[permaculture] It's free on the web/ was question aboutPCDcourseprices

Toby Hemenway toby at patternliteracy.com
Tue Sep 21 13:28:45 EDT 2004

Nice job of trolling, Roy; you got me. I thought this thread had died a
merciful death.

On 9/21/04 7:57 AM, "Campbell" <Campbell.Roy at gmail.com> wrote:

> To the ownership thing with the names on the coffee cups then washed
> no names blah blah, there is absolutely no positive in this just a
> huge negative  it shows a total lack of team work, total disrespect of
> personal space and an overwhelming sense of selfishness.

I didn't intend it to show anything positive, just a fact. The class was
what I'd consider a pretty random sample of 25 people interested in Pc from
many places, probably similar to the makeup of this list.  Call the people
any names you want; I doubt if many of us would do any better in the same
situation. I consider the behavior absolutely typical for our culture, and
have seen it repeated countless times in other situations.

> To those whom believe payment (read money) for time doing a task blow
> it out your ass particularly in relation to sharing knowledge. This
> should be payed for by the community/society and not by individuals

Where is this utopia? I want in. Seriously, you're right (though socialism
has some pretty ugly examples). But how is this done? Taxes? Knowledge
exchanged for free food and housing programs--operated by who? Prisoners? Or
by contented members of society who are eager to work for free so that we
all can take workshops?  How would it work? Sadly, I'm living in this world,
not utopia, and have to make do with things as they are. I love the idea of
everyone working and putting their efforts into a common pool. It works in
villages below population 500 or so, but in larger groups, in every culture
I know of, above that number you get freeloading and theft, so structures to
deal with that must emerge. In our culture, the structures are money and
private property. As badly flawed as they are (I know the flaws and the
alternatives; it's an interest of mine), they allow a certain degree of

As has been said many times, if you put out energy and get little in return,
you stop doing it (or get really, really angry--ahem). We're looking for
ways to make Pc available to all, and we use a lot of different ways to do
that. Ideally ways that avoid the burnout of working for free.

> This just shows how you've been educated by your society.....
> User pays and if they can't discard them or lock them up.

Where do you get that idea? We've mentioned many, many ways to learn or do
Pc for free. I spend plenty of time teaching Pc to people with little money;
so does every teacher I know. I've never had a problem with people being
unwilling to make some kind of exchange; that's why I'm baffled that there
are people on this list who feel the work or time of another should be
offered for nothing in return.

 > If someone asks a simple question and you get deeply offended/affected
> by it what does that say about you as a person?? Why is it necessary
> to do a break down of costs then bemoan I do this much and only get
> payed so and so

Didn't mean to sound like I was whining about how much I get paid. I was
responding to a direct request for a breakdown of the price, and to a couple
of posts that complained about how Pc teachers were "raking it in." (I
confess to a little annoyance about how often the question is asked when Pc
workshops are far cheaper than almost any other.) I'm pretty satisfied with
teaching Pc and have no complaints about the wages or the amount of work.
But I disagree with the idea that I owe someone an education. In a society
structured differently, I would act differently, but I live in this culture.
I have also chosen which aspects are worth my trying to change, and which
ones aren't.

I don't think it's right to compare caring for sick family members to
offering to teach or otherwise support healthy, able people who are asking
for a service and perfectly capable of doing something in return for the
service. I've cared for a dying sibling myself and know the difference.

I'm just some guy who's trying to figure out a way to spread Pc around. The
narrow bandwidth of email can't possibly do justice to subtle discussions
and nuanced points of view. If you need to make me into a  money-grubbing
monster who would like to eat your children in return for teaching you, go
ahead. Projecting our own fears and hatreds onto others and snapping back
with insult and distortion is very easy to do in this medium; what's harder
is to try to understand what the other person is actually meaning.


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