With lucid exposition and gorgeous graphics, anthropologist Stephen Lansing exposed the hidden structure and profound health of the traditional Balinese rice growing practices. The intensely productive terraced rice paddies of Bali are a thousand years old. So are the democratic subaks (irrigation cooperatives) that manage them, and so is the water temple system that links the subaks in a nested hierarchy.
When the Green Revolution came to Bali in 1971, suddenly everything went wrong. Along with the higher-yield rice came "technology packets" of fertilizers and pesticides and the requirement, stated in patriotic terms, to "plant as often as possible." The result: year after year millions of tons of rice harvest were lost, mostly to voracious pests. The level of pesticide use kept being increased, to ever decreasing effect.
J. Stephen Lansing
J. Stephen Lansing has been a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Southern California since 1977. He is presently teaching at the University of Michigan where he has a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology and the School of Natural Resources.
Stephen Lansing began fieldwork in Bali in 1970, as an undergraduate. He specializes in Balinese culture and has studied and written extensively about environmental issues in Bali. Until he began his study of Balinese water temples in the early 1970s, they were largely either ignored or misunderstood by foreigners.
After years of unsuccessful attempts to convince international development agencies to pay attention to the ecological roles of water temples, in 1992 Lansing and computer scientist Alan Petersen developed, with the support of the UN and others, a simplified geographic information system called â€œWatershed,â€ designed to create a two-way communication between traditional farming communities and development planners. Lansing spent seven months helping farmers, extension agents, and temple priests use this system in 1993-94 in a project that is expected to continue. Lansingâ€™s team is currently working with 15 Balinese villages in researching the harmful effects of excessive commercial fertilizer use on the coral reef system that extends from Indonesia to the Philippines.
Lansing was educated at Wesleyan University and the University of Michigan, USA. He wrote his dissertation at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, USA.
He is the author of several books on Bali, including â€œThe Balineseâ€ (1995) and â€œPriests and Programmers: Technologies of Power in the Engineered Landscape of Baliâ€ (1991). He has participated in the making of a number of films, including his collaboration with English anthropological filmmaker Andre Singer in 1988, entitled â€œThe Goddess and the Computer,â€ a study of the role of Balinese water temples in ecological management.
Island (pop., 2005 prelim.: 4,309,600), Indonesia. Located in the Lesser Sunda Islands, off the eastern coast of Java, it constitutes, with minor adjacent islands, a province of Indonesia. The main towns are Singaraja and Denpasar, the provincial capital. The island is mountainous; its highest peak is Mount Agung (10,308 ft [3,142 m]). Colonized by India in early times and supplemented by émigrés from Java in the 16th century, Bali is the remaining stronghold of Hinduism in the Indonesian archipelago. Visited by the Dutch in the late 16th century, it came under Dutch rule only in the late 19th century. It was occupied by the Japanese in World War II and became part of Indonesia in 1950. Tourism is now one of the mainstays of its economy.
Good evening. I'm Stewart Brand from the Long Now Foundation. Well, a person thatI've spent a lot of time paying attention to is Gregory Bateson and his wife MargaretMead. I knew Gregory better. Back in the 1930s, when they had been infected by whatwas brand new, cybernetic theory, the idea of feedback, they went to Bali. (StephenLansing was just telling me).They invented visual anthropology. And did a book called Balinese Character, which is aclassic. It is still studied by everybody in the business. That was a nice case of fieldanthropologists being set in a different direction by a very goodbody of theory, which in that case was cybernetics.Well the great, well maybe the grandchild of cybernetics is complex adaptive systems,complexity theory as it has been manifested at the Santa Fe Institute, where StephenLansing is a research professor. I've been on their board for fourteen years or something.It is where I first saw a version of this talk; not nearly as gorgeous as the one you'll see tonight.In Stephen and my case of taking a new body of theory, how complex systems work;emergent behaviors of the kinds of things you can do with agent-based modeling. Andbringing that to bear on one of the most mysterious and wonderful bodies of behavior inBali. And so you will see tonight, he is also bringing a new level of visual anthropology.Stephen Lansing.Thanks very much sir, that's very gracious. I need to apologize to all of you for turningup a week late. I zigged when I should have zagged awhile back on a ski hill inWyoming. I'm grateful to be here now and actually I've been downloading and listeningto some of the earlier talks in this series. It's really a very interesting series. I'm honoredto have an opportunity to try and join this conversation.I'm going to take you in a different direction. And actually I'll wind up talking about thelaw now, rather than the physics of time in the future. I'm going to take you down thekinds of wandering paths that ecologists and anthropologists take. We'll wind up in theend, I hope, with something to say about time and about the law now.This is mostly about Bali, so off to Indonesia, which has the highest biodiversity on Earthin terrestrial ecosystems in the forests, also in the oceans and coral reefs. But things arenot well in the tropics. Less than a third of the coral reefs are still healthy. Most of theBorneo in the Sumatran rain forests has been logged. Indonesia is once again been importing rice.We are losing some of the most precious treasures of the planet, the crown jewels. Thequestion is why? Part of that has to do with politics, certainly. But I think also, I hope toconvince you, that it has something to do with some weaknesses in our science and how we see the world.One of the things that began with the era of five year plans in the sixties, not just inIndonesia but all over the world, (wherever the World Bank got busy), was theimplementation of hierarchical control systems. Anthropologists ask, "How did theymanage before they had five year plans? Before 'you manage, we produce' system?The question is, don't complex ecosystems like rice paddies