Watch videos with subtitles in your language, upload your videos, create your own subtitles! Click here to learn more on "how to Dotsub"

Annotated captions of J. Stephen Lansing: A Thousand Years in Bali in English

Last Modified By Time Content
laura welcher 00:38
00:42

Good evening. I'm Stewart Brand from the Long Now Foundation. Well, a person that

laura welcher 00:42
00:47

I've spent a lot of time paying attention to is Gregory Bateson and his wife Margaret

laura welcher 00:47
00:53

Mead. I knew Gregory better. Back in the 1930s, when they had been infected by what

laura welcher 00:53
01:00

was brand new, cybernetic theory, the idea of feedback, they went to Bali. (Stephen

laura welcher 01:00
01:04

Lansing was just telling me).

laura welcher 01:04
01:10

They invented visual anthropology. And did a book called Balinese Character, which is a

laura welcher 01:10
01:16

classic. It is still studied by everybody in the business. That was a nice case of field

laura welcher 01:16
01:24

anthropologists being set in a different direction by a very good

laura welcher 01:24
01:28

body of theory, which in that case was cybernetics.

laura welcher 01:28
01:33

Well the great, well maybe the grandchild of cybernetics is complex adaptive systems,

laura welcher 01:33
01:38

complexity theory as it has been manifested at the Santa Fe Institute, where Stephen

laura welcher 01:38
01:44

Lansing is a research professor. I've been on their board for fourteen years or something.

laura welcher 01:44
01:49

It is where I first saw a version of this talk; not nearly as gorgeous as the one you'll see tonight.

laura welcher 01:49
01:58

In Stephen and my case of taking a new body of theory, how complex systems work;

laura welcher 01:58
02:04

emergent behaviors of the kinds of things you can do with agent-based modeling. And

laura welcher 02:04
02:11

bringing that to bear on one of the most mysterious and wonderful bodies of behavior in

laura welcher 02:11
02:19

Bali. And so you will see tonight, he is also bringing a new level of visual anthropology.

laura welcher 02:19
02:27

Stephen Lansing.

laura welcher 02:29
02:33

Thanks very much sir, that's very gracious. I need to apologize to all of you for turning

laura welcher 02:33
02:37

up a week late. I zigged when I should have zagged awhile back on a ski hill in

laura welcher 02:37
02:41

Wyoming. I'm grateful to be here now and actually I've been downloading and listening

laura welcher 02:41
02:47

to some of the earlier talks in this series. It's really a very interesting series. I'm honored

laura welcher 02:47
02:52

to have an opportunity to try and join this conversation.

laura welcher 02:52
02:57

I'm going to take you in a different direction. And actually I'll wind up talking about the

laura welcher 02:57
03:01

law now, rather than the physics of time in the future. I'm going to take you down the

laura welcher 03:01
03:06

kinds of wandering paths that ecologists and anthropologists take. We'll wind up in the

laura welcher 03:06
03:11

end, I hope, with something to say about time and about the law now.

laura welcher 03:11
03:19

This is mostly about Bali, so off to Indonesia, which has the highest biodiversity on Earth

laura welcher 03:19
03:24

in terrestrial ecosystems in the forests, also in the oceans and coral reefs. But things are

laura welcher 03:24
03:30

not well in the tropics. Less than a third of the coral reefs are still healthy. Most of the

laura welcher 03:30
03:36

Borneo in the Sumatran rain forests has been logged. Indonesia is once again been importing rice.

laura welcher 03:36
03:42

We are losing some of the most precious treasures of the planet, the crown jewels. The

laura welcher 03:42
03:48

question is why? Part of that has to do with politics, certainly. But I think also, I hope to

laura welcher 03:48
03:52

convince you, that it has something to do with some weaknesses in our science and how we see the world.

laura welcher 03:52
03:58

One of the things that began with the era of five year plans in the sixties, not just in

laura welcher 03:58
04:02

Indonesia but all over the world, (wherever the World Bank got busy), was the

laura welcher 04:02
04:07

implementation of hierarchical control systems. Anthropologists ask, "How did they

laura welcher 04:07
04:12

manage before they had five year plans? Before 'you manage, we produce' system?

laura welcher 04:12
04:17

The question is, don't complex ecosystems like rice paddies require firm hierarchical

laura welcher 04:17
04:23

control? Well, maybe not. Maybe there are different lessons on how to organize the world.

laura welcher 04:23
04:28

What I'll talk about tonight is partly about the sciences of complexities, or the Santa Fe

laura welcher 04:28
04:33

Institute story, with reference to Balinese rice paddies. I want to talk a little bit also about

laura welcher 04:33
04:40

Lisa Curran's work on the rainforests of Borneo, coral reefs and in the end, something about time.

laura welcher 04:40
04:41

Begin with complexity. [In] 1995 the great biologist John Maynard-Smith wrote in the

laura welcher 04:48
04:52

New York Review of Books that he has a general feeling of unease when contemplating

laura welcher 04:52
04:56

complex systems dynamics. This is after a week in Santa Fe. Its devotees are practicing

laura welcher 04:56
05:04

fact free science. Fact for them is at best the outcome of a computer simulation, rarely a fact about the world.

laura welcher 05:04
05:11

These ideas that we talk about in Santa Fe are new and unfamiliar. One can ask that if

laura welcher 05:11
05:17

these processes are really at work in the world, would we recognize them. I'm going to

laura welcher 05:17
05:20

give you the quickest definition of what a complex adaptive system might be. This is

laura welcher 05:22
05:26

from John Holland, one of the architects of this notion of complexity.

laura welcher 05:26
05:31

A complex adaptive system is a network of interacting agents in which they are trying to

laura welcher 05:31
05:38

maximize something. What he discovered is the aggregate behavior of the network that is

laura welcher 05:38
05:43

formed by their interactions may be described without a detailed knowledge of individual

laura welcher 05:43
05:46

agent behavior. So there can be emergent properties.

laura welcher 05:46
05:50

That is a very nice and very general theoretical idea. But what I hope I can show you, the

laura welcher 05:50
05:53

reason that I spent some time at Santa Fe, is that it turns out this can be useful in

laura welcher 05:53
05:55

understanding something very real.

laura welcher 05:55
06:01

Off to Bali. I went to Bali where the Balinese have been growing rice in terraces since at

laura welcher 06:01
06:07

least the eleventh century. We know this from royal inscriptions at the time. They have

laura welcher 06:07
06:12

also governed themselves in villages with a very ancient system of democracy. Now,

laura welcher 06:12
06:15

democracies are quite rare in the world.

laura welcher 06:15
06:20

As you know, the ones that the Italian Republic tried in the thirteen century lasted no

laura welcher 06:20
06:25

more than a century in every case. But the Balinese have been, we believe, managing

laura welcher 06:25
06:29

their rice paddies with groups called subaks, which are groups of men who share

laura welcher 06:29
06:35

contiguous rice fields with a democratic system, since at least the twelfth century.

laura welcher 06:35
06:39

It's an interesting kind of experiment in democratic governments. Let me tell you a little

laura welcher 06:40
06:46

bit about rice paddies. They are artificial ponds in which the fertility of the water

laura welcher 06:46
06:51

basically creates a kind of aquarium and the processes that go on in the water help to

laura welcher 06:51
06:56

grow the rice. They provide the nutrients necessary to grow the rice, which is why we

laura welcher 06:56
07:01

find terraces in Bali that, have been producing two crops of rice every year for centuries.

