[permaculture] permaculture Digest, Vol 48, Issue 62

lbsaltzman at aol.com lbsaltzman at aol.com
Tue Jan 30 11:51:11 EST 2007

I agree on your statement about indigenous people. And I still argue that human cultural patterns are part of nature and are as valid to study and understand as any other patterns that are studied in permaculture.   
Some form of spirituality and religion is a cultural universal and critical to the survival of any culture.  Permaculturalists seem to have no problem thinking about and including in their design other invisible structures that are part of human culture.  We don't seem afraid to deal with economic structures and settlement patterns. I can assure you that most indigenous cultures have spirituality and religion so interwoven in the structure of their culture that it can't and shouldn't be separated out. There is even evidence that religious practices pre-dated our species. Amongst at least one other member of genus Homo, Homo Neanderthalensis, we find the beginnings of spiritual/religious practices in the burial practices.  
I see Permaculture designers approaching human settlement patterns, community, and making many changes that can alter the culture of a given group of people. I think that it is naive to think you can play with human culture and ignore spirituality and religion which are core to any human culture. Obviously, I don't think permaculture practicioners should behave like European missionaries of old and impose a specific religion. In the third world where cultures may have powerful and intact religious practices don't be so naive as to think that benign changes introduced into the culture can't have unexpected consequences. And when working in the 1st world with people, often cut off from the Earth, but intent on forming intentional communities, I suggest that thinking through the invisible structures of religion and spirituality can't be ignored any more than figuring out how the community survives economically.
As to the person who sneered at new age people in a recent post, I would say the following. Yes some can be flakey, but in their own way they are embarked on a journey to restore important human spiritual patterns of Earth based religions that have been lost in our secular society.  Some new agers may go off the deep end and get lost, but others have done important work in reconnecting us to the planet we live on.  I am sure in a hundred years if humanity gets it right and is living sustainably, the insights of permaculture and new age folks will both have their place in the new sustainble society. Hopefully our descendents will have taken the best of both permaculture and new age spirituality and other movements and left the worst behind. I am sure that those folks in the future could look back at the early tentative steps the permaculture designers are taking and be critical of some of the mistakes that were made just as they could about new age spirituality. Hopefully, they will be mature enough not to do that, but to respect their ancestors for the wisdom the possessed.
 Larry Saltzman

-----Original Message-----
From: dtv at mwt.net
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 7:59 AM
Subject: Re: [permaculture] permaculture Digest, Vol 48, Issue 62

Tell this to the indigenous peoples whose 1000s of years of  
relationships with the world around them inspire a lot of  
permaculture practitioners.


In one of our early permaculture courses at Dreamtime, we had 3  
Hochunk guys who were constantly bored with the lectures & went  
outside to smoke.  At one point I joined them outside next to our  
chicken pen & they told me it was farm more interesting what the  
various chickens were saying to each other about their lives inside  
the pen & the proceded to explain to me in detail what each chicken  
was saying.

On Jan 30, 2007, at 9:49 AM, camille cimino wrote:

> PC is based on reality, facts, and physics NOT
> spirituality.

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