Alan Roberts [afriendofb]
How and why did you begin to be creative?
I think I've always been an observer/thinker kind of person. Creativity comes into play as I try to communicate what I see/think in a way that others will understand.
Your mind is your work tool. How do you take care of it?
I open it every day. The list of things I want to know about grows exponentially. I don't buy into diet and wonder drugs for helping my brain. Staying active, engaged, and always looking for something new to learn is the best thing one can do for the mind.
How do you avoid repeating yourself, or falling into formula? How do you stay fresh?
Stand in a new place, or on your head. Use different tools, media, hand, purpose. Mostly it's magic (or quantum mechanics if you are uncomfortable with magic.) You have to be open to new views, ideas, ways of seeing. You have to believe you can create in a way that touches the world and let that belief flow into your work. That's how you stay fresh.
Do you have a ritual like retiring to a lonely place from time to time to cleanse your mind?
I'm the stay at home parent with two homeschool kids, 12 goats, 50 chickens, cows, dogs, cats, horses, etc. There is no place to retire. I get up early, have a cup (or a pot) of coffee, meditate for 20 or 30 minutes, and that's it. I don't like "cleansing" my mind. I think of it more like a compost heap or a stock pot. All the disparate bits mouldering away in there are the grist for my creativity.
"To give birth to ideas." Is this only an expression, or are there really parallels between giving birth and creativity?
Creation takes bits from other places, puts them together in new ways. It involves effort, time, pain, and (in every project I've ever done) a bit of blood. The end is almost always overwhelming relief and joy. That's pretty much what I observed of the birthing process when my kids were born, and with the countless other creatures I've helped into the world.
Does spirituality contribute to your creativity?
Finding the magical, quantum, spiritual connection between idea and media is what creativity is about. Without that it would just be an activity to fill the time or get money.
It is possible to fall in love with a bad idea simply because it is yours. How do you avoid this?
Yes! It's unavoidable. Love is blind. Failure, death, disturction, dissollutionment, these are the way out. Sucks, but no amount of guidence from others will help you see through the love.
Must someone be the leader or boss in order for a creative team to function well?
What do you investigate? What is at the heart of your research?
Applied, sustainable agriculture. Finding ways to grow what we need without destroying the world.
Do you have a link to a site where we can see something about you, or the center where you work?
You can look at my blog (http://www.robertsroostfarm.com/) It isn't a scientific source. More of the daily life in the project. I've some publications in the works, and information about them will be posted on the blog.
What types of experiments do you conduct? How are the conclusions documented?
The main thing we are looking at is weather or not humans can live in a closed resource loop system like the rest of the natural world does. In that project we are looking at what a family needs to exist (basic needs), and what resource are available locally to meet those needs. We are also exploring ways that those resources can stay in the local resource pool. We are experimenting with food systems, water collection and management, waste management, and energy systems. All of the large and small projects we are doing are collecting information to help us find answers and develop systems along these lines.
If you conclude your investigation successfully, what practical application would it have in everyday life?
As the human world self-destructs due to overpopulaton, climate change, and dwindling resources we will need new ways of living. What we are exploring and the methods we develope will have direct application of the continued existance of the species.
What is a "eureka" moment? What is it like to experience one?
An "eureka" moment is when disparate bits come to gether in your mind to produce completely new idea or concept. It's a bit like lightning striking your brain.
Should there be more public financing for scientific investigation?
Funding dictates the direction of research. Non-source-specific funding might have a chance of encouraging scientific investigation into new areas. (I can't imagin a world where money came without strings, and strings are limits.)
What is your personal position on the use of animals in scientific investigation?
I use animals everyday in my scientific investigation (my livestock is an important part of soil building, food production, and systems development.) Couldn't do it without them. However, the conditions many lab animals are kept in, and the uses they are put to, are often reprehensible, wrong, and should be changed. It is a fuzzy line that is hard to define. Some things must be tested and developed before they are safe. The survivalist part of my genetic makeup screams "better them than us!", but we could be much more selective about the types of uses and the quality of life during the process.
What is science and what is pseudoscience? Who decides which is which?
