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Show Notes & Participant Questions:
Eastern Pennsylvania Permaculture Guild
SoilKitchen.org is a temporary, windmill-powered architectural intervention and multi-use space where citizens can enjoy free soup in exchange for soil samples from their neighborhood. Placed across the street from the Don Quixote monument at 2nd Street and Girard Avenue in North Philadelphia, Soil Kitchen’s windmill pays homage to the famous windmill scene in Cervantes’, Don Quixote. Rather than being “adversarial giants” as they were in the novel, the windmill here will be a functioning symbol of self-reliance. The windmill also serves as a sculptural invitation to imagine a potential green energy future and to participate in the material exchange of soil for soup – literally taking matters into one’s own hands. This exchange provides an entry point for further dialogue and action available in the space through workshops, events and informal exchange. Soil Kitchen provides sustenance, re-established value of natural resources through a trade economy, and tools to inform and respond to possible contaminants in the soil.
Soil Kitchen will coincide with the E.P.A.’s National Brownfields Conference. Soil Kitchen gathers soil and creates a Philadelphia Brownfields Map and Soil Archive. In addition to serving soup and testing soil, the building will be a hub for exchange and learning; free workshops including wind turbine construction, urban agriculture, soil remediation, composting, lectures by soil scientists and cooking lessons.
Questions for Melissa:
Are there new myths rising from the practice of permaculture? What the new symbols in permaculture songs, poems and story?
When you say that you do alchemy & permaculture, what are the raw materials and outcomes in this mix?
Is there a global permaculture revolution rising now? How do you envision the big crash / transition ahead?
What is sacred about the practice of permaculture?
In my work, permaculture is primarily spiritual. Is this true for you?
Questions for Willi:
1. Re: Your “Inner and Outer System of the sacred” graphic… the triune nature of the symbol is archetypal. In addition to the many things the triangle represents in various cultures, the 3,4,5, triangle is a representation of the Classical Trivium. How do you think the Trivium Method of education relates to the permaculture and personal empowerment?
2. The “New Alchemy” you have brought forth is comprised of: Imaginative, Eco, Shamanic, Community, Earth & Digital. You have defined the Digital aspect of New Alchemy as, ” Electronic learning and feeling working with computers including chat text, email and documents.” Can you discuss how this Digital aspect is distinct from the Community aspect of the New Alchemy?
3. One of my favorite Alchemical terms is, “Solve et Coagula” (perhaps this is because I am a Scorpio!), but I’d like for you to talk about what this term means to you and how you feel it relates to the cultural paradigm shift I believe we are in the process of undergoing.
4. How do you define Sacred?
5. Now that we have reached the point where most people are recognizing that “we” (Western culture) have been on the wrong path for some time and, that some sort of change is needed …what, if anything, can be done to prevent green-washing/co-opting and/or disempowering “sustainable alternatives” (like, the Venus Project, imho) from grabbing people before they have become conscious and fully aware that what is really needed now is for each of us to making changes in ourselves?
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In 1947 Dorothy Sayers articulated the educational concept of the “Trivium”, an educational model that had been used for centuries. When Douglas Wilson helped found Logos School in Moscow, Idaho during the 1980’s, he revived this framework to bring about the rebirth of classical education. Presently, nearly 100 classical schools are operating in the United States, most of which use the “Trivium” to set their foundational educational philosophy.
The “Trivium” is simply a means of describing the learning stages of children as they mature. Parents often recognize the stages through which their children pass as they mature. The “Trivium” focuses on the educational method to best develop a knowledgeable, thinking, and articulate student. As the name implies, there are three stages represented in the “Trivium”: Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric.
Grammar Stage – Kindergarten through 6th Grade
During the “Grammar” stage, children are particularly adept at memorization. Young children learn songs, rhymes, and recite facts with relative ease. Because young children are so eager to memorize, they will make up nonsensical playground rhymes, therefore, we challenge them by providing substantial subject matter for them to memorize.
Each subject has it’s own grammar. In science, children memorize facts about nature. In math, children memorize times tables. In Latin, teachers emphasize vocabulary. Throughout each year in grammar school, classically educated children learn the factual foundation of each subject. We use songs, chants, and rhymes to help children enjoy the learning experience.
Logic Stage – 7th Grade and 8th Grade
The “Logic” phase involves ordering facts into organized statements and arguments. During the middle school years, children are beginning to think independently. They often develop a propensity for argument.
Classical education teaches children in this phase to argue well. The study of formal logic helps students understand the fundamentals of a good argument. Practice in making written and oral arguments helps to further develop these skills. Teachers encourage the use of argumentation in each subject.
Again, each subject has its own logic. In science, we use the development and testing of hypothesis. In math, we develop students’ ability to logically orient numbers through the more abstract concepts of algebra and trigonometry.
Rhetoric Stage – 9th Grade through 12th Grade
Rhetoric is the art of communicating well. Once a student has obtained knowledge of the facts and developed the skills necessary to arrange those facts into arguments, he must develop the skill of communicating those arguments to others.
During the high school years, students become concerned with what others think of them. Classical education helps students develop their minds to think and articulate concepts to others. Writing papers, researching, and orating ideas are skills required in all subjects.
While each component has its “sweet spot” during a particular stage, all skills are developed during all levels. A second grader will develop certain logic and rhetoric skills. A high school student will still acquire extensive knowledge in specific subjects. Emphasis is simply placed on different phases during different ages.
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Solve et Coagula
mating man and machine
Solve et Coagula is primarily an attempt to give birth to a new life form: half digital, half organic. Through a multisensorial, full duplex sensory interface the installation networks the human with an emotional, sensing and artificially intelligent creature; it mates man with a machine turned human and everything that goes with it: ecstatic, monstrous, perverted, craving, seductive, hysterical, violent, beautiful.
Solve et Coagula is a post-human life form. It presents the emergence of a new species, a bio-cybernetic symbiosis, transforming the conception of being human by networking man with a sensing and emotional machine. Through a bio-cybernetic interface, the installation extends the computer’s logic and intelligence into a human domain of dark desire.
Let’s Meet-up and Get Our Hands in the Backyard!