Monday, May 4, 2009

Cuts, Descartes and compost

I put a chainsaw into my leg this morning because I am enjoying Derrick Jensen's A Language Older Than Words so much I wanted to get off working to read more. It's true. Well partially true, I did put a chainsaw into my knee this morning, and I did get to read more of Jensen's brilliant book in all the waiting rooms I sat in.


I talked to the physician as he stitched 6 internal and 10 elegant black knots across my knee, finding out about his most difficult jobs – the violent attacks by bottle cut drunks, the vomit he's endured while being on duty, the guy who bit half through his own tongue – it took three hours to stitch, he told me, with perspiration beading along his forehead.

After he cleaned up he left me to wait for the nurse to come and jab me a tetnis shot. While I waited Jensen was in full swing critiquing RenĂ© Descartes' 'I think therefore I am' maxim, arguing Descartes as the father of the disembodied; the father of aggression against sentient non-human nature. 
Because life is uncertain, and because we die, the only way Descartes could gain the certainty he sought was in the world of abstraction. By substituting the illusion of disembodied thought for experience (disembodied thought, of course, not possible for anyone with a body), by substituting mathematical equations for living relations, and most importantly by substituting control, or the attempt to control, for the full participation in the wild and unpredictable process of living, Descartes became the prototypical modern man. He also established the single most important rule of Western philosophy: if it doesn't fit the model, it doesn't exist...Welcome to industrial civilization. Jensen p10.
Swine flu is just another recent event that shows Descartes' philosophy, like its counterpart Christian-capitalism, to be so utterly misguided. But, this is supposed to be a week of compost related posts. 

Change and flexibility, though not in my left knee right now, are also constant subjects for any garden. Blood and bone is, of course, also required material for any healthy garden, and equally good for a compost. When a chook of ours dies or I have to kill one because she is not well, I bury her in the compost respectfully. Her body feeds the brew, drawing greater diversity of microbial life to the heap. When I die I want to be composted aerobically, I couldn't think of a better way to spend my death but sequestering carbon for future life. Speaking of which, here's a pic of Zeph gleaning old grass clippings for compost along a public laneway close to home.


4 comments:

Tam said...

owwww
glad you decided not to compost your leg

The Garden of Self Defence said...

Not yet! It's too nice a day.

Petrus Spronk said...

Hey Patrick, sorry to read about your mishap. A few years ago I did a workshop/course learning how to use a chainsaw. By the time I was dressed with special pants protectors, jacket, helmet, goggles, ear protectors plus numerous rules and the realisation that a chainsaw doesn't issue a warning or say sorry after biting you, but just goes for it, I instantly knew that that machine was not for me. It still isn't. Have no idea why I am relating that to you, but I do know that I wish you a speedy recovery. Read lots and enjoy your down time. P

The Garden of Self Defence said...

thanks Petrus, i've been using one without a hitch for about 20 years and had a relatively good relationship with my current saw of 10 years. last week a friend commented to me that the Chinese horoscope warned 'dogs' to be wary of accidents from 'metal objects'?