require firm hierarchicalcontrol? Well, maybe not. Maybe there are different lessons on how to organize the world.What I'll talk about tonight is partly about the sciences of complexities, or the Santa FeInstitute story, with reference to Balinese rice paddies. I want to talk a little bit also aboutLisa Curran's work on the rainforests of Borneo, coral reefs and in the end, something about time.Begin with complexity. [In] 1995 the great biologist John Maynard-Smith wrote in theNew York Review of Books that he has a general feeling of unease when contemplatingcomplex systems dynamics. This is after a week in Santa Fe. Its devotees are practicingfact free science. Fact for them is at best the outcome of a computer simulation, rarely a fact about the world.These ideas that we talk about in Santa Fe are new and unfamiliar. One can ask that ifthese processes are really at work in the world, would we recognize them. I'm going togive you the quickest definition of what a complex adaptive system might be. This isfrom John Holland, one of the architects of this notion of complexity.A complex adaptive system is a network of interacting agents in which they are trying tomaximize something. What he discovered is the aggregate behavior of the network that isformed by their interactions may be described without a detailed knowledge of individualagent behavior. So there can be emergent properties.That is a very nice and very general theoretical idea. But what I hope I can show you, thereason that I spent some time at Santa Fe, is that it turns out this can be useful inunderstanding something very real.Off to Bali. I went to Bali where the Balinese have been growing rice in terraces since atleast the eleventh century. We know this from royal inscriptions at the time. They havealso governed themselves in villages with a very ancient system of democracy. Now,democracies are quite rare in the world.As you know, the ones that the Italian Republic tried in the thirteen century lasted nomore than a century in every case. But the Balinese have been, we believe, managingtheir rice paddies with groups called subaks, which are groups of men who sharecontiguous rice fields with a democratic system, since at least the twelfth century.It's an interesting kind of experiment in democratic governments. Let me tell you a littlebit about rice paddies. They are artificial ponds in which the fertility of the waterbasically creates a kind of aquarium and the processes that go on in the water help togrow the rice. They provide the nutrients necessary to grow the rice, which is why wefind terraces in Bali that, have been producing two crops of rice every year for centuries.It's a great trick and the control of water is the key to making that work. The reason itworks is that volcanic rock is rich in mineral nutrients. [Let's see, I've got my littlepointer here]. Those are just the phosphate content of rocks in Indonesian volcanoes andBali is somewhere down there. Its actually not one of the highest butthere is plenty of phosphate in the rock.As the monsoon rains fall on that fumacious rock, that very light rock, with thesenutrients. They leech the mineral nutrients, which flows into the irrigation systems.That is delivered, finally, to the rice paddies. So it's sort of a continuous delivery systemfor phosphate potassium, the main nutrients required by the rice.Nitrogen is fixed by a zolo that grows in the water. You have a kind of perpetualmotion machine. But the challenge for the Balinese to make this work is that the island ofBali is a steep volcanic island just south of the equator.As the rain falls on the slopes of the volcanoes it slices channels down the slopes of themountains, creating these kinds of fissures. The Balinese need to get the water from thebottom of these ravines up to the top of the hill, some distance downstream, where theycan grow rice. [This] means that they have to build tunnels to move the water down to the higher slopesWe find inscriptions dated as early as the ninth century that refers to irrigation tunnelbuilders. They have been at it a long time so they have honeycombed the island with theirtunnels and terraces by now.That's pretty clear: water can provide nutrients but it can also, less obviously, be used tocontrol rice pests. Rice is vulnerable to a variety of things that like to eat it besideshumans: Insects, which either eat the rice directly or carry bacterial and viral diseases,which can spread through the rice. Rats and so forth. There are lots of things that like to eat the rice.But by synchronizing harvests over a sufficiently large area it's possible to deprive thepests of their food and habitat. Here on this side you see that after the harvest they floodthe fields and there is nothing for the pest to eat. But that will only work if all of thefarmers plant at the same time. Generally they give themselves a five day window.The fields there, you can see, are all about the same stage, they are all at the same height.So there might be rice pests in the field now but later on, a few months from now afterthose fields are harvested and flooded, [there is] nothing for the pests to eat. The successof this system depends upon getting a large enough area fallow at the same timebecause the pests can move. If you get a kind of a patchwork system, if one field isfallowed but the other still has rice, the pests can just move around or be blown by the windThe success of this plan, of this method of controlling the pests, depends upon getting theright scale of coordination to deprive the pests of theirhabitat, which depends upon their dispersal characteristics.Ok, so that is the basic dynamics. The way the Balinese organize this is through this thingcalled a subak, A subak consists of all of the farmers who share water from a singlesource: a spring or an irrigation canal. In the picture, what I am trying to show you is atunnel, excuse me, a temple where they will gather to make their decisions. There are therice terraces which are managed by the farmers who maintain that water temple.Interestingly, in the meetings the farmers have within their water temples, they set aside the rules of caste.The reason that is important is that caste is very important otherwise in Balinese society.They are divided into a version of the Hindu caste system but they take it very seriously.So when you speak Balinese you have to first determine what is the relative caste of theperson you are talking to. Then you use a different register, depending upon whether theperson you are addressing is of higher or lower caste than you. A lot of this hierarchalstructure is built into even their language. But when the farmers get together to hold ameeting