An argument for the social reconstruction of campesinos (rural communities)

In an article in Agriculturers: red de especialistsas en agricultura ( Jairo Restrepo (a doctor in agricultural engineering at the Universidad de Pelotas, Brazil who fled the political and intellectual persecution in his country) argues that the IQ of European children has decreased by 17% in the last 25 years due to eating toxic food produced by industrial agriculture. Along the same lines, he says that “eating is knowing or being aware of what prolongs your life and what hurts you. Today food robs you of energy; it is not healthy, it’s programmed to weaken vital activity at three levels: it eliminates the immune system, is neurotoxic and affects social behavior.
“Not only does it produce toxicity from industrial conservation processes that are poison, but it depresses and depletes emotion. It does not fit in my head that there should be no comparative analysis of the blood that existed before artificial fertilization and chemical treatment of the earth and the blood we have today. The blood evolves with nutrition and it is impossible that the industry does not know this data. Organic agriculture generates energy and industrial agriculture burns energy, it is that simple.”
Further, “The quality of the food produced by industrial agriculture cannot satisfy the needs of the common man. The common man has been raped. A food is healthy when it does not have malice, when it is produced naturally, without manipulating the needs of the other.”
Is there still time to recover from this poisoning of the earth?
“As long as there is a possibility of recovering the biological activity of the soil, a different world is possible. A microbiological lifeless earth is land without a mind. With the natural fertilizers that our ancestors used for time immemorial, the memory of the land will function again, this is life.”
How do we break the chain?
“By seeking the social reconstruction of campesinos (rural communities), rediscovering the lost culture and with this, happiness on the land. The more detached you are from the land, the less culture people have. Agriculture is the art of cultivation: Culture was born in the countryside, not in the cities.”

Finding and Working with Ancestral Traditions – one of the objectives of The Virtue School

Finding and Working with Ancestral Traditions

A post from “What do we do with the fragments of ancestral knowledge? How might we use this to develop new traditions? This post explores family ancestral traditions, cultural traditions, and ancestors of the land for some possibilities.”

“[W]hen we think of ancestral traditions, they are those bits of language, behaviors, rituals, and culture that our ancestors have passed to us. The challenge I think that many of us face is that we are working with minor fragments of traditions, tiny bits and pieces that somehow survived and made it into the 21st century, into our hands. I choose the term survive very intentionally: in the last several centuries, with the rise of westernization, industrialization, and globalization, we’ve seen many cultural traditions, languages, and species disappear at an alarming rate. In fact, at present, over half of the 7000 languages in the world are ‘moribund’, that is, the remaining speakers are a few elders and the language hasn’t been passed on. These moribund languages hold incredible insights into how a particular culture thinks, sees the world, understands the human condition, interacts with nature, and more. And what these languages and cultural traditions have been replaced with is part of the predicament we are contending with in the present age.”

On this note…

Peru: Last female speaker of indigenous Amazonian language murdered


Very nice… keeping the culture and the ways…

nii juinti

The school of medicine and traditional culture, Corazón de la Amazonía (heart of Amazon and Nii Juinti in shipibo language), was created as an NGO according to Peruvian law. It’s director is Roger López, Suipino, who is a teacher and highly regarded shaman. Some of the most respected community elders will live beside the Nii Juinti kids, in order to take care of and protect them, and pass on important traditional knowledge.


A beautiful and informative film by Dr. Alberto Villoldo, who, in his own words, left his laboratory “and went into the Amazon and the Andes to work with medicine women and medicine men who did not have access to technology as we did; who had to rely on the unique capabilities of the human mind to heal and transform; and they became my teachers, they became my mentors.., for 20 years. And eventually I stopped approaching them as a ‘scientist’ or as an ‘anthropologist’ and became a student of the shamans…”


Another post on a group of student activists at UC Berkeley (SEAL – Students for Engaged and Active Learning) trying to preserve “old” ways and methods of farming (vs Globalist farming methods and the privatization of public land – i.e., Corporate Land-grabs). “We currently have limited information about the people who once lived on this particular land [Ohlone], but we are interested in receiving more of this history, and working with descendants and other indigenous communities to use this land to revive and relearn ancestral traditions and cultures.”