laura welcher 07:01
07:06

It's a great trick and the control of water is the key to making that work. The reason it

laura welcher 07:06
07:11

works is that volcanic rock is rich in mineral nutrients. [Let's see, I've got my little

laura welcher 07:11
07:17

pointer here]. Those are just the phosphate content of rocks in Indonesian volcanoes and

laura welcher 07:17
07:20

Bali is somewhere down there. Its actually not one of the highest but

laura welcher 07:20
07:22

there is plenty of phosphate in the rock.

laura welcher 07:22
07:30

As the monsoon rains fall on that fumacious rock, that very light rock, with these

laura welcher 07:30
07:35

nutrients. They leech the mineral nutrients, which flows into the irrigation systems.

laura welcher 07:35
07:40

That is delivered, finally, to the rice paddies. So it's sort of a continuous delivery system

laura welcher 07:40
07:45

for phosphate potassium, the main nutrients required by the rice.

laura welcher 07:45
07:49

Nitrogen is fixed by a zolo that grows in the water. You have a kind of perpetual

laura welcher 07:49
07:55

motion machine. But the challenge for the Balinese to make this work is that the island of

laura welcher 07:55
07:58

Bali is a steep volcanic island just south of the equator.

laura welcher 07:58
08:06

As the rain falls on the slopes of the volcanoes it slices channels down the slopes of the

laura welcher 08:06
08:12

mountains, creating these kinds of fissures. The Balinese need to get the water from the

laura welcher 08:12
08:17

bottom of these ravines up to the top of the hill, some distance downstream, where they

laura welcher 08:17
08:23

can grow rice. [This] means that they have to build tunnels to move the water down to the higher slopes

laura welcher 08:23
08:30

We find inscriptions dated as early as the ninth century that refers to irrigation tunnel

laura welcher 08:30
08:35

builders. They have been at it a long time so they have honeycombed the island with their

laura welcher 08:35
08:37

tunnels and terraces by now.

laura welcher 08:37
08:45

That's pretty clear: water can provide nutrients but it can also, less obviously, be used to

laura welcher 08:45
08:51

control rice pests. Rice is vulnerable to a variety of things that like to eat it besides

laura welcher 08:51
08:57

humans: Insects, which either eat the rice directly or carry bacterial and viral diseases,

laura welcher 08:57
09:02

which can spread through the rice. Rats and so forth. There are lots of things that like to eat the rice.

laura welcher 09:02
09:09

But by synchronizing harvests over a sufficiently large area it's possible to deprive the

laura welcher 09:09
09:15

pests of their food and habitat. Here on this side you see that after the harvest they flood

laura welcher 09:15
09:22

the fields and there is nothing for the pest to eat. But that will only work if all of the

laura welcher 09:22
09:25

farmers plant at the same time. Generally they give themselves a five day window.

laura welcher 09:25
09:30

The fields there, you can see, are all about the same stage, they are all at the same height.

laura welcher 09:30
09:34

So there might be rice pests in the field now but later on, a few months from now after

laura welcher 09:34
09:39

those fields are harvested and flooded, [there is] nothing for the pests to eat. The success

laura welcher 09:39
09:44

of this system depends upon getting a large enough area fallow at the same time

laura welcher 09:44
09:49

because the pests can move. If you get a kind of a patchwork system, if one field is

laura welcher 09:49
09:53

fallowed but the other still has rice, the pests can just move around or be blown by the wind

laura welcher 09:53
10:00

The success of this plan, of this method of controlling the pests, depends upon getting the

laura welcher 10:00
10:04

right scale of coordination to deprive the pests of their

laura welcher 10:04
10:07

habitat, which depends upon their dispersal characteristics.

laura welcher 10:07
10:12

Ok, so that is the basic dynamics. The way the Balinese organize this is through this thing

laura welcher 10:12
10:18

called a subak, A subak consists of all of the farmers who share water from a single

laura welcher 10:18
10:23

source: a spring or an irrigation canal. In the picture, what I am trying to show you is a

laura welcher 10:23
10:29

tunnel, excuse me, a temple where they will gather to make their decisions. There are the

laura welcher 10:29
10:35

rice terraces which are managed by the farmers who maintain that water temple.

laura welcher 10:35
10:43

Interestingly, in the meetings the farmers have within their water temples, they set aside the rules of caste.

laura welcher 10:43
10:49

The reason that is important is that caste is very important otherwise in Balinese society.

laura welcher 10:49
10:54

They are divided into a version of the Hindu caste system but they take it very seriously.

laura welcher 10:54
11:00

So when you speak Balinese you have to first determine what is the relative caste of the

laura welcher 11:00
11:04

person you are talking to. Then you use a different register, depending upon whether the

laura welcher 11:04
11:09

person you are addressing is of higher or lower caste than you. A lot of this hierarchal

laura welcher 11:09
11:15

structure is built into even their language. But when the farmers get together to hold a

laura welcher 11:15
11:19

meeting to talk about the management of their rice terraces, all of that is set aside. You

laura welcher 11:19
11:26

have to speak to your peers, to your fellow farmers, in middle high register Balinese or in

laura welcher 11:26
11:29

the colloquial, informal language that you use within your own family.

laura welcher 11:29
11:34

If you start trumping people with high language you can be fined (and it's very much

laura welcher 11:34
11:38

frowned upon). That is part of what makes this democratic system work. So that's the

laura welcher 11:39
11:45

basic subak. What is interesting is that these subaks then form a hierarchical structure

laura welcher 11:45
11:52

which works from the bottom up. Here we have the water temple network. Subaks A and

laura welcher 11:52
11:56

B; these are two subaks; there's the temple. But they both share water from this canal,

laura welcher 11:56
12:02

which comes from that dam. They belong to this temple here.

laura welcher 12:02
12:08

From time to time, once a year, they will send a delegation up to their neighbors up here

laura welcher 12:08
12:13

to try and coordinate their irrigation schedules. Because the timing of the water released

laura welcher 12:13
12:17

from this system is going to clearly impact how much water is available for their

laura welcher 12:17
12:21

downstream neighbors. In this way they sort of build up from the bottom a hierarchal

laura welcher 12:21
12:28

structure of relationships among the subaks using the water temples. The temples form a kind of network.

laura welcher 12:28
12:34

At the summit of the network there is a crater lake. More or less near the real center of

laura welcher 12:34
12:41

Bali there's a lake which the Balinese describe as a sacred mandala of waters. So they

laura welcher 12:41
12:46

imagine that Bali is surrounded by a salt sea but in the center of the island at the highest

laura welcher 12:46
12:53

point there is a lake that is full of life giving fresh water. In the lake there dwells a

laura welcher 12:53
12:58

goddess and she has the power to bestow this blessing of water that makes things grow

laura welcher 12:58
13:04

and also washes away pollution down the flanks of her volcano.

laura welcher 13:04
13:10

Water actually belongs to the goddess and her temple is the supreme water temple of the

laura welcher 13:10
13:21

island. She chooses priests by inhabiting the voice of a group of priest who"� [How do

laura welcher 13:21
13:27

you say?]. When a priest dies, other priests will go into trance. They believe they are

laura welcher 13:27
13:31

possessed by the voice of the goddess or some other deity that is connected to her

laura welcher 13:31
13:36

retinu, who then speaks the name of the child to replace that priest. In this way there is

laura welcher 13:36
13:43

continuity somewhat like the Tibetan idea. Anyway, these priests live up there, the

laura welcher 13:43
13:46

village of Bater by the lake. They collect holy water from the points around the lake.

laura welcher 13:46
13:52

The farmers come up to collect that holy water as a token of the blessings of the goddess of the lake.

