When people come to visit us, they often ask questions and want to find out more about biodynamics. I try to explain that to fully understand biodynamics requires a shift in thinking, a shift in thinking that requires judgments to be not solely scientific. I suggest that embracing biodynamics requires an instinctual understanding of the space we inhabit, the land we farm, and an understanding of the importance of intuitive perceptions. Acceptance of intuition is something that our scientific community finds difficult to embrace. In an earlier Newsletter I quoted a scientist – Professor Stuart B. Hill now of the University of Western Sydney – about the scientific basis of the BD preparations. I would like to quote him again if I may, this time about intuition:
“A purely scientific approach does not allow for the intuitive understanding of the ‘good’ farmer. Most people, including scientists, make decisions partly based on ‘feelings’ and intuitions, probably more often than they recognise, but science makes no allowance for that. In fact, most aspects of science are in denial about the phenomenon, and scientists set-up experiments which ignore it. Those feelings or intuitions are, in fact, based on readings of inputs we don’t consciously recognise, and while most tertiary courses provided no support training for use of those intuitive registers, and in many instances actively worked against them. In social ecology we talk about mystical or spiritual dimensions, which are not scientific but represent our best attempts to acknowledge that conscious human knowledge represents only a minute portion of the sum of knowledge in the world.”
To illustrate his point he refers to an image, used by André Voisin, a French agronomist, where a minute dot beside a huge circle represents the sum total of human knowledge with the circle representing the knowledge there is to discover.
“There is no doubt we need to get better at recognizing and making use of these intuitive inputs”.
To further reinforce his point he talks of his grandfather, an ‘uneducated man’, who knew intuitively just when and where to plant particular vegetable crops.
“He couldn’t explain it. He just knew the time was right and that is what he should do. Although the reasons may have been inexplicable, but the inputs he was tapping into were still real, and the results he achieved with his intuition out-stripped those of people taking the more limited ‘scientific’ approach. It’s the same with really good farmers, although the modern trend to put farmers through degree programs strongly focused on conventional science is tending to kill that by closing them off to intuitive inputs, which are real even thought they can’t be easily measured.”
I wonder if the criticism now being leveled at Australian wine of ‘sameness’ would be tempered if our highly-skilled, highly-trained, science-based winemakers listened to their inner-self, their intuition, a little more often.