A nice historical overview of the project:

And a Virtual Tour


Something that  goes along with this…

I’d say rather that, what we generally refer to as, common sense (‘sensus communis’) is what we all “know” in general (or “sense communally”) on a rational level. At least that is the goal of Western education and the media – the result being that not many in the West can think “out-of-the-box” or “for themselves,” i.e., most everyone (commonly) believes “the facts of the universe” that have been spoonfed to them, unquestioningly, as “proven,” or they have to answer that way to get an “A” on an exam – rarely being aware that these “facts” are merely the contemporary form of theoretical understanding. One could even go so far as to say that the rational common sense referred to here is an elaborate, covert form of censorship – if not propaganda (more on this later).

There is another way of referring to common sense that is heavily downplayed in the West. It can be argued that we all know the truth (within), but the rational common sense, referred to above, has a tendency to destroy such “intuition” — or to belittle it as “irrational” or “mythical” or as “low on the evolutionary scale” (or “stupid” — e.g., believing that the sun rises and sets or that the moon is not constantly revolving). A problem that arises is that a lot of indigenous people refer to “common sense” as an inner knowledge of what is right and wrong and they have an elaborate unwritten, often mythical, traditional understanding of the universe which has been handed down by the ancestors. The goal of the Conquistadors seems to have been to erase this “knowledge.” Thus, one could say that mankind has been punished for having and using our common sense (intuition) — in order to make everyone rational (i.e., to never question the Official “Global” Authorities — i.e., to think correctly – democratically – to go along with the “majority” (in the West) – or else) – even though the West is definitely not the majority.

Thus, the Western World, it seems, has replaced (or has strived to replace) intuition with rationality as common sense. This is problematic in that even many people in the West have a hard time regurgitating this “knowledge” – not  only because such understanding is non-intuitive and often does not follow the common language structure reflected in our intuition (i.e., the sun does not rise and set), but also because it is not self-evident (i.e., we rely on the theories of so-called “scientists” to provide us with reality because they are the authority on such matters, even though it contradicts what we sense, feel and intuit with our own senses and “gut” feeling) … in process…

School Museum

When men die, they enter into history. When statues die, they enter into art. This botany of death is what we call Culture. That’s because the society of statues is mortal. One day, their faces of stone crumble and fall to earth. A civilization leaves behind itself these mutilated traces like the pebbles dropped by Tom Thumb. But history has devoured everything. An object dies when the living glance trained upon it disappears. And when we disappear, our objects will be confined to the place where we send “black” things: the Museum.
[from a 1953 film “Les Statues Meurent Aussi” (Statues Also Die) by A. Renais & C. Marker: A nice film on the repression of African (“Black”) Art and the necessity for it to be realized, recognized and its earthy-sacred-magical-irrational elements to be “brought back to life” in today’s superficial- “cosmopolitan” society]…
a beautiful expression of the impotence and futility of the current education system…. preparing students to fit in to a machine age — while expecting them to appreciate dead (museum) art…

Not surprising. This article ( In an age of robots, schools are teaching our children to be redundant) by  claims that: “Our schools were designed to produce the workforce required by 19th-century factories.” However, today, a “regime of cramming and testing is crushing young people’s instinct to learn and destroying their future.” In addition, he claims that as teachers are leaving the workforce in droves: “A major recruitment crisis beckons, especially in crucial subjects such as physics and design and technology.” Such subjects, he says, are necessary “to equip children for the likely demands of the 21st century.” Interesting that he says nothing about art, music, philosophy(1) and play, no?(2)

What’s also interesting is that Monbiot asserts that “All teaching is social engineering.” Which is ok with him, as long as humans are programmed to go along with the plan – the design… put forth by… well, he doesn’t really say. But we (readers of The Guardian) are evidently supposed to believe that “we” (readers of the Guardian?) can “engineer our children out of the factory and into the real world” (my emphasis). Hmmm. If one didn’t know better one might assume that Monbiot advocates treating children as robots.

But alas,  no! “When they are allowed to apply their natural creativity and curiosity, children love learning. They learn to walk, to talk, to eat and to play spontaneously, by watching and experimenting.” Very nice, but how, one might ask, do schools come in here? Well, there “is no single system for teaching children well, but the best ones have this in common: they open up rich worlds that children can explore in their own ways, developing their interests with help rather than indoctrination” (my emphasis).