to talk about the management of their rice terraces, all of that is set aside. Youhave to speak to your peers, to your fellow farmers, in middle high register Balinese or inthe colloquial, informal language that you use within your own family.If you start trumping people with high language you can be fined (and it's very muchfrowned upon). That is part of what makes this democratic system work. So that's thebasic subak. What is interesting is that these subaks then form a hierarchical structurewhich works from the bottom up. Here we have the water temple network. Subaks A andB; these are two subaks; there's the temple. But they both share water from this canal,which comes from that dam. They belong to this temple here.From time to time, once a year, they will send a delegation up to their neighbors up hereto try and coordinate their irrigation schedules. Because the timing of the water releasedfrom this system is going to clearly impact how much water is available for theirdownstream neighbors. In this way they sort of build up from the bottom a hierarchalstructure of relationships among the subaks using the water temples. The temples form a kind of network.At the summit of the network there is a crater lake. More or less near the real center ofBali there's a lake which the Balinese describe as a sacred mandala of waters. So theyimagine that Bali is surrounded by a salt sea but in the center of the island at the highestpoint there is a lake that is full of life giving fresh water. In the lake there dwells agoddess and she has the power to bestow this blessing of water that makes things growand also washes away pollution down the flanks of her volcano.Water actually belongs to the goddess and her temple is the supreme water temple of theisland. She chooses priests by inhabiting the voice of a group of priest who [How doyou say?]. When a priest dies, other priests will go into trance. They believe they arepossessed by the voice of the goddess or some other deity that is connected to herretinu, who then speaks the name of the child to replace that priest. In this way there iscontinuity somewhat like the Tibetan idea. Anyway, these priests live up there, thevillage of Bater by the lake. They collect holy water from the points around the lake.The farmers come up to collect that holy water as a token of the blessings of the goddess of the lake.The Balinese call their religion Agama Tirtha, the religion of water. Each village templecontrols the water that flows into nearby rice terraces. Regional water temples control theflow into larger areas. High on the volcano, Mt. Batur, there is an enormous craterlake. The Balinese believe that the lake is the home of the goddess of the waters, DewiDanu, who makes the waters flow into the rivers and irrigation canals.The supreme water temple of Bali sits on the rim of the crater overlooking the lake. Oncea year the priests give holy water from the lake to the farmers as a blessing from thegoddess. First, priests ascend the crater to collect drops of water from the steam of theactive volcano. Then the priests prepare the holy water for the farmers. A temple scribewrites letters on palm leaves, inviting farmers to the temple. Delegations from over 200villages journey up the mountain to bring offerings to the goddess.At the supreme water temple, the Gamelan orchestra plays in honor of the goddess andthe worshippers. Temple priests give a (soojung?), a bamboo container filled with holywater to each village delegate. The delegations then carry the holy water to their regionaltemples. Here the water from the goddess is mixed with more holy water adding theblessings of local gods and goddesses. Each delegate receives a soojung of this waterto take back to his village.At the village temples local farmers receive a blessing for themselves and their fields. Afew drops of holy water are sprinkled on every field. This ritual symbolizes the sharing ofwater that forms a coordinated system of irrigation in Bali. Working together in this waythe Balinese have maintained the ecology of their rice terraces for over a thousand years.It's a rather idyllic system but there is a hidden problem because in each case thatdownstream subaks are at the mercy of their upstream neighbors for water. The guysupstream in any irrigation system have their hand on this, so they control the water. Thequestion then is why do they release the water needed for their downstream neighbors?(Because the downstream neighbors can never give the water back.) Why doesn't thislead to a tragedy of the commons as it so often has in other irrigation systems?"We won't talk about the World Bank yet. What is different about Bali? What makes itwork? John Miller at the Santa Fe Institute came up with this very simple formulationfrom game theory that suggested an answer to that question. Imagine we have twofarmers, upstream and downstream, and they have a choice as to whether they want tosynchronize their irrigation system or not, planting or not. If the upstream farmer iswilling to give up some water, they both plant at the same time, then the downstreamfarmer is happy and he gets his water. If on the other hand, and the consequence then isthey have a coordinated fallow period, they both harvest at the same time, [it] can helpbring the pests under control because the pests don't move upstream to eat the upstream farmer's field.Suppose on the other hand that they don't synchronize. The upstream guy gets to keepmore of the water but on the other hand the pests can come and attack his field. It looksas though pests can give leverage to downstream farmers if the farmers are thinking aboutpests in the context of this water allocation problem. We wondered if that very simpleformulation had anything to do with the way the farmers actually think about this thing.We asked them. We asked 150 farmers in ten subaks which is worse, pests or waterdamage, water shortage?Here are the results. The upstream guys are worried abut pests and the downstream guysare worried about water. That seemed to be true in each of these ten subaks. There are themakings of a bargain. It turns out our economist was right. You can also look at this inthe next scale; in six cases we had an upstream/downstream pair, upstreamsubak/downstream subak. In this agent is not an individual farmer but a whole subak. Inthat case the pattern is even clearer. The upstream subak is worried about pests and thedownstream subaks, in these six cases, are worried about water.That looked as though, actually to my surprise that this actually worked out so well, theythink about a lot of things but this seemed to be present in the mind of the farmers andhelps to explain why the upstream