Pseudoscience pushes beyond the limits of the establishment. They decide. They are often wrong.
What is the role of creativity in the scientific method?
Creativity asks the question. Scientific method finds the answer. Without both science is dead.
What scientific explanation is there for spirituality? Are religion and science incompatible?
None and yes. Spirituality is a connection to things that can't really be defined by current science. There is no valid scientific explination for spirituality (they would define it as chemically induced psychosis. They would be wrong. The world is much more complex than science allows.) Religion is an institution and science is an institution. They are incompatable.
What is the meaning of life? Is there a scientific answer to this question?
Life IS. It needs no meaning to be. The search for meaning is the search to bridge the disconnect we have from the world we live in. If we can accept that we are part of life on this planet, no more and no less, we will stop looking for meaning and get down to the business of living in ways that don't destroy us or our home.
Obesity, insomnia, and depression, are epidemic. What does that say about our way of life? What must be changed at the social level?
Responsibility. People have abdicated personal responsibility. We expect the medical system and the government to fix everything. We do truely stupid things because we believe they (the government or the medical system) will step in and fix what ever problem arises. Allow, encourage, and require people to be responsible for their own health and many of these things will go away.
What is happiness, and the main obstacle to reaching it?
Happinss is a choice. The main obstacle to reaching it is you. If you want happiness then be happy. No one can make you happy. Nothing can make you happy. You can choose to be happy or not. Most people are not happy because they don't want the responsibility of choosing to be happy.
Do we think too much? Why is it so difficult to feel here and now?
We have bought into the idea that we get our rewards in the next life. Even for the atheist the reward comes later, when he/she retires, gets promoted, etc. Our model of civilization is built on the idea that we should accept a bit of pain and struggle now as payment for the rewards to come. Believing that, why would we want to engage with the here and now?
Are meditation and prayer cultural variants of the same thing?
meditation, prayer, magic ritual, are all the same. The are ways to focus our minds and the quantum universe on a specific thing. That's why they work. The purity of focus, the belief, the release of of focused quantum energy is what brings about the "miraculous" answers people often find in prayer, etc.
Is faith necessary for spirituality to work?
Spirituality is a connection, a way of being in the world. It isn't a thing that "works" or doesn't work. Faith is one of the paths to spirituality.
Is it necessary to have a purpose to find meaning in life?
Having a purpose gives meaning to life. The thing that must be found is a purpose, not a meaning.
Is it wise to believe in things that do not exist if it helps you to be happy?
It is wise to understand that there are many things that we can't comprehend that exist. Their existance is not dependant on our belief. Our happiness is not dependant on their existance. If you want happiness then allow yourself to be happy.
How do you distinguish between spirituality and religion?
Spirituality is a way of being in the word. Religion is an orginization, a set of dogma, a group sturcture. There are many spriitual people with no religion and many religious people with no spirituality.
What is your concept of free will Vs destiny, fate, karma?
We live in the riptide of cause and effect. The momentum of billions of choices move civilization in a direction. Our choices add to that on an individual level. We have the freedom to choose to swim against the current, or across it. We have the freedom to choose, and produce change in our imediate world. But we are still being sucked along by the force of all the other choices being made. Breaking free of that requires great effort, determination, and vision.
Do you believe in the law of attraction: that we attract what we think about?
It works for me. When I find my life has gone to shit I have to school my self to change what I think about. As soon as I start doing that things start changing for the better. We really do draw to ourselves those things, people, ideas, and conditions we think the most about.
My favorite place to do this is the library. Often I go and walk the stacks. I'm not looking for anything, just slowly walking by with an eye on the books. Often a book will leap out (usually not physically, but it has happened.) If I take it home and read, or at least skim it, I will find a piece of an answer I was looking for (sometimes I don't even know I'm looking for the answer. How weird is that?)
How does one maintain body-mind harmony?
BE HERE NOW
Do creativity and positive thinking slow aging?
YES! Add in a bit of physical activity and a moderatly healthy diet and you could live forever (or at least as long as you wanted to.)
What is your short list of healthy habits?