laura welcher 13:52
14:05

The Balinese call their religion Agama Tirtha, the religion of water. Each village temple

laura welcher 14:05
14:11

controls the water that flows into nearby rice terraces. Regional water temples control the

laura welcher 14:11
14:18

flow into larger areas. High on the volcano, Mt. Batur, there is an enormous crater

laura welcher 14:18
14:23

lake. The Balinese believe that the lake is the home of the goddess of the waters, Dewi

laura welcher 14:23
14:28

Danu, who makes the waters flow into the rivers and irrigation canals.

laura welcher 14:28
14:34

The supreme water temple of Bali sits on the rim of the crater overlooking the lake. Once

laura welcher 14:34
14:39

a year the priests give holy water from the lake to the farmers as a blessing from the

laura welcher 14:39
14:46

goddess. First, priests ascend the crater to collect drops of water from the steam of the

laura welcher 14:46
14:53

active volcano. Then the priests prepare the holy water for the farmers. A temple scribe

laura welcher 14:53
15:00

writes letters on palm leaves, inviting farmers to the temple. Delegations from over 200

laura welcher 15:00
15:05

villages journey up the mountain to bring offerings to the goddess.

laura welcher 15:05
15:19

At the supreme water temple, the Gamelan orchestra plays in honor of the goddess and

laura welcher 15:19
15:25

the worshippers. Temple priests give a (soojung?), a bamboo container filled with holy

laura welcher 15:25
15:32

water to each village delegate. The delegations then carry the holy water to their regional

laura welcher 15:32
15:43

temples. Here the water from the goddess is mixed with more holy water adding the

laura welcher 15:43
15:49

blessings of local gods and goddesses. Each delegate receives a soojung of this water

laura welcher 15:49
15:51

to take back to his village.

laura welcher 15:51
16:13

At the village temples local farmers receive a blessing for themselves and their fields. A

laura welcher 16:13
16:20

few drops of holy water are sprinkled on every field. This ritual symbolizes the sharing of

laura welcher 16:20
16:27

water that forms a coordinated system of irrigation in Bali. Working together in this way

laura welcher 16:27
16:47

the Balinese have maintained the ecology of their rice terraces for over a thousand years.

laura welcher 16:48
16:55

It's a rather idyllic system but there is a hidden problem because in each case that

laura welcher 16:55
17:00

downstream subaks are at the mercy of their upstream neighbors for water. The guys

laura welcher 17:00
17:05

upstream in any irrigation system have their hand on this, so they control the water. The

laura welcher 17:05
17:10

question then is why do they release the water needed for their downstream neighbors?

laura welcher 17:10
17:14

(Because the downstream neighbors can never give the water back.) Why doesn't this

laura welcher 17:14
17:19

lead to a tragedy of the commons as it so often has in other irrigation systems?"

laura welcher 17:19
17:24

We won't talk about the World Bank yet. What is different about Bali? What makes it

laura welcher 17:24
17:30

work? John Miller at the Santa Fe Institute came up with this very simple formulation

laura welcher 17:30
17:34

from game theory that suggested an answer to that question. Imagine we have two

laura welcher 17:34
17:39

farmers, upstream and downstream, and they have a choice as to whether they want to

laura welcher 17:39
17:44

synchronize their irrigation system or not, planting or not. If the upstream farmer is

laura welcher 17:44
17:49

willing to give up some water, they both plant at the same time, then the downstream

laura welcher 17:49
17:54

farmer is happy and he gets his water. If on the other hand, and the consequence then is

laura welcher 17:54
17:59

they have a coordinated fallow period, they both harvest at the same time, [it] can help

laura welcher 17:59
18:05

bring the pests under control because the pests don't move upstream to eat the upstream farmer's field.

laura welcher 18:05
18:10

Suppose on the other hand that they don't synchronize. The upstream guy gets to keep

laura welcher 18:10
18:16

more of the water but on the other hand the pests can come and attack his field. It looks

laura welcher 18:16
18:22

as though pests can give leverage to downstream farmers if the farmers are thinking about

laura welcher 18:22
18:28

pests in the context of this water allocation problem. We wondered if that very simple

laura welcher 18:28
18:32

formulation had anything to do with the way the farmers actually think about this thing.

laura welcher 18:32
18:41

We asked them. We asked 150 farmers in ten subaks which is worse, pests or water

laura welcher 18:41
18:42

damage, water shortage?

laura welcher 18:42
18:50

Here are the results. The upstream guys are worried abut pests and the downstream guys

laura welcher 18:50
18:57

are worried about water. That seemed to be true in each of these ten subaks. There are the

laura welcher 18:57
19:02

makings of a bargain. It turns out our economist was right. You can also look at this in

laura welcher 19:02
19:07

the next scale; in six cases we had an upstream/downstream pair, upstream

laura welcher 19:07
19:13

subak/downstream subak. In this agent is not an individual farmer but a whole subak. In

laura welcher 19:13
19:18

that case the pattern is even clearer. The upstream subak is worried about pests and the

laura welcher 19:18
19:23

downstream subaks, in these six cases, are worried about water.

laura welcher 19:23
19:28

That looked as though, actually to my surprise that this actually worked out so well, they

laura welcher 19:28
19:32

think about a lot of things but this seemed to be present in the mind of the farmers and

laura welcher 19:32
19:37

helps to explain why the upstream guys are in fact willing to engage in these bargain with

laura welcher 19:37
19:42

the downstream farmers. However, this two player game is unrealistic because in fact

laura welcher 19:42
19:47

dozens and dozens of subaks affect one another. The irrigation systems are highly

laura welcher 19:47
19:53

interdependent, there are lots of little subaks, dozens of weirs, and they are interconnected.

laura welcher 19:53
19:57

The real question is how do they get it right not at the scale of two players but at the scale

laura welcher 19:57
20:02

of, in the case that we studied, 172 subaks along two rivers. So I worked with a systems

laura welcher 20:05
20:11

ecologist, Jim Cramer, who suggested that we build simulation model and see how this

laura welcher 20:11
20:15

might work. At that point I had just come back from spending about a year studying one

laura welcher 20:15
20:21

subak, so when he said we should scale up to 172 I was impressed. Anyways, here is a

laura welcher 20:21
20:25

map. These are two rivers. The little squares, if you can see them, are meant to be the

laura welcher 20:25
20:30

subaks. The little Christmas-y things are meant to be water temples. The stifled lines are

laura welcher 20:30
20:32

the boundaries of catchments areas of the rivers.

laura welcher 20:32
20:38

Bear with me, this is pretty clear. What happens in this simulation is at the beginning of

laura welcher 20:38
20:44

the year, each of these 172 subaks, the village-size irrigation systems, chooses a cropping

laura welcher 20:44
20:49

pattern. What are they going to plant? So it might be plant rice in January and August, for

laura welcher 20:49
20:55

example. Then we simulate the flow of rain. The rain gets into the groundwater of the

laura welcher 20:55
21:00

irrigation systems. The rice grows and the pests eat some of the rice. We simulate all of

laura welcher 21:00
21:06

those processes and then at the end of the year we calculate the harvest yields for each of the subaks.

laura welcher 21:06
21:14

Having done this, we then vary the scale at which they coordinate, from everybody does

laura welcher 21:14
21:19

the same thing to everyone does something different to water temple scale. We can

laura welcher 21:19
21:23

actually identify what kinds of clusters the subaks follow. Coordinated patterns based

laura welcher 21:23
21:29

upon the traditional water temple system. To no one's real surprise, it turned out that the

laura welcher 21:29
21:34

water temple networks optimize the trade-off between pests and water. They get it about

laura welcher 21:34
21:42

right; get enough water to cluster of subaks and at the same time minimize the pest damage.