guys are in fact willing to engage in these bargain withthe downstream farmers. However, this two player game is unrealistic because in factdozens and dozens of subaks affect one another. The irrigation systems are highlyinterdependent, there are lots of little subaks, dozens of weirs, and they are interconnected.The real question is how do they get it right not at the scale of two players but at the scaleof, in the case that we studied, 172 subaks along two rivers. So I worked with a systemsecologist, Jim Cramer, who suggested that we build simulation model and see how thismight work. At that point I had just come back from spending about a year studying onesubak, so when he said we should scale up to 172 I was impressed. Anyways, here is amap. These are two rivers. The little squares, if you can see them, are meant to be thesubaks. The little Christmas-y things are meant to be water temples. The stifled lines arethe boundaries of catchments areas of the rivers.Bear with me, this is pretty clear. What happens in this simulation is at the beginning ofthe year, each of these 172 subaks, the village-size irrigation systems, chooses a croppingpattern. What are they going to plant? So it might be plant rice in January and August, forexample. Then we simulate the flow of rain. The rain gets into the groundwater of theirrigation systems. The rice grows and the pests eat some of the rice. We simulate all ofthose processes and then at the end of the year we calculate the harvest yields for each of the subaks.Having done this, we then vary the scale at which they coordinate, from everybody doesthe same thing to everyone does something different to water temple scale. We canactually identify what kinds of clusters the subaks follow. Coordinated patterns basedupon the traditional water temple system. To no one's real surprise, it turned out that thewater temple networks optimize the trade-off between pests and water. They get it aboutright; get enough water to cluster of subaks and at the same time minimize the pest damage.That worked. In other words, one can see that theses water temples play a useful role infinding the appropriate scale of coordination to optimize those two opposing constraints.I gave a talk much like this, I think it was eight years ago at the Santa Fe Institute. At theend of my talk, a researcher named Walter Fontana asked me a question. He said "That'svery interesting but it's really not surprising after all the farmers' have had centuries toget the scale right. Tell me did someone have to design this system? Was it organized?Did the Rajas have to work it out? Or could it have self-organized?" At that time I didn'tknow what he meant by that. He said, "Well, do you have to, [well],does someone haveto impose this structure or could the interactions between the subaks lead to this kind ofsolution, to the formation of a network?".That seemed like an interesting question. The solution was, the solution we triedimmediately was to just tweak our little model a little bit and turn it into what's called ahill climber, to see if the water temple networks might pop out on their own. The waythat works is, start that same simulation but let the computer randomly choose croppingpatterns all 172 subaks. So each of the little icons, upward triangle/downward triangle,they simply mean a random choice of cropping patterns. A downward triangle mightmean plant rice in October and March, something like that.We are randomizing the conditions of water, which will effect the dynamics of waterflow, rice growth and pest dynamics. We run the thing for a year and at the end of theyear, each subak compares its harvest with its four closest neighbors. I kind of got boredwriting little circles there but the little circles are supposed to suggest [that] these are thecomparison groups. At the end of the year, I look around and see if any of my neighborshad a better rice harvest than I did. If so, I copy their copy pattern. If I did best, then Istick with my cropping pattern. That reinitializes the simulation and we run it again.Jim Cramer, my colleague, thought this thing would yield; that it would produce chaosthat the model would keep flipping back and forth as they tried first one pattern to get the[model] or the other. We decided we would run it anyway. Here's what we saw. Here'syear one of a simulation. This is the random choice of cropping patterns selected by thecomputer. The average harvest is pretty miserable. Its about five tons per hectare becausethere is lots of pest damage and lots of water shortages.Ten years later, synchronized patches, we you may or may not be able to see, haveappeared. This group is doing one thing, that group is doing the same thing. The harvestyields have nearly doubled. They have walked their way to a solution and that solutionlooks very much like the water temple patterns. In fact, it is almost identical.As we repeated these simulations, we found that it is almost impossible not to grow awater temple system. We vary the pest constraints. The pests are more virulent then thefallow periods get larger. If the water is more of a problem then the patches get smaller.But no matter what the constraints are a network will form, given this kind of trade off,that will optimize the conditions. As this goes on, this also had another kind of interesting consequence.Here are the yields, rice yields, as time goes on in the simulation. That's the average,that's the highest. As time goes on you'll see that the average yield is going up until itcomes very close to the highest yield, That flags the attention of any evolutionarybiologist because we think that one of the reasons that people or animals disagree isbecause of envy; disparities in benefits.But if everybody is not only doing well but doing equally well, then there is no reason tobe jealous. In fact, as we asked the farmers to compare their own harvests to the averagein their subaks. You can't read that, that says that well, mine is the same and that saysthat it is worse. Even Balinese farmers like to badmouth their harvests. But they can't getaway with it in their subaks because, in fact, everybody does equally well (and they do very well).That suggested a way in which this system could have persisted over time. You canimagine that, indeed from time to time, farmers decide to be renegades and they don'tplan according to the schedule. It is possible to opt out; it is possible for subaks tobecome defunct, as we will see presently. But over time nature punishes you if driftaway. Over time we can see a process in which, if not me then my grandchildren, arevery likely to drift back into this pattern of organization because it is a very successful one.One