Laugh, Smile, See the Wonder around you.
Good wine, good (local, real, fresh) food.
What is your educational philosophy?
Much of what I have to say about education can be found in derrick jensen's Walking On Water. The rest is details.
What is your blog address? What subjects do you deal with?
I blog at http://www.robertsroostfarm.com/
and on tuesdays at http://notdabblinginnormal.wordpress.com/
and occasionally on http://bioneers.ning.com/
I write mostly about eco-farming, sustainability, homesteading, homeschooling, food, crafts, remodeling, alternative energy and the like. At robertsroostfarm.com I also explore politics, culture, and philosophy as it impacts my main interests of sustainability and eco-agriculture.
What was it that made you create your blog? On what date did you start it?
I started writing to share our new eco-farming adventure with family and friends. I started blogging in March of 2007
What blogging system have you adopted and why?
I use blogger. It was easy to start with and still does everything I need. I'm sure there are other platforms that do more and that would let me add some features I'd like, but I'd rather write than fiddle with programing and reconstruction.
How many visits a day do you get? What type of comments do you receive?
I average around 35 a day, with about 10% commenting. Most of my commenters are long time readers so it is more like a conversation. NDIN, where I write on Tuesdays, runs about 600 visits a day.
How has 'having a blog' contributed to your life?
In a lot of ways. Farming is a vary solitary kind of work. So is being the stay at home, homeschooling parent. Blogging connects me with people who are walking a similar path. We share ideas, struggles, successes, laughs. It's a community that is spread all over the world.
Blogging has also increased business for our farm, and writting, speaking, and teaching oppertunities for me, and our overall visability.
It also helps me keep track of what we are doing, how things have changed, and ideas worth exploring.
Have you created relationships with other bloggers or readers of your blog?
Yes. NDIN is a collabrative blog that I was invited to join by someone I traded comments with in the blogging community. There are people I think of as blogger friends. We've never met, probably never will, but I read their blogs and they read mine. We have conversatons, offer help and support, etc.
How often do you post? Does regular posting of your blog require a lot of effort on your part?
I'd been posting once a day, but life sometimes gets in the way. Farming is hectic at times and that comes first. Now that things are winding down I'll work back into that schedule. At NDIN it is once a week and on Bioneers I post when the topic or the muses move me.
Does blogging bring in income for you? Can one make a living from posting?
Not directly. I've heard of people who make money blogging, but your topic better be pretty mainstream and you better be willing to shape your writing to draw readers and advertisers. I'm not.
How do you promote your blog?
Not very well. I tried some of the lists when I first started, but my topic is too much of a fringe topic. I get some traffic from Bioneers and some from Blotanicals where I am active, but mostly I don't work too hard at it.
How would you define your readers? Have you got a faithful audience?
We are mostly a community, on the edge of normal, moving in a different direction than that of the mainstream. I have some faithful readers, and we have great conversations.
Are there any blogs you follow daily or regularly?
How do you see your blog evolving in the future?
One day at a time. Evolution is way to complex to predict.
What advice would you give to someone who wishes to begin a blog?
Write what you love. Write often, daily is best. Don't worry about audiance, just write. The conversations will come and they can shape your blog in the future.
What hobbies have you got?
reading, writing, snowboarding
If you were sent to a deserted island, which book, CD and film would you take with you?
Book - Bart Kosko's Fuzzy Thinking
CD - They Might Be Giants' Flood
Film - The Princess Bride (or maybe A Knight's Tale or The Vicor of Dibley series - nothing like a good laugh.)
How do you find the balance between working to live and living to work?
I just live. I live in ways that support me and my family, but everything I do is a valued part of my life. There are things we do without, like a retierment plan... (why would I need one?) They exist because of the disconnect we have created between work and life. If what you work at isn't part of your life, fulfilling and sustaining you, I feel sorry for you.
In moments of tension, what techniques work in calming the mind?
breathing. In, out, let everything go. get back to the here and now. eat the elephant one bite at a time.
What is the greatest loss you have had in your life?