Monbiot then gives a list of schools that supposedly do this – prepare students to fit in to the system by “helping” them – not indoctrinating them. Yes, “we” need to “help” kids “develop their interests” – as long as they go along with the plan.  In other words, Monbiot wants more of what we see in the photo above – students occupied with modern technology –  and physics, of course.

Rembrandt? Wasn’t he on a pack of cigs?



  1. Aesthetics is originally a branch of Philosophy. As such, to stimulate interest and intellectual stimulation – along with aesthetic appreciation and analysis, perhaps, one could have approached the painting “Nightwatch” with excerpts from these two films – as a group presentation… to understand the possibilities of what one can do with “art” today

    Meanwhile, students can also come to an understanding of how “social engineering” takes place in “education” (by discussing Monbiot’s article and the above photograph).

    Rembrandt’s J’Accuse” (2008)
    — “[The director] Greenaway leads us through Rembrandt’s paintings into seventeenth-century Amsterdam. He paints a world that is democratic in principle, but is almost entirely ruled by twelve families. The notion exists of these regents as charitable and compassionate entities. However, reality was different.”
    — including a discussion of Émile Zola’s J’Accuse


    — whereby Rembrandt identifies a murderer in the painting and the intrigue, drama and controversy surrounding this.

  2. Immanuel Kant spoke of the necessity of Art and Science going together. Art is everything we do; science is everything we know. But there are different “levels” of doing and knowing – the “lowest” level being what we know or do from a close-minded, egoistic, individualistic perspective, the “highest” level being what is most universalizeable, i.e., what all men would [ought to] do, or know, in a similar situation, in time. The lowest level of Art corresponds to the banal, unfulfilling “stuff” we (re)produce in labor, whereas the lowest echelon of science Kant would generally refer to as “stupidity” or “laziness” – relying on others to tell us what is true-false, right-wrong, i.e., riding on, what he refers to as, the “go-cart” of judgment. In other words, the highest goal – in order to realize who we are — our highest Nature — is to think (and act) according to laws that one gives oneself (“Sapere Aude”).

    Deeply intertwined with this goal-ideal is a differentiation between reproductive and productive imagination. It follows that reproductive imagination is merely analytically reproducing what has been “given” to us (in education or whatever). Productive imagination is obvious in Art and Science in the universal Aesthetic and Theoretical presentations of the “Masters” which lead all of mankind forward. The great Scientists utilize productive imagination to translate the transcendent Universe into temporal understanding via schema (schematic interpretations); however, the greatest Art (Fine Art) inspires us via genius – an atunement to Universal Spirit – from those who combine Science with Art.

    One should note, Kant claims that it is the Fine Artist which most leads mankind to realize our Universal goal: the Highest Good, whereby Science tends to bore us. However, the Highest Good in the World can only be realized when Art (what we do) and Science (what we know) come together and become One – that is to say, when we all begin to utilize-realize our potential via productive imagination (i.e., when we consciously create reality (self, society and world) for ourselves). This is the goal of The Virtue School…

There are over 25,000 practical uses for Industrial Hemp…

If possible, The Virtue School will promote the production and use of Industrial Hemp.

!!!There will be a strict ABSOLUTE prohibition on alcohol and drug use (including Marijuana) on everyone who enters the property!!!

The students will learn of and research as many practical uses of this wonder plant as possible:

  • food and drink (it is one of the most nutritional and medicinal plants on Earth!)
  • medical research
  • oil for cooking and fuel
  • clothing
  • building materials
  • rope
  • wood replacement
  • paper
  • energy production
  • mulch and soil enhancement

The students will work on research and development, and practical applications on the property – to be an exemplar and inspiration for Extremadura, Spain and the World!!!


extraído de: Guía de Oportunidades de Negocio Verde en Extremadura


El cáñamo es uno de los cultivos que mejor se adapta a las condiciones medioambientales por su alta resistencia, menor trabajo y mínimos costes. Se trata de un cultivo altamente beneficioso para el medioambiente puesto que mejora la estructura del suelo, ahoga las malas hierbas y no precisa de herbicidas ya que tiene una alta tolerancia a las plagas y las enfermedades.