more thing about this network idea; (It is interesting to see); the point is that it maybe a very general phenomenon. We discovered in Bali that it may be quite general. Hereis K; that is the number of, with apologies to Stuart Kauffman, the number of neighborsthat we check in these simulations. In the model world, not Bali but in the model world,how many neighbors do I compare my harvest with before I decide what to do?That has an effect. If you look only at three neighbors, then as time goes on the numberof subaks that change strategies, that flip back and forth, stabilizes with about 1/3 of themnever finding the right optimal solution. They keep flipping back and forth. These areguys that never decide what to do. There may be a solution but they can't find it becausethey are not looking far enough out. You go to K = 4, then they find a solution faster.The network appears faster and fewer of them remain confused. As we look even furtherthan thirteen, you get down to almost all of them confined to the solution because theycan see it. If on the other hand you look not at your immediate neighbors but somewhereas in the system, for example, at the experimental farms, then you do get chaos. Whathappens is that everybody keeps flipping back and forth, identifying, and imitating thebest farm in the entire landscape. But that loses the signal from the immediate vicinity;this is exploring your own immediate neighborhood and optimizing conditions there.That may be general. Anyway, it always succeeds and the search parameters areimportant. I hope that is clear. There is a complex adaptive systems explanation for watertemples. Does that mean that they are just a kind of mathematical device? Well, I can'tbelieve that [because] I'm an anthropologist. I want to talk about ritual a little bit. Theydevote a great deal of time and wealth and attention to their rituals that take place in thewater temples. Remember that these temples are places where democratic decisions are made.Why do they do that, why is that important? It is characteristic of discourse of the Greeks,the Romans, and the Italians in the thirteenth century. Anybody who is interested inmaking a democratic assembly work winds up talking about the control of emotions. Thatbecomes the central focus of Balinese discourse; how do you make communities, how doyou cope with achieving consensual management?Balinese cosmology and I will have to do this briefly but I hope you will be interested, itposits a dualistic cosmos; the idea that the inner world of the self contains everything thatalso exists in the outer world. There are 102 components, by the way, of the inner worldand the outer world. Given that presumption, there are two ways to think about it. One isthe male way, purusa, which actually a high Balinese word for penis.Male power comes to the self, especially to males through their clan and it derives fromthe ancestors, [it is] something you inherit. It is what gives kings the power to rule.Pradana, in Balinese (they have modified a Sanskrit idea), it's the female principle. Thefemale half of this cosmology and it is collective and transformative; it is about growth, it is about fertility.It is the pradana ritual cycle that exists in the water temple networks. Here are offeringsin a water temple which relate simultaneously to the inner world and the outer world,depicting them in perfect order, as an ideal relating to both worlds at the same time.Water temple rituals are intended to tame the passions and to create order.Monthly meetings are here of subak heads, in which they must set aside lineagecompetition. We have these rights of equality; (He is about to pour some very niceBalinese wine) to the heads of the subaks who gather once a month to make decisionsabout the rice terraces. But what they talk about mostly is not ecology, they talk aboutpolitics. These [are] rituals of equality.Blind these elements of the inner world so that we can control the outer world. Here isanother quick video clip. (You can read this).Here is the instrumental ritual, the sharing of water. These are offerings that grew in thefields of a subak. They are now putting them in the water that leads into that subak. It isreturning thanks to the gods of that system. But we wondered if there is something moreto it than the simple giving of thanks. Here are offerings at a water temple.Each family brings one of these offerings. That is what grew in their fields. These aremoodras, aligning the inner world. They liken rice paddies to jewels. Jewels are animportant concept in Balinese ideas. A jewel is something which symbolizes the mind.Rice terraces like these, once they are flooded with the moonlight shining on them, looklike faceted jewels, as a subak had told me once. That order will fall apart in a week if allthe farmers don't systematically manage the terraces to maintain that jewel-like precision.They say that the problem is really the same: the problem of creating a jewel-like riceterrace system. But it originates in itself rather than the mud. Okay, I will go quicklythrough this. I have gotten interested in this. (Quickly), there is a drive for universalityand coherence in which they believe that the human microcosm is an intermediatebetween; it is a platonic view of how the world is put together, of how the universe is put together.It is reflected in the way in which they symbolize life. When you are born, they take thecomponents of the afterbirth and align it in the household according to the directionalsymbolism which also relates to sounds and colors and letters. They align you with themacrocosm. At the end of your life, when you have died, they cover you with a shroud,which also depicts that alignment, although it shows the progression of changes that have occurred in your life.There is a sudhra. You can see there are lots of different components of his body. TheBrahman priest has a simpler diagram because it is thought that he spent his life trying tosimplify the inner world. That is reflected in the diagram that is drawn over his body.Alright, that is what I am going to tell you about Balinese ritual because we need to move along.In the 1970s everything changed, for excellent reasons. Indonesia at that time was alsoimporting rice. Indonesia was poor; they needed to improve their agriculturalproductivity. The Asian Development Bank funded the Green Revolution. A new era ofagricultural expansion, management in Bali as [it] did elsewhere in many parts of theworld, certainly, in Indonesia. But it had unintended consequences.The basic ingredient was something they called a technology packet. Literally, packettechnology in Balinese, which consisted of new rice varieties spread to grow