laura welcher 21:42
21:50

That worked. In other words, one can see that theses water temples play a useful role in

laura welcher 21:50
21:55

finding the appropriate scale of coordination to optimize those two opposing constraints.

laura welcher 21:55
22:02

I gave a talk much like this, I think it was eight years ago at the Santa Fe Institute. At the

laura welcher 22:02
22:07

end of my talk, a researcher named Walter Fontana asked me a question. He said "That's

laura welcher 22:07
22:12

very interesting but it's really not surprising after all the farmers' have had centuries to

laura welcher 22:12
22:19

get the scale right. Tell me did someone have to design this system? Was it organized?

laura welcher 22:19
22:25

Did the Rajas have to work it out? Or could it have self-organized?" At that time I didn't

laura welcher 22:25
22:28

know what he meant by that. He said, "Well, do you have to, [well],does someone have

laura welcher 22:28
22:33

to impose this structure or could the interactions between the subaks lead to this kind of

laura welcher 22:33
22:35

solution, to the formation of a network?".

laura welcher 22:35
22:40

That seemed like an interesting question. The solution was, the solution we tried

laura welcher 22:40
22:44

immediately was to just tweak our little model a little bit and turn it into what's called a

laura welcher 22:44
22:48

hill climber, to see if the water temple networks might pop out on their own. The way

laura welcher 22:48
22:53

that works is, start that same simulation but let the computer randomly choose cropping

laura welcher 22:53
22:59

patterns all 172 subaks. So each of the little icons, upward triangle/downward triangle,

laura welcher 22:59
23:03

they simply mean a random choice of cropping patterns. A downward triangle might

laura welcher 23:03
23:07

mean plant rice in October and March, something like that.

laura welcher 23:07
23:11

We are randomizing the conditions of water, which will effect the dynamics of water

laura welcher 23:11
23:18

flow, rice growth and pest dynamics. We run the thing for a year and at the end of the

laura welcher 23:18
23:26

year, each subak compares its harvest with its four closest neighbors. I kind of got bored

laura welcher 23:26
23:30

writing little circles there but the little circles are supposed to suggest [that] these are the

laura welcher 23:30
23:34

comparison groups. At the end of the year, I look around and see if any of my neighbors

laura welcher 23:34
23:40

had a better rice harvest than I did. If so, I copy their copy pattern. If I did best, then I

laura welcher 23:40
23:47

stick with my cropping pattern. That reinitializes the simulation and we run it again.

laura welcher 23:47
23:52

Jim Cramer, my colleague, thought this thing would yield; that it would produce chaos

laura welcher 23:52
23:57

that the model would keep flipping back and forth as they tried first one pattern to get the

laura welcher 23:57
24:00

[model] or the other. We decided we would run it anyway. Here's what we saw. Here's

laura welcher 24:00
24:05

year one of a simulation. This is the random choice of cropping patterns selected by the

laura welcher 24:05
24:09

computer. The average harvest is pretty miserable. Its about five tons per hectare because

laura welcher 24:09
24:12

there is lots of pest damage and lots of water shortages.

laura welcher 24:12
24:18

Ten years later, synchronized patches, we you may or may not be able to see, have

laura welcher 24:18
24:24

appeared. This group is doing one thing, that group is doing the same thing. The harvest

laura welcher 24:24
24:30

yields have nearly doubled. They have walked their way to a solution and that solution

laura welcher 24:30
24:35

looks very much like the water temple patterns. In fact, it is almost identical.

laura welcher 24:35
24:40

As we repeated these simulations, we found that it is almost impossible not to grow a

laura welcher 24:40
24:45

water temple system. We vary the pest constraints. The pests are more virulent then the

laura welcher 24:45
24:51

fallow periods get larger. If the water is more of a problem then the patches get smaller.

laura welcher 24:51
24:56

But no matter what the constraints are a network will form, given this kind of trade off,

laura welcher 24:56
25:03

that will optimize the conditions. As this goes on, this also had another kind of interesting consequence.

laura welcher 25:03
25:09

Here are the yields, rice yields, as time goes on in the simulation. That's the average,

laura welcher 25:09
25:15

that's the highest. As time goes on you'll see that the average yield is going up until it

laura welcher 25:15
25:20

comes very close to the highest yield, That flags the attention of any evolutionary

laura welcher 25:20
25:24

biologist because we think that one of the reasons that people or animals disagree is

laura welcher 25:24
25:27

because of envy; disparities in benefits.

laura welcher 25:27
25:32

But if everybody is not only doing well but doing equally well, then there is no reason to

laura welcher 25:32
25:38

be jealous. In fact, as we asked the farmers to compare their own harvests to the average

laura welcher 25:38
25:43

in their subaks. You can't read that, that says that well, mine is the same and that says

laura welcher 25:43
25:50

that it is worse. Even Balinese farmers like to badmouth their harvests. But they can't get

laura welcher 25:50
25:54

away with it in their subaks because, in fact, everybody does equally well (and they do very well).

laura welcher 25:54
25:58

That suggested a way in which this system could have persisted over time. You can

laura welcher 25:58
26:02

imagine that, indeed from time to time, farmers decide to be renegades and they don't

laura welcher 26:02
26:06

plan according to the schedule. It is possible to opt out; it is possible for subaks to

laura welcher 26:06
26:11

become defunct, as we will see presently. But over time nature punishes you if drift

laura welcher 26:11
26:17

away. Over time we can see a process in which, if not me then my grandchildren, are

laura welcher 26:17
26:23

very likely to drift back into this pattern of organization because it is a very successful one.

laura welcher 26:23
26:28

One more thing about this network idea; (It is interesting to see); the point is that it may

laura welcher 26:28
26:33

be a very general phenomenon. We discovered in Bali that it may be quite general. Here

laura welcher 26:33
26:36

is K; that is the number of, with apologies to Stuart Kauffman, the number of neighbors

laura welcher 26:36
26:41

that we check in these simulations. In the model world, not Bali but in the model world,

laura welcher 26:41
26:47

how many neighbors do I compare my harvest with before I decide what to do?

laura welcher 26:47
26:55

That has an effect. If you look only at three neighbors, then as time goes on the number

laura welcher 26:55
27:03

of subaks that change strategies, that flip back and forth, stabilizes with about 1/3 of them

laura welcher 27:03
27:08

never finding the right optimal solution. They keep flipping back and forth. These are

laura welcher 27:08
27:12

guys that never decide what to do. There may be a solution but they can't find it because

laura welcher 27:12
27:17

they are not looking far enough out. You go to K = 4, then they find a solution faster.

laura welcher 27:17
27:23

The network appears faster and fewer of them remain confused. As we look even further

laura welcher 27:23
27:26

than thirteen, you get down to almost all of them confined to the solution because they

laura welcher 27:26
27:33

can see it. If on the other hand you look not at your immediate neighbors but somewhere

laura welcher 27:33
27:38

as in the system, for example, at the experimental farms, then you do get chaos. What

laura welcher 27:38
27:43

happens is that everybody keeps flipping back and forth, identifying, and imitating the

laura welcher 27:43
27:50

best farm in the entire landscape. But that loses the signal from the immediate vicinity;

laura welcher 27:50
27:55

this is exploring your own immediate neighborhood and optimizing conditions there.

laura welcher 27:55
28:00

That may be general. Anyway, it always succeeds and the search parameters are

laura welcher 28:00
28:03

important. I hope that is clear. There is a complex adaptive systems explanation for water

laura welcher 28:06
28:12

temples. Does that mean that they are just a kind of mathematical device? Well, I can't

laura welcher 28:12
28:18

believe that [because] I'm an anthropologist. I want to talk about ritual a little bit. They

laura welcher 28:18
28:24

devote a great deal of time and wealth and attention to their rituals that take place in the

laura welcher 28:24
28:30

water temples. Remember that these temples are places where democratic decisions are made.