My mom died of radiation induced cancer in 1993. she was 47. she was my best friend. she didn't get to see me get married, meet her grandchildren, travel, live... because of our nuculear wepons testing. I'm still angry....
How do you respond to telemarketing calls?
I don't answer the phone. This is probably the one thing that shapes my behavior. We screen all our calls and only answer people we know. Leaves me feeling like a fugitive, but...
It is 5 pm on a typical Sunday: what are you doing?
Either setting the table or dressing for dinner. Sunday dinner is a ritual at our house. Everyone dressed, proper table settings, formal dinner. It is a good skill and a good way to start the week.
Something in which you are completely incompetent.
swimming. I can get to the bottom, but not back up. My kids tell me I swim like a rock.
You have nine wins in a row in a game of roulette: do you continue because you are on a good run, or abandon the game because statistically, it is your turn to lose?
I want to say I'd walk, but statistically I would stay one more spin...if I/we didn't the games wouldn't exist. We should all learn to walk.
What was your favourite primary/secondary school teacher like?
Mrs, Wenzel. She picked me out of her freshman english class (I was a senior, making up a class I failed) and pushed me to be brilliant. She let me be me in the process, and what I learned from her in that class has stayed with me for more than 20 years.
Is there any superstition that makes you change your behaviour?
superstition implies that i act, believing that the motive is false. I act on facts or beliefs, not superstition. You might find my beliefs to be superstion, but you should know that I probably find your beliefs to be superstion too...
Does knowing someone's zodiac sign help you to better understand that person?
Please list something you have not yet done, but that you would definitely like to do someday.
Sky diving, Rocky mountian climbing, 3.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
Live like I was dying.
Death in every breath. Live each moment like it was the last.
To which other place in the world would you move without hesitation?
New Zealand - South Island
Which animal do you prefer for company?
I'm a wolf person, or dragons... intelligent, clannish, loyal, violently true.
beyond that, I enjoy the company of cats, goats, and hawks. Love Cooper Hawks and all falcons.
What do you imagine yourself doing for your retirement?
retirement isn't a concept i understand. What I do is live. When I stop doing that i'll be dead. Can't immagin a time when I didn't do what I do now. The whole idea of doing something I don't like now so I can do what I love later doesn't work for me. Guess I'll never retire, just die.
Did God create the world in seven days, or do you believe in the theory of evolution?
I don't see God and evolution as mutually exclusive. Evolution and the whole geological process of world creating are facts. We can see them at work in our world today. I think it is possible that God, or some higher organizing power could have initiated the process that resulted in our would and our species. However the process of creating utilized, and still utilizes the laws of evolution. The whole seven day thing is a method of explaining a very complex process to people who didn't understand.
To what percentage do you believe in statistics?
Statistics are almost always an accurate portrail of the answers to a given question or set of questions. They, unfortunatly, are very susceptible to manipulation by the question askers and their intent. They represent a fairly accurate view of responce to the question as it was asked, but have nothing to do with the truth.
Do you believe many illnesses can be caused by the mind?
The mind/body connection is so complex and so poorly understood, that I would not be supprised if many illnesses were caused or exaserbated by our thoughts. Our thoughts certainly shape our reality. Health is not exempt from that.
Do you believe it is true that humans only use 10% of their brain capacity?
yes! Probably much less for most people.
Using the subway without paying, shoplifting: is there excessive tolerance to these small offenses?
This is just one manifestation of the degradation of culture happening around the world.
What do you think of the squatter "movement"?
Since we(the mainstream) don't value community, fighting instead for our individual little scraps, we will always have something like the squatter "movement". It isn't a solution. Building new communities where we value and care for all the members, supporting them in their basic needs as they support us is the only real way forward. There is great power in the old tribe or clan structures. Every member had value to the whole and was cared for. This is the direction the squatters should be moving. Not squatting in violation of the law, but actively building networks so what they do adds strength and value to the community. Land owners should use this approach too.
Does brand name influence your buying habits?
NO. Quality only. There are very few brands around that deliver across the board. Besides, I shop mostly at Goodwill, so it is more important for me to assess how a thing has held up over time and what it's remaining functional life is than to care about the name stuck on it.