rapidly andto take up chemical fertilizers effectively. (Plus, those fertilizers, plus organo-chloridepesticides). The farmers were urged to plant rice as often as possible and set aside thewater temples. The planners of this system said that "it is perfectly fine to continue tohave your lovely rituals in the water temples but don't think this is a practical management system".This system that was developed at the Rice Institute in the Philippines was moved toIndonesia. Within a few years there were unexpected problems, which you can probablyanticipate. Miracle rice produced miracle pests. If indeed all of the farmers plant atdifferent times it is like running our simulation model backwards, disrupting the patternof coordination until you wind up with the patchy structure in which the pests canmigrate from one field to another.It is just like the simulation model and that is precisely what happened. The first varietyof rice that they tried this with, which was named IR8, proved vulnerable to an insectcalled the brown plant hopper. Two million tons [of rice] [were] lost [in] 77. Theagronomists and geneticists bred up a new variety of rice which was resistant to the planthoppers. But it proved to be vulnerable to rice tungro disease. That explosion began a few years later.They came up with a new variety, IR50, which was resistant to tungro disease not sogood with the rice blast. Help me if you see where this is going. As time goes on, thefarmers were required to put on heavier and heavier doses of pesticides until finally bythe 80s they were flying the island spraying the fields. Meanwhile the extensionagents are reporting back to headquarters chaos in the irrigation systems.We began to complain about this. The reason I got involved with the ecological modelingwas really to convince the Asian Development Bank that the temples had a practicalfunction. The director was not happy with this in 1984. Eight years later, they sent teams.We talked to them. In the end, the Asian Development Bank agreed with us that thesubstitution of the high technology and bureaucratic solution was counterproductive.In fact, they became converts to the water temple system. So that's a happy story. Theplanters have now dropped opposition to the water temple, in fact, they like to teachabout them; they show our movie. However, the farmers are still urged to buy thesetechnology packets of fertilizer and that is a problem because as youhave already learned volcanic rock is rich with nutrients.Here is a test that we did adding phosphate fertilizer in six different fields, six subaks,from zero phosphate to the recommended dosage of 100 kg per hectare. [It] has no effecton yields. It is just wasted because the phosphate is already present in large concentrations.Once the government understood this, they allowed the water temples to regain control.But the Green Revolution still lingers. To this day, farmers add chemical fertilizer to thisancient self-sustaining system.For the last thirty years, the farmers have been borrowing money from the villagecooperatives to buy fertilizer that they don't need, plying it to the fields. It washes outof the fields immediately; it flows back into the rivers and down to the sea. This littlestream is flowing right out of those rice paddies up there. As it comes down, it is ofcourse carrying all of the mineral nutrients from the volcanic soil, plus, all that fertilizer.All the fertilizer that wasn't needed by the farm; it is just washing down.By the time it gets here, to the sea, it is like a thin nutrient soup. The effect is that yougrow simple organisms like algae. [Like] the algae that you see growing along the rocksthere. That is what we find offshore, just blanketing the coral reefs. We only find it inplaces like this where you have that kind of agricultural drainage. The rest of the island, ifthere is no river carrying fertilizer, then the reefs are fine. But out there the reefs are nearly dead.Stephen Lansing and his colleagues are gathering samples from reefs around Bali, tryingto understand the complex web we humans are part of. They hope to help Bali in its return to harmony.That's David Zuzuki. The problem is all of these nutrients flowing into the reefs andcoral reef are adapted to low nutrient levels. That is not a good thing. There is JimKramer taking samples as one of the little streams emerges into the field. One more littleclip; this is Dick Murphy, who may be here tonight. Talking aboutTabular or table coral is accrapoor coral, some of them [are] the diameter of this boat.They are in perfect health. Whereas on the mainland, we also saw some pretty largecorals but most of the large ones were dead. That tells us that in the past the conditionswere such [that] the reef was healthy and those big corals lived long enough to reallygrow to a substantial size. But they're not alive now. So something has changed.Our conclusions are that the technology packets of fertilizer were mostly superfluous. Ihave a Balinese student who just got his Ph.D , sort of proving that by takingmeasurements along the river for over a year. The excess phosphate is not good for theterrestrial ecology and the excess nitrogen that grows the algae that destroys the coral.We can see that through looking at stable nitrogen isotope. The difference is that you canactually get the signature of the kind of nitrogen that is growing the algae; does it comefrom the sea or does it come from the technology packets?It really is a very foolish mistake. Why did we miss all of this? Why did we miss all this?Well, I think the answer isif we think about what are the elements of this complexadaptive system that I have been talking about? Its water temples, which look like areligious system to us; that is what we thought they were. The festivals that are held inthose temples; here we see a priest from the Master Water Temple. He is carrying a littlesilver cup in which he has got holy water from the lake, from the goddess of the lake.But if he were to stumble upon this temple festival, (and you see a guy in white with hislittle silver cup sprinkling water on [the] offerings), you are not likely to be thinkingabout control mechanisms, right? Synchronized cropping, that is maybe a more obviouscue but it took something to pick it up I guess; the structure of the connections betweenthe water temples through the holy water, which goes from the lakes,to the canals, to the fields. That really is the structure.Finally, there is this dimension of the control of the emotions. The cosmological orderthat allows the farmers to cope with the jealousies and disagreements that is common toeveryone, including Balinese farmers. Not an obvious system. If you