can corn grow in the wild' and found that some maize seeds can indeed grow in a field after the harvest, the species cannot be propagated this way, and would eventually die out. So I don't think you are wrong, you are just looking at the issue in a slightly different way. I'm looking at it from a species wide perspective, while you are looking at what can happen to individual plants in specific fields.

Eastling

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #69 on: July 17, 2019, 06:26:23 pm »
I did a cursory search for Technopaganism but did not turn anything up that was recent. I am interested to know how one reconciles Technology, Science, Civilization and the Built Environment with Paganisms. The Neo-Pagan focus on Nature as Sacred seems to be a prime characteristic of most Paganisms. How do we add Technology and Built Civilization to that schema?

I worship the apotheosis of a man who leapt to godhood via vinyl, so for my path no "reconciliation" is needed. Technology is just another tool for mortals and gods alike, liable to be used either for or against the sacred order of the cosmos.
"The peacock can show its whole tail at once, but I can only tell you a story."
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Klaw

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #70 on: July 17, 2019, 07:10:50 pm »
I'm not saying you are a liar, I'm saying there may be a few pieces of information/context that you have forgotten, which would explain why we have different approach.


Different variety than field corn. At the very least this has given my mother a good laugh. You can't plant a thousand acres if they have to be soaked. When field corn is dry and ready to harvest the kernels are loose and the husks dry and reveal the corn. The animals eat husks, kernels and cobs. Field corn is predominately used to feed livestock, and for ethanol. A small percentage goes to highly processed foods like corn syrup or cereal grain.

In some cases the entire plant is harvested early before it dries. This is stored under tarps and fed to livestock. Sometimes it is left to ferment a bit. It is called silage. This is the last post I will put on here because it just isn't worth it. There is no chance of forgetting because the farm and weather are all Dad will talk about.

Klaw

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #71 on: July 17, 2019, 07:28:23 pm »
I'm not saying you are a liar, I'm saying there may be a few pieces of information/context that you have forgotten, which would explain why we have different approach.

One more thing, I looked up your search. It comes up sweet corn, not field corn. Huge difference. Also, every page I saw was for gardening, not for large acre fields. It also said soaking gave it a better chance to grow, but wasn't necessary.

Altair

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #72 on: July 17, 2019, 11:35:10 pm »
This issue of human modified ecosystems is tricky. You are right that some definitions are fuzzy. I don't know if I have good answer to your post. Maybe a partial solution is looking at the difference between Nature and the Artificial as a continuum rather that two discrete categories with no overlap.

Would it facilitate the discussion to substitute the term "man-made" for "unnatural"? There'd still be the spectrum you discussed, but you'd sidestep the whole "everything is natural" point.

To come back to one of your earlier posts: We share similar origins. I was born in Manhattan, raised on Long Island; I've grown to love the Hudson Valley/Catskills region from much time spent there. But I live in the dense urban landscape of Manhattan, for some 35 years now. I connect with nature in several ways:

--Intellectually. This is where "everything is natural" helps me. By recognizing human activity and creations as just a special case in line with how other species shape the environment, I can situate myself in the natural world intellectually even here in the midst of metropolis

--The Micro/Macro Mind Flip. Signs of a non-man-made environment can be scarce in the city, unless you look high and low, literally. I connect with the sky, the sun, moon, and stars, the clouds...the big phenomena of the heavens that are with us regardless of the urban environment. Conversely, I'll zero in on the bugs that are about, the bacteria I know are in me, on me, and all around me, cityscape or no

--City parks. a godsend.

--Gardening. I'm lucky enough to have a garden, and it makes a huge difference. I think even working with a potted plant on a windowsill would help.

All of that said, I get up into the Catskills (or for that matter, to the beaches of the Island) and I'm blown away anew by the scope and grandeur of a less-man-influenced environment. So my strategies help, but are no substitute for a getaway the wild (or wild-like) spaces.

On a related note, I strive in my volunteer activities to make NYC a greener place. But I also have a growing recognition that the dense urban living results in a much smaller per capita carbon footprint and, as more people live in the city core, better habitat (because of less urban sprawl) just beyond the city. I resist making NYC a denser city, and yet that may be the better thing for the natural environment overall.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2019, 11:36:47 pm by Altair »
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #73 on: July 18, 2019, 01:05:52 pm »
--The Micro/Macro Mind Flip. Signs of a non-man-made environment can be scarce in the city, unless you look high and low, literally. I connect with the sky, the sun, moon, and stars, the clouds...the big phenomena of the heavens that are with us regardless of the urban environment. Conversely, I'll zero in on the bugs that are about, the bacteria I know are in me, on me, and all around me, cityscape or no

I can't believe you - you - wrote this without pausing mid-flip to mention birds.

Sunflower
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Klaw

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #74 on: July 18, 2019, 01:10:16 pm »
I can't believe you - you - wrote this without pausing mid-flip to mention birds.
Sunflower

lol that made me giggle.

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