Growth of PC

Elfpermacl Elfpermacl at
Sun Jan 11 11:46:04 EST 1998


My guess is that Sherry was alluding to the normal progress of succession
(missed the post somehow) in which apparent change is followed by apparent
quiet periods.  This is observable and results, if graphed conceptually, as a
set of ascending stairs.  As the ecosystem comes closer to utilizing 100
percent of available resources (sun, water, minerals, whatever), the vertical
rise shortens and the horizontal rest period lengthens.  This is, in fact, a
log scale, when averaged and looked at from afar.  (Getting into the math will
be distracting--suffice that this happens.)

In permaculture, then, being subject to all natural laws, even those we'd like
to evade, we can expect that after the first flush of growth there will be a
stagnation period, then a smaller flush of growth, etc.  Centralization of the
effort will sap energy, of course, and probably stall out the processs.  We
must avoid the forms of the mainstream society or be sucked back into their
patterns.  It remains to be seen whether the centralists, as they form their
institutes, etc., 
will take the rest of us with them when they sink.  I guess it depends on how
big they get before it happens.

Meanwhile, back to the patterns of transformation and succession, another
factor is critical mass.   Here Mollison's Tea Spoons and Butter Knives story
pertains.  What is required, of course, is critical mass of the correct
assembly of elements.  I think Bill was on the right track in encouraging
people to fill many kinds of niches, not just teaching.  

Finally, I don't think I said that none of us is qualified to teach
permaculture, though maybe I mispoke.  If I did, I said a dangerous thing, for
it would be an excellent excuse for the widespread poor quality of
permaculture teaching we see.  I think permaculture itself is still evolving,
so none of us is qualified in that sense, we are talking about an unfinished
concept.  I don't think it will ever be finished, but we still have some large
steps left before the change tapers to a gradual pace.  We need to better
understand, for starters, the importance of decentralization, elders,
principles of transformation, participatory decision making, consensus, and
self-regulating networks.  

It seems that we have this conversation from time to time and nothing comes of
it.  So I guess I'll move on to other topics.

For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since 1982),
Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses,
consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), and now correspondence
courses via email.  One is now underway.  Next Live program:  Paraguay,
8/10-22/98. Internships available. Copyright, 1997, Dan & Cynthia Hemenway,
P.O. Box 52, Sparr FL 32192 USA  YankeePerm at  

We don't have time to rush.

A list by topic of all Yankee Permaculture titles may be found at

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