Growth of PC

Jack Rowe jackrowe at compuserve.com
Sat Jan 10 14:00:24 EST 1998


I think a couple very good points have been raised concerning growth of
PC/sustainability:

Sherry Levi pointed to the important fact that, though change does not
occur in apparently-regular progressions, this does not mean it is not
taking place. Bona fide cognitive-framework changes (paradigm shifts,
'cracks in the cosmic egg') must at a certain point pass through a process
of gestation during which some of the deepest changes are happening on a
non-visible level. After we are exposed to a new cognitive framework --
even, or especially, after we intellectually 'believe' it -- time is needed
for our brains/thought structures/paradigms to absorb the new ideas
thoroughly into new, functioning thought pathways. This is because most of
our thoughts take place along established pathways, even when our
intellectual knowledge supasses the limits of those pathways. 

Time is always needed for new ideas to be absorbed in a 'real' way, on both
personal and social levels. Do we have this time? Yes and no. But the fact
is that the necessary cognitive changes ARE occurring, on the level of
gestation, and on a global scale. These changes in our reality-structures
are converging from a variety of sources (permaculture, addiction
therapies, 'New Age' attitudes, etc) into a fairly unified structure of
sustainability. We need only to remember how recently what we now take for
granted was not even concieved, to take heart that changes are in fact
proceeding apace (sadly, there is simultaneously another evolutionary
branch of thought which is acting to solidify thinking along the old lines,
and these two global systems will eventually have to be reconciled).

Dan Hemenway raised another good point, which is that all of us, as
teachers, are underqualified. This is not because we are inadequate, but
simply because the new ways are not even known yet and must still be
formulated. In fact, I believe that as teachers and students (as humans!)
we owe it to ourselves to always retain the consciousness that we are
always underqualified. This attitude is what enables us to remain
perpetually young and receptive, to continue learning from all around us. 

This is one important reason I support a Permaculture Academy (another
invisible structure) where basics would be taught in a systematic fashion.
I see too great a dearth of basic information about plants, about
sustainable financial and social structures, about teaching methods, about
energy study, etc, etc. In addtion to formalized learning structures, I
further believe it is time for each person with specialized knowledge about
any subject of sustainability to undertake the discipline of putting that
information into circulation by publishing through any of the available
means (this is fundamentally what we are doing on this list). All of us
without a particular specialty can pick one, learn about it, and share
through direct teaching, or through print or electronic publications. I
really feel we have to become as well educated, or better, than the
mainstream scientists, agronomists, businesspersons, systems designers, etc
who are working to maintain the present structure of death and destruction.


Jack Rowe



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