wanted to look atthe connections between two subaks in the hierarchy you would need to be there on theright day when a few old men in white clothes go up and collect some cups of holy waterto bring down to the fields of their own subak downstream.I gave this talk at the University of Michigan a few years ago. At that point I was endingit by saying, "Is this only in Bali"? The complexity dynamics really should becharacteristic not only of Bali but they should be common, if we are right. The tradeoffbetween pests and water for example generates a network structure but if the farmerswere growing roses and trying to control afas, you should still get some kind of dynamic.I posed that question and Lisa Curran, who is a tropical forest ecologist who spentwell,she's younger than I am, not as long in Borneo anyway, said "We gotta talk". I'm goingto tell you a little about Lisa's research on the forests of Borneo. (Let's see). Lisa hasstudied the dipterocarp; those are the tropical hardwoods of which there are 12 generaand about 470 species. She is the real expert; she can identify from the seeds, the fruitsand the nuts what kind of dipterocarp it is. In the time that she had studiedthem, most of them in Borneo, have disappeared.Most of them are gone. It is a tragic story. Why did our forestry planning go so farwrong? More five year plans. Well, it is connected partly to, as Lisa found, to El Nino,the El Nino southern oscillation, the weather pattern which circulates across the Pacific,which you heard about. We knew that ENSO as it's called, the El Nino cycle, changesweather patterns, from the Galapagos. It sort of takes the weather from the Galapagos andBorneo cycling back in a several year cycle.What we didn't know, that Lisa helped clarify, is that these trees, the dipterocarps, useENSO as a signal. What this signal does is to tell them to have a mast. A mast means:drop your fruit. It means 'reproduce' if you are a tree. Dropping the fruits and seeds, thathappens for the dipterocarps only during the El Nino years. It is just a trigger signalI'm supposed to be on a new slide here.Here you have, if you can see that, these are the El Nino years and these are the fruits,patiently collected by Lisa and her team. The density of seeds dropped in the forest, soyou can see it exactly tracks those El Nino years. Now you see why Lisa wanted to talkabout the water temples. Many species, (because this is a tremendous pulse of food thatarrives only in El Nino years): [including] the seed predators,which means lots of birds and mammals, the bearded pigs.The largest migrations of mammals outside of Africa are occurring out in, or used tooccur, in Borneo in El Nino years when the bearded pigs would have their babies. Theseare great big animals, also the birds. All these creatures would have adapted. Interestingevolutionary dynamics, they will have adapted to the cycle their reproductive activity forthe dipterocarp mast, which then creates a kind of master clock. It is a clock in the heartof Borneo. As far as we know, this does not exist in other tropical forests in Africa or theAmazon but then again, we haven't really looked very much.Lisa has begun to work in Borneo; we know so little about these things. The point I wantto make here is that it is very much like the water temples. This is synchronized fallowcontrolling predators. The trees are doing pretty much what the farmers are doing, exceptin this case the trees are extending their fallow period over the whole island. That is ahuge region; she has been working with NASA to see [just] how large is thesynchronization of fruiting and masting in the dipterocarps. It is enormous as far as we can see in Borneo.That is what pulses food availability and keeps down the sea precia it makes it possiblefor the dipterocarps to reproduce because it provides so much food that the sea predatorscan't eat it all. But the plans for forest reserves, the five year plans, were based on theresidency predators, rather than the pulses, the large numbers that occurred during the ElNino years. Lisa has done experiments showing that the sealings can suffer 99 or 100percent mortality during the El Nino years. The rest of the timethey would be fine and therefore the dipterocarps cannot reproduce.Here you have in 2002, from Lisa's Science [magazine] article, one of her Sciencearticles, the logged areas. The yellow is the logged areas and the little green patches arewhat is left of the dipterocarps. There are not enough trees left for the mast. There hasbeen a reversal and so now it triggers, not the regeneration of the forest but fires.Because the micro climate is gone and it is no longer wet, the trees have been cleared andnot only will the forest burn but actually the peat swamp will also burn.Lisa is in Borneo now working on that problem. That turns out to be a lot of carbonemission. You lose the trees, the trees are no longer fixing carbon; [and] then you haveforest fires in the El Nino dry years. Now also peat fires, so we are talking about .8 billonmetric tons of carbon per year. The Kyoto global target for reduction was .5. So it is huge.Not to mention the loss of biodiversity. We are moving along here. Two examples then ofcomplex adaptive systems, one in Borneo, one in Bali, different dynamics but in someway, maybe in some ways similar dynamics: bottom up control emergent networks thatwork and then were disrupted. I want to end with another way of thinking about this, notjust the complexity perspective but a Balinese perspective. Maybe another way to thinkabout the long now. The Balinese have very different ideas about time. Here is asimple little board which is a Balinese ukarutika calendar and it looks like, if you cansee it clearly, which you can't. It is like a matrix. It is thirty columns and seven rows,well actually it's nine, one on the top [and one] on the bottom.