A partir del cáñamo se fabrican más de 25.000 productos biodegradables como el papel, los sustitutivos del plástico, la biomasa, material de bio construcción, textil o alimentos altamente nutritivos como su semilla, el aceite de cáñamo, artesanía, cosméticos, infusiones, harinas proteicas…

Todos estos beneficios y utilidades, aunque conocidos desde hace siglos, son cada vez más difundidos y aceptados por la población, favoreciendo su interés y consumo, lo que le convierten en una oportunidad creciente de mercado. Especialmente se trata de una gran oportunidad si se tiene de antemano el cliente que te lo compra para su procesamiento industrial y para ello es aconsejable tener una planta cerca para ahorrar costes de desplazamientos y generar el mínimo impacto medio ambiental.

En Las Alpujarras se cultiva desde hace algunos años esta planta, donde además se celebran jornadas y encuentros entre agricultores para difundir los beneficios del cultivo del cáñamo y donde se habla de “las posibilidades que ofrecen cultivos alternativos para la difersificación de la economía de la comarca”, en palabras de José Luis Roscúa, responsable de la Cátedra Unesco de Desarrollo Sostenible y Medio Ambiente de la UGR para la diversificación de la economía en la comarca.

La diferencia entre el cáñamo y la marihuana está en el porcentaje de tetrahidrocannabinol (THC) que contiene, ya que por debajo del 0,4% no se considera marihuana. Juan Zurita, un referente en este sector aclara que “ninguna de las 4 hectáreas de cultivo de cáñamo industrial cuenta entre sus componentes con el THC” y en tono de humor afirma “el cáñamo no es marihuana, es marihuana. No clarifica, no coloca”.

El reto consiste en enfrentarse a los duros controles que amenazan contra la legalidad, como es el caso de este empresario que ha recibido varias denuncias que han terminado en confirmar que el cultivo del cáñamo no es un delito.

Modified Plans for The Virtue School

Plans for Project – CONSTRUCTION
Basic idea:
  • a semi-private house for the director (about 150m²),
  • a barn-workshop-garage (also 150m²) and
  • a school (1 Hectare).
1 hectare will be allotted for the school in an unplanned state – because, if you read the plans for the school, the students will design this, and gradually build it themselves – all the while coordinating this with a professional architect-engineer.
The land has some old pines (that can be used for the skeleton), and lots of stone that the people have traditionally used to build with (for the foundation, etc.). *IDEALLY industrial hemp will be grown and used to make hempcrete, floors, insulation, etc. Thus, all the building materials will come from the property…

* If possible, The Virtue School will promote the production and use of Industrial Hemp.

!!!There will be a strict ABSOLUTE prohibition on alcohol and drug use (including Marijuana) on everyone who enters the property!!!
For the house will be something like these — for the internal woodwork, industrial hemp will (ideally) be used in place of most of the wood):
The basic frame can use pines.
All the glass is unnecessary… final design will be modified …
This one has a walk-on roof – could plant a garden on the roof; also the use of the edges as patio-porch are quite nice…
Something for inspiration…
Basic, simple, local-traditional design.
To build the barn-workshop/garage will probably use stones for the foundation, pines for the skeleton and (ideally) hempcrete for the walls and industrial hemp for the insulation and floors.
See the following links:
Materiales del Terreno: piedra, tierra (sacos:bolsas?), pasto, …
The multiple uses of Cáñamo:
Ideas y oportunidades para que los jóvenes emprendan en Extremadura
The Virtue School will invest in all of these:
1. Granja de Lombrices- Producción de humus de lombriz
2. Helicicultura
3. Cáñamo industrial
4. Agricultura ecológica
5. Distribución de productos ecológicos
6. Turismo de Salud
7. Turismo Geológico
8. Eco Turismo
9. Agroturismo
10. Turismo activo para personas con discapacidad física
11. Dinamización de experiencias turísticas
12. Agencia especializada en turismo ornitológico
13. Tienda online espacio de degustación
14. Coworking- espacio de trabajo compartido
15. Cafetería + eco tienda
16. Terapias a domicilio
17. Internet y cobertura
18. Instalación de calderas de biomasa
19. Consultora de marketing y comunicación
20. Educación ambiental

