–by Masanobu Fukuoka (Apr 13 , 2012)
To be worried about making money, expanding, developing, growing cash crops and shipping them out is not the way of the farmer. To be here, caring for a small field, in full possession of the freedom and plenitude of each day, every day – this must have been the original way of agriculture.
To break experience in half and call one side physical and the other spiritual is narrowing and confusing. People do not live dependent on food. Ultimately, we cannot know what food is. It would be better if people stopped even thinking about food. Similarly, it would be well if people stopped troubling themselves about discovering the “true meaning of life;” we can never know the answers to great spiritual questions, it’s all right not to understand. We have been born and are living on the Earth to face directly the reality of living.
Living is no more than the result of being born. Whatever it is people eat to live,
whatever people think they must eat to live, is nothing more than something they have
thought up. The world exists in such a way that if people will set aside their human
will and be guided instead by nature there is no reason to expect to starve.
Just to live here and now – this is the true basis of human life. When a naive scientific knowledge becomes the basis of living, people come to live as if they are dependent only on starch, fats, and protein, and plants on nitrogen, phosphorous, and potash. Moreover, the scientists, no matter how much they investigate nature, no matter how far they research, they only come to realize in the end how perfect and mysterious nature really is. To believe that by research and invention humanity can create something better than nature is an illusion. I think that people are struggling for no other reason than to come to know what you might call the vast incomprehensibility of nature.
So for the farmer in his work: serve nature and all is well.
Farming used to be sacred work. When humanity fell away from this ideal, modern commercial agriculture rose. When the farmer began to grow crops to make money, he forgot the real principles of agriculture. Of course, the merchant has a role to play in society, but glorification of merchant activities tends to draw people away from a recognition of the true source of life. Farming, as an occupation, which is within nature, lies close to this source. Many farmers are unaware of nature even while living and working in natural surroundings,
but it seems to me that farming offers many opportunities for greater awareness.
“Whether autumn will bring wind or rain, I cannot know, but today I will be working in the fields.” Those are the words of an old country song. They express the truth of farming as a way of life. No matter how the harvest will turn out, whether or not there will be enough food to eat, in simply sowing seed and caring tenderly for plants under nature’s guidance there is joy.
–Masanobu Fukuoka, from One Straw Revolution.