laura welcher 28:30
28:37

Why do they do that, why is that important? It is characteristic of discourse of the Greeks,

laura welcher 28:37
28:41

the Romans, and the Italians in the thirteenth century. Anybody who is interested in

laura welcher 28:41
28:48

making a democratic assembly work winds up talking about the control of emotions. That

laura welcher 28:48
28:52

becomes the central focus of Balinese discourse; how do you make communities, how do

laura welcher 28:52
28:56

you cope with achieving consensual management?

laura welcher 28:56
29:01

Balinese cosmology and I will have to do this briefly but I hope you will be interested, it

laura welcher 29:01
29:07

posits a dualistic cosmos; the idea that the inner world of the self contains everything that

laura welcher 29:07
29:13

also exists in the outer world. There are 102 components, by the way, of the inner world

laura welcher 29:13
29:18

and the outer world. Given that presumption, there are two ways to think about it. One is

laura welcher 29:18
29:22

the male way, purusa, which actually a high Balinese word for penis.

laura welcher 29:22
29:28

Male power comes to the self, especially to males through their clan and it derives from

laura welcher 29:28
29:32

the ancestors, [it is] something you inherit. It is what gives kings the power to rule.

laura welcher 29:32
29:40

Pradana, in Balinese (they have modified a Sanskrit idea), it's the female principle. The

laura welcher 29:40
29:45

female half of this cosmology and it is collective and transformative; it is about growth, it is about fertility.

laura welcher 29:45
29:52

It is the pradana ritual cycle that exists in the water temple networks. Here are offerings

laura welcher 29:52
29:58

in a water temple which relate simultaneously to the inner world and the outer world,

laura welcher 29:58
30:04

depicting them in perfect order, as an ideal relating to both worlds at the same time.

laura welcher 30:04
30:10

Water temple rituals are intended to tame the passions and to create order.

laura welcher 30:10
30:17

Monthly meetings are here of subak heads, in which they must set aside lineage

laura welcher 30:17
30:21

competition. We have these rights of equality; (He is about to pour some very nice

laura welcher 30:21
30:28

Balinese wine) to the heads of the subaks who gather once a month to make decisions

laura welcher 30:28
30:34

about the rice terraces. But what they talk about mostly is not ecology, they talk about

laura welcher 30:34
30:41

politics. These [are] rituals of equality.

laura welcher 30:41
30:48

Blind these elements of the inner world so that we can control the outer world. Here is

laura welcher 30:48
31:07

another quick video clip. (You can read this).

laura welcher 31:07
31:11

Here is the instrumental ritual, the sharing of water. These are offerings that grew in the

laura welcher 31:11
31:15

fields of a subak. They are now putting them in the water that leads into that subak. It is

laura welcher 31:15
31:21

returning thanks to the gods of that system. But we wondered if there is something more

laura welcher 31:21
31:26

to it than the simple giving of thanks. Here are offerings at a water temple.

laura welcher 31:26
31:55

Each family brings one of these offerings. That is what grew in their fields. These are

laura welcher 31:55
32:10

moodras, aligning the inner world. They liken rice paddies to jewels. Jewels are an

laura welcher 32:10
32:15

important concept in Balinese ideas. A jewel is something which symbolizes the mind.

laura welcher 32:15
32:20

Rice terraces like these, once they are flooded with the moonlight shining on them, look

laura welcher 32:20
32:27

like faceted jewels, as a subak had told me once. That order will fall apart in a week if all

laura welcher 32:27
32:36

the farmers don't systematically manage the terraces to maintain that jewel-like precision.

laura welcher 32:36
32:42

They say that the problem is really the same: the problem of creating a jewel-like rice

laura welcher 32:42
32:46

terrace system. But it originates in itself rather than the mud. Okay, I will go quickly

laura welcher 32:48
32:51

through this. I have gotten interested in this. (Quickly), there is a drive for universality

laura welcher 32:51
32:59

and coherence in which they believe that the human microcosm is an intermediate

laura welcher 32:59
33:04

between; it is a platonic view of how the world is put together, of how the universe is put together.

laura welcher 33:04
33:13

It is reflected in the way in which they symbolize life. When you are born, they take the

laura welcher 33:13
33:18

components of the afterbirth and align it in the household according to the directional

laura welcher 33:18
33:23

symbolism which also relates to sounds and colors and letters. They align you with the

laura welcher 33:23
33:29

macrocosm. At the end of your life, when you have died, they cover you with a shroud,

laura welcher 33:29
33:35

which also depicts that alignment, although it shows the progression of changes that have occurred in your life.

laura welcher 33:35
33:39

There is a sudhra. You can see there are lots of different components of his body. The

laura welcher 33:39
33:44

Brahman priest has a simpler diagram because it is thought that he spent his life trying to

laura welcher 33:44
33:49

simplify the inner world. That is reflected in the diagram that is drawn over his body.

laura welcher 33:49
33:55

Alright, that is what I am going to tell you about Balinese ritual because we need to move along.

laura welcher 33:55
34:02

In the 1970s everything changed, for excellent reasons. Indonesia at that time was also

laura welcher 34:02
34:05

importing rice. Indonesia was poor; they needed to improve their agricultural

laura welcher 34:05
34:10

productivity. The Asian Development Bank funded the Green Revolution. A new era of

laura welcher 34:10
34:16

agricultural expansion, management in Bali as [it] did elsewhere in many parts of the

laura welcher 34:16
34:22

world, certainly, in Indonesia. But it had unintended consequences.

laura welcher 34:22
34:27

The basic ingredient was something they called a technology packet. Literally, packet

laura welcher 34:27
34:32

technology in Balinese, which consisted of new rice varieties spread to grow rapidly and

laura welcher 34:32
34:37

to take up chemical fertilizers effectively. (Plus, those fertilizers, plus organo-chloride

laura welcher 34:37
34:42

pesticides). The farmers were urged to plant rice as often as possible and set aside the

laura welcher 34:42
34:45

water temples. The planners of this system said that "it is perfectly fine to continue to

laura welcher 34:45
34:50

have your lovely rituals in the water temples but don't think this is a practical management system".

laura welcher 34:50
34:56

This system that was developed at the Rice Institute in the Philippines was moved to

laura welcher 34:56
34:59

Indonesia. Within a few years there were unexpected problems, which you can probably

laura welcher 34:59
35:06

anticipate. Miracle rice produced miracle pests. If indeed all of the farmers plant at

laura welcher 35:06
35:13

different times it is like running our simulation model backwards, disrupting the pattern

laura welcher 35:13
35:19

of coordination until you wind up with the patchy structure in which the pests can

laura welcher 35:19
35:21

migrate from one field to another.

laura welcher 35:21
35:24

It is just like the simulation model and that is precisely what happened. The first variety

laura welcher 35:24
35:28

of rice that they tried this with, which was named IR8, proved vulnerable to an insect

laura welcher 35:28
35:32

called the brown plant hopper. Two million tons [of rice] [were] lost [in] [19]77. The

laura welcher 35:32
35:37

agronomists and geneticists bred up a new variety of rice which was resistant to the plant

laura welcher 35:37
35:42

hoppers. But it proved to be vulnerable to rice tungro disease. That explosion began a few years later.