[This is a] funny looking little thing, little wooden board. Let me explain what it is. Thinkabout what our kind of calendar does. We have an Indo-Europeanin the Indo-Europeanlanguages we speak of time in a linear fashion. We think of time as a moving moment;the past is behind us, the future is in front of us. The present is this moment right now, inbetween the two; that is how we tell time. That's actually the arrow of time so to speak assomeone who is embedded in our language because we make order of things but talking about tense.When did things happen? It's obligatory to speak in English or French or whatever interms of past, present, future tense. That is how we talk about things. Balinese language,Indoexcuse me, the Australasian languages don't have tenses. They create sense in adifferent way. They have a very interesting way calculating time. I think it is the mostcomplex, at any rate the most complete way of thinking about time.It is in terms of multiple concurrent cycles. Time has dense. Let me just quickly walk youthrough what those calendars do; this will just be quick. First of all they have a lunarcalendar. We kind of have a lunar calendar, from the Romans. But they are accurateabout it. They count fifteen days of the waxing moon, fifteen days of the waning moonbut then they subtract a day every sixty three days. Since the lunar cycle is twenty ninedays, twelve hours and forty four minutes; that keeps their lunar calendar accurate.They are actually keeping track of lunar time in that way. They also borrowed from Indiathe Ashaka calendar, which is a lunar solar calendar which keeps accurate track of thesolar year by interspersing lunar months. These months are of differentduration. You stick them in at an interval of two or three years so as to get it right andkeep accurate track of the solar calendar.Ashaka calendar began in 79 A.D. and that is what they used. Finally, they have this uku.So what is the uku? It is ten concurrent weeks; I hope I can explain this clearly. We havethe seven day week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Well Balinesealso have a three day week. So the three day week is (Pasa-batung-hajah). So today isPasa, tomorrow is batung and it just recycles. It is concurrent with the Monday, Tuesday week.There is also a two day week. Today is maungay, tomorrow is paput. That is also cyclingalong. There is even a one day week. In the one day week there is only one day, luang,definitely today is luang. All of this is cycling and I haven't got room to put on my littlePowerpoint the ten, nine and eight day weeks, all of these concurrent, all of these goingconstantly at the same time. So time becomes dense.Here is now an attempt, (this is what the Balinese are now compelled to do), to try to plotall that information on a western calendar. This is going to be the March calendar becausethey also have to keep track of our system. In one of these little boxes you are going tohave the information to tell you what week, what lunar day is it. What day is it in thesolar calendar and what day is it in all of these ten concurrent weeks.Most people can keep track of a lot of this. This just gives you some cluesyou can'tread it anywayit is gunoontagalog, the fourth day of the four day week. All of that isgoing on. What do we make of that? It suggests that time is dense. It suggests that theway to think about it is in terms of patterns that emerge from interlocking cycles. That ishow you schedule water temple rites, is by those multiple cycles, the water cycles. Theduration of the calendar is 210 days.That turns out to be the most important cycle; the reason that little board has 210 days onit. 210 days is the old growth cycle of Balinese rice. The master calendar is the ricecalendar cycle. Within it you keep track of many other things. For example, most of thetime, nobody cares what day it is on the eight day week. But when your child is born, theday of its birth on the eight day week give you a clue as to who it is, who has beenreincarnated into your family, from the mother's mother's side, to the father's father's side.Human cycles are there and the notion is that you couldn't reach the end of this. Thereare so many different cycles going on, they are interlocking in so many ways, all we ashumans can do is keep track of the most important ones. So the three day week is themarket week. The market happens in one village one day, the next village the next, thethird village the third day and then comes back again.That has nice advantages. Instead of the poor old retailers (here) having to sit in theirshops from nine to five everyday, they're there every three days. They triple their marketsize and there is less of just sitting and being. The reason it works is that we haveinscriptions from a thousand years ago; the market cycle never changes.If this is the village and market is on day kajung, day one of the three day week, it willnever change so it is entirely predictable. [There are] interesting ways to use time tocreate order and maybe save people some time. They also use the metaphor of music.Judith Becker, years ago, (a linguist, a great thing), 'Time and Tune in Java' showinghow you think about music. Music is composed of multiple interlocking cycles. That ishow gamelanÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â music is put together; something like fugues. Order appears if the cyclesare integrated well and it doesn't if they are not well integrated.Music and time are clearly metaphors for one another. That little image from a Balinesetraditional manuscript called Prakempra which tries to relate cycles of music and tonewith letters, colors, gods and emotions (and all those things). It is one great package.I am at the end here because we began with John Holland's work on complex systemsand his notion of what a complex adaptive system is. But his more recent book is called'Hidden Order'. I want to suggest to you that there is an interesting hidden order here. Ithas taken me years as an anthropologist to begin to see that these funny little boards andthings actually can hold very profound ideas.I want to suggest to you, seriously, if you are thinking about time, that this is a way tothink about time that may be worth considering. Because this is the time that ecologiststhink about really, it is not the physics of time. It is the ecological view of time as havingmany cycles. If we don't think about those things, I think what I've shown you is a litanyof horrors. We've made colossal mistakes. My colleagues, the people I work with inIndonesia, are very worried people.What I've seen in my lifetime, what Lisa has seen in hers (and these stories could bemultiplied), there aren't very many people trying to study these systems. Lisa is nowdividing her time between Borneo and the Amazon (because there is still a lot left of theAmazon). We are just beginning to twig to the most basics patterns, complexities givingus some clues, simple clues about what to look for.In the meantime, these systems are collapsing right before us. I am sorry to say peoplelike us: we are the ones who are responsible for many of these changes. If we are going tocontinue to push forward, in what one geologist calls the "the anthropo-scene - this newgeological epoch in which human beings control of the planet, [then] we need to get smart fast.That is my story. I need to acknowledge my many collaborators. This is many years ofwork and I think I'll just list them there rather than trying to read all their names. Thank you very much.