What do you currently have in your MP3 player?
The Squirrel Nut Zippers, Oingo Boingo, The Poges, Sinead O'Connor, Brian Tracy's "The Psychology of Achievement", the latest Science Friday podcast.
What books are you currently reading?
endgame vol 1 and 2 by derrick jensen (if you read nothing else in your life, read this...), walking on water by derrick jensen, ultrasimple boatbuilding by gavin atkin, artisan bread in five minutes a day by jeff hertzberg, junkbots, bugbots, and bots on wheels by dave hrynkiw and mark tilden, the winter harvest handbook by eliot colman.
Places in the world that you have visited recently.
Roscoe Village, Erie PA, Columbus OH, Bluff NZ, Waco TX, Hyattville WY
What is that special film you never tire of watching?
The Princess Bride, The Last Samurai, The Power of One, A Knights Tale, Fly Away Home
What do you use: Mac or PC and why?
PC because they interface with others easier (well not easier, but more people I work with use PCs so working on a Mac (which I would love to do) makes it harder to share docs etc.
What is to come after consumist society?
Local tribal/clan/communities or extinction.
Do you find the saturation of advertising in the media excessive?
yes. I understand the need to get us to buy things we dont need or really want. How else can you maintain unending growth? But it is too much for me. I've opted out.
Do you believe there is excessive sex and violence in the media?
Yes. We wring our hands over the increase in violence and sex in younger people and at the same time use it as "entertainment". Minds are trained by repeated exposure to ideas, information, actions. When people (especially young people) are bombarded with these ideas and images, or worse repeatedly rewarded for taking instant, violent action in a game setting, we shouldn't be surprise by those same ideas and actions increasing in the real world.
What were your favourite subjects when you were in primary/secondary school?
Art, Drafting, all the sciences except Chemistry
Do you defend urban graffiti?
Urban art (graffiti) is an expression of me in my place. The culture of "owners/corporations/polititions, and their laws and "law enforcers" don't want it to reminde people that the place is really theirs. Thus it is suppressed. So, we should celebrate it.
How do you explain the rise in "fame" culture?
Fame culture is the exploitation and prostitutization of art. Art should be freely shared, and freely rewarded. This culture is just another way for business/thepowers to exploite the people.
What do you have in your wallet right now?
a science musuem card, a business card for a new greenhouse business over the hill from me, $15.75, a list of books to request at the library, a growing shopping list (6 items so far...) lint, the recipt from our dinner at the beach last month, my library card, the kids library cards, a drivers licence.
How do you kill time?
The whole idea of "killing time" is beyond me. It is my most valued and scarce resource. Why would I "kill" or waste a bit of it? That doen't mean I don't do things just for the fun of doing them. I snowboard, read, write, build, blog, talk, cook, and a thousand other things that give me pleasure when I don't have any specific task that must be accomplished (and sometimes when I do...)
In which city do you live? What are your favourite and least favourite things about it?
Live in the country. Favorite thing - Isolation. Least favourite thing - Isolation.
Where have you thought of going for your next holiday?
crashing the system...
What matters more in deciding your vote: the party, the candidate, or the ideas?
"If voting changed anything, they would make it illegal." E Goldman
They are all the same. Spin it how you like, nothing changes except who is getting paid.
Are high abstention levels a serious problem for democracies?
Abstention is part of democracy. It is a vote. Politics says it was a non-vote, but that is not true. If we, the voting public, allow our representatives to use abstention as an 'opt-out' then we have given up our democracy.
Are Right and Left obsolete concepts?
As an American, in a two party system, Right and Left are defining concepts. They don't speak to most of the people in the country, but they do define the edges of idologies. Without those edges the system would collaps into chaos, which would be a good thing. The system only supports and defends those in power. The rest of us are beaten into a life of servitude. Let chaos reign for awhile and we can reclaim our lives (and the responsibilities that go with them...)
Why does hunger continue to exist in the world? Is this the result of a deliberate policy?
hunger exists because the market requires hunger. If there were no hunger there would be no need to increas production. business would flatline and die. The power inherent in creating/fixing the hunger problem would evaporate. That can't happen in the current system.