laura welcher 35:42
35:47

They came up with a new variety, IR50, which was resistant to tungro disease not so

laura welcher 35:47
35:52

good with the rice blast. Help me if you see where this is going. As time goes on, the

laura welcher 35:52
35:58

farmers were required to put on heavier and heavier doses of pesticides until finally by

laura welcher 35:58
36:04

the [19]80s they were flying the island spraying the fields. Meanwhile the extension

laura welcher 36:04
36:08

agents are reporting back to headquarters chaos in the irrigation systems.

laura welcher 36:08
36:14

We began to complain about this. The reason I got involved with the ecological modeling

laura welcher 36:14
36:17

was really to convince the Asian Development Bank that the temples had a practical

laura welcher 36:17
36:24

function. The director was not happy with this in 1984. Eight years later, they sent teams.

laura welcher 36:24
36:30

We talked to them. In the end, the Asian Development Bank agreed with us that the

laura welcher 36:30
36:34

substitution of the high technology and bureaucratic solution was counterproductive.

laura welcher 36:34
36:39

In fact, they became converts to the water temple system. So that's a happy story. The

laura welcher 36:39
36:42

planters have now dropped opposition to the water temple, in fact, they like to teach

laura welcher 36:42
36:47

about them; they show our movie. However, the farmers are still urged to buy these

laura welcher 36:47
36:51

technology packets of fertilizer and that is a problem because as you

laura welcher 36:51
36:55

have already learned volcanic rock is rich with nutrients.

laura welcher 36:55
37:00

Here is a test that we did adding phosphate fertilizer in six different fields, six subaks,

laura welcher 37:00
37:07

from zero phosphate to the recommended dosage of 100 kg per hectare. [It] has no effect

laura welcher 37:07
37:13

on yields. It is just wasted because the phosphate is already present in large concentrations.

laura welcher 37:13
37:18

Once the government understood this, they allowed the water temples to regain control.

laura welcher 37:18
37:28

But the Green Revolution still lingers. To this day, farmers add chemical fertilizer to this

laura welcher 37:28
37:33

ancient self-sustaining system.

laura welcher 37:33
37:38

For the last thirty years, the farmers have been borrowing money from the village

laura welcher 37:38
37:44

cooperatives to buy fertilizer that they don't need, plying it to the fields. It washes out

laura welcher 37:44
37:50

of the fields immediately; it flows back into the rivers and down to the sea. This little

laura welcher 37:50
37:55

stream is flowing right out of those rice paddies up there. As it comes down, it is of

laura welcher 37:55
37:59

course carrying all of the mineral nutrients from the volcanic soil, plus, all that fertilizer.

laura welcher 37:59
38:03

All the fertilizer that wasn't needed by the farm; it is just washing down.

laura welcher 38:03
38:10

By the time it gets here, to the sea, it is like a thin nutrient soup. The effect is that you

laura welcher 38:10
38:13

grow simple organisms like algae. [Like] the algae that you see growing along the rocks

laura welcher 38:13
38:20

there. That is what we find offshore, just blanketing the coral reefs. We only find it in

laura welcher 38:20
38:23

places like this where you have that kind of agricultural drainage. The rest of the island, if

laura welcher 38:23
38:28

there is no river carrying fertilizer, then the reefs are fine. But out there the reefs are nearly dead.

laura welcher 38:28
38:44

Stephen Lansing and his colleagues are gathering samples from reefs around Bali, trying

laura welcher 38:44
38:56

to understand the complex web we humans are part of. They hope to help Bali in its return to harmony.

laura welcher 38:56
39:01

That's David Zuzuki. The problem is all of these nutrients flowing into the reefs and

laura welcher 39:01
39:06

coral reef are adapted to low nutrient levels. That is not a good thing. There is Jim

laura welcher 39:06
39:12

Kramer taking samples as one of the little streams emerges into the field. One more little

laura welcher 39:12
39:17

clip; this is Dick Murphy, who may be here tonight. Talking about"�

laura welcher 39:17
39:24

Tabular or table coral is accrapoor coral, some of them [are] the diameter of this boat.

laura welcher 39:24
39:30

They are in perfect health. Whereas on the mainland, we also saw some pretty large

laura welcher 39:30
39:37

corals but most of the large ones were dead. That tells us that in the past the conditions

laura welcher 39:37
39:43

were such [that] the reef was healthy and those big corals lived long enough to really

laura welcher 39:43
39:49

grow to a substantial size. But they're not alive now. So something has changed.

laura welcher 39:49
39:54

Our conclusions are that the technology packets of fertilizer were mostly superfluous. I

laura welcher 39:54
39:58

have a Balinese student who just got his Ph.D , sort of proving that by taking

laura welcher 39:58
40:04

measurements along the river for over a year. The excess phosphate is not good for the

laura welcher 40:04
40:09

terrestrial ecology and the excess nitrogen that grows the algae that destroys the coral.

laura welcher 40:09
40:14

We can see that through looking at stable nitrogen isotope. The difference is that you can

laura welcher 40:14
40:20

actually get the signature of the kind of nitrogen that is growing the algae; does it come

laura welcher 40:20
40:24

from the sea or does it come from the technology packets?

laura welcher 40:24
40:29

It really is a very foolish mistake. Why did we miss all of this? Why did we miss all this?

laura welcher 40:33
40:38

Well, I think the answer is"�if we think about what are the elements of this complex

laura welcher 40:38
40:44

adaptive system that I have been talking about? Its water temples, which look like a

laura welcher 40:44
40:49

religious system to us; that is what we thought they were. The festivals that are held in

laura welcher 40:49
40:54

those temples; here we see a priest from the Master Water Temple. He is carrying a little

laura welcher 40:54
40:59

silver cup in which he has got holy water from the lake, from the goddess of the lake.

laura welcher 40:59
41:02

But if he were to stumble upon this temple festival, (and you see a guy in white with his

laura welcher 41:02
41:08

little silver cup sprinkling water on [the] offerings), you are not likely to be thinking

laura welcher 41:08
41:13

about control mechanisms, right? Synchronized cropping, that is maybe a more obvious

laura welcher 41:13
41:21

cue but it took something to pick it up I guess; the structure of the connections between

laura welcher 41:21
41:26

the water temples through the holy water, which goes from the lakes,

laura welcher 41:26
41:28

to the canals, to the fields. That really is the structure.

laura welcher 41:28
41:32

Finally, there is this dimension of the control of the emotions. The cosmological order

laura welcher 41:32
41:38

that allows the farmers to cope with the jealousies and disagreements that is common to

laura welcher 41:38
41:44

everyone, including Balinese farmers. Not an obvious system. If you wanted to look at

laura welcher 41:44
41:47

the connections between two subaks in the hierarchy you would need to be there on the

laura welcher 41:47
41:51

right day when a few old men in white clothes go up and collect some cups of holy water

laura welcher 41:51
41:54

to bring down to the fields of their own subak downstream.

laura welcher 41:54
42:02

I gave this talk at the University of Michigan a few years ago. At that point I was ending

laura welcher 42:02
42:09

it by saying, "Is this only in Bali"? The complexity dynamics really should be

laura welcher 42:09
42:14

characteristic not only of Bali but they should be common, if we are right. The tradeoff

laura welcher 42:14
42:18

between pests and water for example generates a network structure but if the farmers

laura welcher 42:18
42:22

were growing roses and trying to control afas, you should still get some kind of dynamic.

laura welcher 42:22
42:27

I posed that question and Lisa Curran, who is a tropical forest ecologist who spent"�well,

laura welcher 42:28
42:34

she's younger than I am, not as long in Borneo anyway, said "We gotta talk". I'm going

laura welcher 42:34
42:42

to tell you a little about Lisa's research on the forests of Borneo. (Let's see). Lisa has

laura welcher 42:42
42:46

studied the dipterocarp; those are the tropical hardwoods of which there are 12 genera

laura welcher 42:46
42:52

and about 470 species. She is the real expert; she can identify from the seeds, the fruits

laura welcher 42:52
42:58

and the nuts what kind of dipterocarp it is. In the time that she had studied

laura welcher 42:58
43:01

them, most of them in Borneo, have disappeared.

