Growth of Pc beyond #'s

FionaNyx FionaNyx at aol.com
Sat Jan 10 12:22:40 EST 1998


In response to  what warning at norex.com.au (David de Vries) wrote [of
permaculture]:  "is the growth fast enough?  How long before 0.1% of the
world's pop are permies?"

My response is that there are ways to consider pc's potential for success
other than counting individual permaculturists created.  I don't want to
derail a discussion about creating more teachers which is also important.
Actually, there are many ways permaculture is growing simultaneously:  the
number of people who know permaculture, the extent of bioregions which are
being taken under the permaculture mantle, the quality of life for organisms
affected by permaculture systems, the reduction of waste/overconsumption
engendered by permaculture teaching in the those who learn it, and the
knowledge structure that permaculture is building.  I'm going to focus on this
last aspect, because I want to encourage people that what seems to be slow
work is very productive.

Permaculturists are building a knowledge system.  We are gathering design,
land use, crop use, animal husbandry, ecology, subsistence economics, energy
systems, etc. knowledge together-- keeping it alive, interrelating it, farther
articulating it in many ways, and spreading it around.  This system is
available to any who choose to use it and can drastically improve their lives.
We are keeping it alive and vital by using it and teaching others.  As long as
significant numbers of us exist, the ideas and the many specialized species
will be available at any time that more people want (or are forced) to adopt
our way of life.  

Maybe this won't happen soon, but I kind of think it will, though I can't
decide whether it will be due to economic cycling (depression), the collapse
of modern nations' hourly wage due to globalized corporations, the end of
tolerating/ sheltering corporations, some political crisis/ disastrous war
event, or running out of petrochemical stocks/ aquifers/ clean water & air/
topsoil...

In the interim, collections of plants, animals, and tool and structure designs
which make possible a subsistance way of life must remain widely dispersed in
the hands of many people in order for there to be an alternative to people
being merely labor/consumer in a worldwide corporate profit-taking system.
And these collections and the knowledge of their responsible use must be there
when the turnaround or collapse occurs.

Permaculture is a knowledge & belief system.  These systems (or paradigms=
explanation of how things work which are shared by many people) don't spread
the same way that populations do.  They have been studied by Thomas Kuhn, who
wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  Examples of scientific
revolution (which he calls paradigm shifts) include shifting from the earth
centered to sun centered model in astronomy & adopting Darwin's evolutionary
theory.  These ideas are not simply dispersed by individual contact.  First
they are conceived, then they undergo a period of intensive examination by
individuals who are highly knowledgeable in the relevant field during which
their explanatory power and internal consistency are examined.  The new
thought system has to explain events that have been inexplicable anomalies, or
sove problems that have been unsolvable in existing thought systems.  Those
who are satisfied begin to work within the paradigm, further developing it by
bringing in their own varied expertises and testing it in areas of their
interests (this seems to be where permaculture is now as a thought system).
The thought system has to become fairly well articulated in a process of
intensive development by a few pioneers before it develops sufficient
explanatory power to become appealing as a better representation of reality to
be widespread.  It is tested for functionality by use-- which is what all of
us permacultivating our living spaces are doing-- and in the more varied
circumstances, the better.

So take heart,  ~~Sherry Levi/ FionaNyx at aol.com
Don't believe everything you think.



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