all theory thread

Lee Flier lflier at
Thu Jun 29 10:23:09 EDT 2000

Daniel wrote:

>although i often wonder if it will be a case of a (permaculture) culture
>evolving by the same ways as does an ecological system and taking on new
>aspects, forms, and dispensing with others,  undergoing bifurcations and
>fragmentations and further evolutions as is to be seen in the natural
>world?    rather than simply and only a case of permaculture as a design
>science and none of this other strange stuff like the rogue extra zones!!

I'm sure permaculture, in practice, WILL evolve like you say.  And already
does apparently.  I think maybe another distinction we are not making is the
difference between practicing permaculture and teaching it or designing for
others.  If you are applying permaculture in your daily life there will be
all sorts of permutations depending on where and who you are.  But in
teaching others I think it's important not to introduce these
idiosyncracies.  For example if you have particular spiritual beliefs which
can coexist with your permaculture design (as I do), then go ahead and have
a shrine in your garden or offer up a prayer when you plant a tree or
whatever it is that floats your boat.  But don't tell someone else that what
you're doing is permaculture or that they must do likewise in order to call
it permaculture.  That alienates many people and also does a huge disservice
to anyone you may be teaching who might have their own entrenched spiritual
culture, but who may be hungry and need bottom-line practical consultation.

>i guess the key question here is whether on thinks of Pc as an way to
>structure ones thinking on the earthcare topic (ie a "symbol") and as such
>a lifestyle or a life or whether its seen as a hard design science which is
>revolutionary enough to do some good for the earth but not too woppy that
>people will dismiss it at weird/deep/scary (or whatever!)

I think it's important that it not be too "woppy" (and Mollison certainly
stresses that point often enough).  People should be able to incorporate
these principles into their lifestyle no matter whether they are farmers in
Africa or new-age spiritualists in California or businessmen in London.  As
far as I'm concerned Permaculture is about survival - survival of ecosystems
and of humans as a species.  Woppiness will only cloud matters.  If the most
moribund members of our society can't ultimately relate to permaculture then
everything we do will amount to very little.  That's the bottom line I


Lee A. Flier
lflier at
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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