laura welcher 43:01
43:08

Most of them are gone. It is a tragic story. Why did our forestry planning go so far

laura welcher 43:08
43:15

wrong? More five year plans. Well, it is connected partly to, as Lisa found, to El Nino,

laura welcher 43:15
43:19

the El Nino southern oscillation, the weather pattern which circulates across the Pacific,

laura welcher 43:19
43:26

which you heard about. We knew that ENSO as it's called, the El Nino cycle, changes

laura welcher 43:26
43:32

weather patterns, from the Galapagos. It sort of takes the weather from the Galapagos and

laura welcher 43:32
43:35

Borneo cycling back in a several year cycle.

laura welcher 43:35
43:36

What we didn't know, that Lisa helped clarify, is that these trees, the dipterocarps, use

laura welcher 43:41
43:47

ENSO as a signal. What this signal does is to tell them to have a mast. A mast means:

laura welcher 43:47
43:54

drop your fruit. It means 'reproduce' if you are a tree. Dropping the fruits and seeds, that

laura welcher 43:54
44:00

happens for the dipterocarps only during the El Nino years. It is just a trigger signal

laura welcher 44:00
44:04

I'm supposed to be on a new slide here.

laura welcher 44:04
44:10

Here you have, if you can see that, these are the El Nino years and these are the fruits,

laura welcher 44:10
44:18

patiently collected by Lisa and her team. The density of seeds dropped in the forest, so

laura welcher 44:18
44:28

you can see it exactly tracks those El Nino years. Now you see why Lisa wanted to talk

laura welcher 44:28
44:34

about the water temples. Many species, (because this is a tremendous pulse of food that

laura welcher 44:34
44:37

arrives only in El Nino years): [including] the seed predators,

laura welcher 44:37
44:41

which means lots of birds and mammals, the bearded pigs.

laura welcher 44:41
44:47

The largest migrations of mammals outside of Africa are occurring out in, or used to

laura welcher 44:47
44:51

occur, in Borneo in El Nino years when the bearded pigs would have their babies. These

laura welcher 44:51
44:56

are great big animals, also the birds. All these creatures would have adapted. Interesting

laura welcher 44:56
45:03

evolutionary dynamics, they will have adapted to the cycle their reproductive activity for

laura welcher 45:03
45:10

the dipterocarp mast, which then creates a kind of master clock. It is a clock in the heart

laura welcher 45:10
45:14

of Borneo. As far as we know, this does not exist in other tropical forests in Africa or the

laura welcher 45:14
45:17

Amazon but then again, we haven't really looked very much.

laura welcher 45:17
45:22

Lisa has begun to work in Borneo; we know so little about these things. The point I want

laura welcher 45:22
45:27

to make here is that it is very much like the water temples. This is synchronized fallow

laura welcher 45:27
45:32

controlling predators. The trees are doing pretty much what the farmers are doing, except

laura welcher 45:32
45:37

in this case the trees are extending their fallow period over the whole island. That is a

laura welcher 45:37
45:41

huge region; she has been working with NASA to see [just] how large is the

laura welcher 45:41
45:47

synchronization of fruiting and masting in the dipterocarps. It is enormous as far as we can see in Borneo.

laura welcher 45:47
45:52

That is what pulses food availability and keeps down the sea precia it makes it possible

laura welcher 45:52
46:00

for the dipterocarps to reproduce because it provides so much food that the sea predators

laura welcher 46:00
46:06

can't eat it all. But the plans for forest reserves, the five year plans, were based on the

laura welcher 46:06
46:11

residency predators, rather than the pulses, the large numbers that occurred during the El

laura welcher 46:11
46:17

Nino years. Lisa has done experiments showing that the sealings can suffer 99 or 100

laura welcher 46:17
46:20

percent mortality during the El Nino years. The rest of the time

laura welcher 46:20
46:23

they would be fine and therefore the dipterocarps cannot reproduce.

laura welcher 46:23
46:30

Here you have in 2002, from Lisa's Science [magazine] article, one of her Science

laura welcher 46:30
46:36

articles, the logged areas. The yellow is the logged areas and the little green patches are

laura welcher 46:36
46:42

what is left of the dipterocarps. There are not enough trees left for the mast. There has

laura welcher 46:42
46:49

been a reversal and so now it triggers, not the regeneration of the forest but fires.

laura welcher 46:49
46:54

Because the micro climate is gone and it is no longer wet, the trees have been cleared and

laura welcher 46:54
46:59

not only will the forest burn but actually the peat swamp will also burn.

laura welcher 46:59
47:03

Lisa is in Borneo now working on that problem. That turns out to be a lot of carbon

laura welcher 47:03
47:09

emission. You lose the trees, the trees are no longer fixing carbon; [and] then you have

laura welcher 47:09
47:16

forest fires in the El Nino dry years. Now also peat fires, so we are talking about .8 billon

laura welcher 47:16
47:25

metric tons of carbon per year. The Kyoto global target for reduction was .5. So it is huge.

laura welcher 47:25
47:30

Not to mention the loss of biodiversity. We are moving along here. Two examples then of

laura welcher 47:35
47:40

complex adaptive systems, one in Borneo, one in Bali, different dynamics but in some

laura welcher 47:40
47:46

way, maybe in some ways similar dynamics: bottom up control emergent networks that

laura welcher 47:46
47:52

work and then were disrupted. I want to end with another way of thinking about this, not

laura welcher 47:52
47:59

just the complexity perspective but a Balinese perspective. Maybe another way to think

laura welcher 47:59
48:04

about the long now. The Balinese have very different ideas about time. Here is a

laura welcher 48:04
48:10

simple little board which is a Balinese ukarutika calendar and it looks like, if you can

laura welcher 48:10
48:19

see it clearly, which you can't. It is like a matrix. It is thirty columns and seven rows,

laura welcher 48:19
48:22

well actually it's nine, one on the top [and one] on the bottom.

laura welcher 48:22
48:26

[This is a] funny looking little thing, little wooden board. Let me explain what it is. Think

laura welcher 48:26
48:31

about what our kind of calendar does. We have an Indo-European"�in the Indo-European

laura welcher 48:31
48:36

languages we speak of time in a linear fashion. We think of time as a moving moment;

laura welcher 48:36
48:43

the past is behind us, the future is in front of us. The present is this moment right now, in

laura welcher 48:43
48:48

between the two; that is how we tell time. That's actually the arrow of time so to speak as

laura welcher 48:48
48:56

someone who is embedded in our language because we make order of things but talking about tense.

laura welcher 48:56
49:00

When did things happen? It's obligatory to speak in English or French or whatever in

laura welcher 49:00
49:05

terms of past, present, future tense. That is how we talk about things. Balinese language,

laura welcher 49:05
49:11

Indo"�excuse me, the Australasian languages don't have tenses. They create sense in a

laura welcher 49:11
49:16

different way. They have a very interesting way calculating time. I think it is the most

laura welcher 49:16
49:21

complex, at any rate the most complete way of thinking about time.