Two-party systems are on the rise: is this good for politics?
It is better than a one party system, but not as representational as a multi party system. More diverse representation will slow down any action, but it will at least give weight to more ideas. That can't be all bad. So, depending on where your are coming from, one party or multi party, a two party system could be an improvement or a decline. For me, in the USA, the two party system is a dysfunctional, dead end. We need more options, and better representation than we get from our two party system.
Are we witnessing the end of the American empire?
The American empire hasn't existed for years (if it ever did.) Empire implies a certian level of responsibility, involvement, commitment. We don't have that, and haven't had it for a very long time. We get involved in global politics to ensure we get what we want. We will prop up a government in some place so we can take what we want, but we don't stay. We don't build, or rule, or better the place and grow from their success. If there was an America Empire, those kinds of things would be happening.
We are not witnessing the end of the American Empire. It never existed. We are witnessing the collaps of capitalism. Leaches can live only as long as the host has blood, and the host is dry, capitalism is dying.
Why did the economies of communist countries fail?
They tryed to build a collective capitalist system (It wasn't about having all in common, it was about forcing everyone to work for the betterment of ALL (especially ALL those at the top of the system). True communism can't work because we are all, individually too selfish and self-motivated. It might work if we were all as selfless as Jesus is portrayed to be. The only other system we have allowed to survive is capitalsim, where we eat our young to fuel unending growth.
Are there peoples more civilized than others? Or is it merely a question of cultural differences?
Civilized = like me, or like the ideal of my people. So, I guess it depends on where you are sitting weather there are more or less "civilized" people. It is totally a cultural construct perpetrated by the winners in the global conquest game.
Are there too many taxes?
No. I don't agree with all the uses of our tax money, but we don't pay nearly enough to produce the results we expect.
Does globalisation help in the development of the world's poorest countries, or does it perpetuate conditions of exploitation?
Yes to both.
Do you defend the ecotaxes?
There are ecological conciquences to the way we live. The taxes are an attempt to adress those conciquences. I support them in that effort. HOWEVER, I don't think it works. Taxes give the offenders an out. They pay a little and do a lot. The true cost will be collected by someone who is not as flexible as the taxman. Mother Nature will balance things, and we will pay...
Are you pro-choice or pro-life?
Pro Choice. I would chose life, but I think everyone should have the right and responsibility of choice.
Should homosexual couples have the same right to adopt as heterosexual couples?
There are so many kids who need loving homes, who am I to define love and deny them the oppertunity...?
For you, what is "the good life"?
My life. YOU wouldn't want it, but it is GOOD for me.
What is the secret to happiness?
BE HAPPY. Here, now, with what you have and are. Choose to smile and be happy. That is the secret. You get to choose.
What is a friend?
An extention of self.
Please list your philosophy of good health.
There isn't a "philosophy" of good health. There are habits of good health. There are actions, diets, ways of living. Good health comes from action not philosophy.
Does the soul exist?
Mine does. Does yours?
Where does science end and ideology begin?
Ideology shapes what science gets done, how the questions are asked, and how the results are inturpreted. Ideology shapes science.
Your own definition for beauty
What I like. It stirs my soul. Don't care what you like. That isn't my beauty.
Walk in beauty...
What is God?
I asked Her once and She wouldn't say.
If the ticket price for a football match is twice the regular price for those 12 years of age or older, and your child turned twelve yesterday, what age would you say your child is?
12. If you buy into the concept of age, time, and money then you have chosen to play by those rule. Play by the rules. If you don't buy into the system why would you be at the football match worrying about the price of a ticket?
If you were a millionaire, what would be your charitable work?
My family, my farm, my community.
Your sins and virtues.
none of your business
Please list three important words for the world today.
vision, trust, acceptance
What will your epitaph be?
AVR, composted on _/_/_ Live well, Laugh Lots, Eat me.
|| ||Carl Deuker|| |
|| ||Contessa Isabella Vacani|| |
|| ||kidTruant|| |