[permaculture] Invisible Structures Information
semaley at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 14 10:55:35 EST 2007
Very well said, Paul.
> The desire for 'apartness'
O God of earth and altar,
Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter,
Our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us,
The swords of scorn divide,
Take not thy thunder from us,
But take away our pride.
- G.K. Chesterton
When we all come together with a desire for completeness over selfish necessity, we uncover a viable design, given the paradoxes we must overcome. When we can shed the Marxist, Hippie, Capitalist, Yuppie, Anarchist, and whatever labels, we can see the whole that has always been there. I envision Anarchists discussing business endeavors; Libertarians trying to figure out how to address the social needs of the underprivileged; Marxists discussing independent business ventures of their own and others; on and on and on.
To some extent, I'm seeing all of this happen. I'm just waiting for the epiphanies making the intellectual transition complete. Part of this pertains to a major paradigm leap from separation and ego to one of mutual support. I make a distinction between mutual 'aid' and mutual 'support', as 'aid' implies separation to me, where 'support' implies being a part of a whole. When the 'left' joins the 'right' and the 'conservative' unites with the 'liberal', I know this leap has been made. I cringe hearing words like "progressive" and "growth", as I know permanence implies no more progress or growth can be tolerated.
Achieving this leap also requires a similar leap as when humanity realized that the earth was not the center of the universe. Specifically, humanity isn't the center of the natural world on Earth. Humanity isn't even something favored by evolution, but more along the lines of endless transitions that can't go through minimal simplicity, so have eventually resulted in less stable forms leading to humanity. We aren't even the only tool or language users. It's great for us to be a part of Earth, but it should never be at the expense of entire ecosystems to create food systems supporting yet more people (civilization isolates people from nature and destroys ecosystems to create food systems for the separated people).
----- Original Message ----
From: Paul Cereghino <paul.cereghino at comcast.net>
To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 1:18:44 AM
Subject: Re: [permaculture] Invisible Structures Information
Long one, but bear with me... Beware, the following monologue contains multiple poorly defined concepts that could be easily misinterpreted...
"Personally, I am interested in any models/metaphors that folks may be
aware of that are analogues of "economic systems" that occur in nature.
This might include such behaviors as squirrels hoarding nuts, but I am
really looking for energy exchange models that might be mirrored as we
design permaculture "economies""
In natural systems you can find any number of arrangements between
species that involve exchange of resources from facilitation to
parasitism to predation. You can then proceed to find benefits and
costs to each arrangement as motivated by your cosmology. Within
populations you can find all manner of social-political structure:
matriarchy, patriarchy, anarchy, pure communalism... aren't our economic
arrangements just side effects of our socio-political models for control
So I propose that 'economic system' is more of a symptom than a driver
-- our socio-political models establish power dynamics (primarily
ownership of resources and monopoly on violence) and these systems then
just respond to the resource environment by forming economic
arrangements. If you wanted an ecological model you could adopt Philip
Grime's model of plant strategies (interesting interview at
dominated by disturbance reward 'ruderal' strategies focused on
dispersal and repeated recolonization of opportunistic niches.
Environments with periods of extreme stress rewards those that grow slow
and invest in stress tolerance and avoidance infrastructure. Abundant
resource bases favors those individuals that devote energy to competing
and controlling resources without regard for the future.
You could describe our "economic environment" as being in transition
from one with an abundance resource base, benefiting 'competitors', to
one increasingly dominated by stress or disturbance. Viable
socio-political entities must adapt to changing success criteria.
Perhaps permaculture is a 'stress tolerator' strategy that won't really
kick in until stressors increase (oil and resource depletion + climate
shifts), but is vulnerable to 'disturbance' (climate craziness and
violent chaos) that supports more ruderal strategies (militarism).
I'd reiterate the idea that "economic patterns" are adaptive to the
combination of "social-political system" and "environmental condition".
A economic structure has no horsepower without control over resources
(Frank Herbert said "he who can destroy a thing controls that
thing.."). Permaculture depends, perhaps more than any other economic
model on the control of land (currently manifested by holding title).
Permaculture economic arrangements support acquisition of control over
land under management systems that build fertility and habitat
functions. Permanent economies must in turn be supported by stable
Land trust systems seem a natural complement to economic structures that
leverage land ownership. There is an informal system of conservation
acquisition in Washington, USA now underway. NGO's buy land with
ecological value, use public money for salmon recovery to strip off
'development rights' and then turn around and sell the remainder of land
rights (residence and compatible use) to a 'conservation buyer'. This
is a 'permaculture' model in that it is creating connections between
existing entities and stacks functions. To enhance this 'guild' you
could either figure out how to create more conservation buyers, create
socio-political structures that subsidize the process, or find other
capital flows within society that can be diverted toward this kind of
investment. Land trusts that acquire land without finding people to
live on that land, run into problems in trying to finance stewardship in
the absence of residential stewards. Educational systems developed by
local government to educate private landowners to be 'good stewards' is
a natural member of this guild, as are 'conservation corps' groups that
provide cheap labor to complete 'conservation' work.
The bottom line is that 'economic permaculture' is designing 'economic
gardens' in the context of the existing 'economic environment'. The
desire for 'apartness' so we can shed the shackles of our 'fundamentally
flawed economic system' fundamentally separates the permaculture venture
from the sources, flows, and sinks of the existing economic environment,
and so fails to be good permaculture design. The idea that
'permaculture' can only operate through people "tuning in, turning on
and dropping out" may have no functional value. As the resource
environment changes (resource depletion + global climate change) we will
need to adapt, but those are not the current design conditions. So we
must develop successional designs that take us from here to there using
existing environments, not imaginary environments. Or we could
contentedly work like Noah building our ark, quite certain that the 'big
one' really is just around the corner this time.
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