[Permaculture] "Forward" and "Back"/ Discussing Solutions
John-Schinnerer at data-dimensions.com
Fri Jul 2 16:19:49 EDT 1999
> -----Original Message-----
> From: eric + michiko [SMTP:emstorm at metro.net]
>I think this gets at what John was saying (correct me if I'm wrong!).
>There need to be ethical guidelines to help guide a society's actions.
Close enough, and...I make a distinction between "ethics" and "morals" as
follows: when I tell someone else what is "right" for them (how "it" should
be, how they should act, live, think, etc.) or they do likewise to me, I
call that moralizing - dealing in morals, desiring to specify (and control)
the behavior of others. When I decide what is "right" for myself and live
it, act it, etc. those are my ethics.
I make this distinction because these are two very different manners of
living and I find it important to distinguish them using different words.
If I like, adopt and live the permaculture ethics "by example," as best I
can, great - they become part of my ethics, for better or worse, and
hopefully I am attending to the consequences of my actions and setting what
I feel is a positive example for others. If I use them as a club to batter
other people's behavior and tell them how they should live, I become a
moralizer, just like countless political and religious organizations,
>Without them many seemingly harmless technologies or activities can become
>meaningless or even harmful.
And the *scale* of the technology, or the scale it is applied at if it is
variable, can be a deciding factor in the harm/no harm equation...
>I always had some trouble with the idea of
>using large machinery to get a Permaculture system up and going quickly
>with the rational that over the lifetime of the system it would be worth
>it. I see such a system starting out with an "environmental mortgage" to
>pay off before the real benefits can be counted.
In wanting to use heavy equipment to swale millions of acres somewhere (as
one example, from Scott's post), we *may* make a mistake of understanding
and/or scale because 1) we assume that that is the thing to do, and 2) if a
little of it is good in some contexts, more of it will be even better (and
even in other contexts).
This is a *pattern* of thinking and acting that I see as having gotten us
(and plenty of previous cultures!) into our current ecological messes, to
"If X is good (and we know it is, because we are the pinnacle of knowledge,
understanding and civilization), more of X is better, and we know enough
about everything (because we are the pinnacle of knowledge, understanding
and civilization) to be sure that more and more of X will not be harmful.
Oh, and the faster we can do X, the better."
If I do X "to da max" within the limits of human/biological power, harm will
be limited by the scale of what I can do using that power source and/or the
time it takes, if it turns out I have made a mistake. If I utilize
non-renewable power to do it on a huge scale and/or very quickly relative to
the systems affected, and I have made a mistake, the consequences will
likely be huge as well.
Also, looking at biological systems, I observe that there is an *optimum*
for everything in such systems. More is not necessarily better, and will
sooner or later be fatal.
David Orr refers to "slow knowledge" and "fast knowledge," and I extrapolate
corresponding modes of action with corresponding attributes...
>It seems to have the same
>problems and root causes as the house mortgage and credit card overuse. Or
>another example I heard last night, "There might be 5000 square foot
>environmentally friendly homes, but not 5000 square foot socially
>responsible homes." These kinds of "mistakes" come from shallow thinking.
>We need to learn to be more deeply consistent and consistently deep.
Ah-HO! I'd say to stop questioning all that we do *and* how we do it is to
go looking for trouble. To rush is also to go looking for trouble.
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