“Captain Fantastic” and the Road to Nowhere

Just saw the film “Captain Fantastic” after reading some rave reviews. What follows are a few of my takes on it…
Starts off with the oldest son killing a deer with his bare hands & a knife. All the kids gather round & dad says, “Well done. My son’s become a man.” Then the kids get down to business – preparing the flesh of the deer for food, etc. Nothing ritualistic or spiritual about it. No feeling. It’s about Survival – or the skills you need for that. Nothing more.
That’s one of the main things I get from this film. It comes over as “rebellious” – as though it offers an alternative to the system (via home schooling, living off-grid), but the results are rather cold and empty; and, in the end, we are to see that it’s all just a roundabout way of preparing the kids to return to the system-as-it-is. They never get beyond it, and the film fails to offer an alternative way of dealing with the future or the way things are.
The story-line in brief: the lawyer daughter of a billionaire businessman, marries a highly-educated (Marxist-Chomsky-loving) academic & they both decide to raise their kids in nature (off-grid) and provide them with “revolutionary ideas.” The wife becomes psychotic, bi-polar and dad sends her off to a hospital to be treated (“she needed Serotonin, and I couldn’t give her that”). Eventually, she kills herself…
This “contradiction-of-extremes” theme repeats itself throughout the film. Example: Younger “rebel” son getting tired-of-it-all to oldest son: “Mom was psychotic… Dad made mom crazy. You think dad’s so perfect!”
Later: Dad out drinking a bottle of wine, oldest son goes into the “hippy” bus to get some acceptance letters from some of the most elite universities in the world. Shows them to dad. Dad checks them out & son says: “Harvard, Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Brown, MIT…”
“Hmmm, ha ha, well done… you’ve deceived me well all this time…”
“Dad, it was mom. She helped me do this. I just want to go to college.”
“You speak 6 languages, you’re an expert in high math and theoretical physics – what are one of these colleges gonna teach you?!”
“I know nothing! I’m a freak. You made us freaks – and mom knew that – she understood! … Unless it comes out of a fucking book, I don’t know anything about anything.”
Yes, mom understood. It’s just a different method, not a different result. Dad can give them an excellent “book” education and an alternative life-style: lead the kids on a “free-the-food” shoplifting mission, walk around in his billionaire father-in-law’s house with a Jesse Jackson ‘88 t-shirt; hang-out naked (except at the dinner table) & give condescending advice to a perplexed-looking older couple passing, “It’s just a penis. All men have them”; and give sex-ed to his youngest ones via picture books – “The Joy of Sex”; but he can’t give them anything deeper, spiritual, life-enhancing. The result is kind of like the emotionally-barren, ideal “polis” (city-state) illustrated by the paradox of the Philosopher-King in Plato’s “Republic.” This is what mom said she wanted. Maybe that’s why she killed herself?
We do get a few hints that dad’s “home-school book learning” is superior, at least in its logical acquisition, to traditional American schools. Dad’s 8-year-old can explain what the “Bill of Rights” theoretically stand for while his two high school age cousins have no idea. But he can’t explain why those “rights” are quickly being threatened while the Constitution withers away in synthetic “Wars” on Drugs and Terrorism. He mentions “freedom” in relation to those rights, but he never questions what freedom is, or means.
Finally, after seeing his daughter rendered nearly paralyzed after sending her to scale the roof of Grandpa Moneybags’ million-dollar house to “rescue” his son (who has claimed to not want to be with him, anyway), dad decides he’s had enough. Ok, Grandpa, you can have the kids. I give up. And he drives away in the hippy bus; shaves off his beard; cries (over the failed implementation of his wild dream). Then, what do you know, the kids who have been hiding in back of the bus, run up to cheer their broken father up. He’s learned his lesson well – no more “back-to-nature freak stuff” – the movie ends with dad continuing his home school lessons in a cute little house in Suburbia.
What disappoints me is the fact that the film could have been so much more: a search for knowledge and spiritual values from a Socratic perspective: “Unless it comes out of a fucking book, I don’t know anything about anything”; a return to having a respect and love for Nature; and an attempt at building ties between each other, family and community. But all we are left with are some “nice” Chomskyisms, a few token Marxist rah-rah’s and a “dead end.”