laura welcher 49:21
49:29

It is in terms of multiple concurrent cycles. Time has dense. Let me just quickly walk you

laura welcher 49:29
49:33

through what those calendars do; this will just be quick. First of all they have a lunar

laura welcher 49:33
49:37

calendar. We kind of have a lunar calendar, from the Romans. But they are accurate

laura welcher 49:37
49:42

about it. They count fifteen days of the waxing moon, fifteen days of the waning moon

laura welcher 49:42
49:48

but then they subtract a day every sixty three days. Since the lunar cycle is twenty nine

laura welcher 49:48
49:54

days, twelve hours and forty four minutes; that keeps their lunar calendar accurate.

laura welcher 49:54
49:59

They are actually keeping track of lunar time in that way. They also borrowed from India

laura welcher 49:59
50:05

the Ashaka calendar, which is a lunar solar calendar which keeps accurate track of the

laura welcher 50:05
50:12

solar year by interspersing lunar months. These months are of different

laura welcher 50:12
50:17

duration. You stick them in at an interval of two or three years so as to get it right and

laura welcher 50:17
50:19

keep accurate track of the solar calendar.

laura welcher 50:19
50:26

Ashaka calendar began in 79 A.D. and that is what they used. Finally, they have this uku.

laura welcher 50:26
50:33

So what is the uku? It is ten concurrent weeks; I hope I can explain this clearly. We have

laura welcher 50:33
50:36

the seven day week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Well Balinese

laura welcher 50:36
50:42

also have a three day week. So the three day week is (Pasa-batung-hajah). So today is

laura welcher 50:42
50:48

Pasa, tomorrow is batung and it just recycles. It is concurrent with the Monday, Tuesday week.

laura welcher 50:48
50:54

There is also a two day week. Today is maungay, tomorrow is paput. That is also cycling

laura welcher 50:54
50:59

along. There is even a one day week. In the one day week there is only one day, luang,

laura welcher 50:59
51:09

definitely today is luang. All of this is cycling and I haven't got room to put on my little

laura welcher 51:09
51:14

Powerpoint the ten, nine and eight day weeks, all of these concurrent, all of these going

laura welcher 51:14
51:18

constantly at the same time. So time becomes dense.

laura welcher 51:18
51:23

Here is now an attempt, (this is what the Balinese are now compelled to do), to try to plot

laura welcher 51:23
51:31

all that information on a western calendar. This is going to be the March calendar because

laura welcher 51:31
51:35

they also have to keep track of our system. In one of these little boxes you are going to

laura welcher 51:35
51:40

have the information to tell you what week, what lunar day is it. What day is it in the

laura welcher 51:40
51:44

solar calendar and what day is it in all of these ten concurrent weeks.

laura welcher 51:44
51:48

Most people can keep track of a lot of this. This just gives you some clues"�you can't

laura welcher 51:48
51:52

read it anyway"�it is gunoontagalog, the fourth day of the four day week. All of that is

laura welcher 51:52
52:00

going on. What do we make of that? It suggests that time is dense. It suggests that the

laura welcher 52:00
52:06

way to think about it is in terms of patterns that emerge from interlocking cycles. That is

laura welcher 52:06
52:14

how you schedule water temple rites, is by those multiple cycles, the water cycles. The

laura welcher 52:14
52:17

duration of the calendar is 210 days.

laura welcher 52:17
52:22

That turns out to be the most important cycle; the reason that little board has 210 days on

laura welcher 52:22
52:30

it. 210 days is the old growth cycle of Balinese rice. The master calendar is the rice

laura welcher 52:30
52:35

calendar cycle. Within it you keep track of many other things. For example, most of the

laura welcher 52:35
52:41

time, nobody cares what day it is on the eight day week. But when your child is born, the

laura welcher 52:41
52:46

day of its birth on the eight day week give you a clue as to who it is, who has been

laura welcher 52:46
52:50

reincarnated into your family, from the mother's mother's side, to the father's father's side.

laura welcher 52:50
52:57

Human cycles are there and the notion is that you couldn't reach the end of this. There

laura welcher 52:57
53:00

are so many different cycles going on, they are interlocking in so many ways, all we as

laura welcher 53:00
53:04

humans can do is keep track of the most important ones. So the three day week is the

laura welcher 53:04
53:09

market week. The market happens in one village one day, the next village the next, the

laura welcher 53:09
53:11

third village the third day and then comes back again.

laura welcher 53:11
53:14

That has nice advantages. Instead of the poor old retailers (here) having to sit in their

laura welcher 53:14
53:19

shops from nine to five everyday, they're there every three days. They triple their market

laura welcher 53:19
53:24

size and there is less of just sitting and being. The reason it works is that we have

laura welcher 53:24
53:29

inscriptions from a thousand years ago; the market cycle never changes.

laura welcher 53:29
53:34

If this is the village and market is on day kajung, day one of the three day week, it will

laura welcher 53:34
53:39

never change so it is entirely predictable. [There are] interesting ways to use time to

laura welcher 53:39
53:45

create order and maybe save people some time. They also use the metaphor of music.

laura welcher 53:45
53:49

Judith Becker, years ago, (a linguist, a great thing), 'Time and Tune in Java' showing

laura welcher 53:49
53:56

how you think about music. Music is composed of multiple interlocking cycles. That is

laura welcher 53:56
54:01

how gamelan music is put together; something like fugues. Order appears if the cycles

laura welcher 54:01
54:06

are integrated well and it doesn't if they are not well integrated.

laura welcher 54:06
54:13

Music and time are clearly metaphors for one another. That little image from a Balinese

laura welcher 54:13
54:17

traditional manuscript called Prakempra which tries to relate cycles of music and tone

laura welcher 54:17
54:23

with letters, colors, gods and emotions (and all those things). It is one great package.

laura welcher 54:23
54:31

I am at the end here because we began with John Holland's work on complex systems

laura welcher 54:31
54:36

and his notion of what a complex adaptive system is. But his more recent book is called

laura welcher 54:36
54:42

'Hidden Order'. I want to suggest to you that there is an interesting hidden order here. It

laura welcher 54:42
54:46

has taken me years as an anthropologist to begin to see that these funny little boards and

laura welcher 54:46
54:49

things actually can hold very profound ideas.

laura welcher 54:49
54:54

I want to suggest to you, seriously, if you are thinking about time, that this is a way to

laura welcher 54:54
55:01

think about time that may be worth considering. Because this is the time that ecologists

laura welcher 55:01
55:05

think about really, it is not the physics of time. It is the ecological view of time as having

laura welcher 55:05
55:11

many cycles. If we don't think about those things, I think what I've shown you is a litany

laura welcher 55:11
55:19

of horrors. We've made colossal mistakes. My colleagues, the people I work with in

laura welcher 55:19
55:22

Indonesia, are very worried people.

laura welcher 55:22
55:26

What I've seen in my lifetime, what Lisa has seen in hers (and these stories could be

laura welcher 55:26
55:30

multiplied), there aren't very many people trying to study these systems. Lisa is now

laura welcher 55:30
55:35

dividing her time between Borneo and the Amazon (because there is still a lot left of the

laura welcher 55:35
55:41

Amazon). We are just beginning to twig to the most basics patterns, complexities giving

laura welcher 55:41
55:44

us some clues, simple clues about what to look for.

laura welcher 55:44
55:50

In the meantime, these systems are collapsing right before us. I am sorry to say people

laura welcher 55:50
55:58

like us: we are the ones who are responsible for many of these changes. If we are going to

laura welcher 55:58
56:04

continue to push forward, in what one geologist calls the "the anthropo-scene - this new

laura welcher 56:04
56:11

geological epoch in which human beings control of the planet, [then] we need to get smart fast.

laura welcher 56:11
56:16

That is my story. I need to acknowledge my many collaborators. This is many years of

laura welcher 56:16
56:24

work and I think I'll just list them there rather than trying to read all their names. Thank you very much.