Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Do-Nothing Cultivation

--by Masanobu Fukuoka (Nov 12, 2007)

The usual way to go about developing a method is to ask, "How about trying this?" or "How about trying that?" bringing in a variety of techniques one upon the other. This is modern agriculture and it only results in making the farmer busier.

My way was opposite. I was aiming at a pleasant, natural way of farming which results in making the work easier instead of harder. "How about not doing this? How about not doing that?" -- that was my way of thinking. I ultimately reached the conclusion that there was no need to plow, no need to apply fertilizer, no need to make compost, no need to use insecticide. When you get right down to it, there are few agricultural practices that are really necessary.

The reason that man's improved techniques seem to be necessary is that the natural balance has been so badly upset beforehand by those same techniques, that the land has become dependent on them.

This line of reasoning not only applies to agriculture, but to other aspects of human society as well. Doctors and medicine become necessary when people create a sickly environment. Formal schooling has no intrinsic value, but becomes necessary when humanity creates a condition in which one must become "educated" to get along. [...]

In raising children, many parents make the same mistake I made in the orchard at first. For example, teaching music to children is as unnecessary as pruning orchard trees. A child's ear catches the music. The murmuring of a stream, the sound of frogs croaking by the riverbank, the rustling of leaves in the forest, all these natural sounds are music -- true music. But when a variety of disturbing noises enter and confuse the ear, the child's pure, direct appreciation of music degenerates. If left to continue along that path, the child will be unable to hear the call of the bird or the sounds of the wind as songs. That is why music is thought to be beneficial to the child's development.

The child who is raised with an ear pure and clear may not be able to play the popular tunes on the violin or the piano, but I do not think this has anything to do with the ability to hear true music or to sing. It is when the heart is filled with song that the child can be said to be musically gifted.

--Masanobu Fukuoka, (from Chapter 4 of One Straw Revolution)

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12 Previous Reflections:

On May 28, 2012 Phyllis wrote:
 Exceedingly valuable concept ! I read his book avidly in the 70's when I was 'doing it all' ~ career as a chamber musician, keeper of chickens and bees, nutso gardener, and prolific reader on herbal, alternative medical lore, teachings on spirituality etc. etc. What wonderful peace he brought to my tortured soul. Thank you so much for this reminder !!!

On Dec 13, 2007 choclet peye wrote:
I agree there are many things, such as agriculture, that would benefit from less interference from humans. And it is true that many illnesses are caused by an unnatural way of life. But it's too simplistic to apply this idea to everything. Children are not just educated 'so they can get along', although it sometimes seems that way. They are educated so they can think for themselves. (For example reading, analysing and commenting on philosophies they find on the net!)
And I feel that a musical education can only have a positive effect on someone, making it EASIER for them to hear the beauty and music in the sounds of nature. It surely would not stop them.
I don't think human culture is as purely destructive as it is suggested here.

On Nov 22, 2007 rahul wrote:
One Straw Revolution is available on a gift-economy basis at:

(see link)

The founder of the site, Steve Soloman, has been doing this tirelessly for 8 years at his own expense. If you'd like to send him a note of gratitude, you can write to him at:

stsolomo [ {a t} ] soilandhealth [[dot]] org

On Nov 22, 2007 kalidas wrote:
please a

On Nov 16, 2007 DjVariance wrote:
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." . Albert Einstein

On Nov 13, 2007 Jeska wrote:
Masanobu Fukuoka has been an inspiration to me in my work as a sustainable farmer. His books are absolutely amazing! I am so pleased to hear him mentioned in these circles! Thank you!

On Nov 13, 2007 Conrad wrote:
Beautiful. Meditation seems to also be not doing anthing but noticing. Thank you.

On Nov 13, 2007 Ivan wrote:
I agree completely with zookro's final statement, "Balance is the answer, moderation in all things." I disagree that children should not be taught music. I was taught music and it has been a blessing in my life. However, children should also be taught to appreciate the music found in all things God has created for us. Education IS important. However, along with that education there needs to be an understanding of life and its purpose; of the blessings all around us; of the most important things in this life such as family, true friendships, service, love, and simply doing the right thing.

On Nov 13, 2007 Rajima wrote:
Whenever people asked me what methods I adopted in bringing up my kids, I said 'I just provided the basic needs & let them evolve the way the divine wished them to BE'. They [3 kids] chose their subjects & career. I only told them that whatever they did , to do it 100%.
J.Krishnamurthy has said plenty on this nurturing of children naturally.

On Nov 13, 2007 alice wrote:
I am the stay at home mother of two children ages 5 and 3 and this is such a welcome and gentle reminder of what is truly important. Some days my "agenda" (albiet, tame in comparison with most modern day parents, i like to bake or do a family craft project a few times a week, a walking trip to the library, that sort of thing) is thwarted by my children's desire to build Lego obstacle courses, spin in circles while listening to the Beatles or cover the dining room table with their homemade construction paper "books". We all need to leave childhood to the experts, those little ones exploring and experiencing the world at their own pace. Perhaps we adults truly do need to be the students and allow our children to remind us of all we have forgotten. Excuse me, I need to go get my crayons.

On Nov 13, 2007 zookro wrote:
How true! Esp with the over-education of children these days. Some parents are so busy making sure their children DO everything: tennis, swimming, music etc etc that the children have no time just to be children AND the parents are exhausted running them around and working and running a home. Crazy.
I am a older person (hehehe) but when I was a child our parents just let us get on with whatever was our interest...not push us into some 'hot house' scenario.
I've met adults who also think that every waking moment should be 'busy' or 'productive' for various reasons of their own.
Balance is the answer, moderation in all things.

On Nov 12, 2007 Dominic wrote:
This is beautiful. Please click on the links to share in the other writings.