Masanobu Fukuoka, widely hailed as the godfather of Natural Farming, was more than a farmer.
His fundamental idea was that we don’t and cannot know anything. And he set out to practice this idea through natural farming.
“Humanity knows nothing at all. There is no intrinsic value in anything, and every action is a futile, meaningless effort”
His ideas on living and farming are simple & compelling.
“Instead of offering a hundred explanations, would not practicing this philosophy be the best way?”
“How about not doing this? How about not doing that? – that was my way of thinking.”
“I ultimately reached the conclusion that there was no need to plow, no need to apply fertilizer, no need to make compost, no need to use insecticide. When you get right down to it, there are few agricultural practices that are really necessary”
This line of reasoning not only applies to agriculture, but to other aspects of human society as well. Doctors and medicine become necessary when people create a sickly environment. Formal schooling has no intrinsic value, but becomes necessary when humanity creates a condition in which one must become “educated” to get along.
…the world has become so specialized that it has become impossible for people to grasp anything in its entirety.
I think an understanding of nature lies beyond the reach of human intelligence.
…until there is a reversal of the sense of values which cares more for size and appearance than for quality, there will be no solving the problem of food pollution.
In general, commercial agriculture is an unstable proposition. The farmer would do much better by growing the food he needs without thinking about making money. If you plant one grain of rice, it becomes more than one thousand grains. One row of turnips makes enough pickles for the entire winter. If you follow this line of thought, you will have enough to eat, more than enough; without struggling. But if you decide to try to make money instead, you get on board the profit wagon, and it runs away with you.
…the greater one’s desires, the more one has to work to satisfy
The foods that are nearby are best for human beings, and things that he has to struggle to obtain turn out to be the least beneficial of all.
…people who limit themselves to a simple local diet need do less work and use less land than those with an appetite for luxury.
If we do have a food crisis it will not be caused by the insufficiency of nature’s productive power, but by the extravagance of human desire.
In my opinion, if 100% of the people were farming it would be ideal. There is just a quarter-acre of arable land for each person in Japan. If each single person were given one quarter-acre, that is l1⁄4 acres to a family of five, that would be more than enough land to support the family for the whole year. If natural farming were practiced, a farmer would also have plenty of time for leisure and social activities within the village community. I think this is the most direct path toward making this country a happy, pleasant land.
There is no time in modern agriculture for a farmer to write a poem or compose a song.
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 plentitude of each day, every day-this must have been the original way of agriculture.
…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, but it’s all right not to understand. We have been born and are living on the earth to face directly the reality of living.
Just to live here and now- this is the true basis of human life.
And 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.
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.
I do not particularly like the word “work.” Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think this is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive. The bigger the job, the greater the challenge, the more wonderful they think it is. It would be good to give up that way of thinking and live an easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time. I think that the way animals live in the tropics, stepping outside in the morning and evening to see if there is something to eat, and taking a long nap in the afternoon, must be a wonderful life.
For human beings, a life of such simplicity would be possible if one worked to produce directly his daily necessities. In such a life, work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.
A natural diet lies right at one’s feet.
The one who goes about his own business, eats and sleeps well, the one with nothing to worry about, would seem to me to be living in the most satisfactory manner. There is no one so great as the one who does not try to accomplish anything.
“If you did nothing at all the world could keep running. What would the world be without development?” “Why do you have to develop? If economic growth rises from 5% to 10%, is happiness going double? What’s wrong with a growth rate of 0% ? Isn’t this a rather stable kind of economics? Could there be anything better than living simply and taking it easy?”
People find something out, learn how it work and put nature to use, thinking this will be for the good of humankind. The result of all this, up to now is that the planet has become polluted, people have become confused, and we have invited in the chaos modern times.
At this farm we practice “do-nothing” farming and eat wholesome and delicious grains, vegetable and citrus. There is meaning and basic satisfaction
The farmer became too busy when people began to investigate the world and decided that it would be “good” if we did this or did that. All my research has been in the direction of not doing this or that. These thirty years have taught me that farmers would have been better off doing almost nothing at all.
The more people do, the more society develops, the more problems arise. The increasing desolation of nature, the exhaustion of resources, the uneasiness and disintegration of the human spirit, all have been brought about by humanity’s trying to accomplish something.
Originally there was no reason to progress, and nothing that had to be done. We have come to the point at which there is no other way than to bring about a “movement” not to bring anything about.
Originally human beings had no purpose. Now, dreaming up some purpose or other, they struggle away trying to find the meaning of life. It is a one man wrestling match. There is no purpose one has to think about, or go out in search of. You would do well to ask the children whether or not a life without purpose is meaningless.