[permaculture] aerial geometry: 5 circular communities from the sky

Dieter Brand diebrand at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 18 10:01:16 EST 2008

  Internet connection in my part of the woods (literally) is precarious
  at best. I’ll just use the archives for a while to communicate with
  you (that’s a page with text only that downloads pretty easily), until
  I can figure out how to do all this unflagging and where.
  >Where were you living at that time Dieter and how old were you 
  >then? Were you in North Korea or China then :-)) Hard to imagine 
  >such a scenario, that of you being in direct contact with Maoists, 
  >in Germany or Portugal. Were you living in East Germany then?
  I sometimes forget that what is living memory to me is only known
  from history books to many of you. One of the battle cries of those 
  days was “trust nobody on the other side of 30.” Now we are twice 
  that age. Yes, time passes quickly, like in dream.
  Those smoke filled rooms I talked about where in Frankfurt (West
  Germany, any Maoists in East Germany would have been in prison)
  and London, but they could just as well have been in Paris or a few 
  dozen other European cities at the time. If you look at news footage 
  from those days, I’m sure you won’t have to look long to find pictures 
  of young bright students parading through the streets of Europe 
  wagging that little red book, at a time anybody who had an open 
  mind could have known about the horrors committed in it’s name in 
  China and Tibet. And such one-sided ignorance of the bright and 
  brilliant is by no means uncommon either. Take Voltaire, that brilliant 
  mind of French Enlightenment, he believed until nearly his death that 
  the political system of China presented an enlightened system of 
  government to be emulated by the countries of Europe, when some 
  of the more brutal practices of that regime would have left the worst 
  tyrants flabbergast.
  _We_ were all young man and women of good intentions with 
  the best of all Worlds in mind, many of us still are, even though not 
  that young anymore. Some were Maoists, some Trotskyites, some
  just Marxists, socialists, hippies, pacifists, freaks, dropouts, you 
  name it. The last time I saw Che Guevarra portraits carried through 
  the streets was as recent as 10 years ago in Lisbon. To the Maoists 
  all others were no better than lackeys of the bourgeoisie.
  It is difficult to give all that context in a short email without 
  exhausting people’s attention. That may be why my comments, 
  taken out of context, raised a bit of a passion. So let me spell it 
  out to avoid misunderstandings: I’m NOT a “conservative”, 
  never have been, never will be. I’m NOT defending the ills 
  of present day consumerism or corporate culture (the political 
  left in Europe has internalized the critique of consumerism for 
  at least 40 years, and what is new about “peak oil“ is that present
  day reserves are calculated to be far superior to those estimated
  by the Club of Rome nearly 30 years ago). I have always been 
  critical of the establishment, but that doesn’t mean I have to buy 
  wholesale into alternative ideologies. If I can point out the problems 
  of present day society, why should I have to keep numb about a very 
  obvious one-sidedness of many of the alternatives presented? 
  Do we do permaculture, in particular, or sustainable forms of 
  living, in general, a service by glossing over apparent contradictions
  or bias that lead to discussions out of touch with any reality?
  I should think not. In fact a critical discussion is the only way of
  assuring that solutions have a chance of changing things for the
  I remember one incident in the early days of the Green party in
  Germany, perhaps 20 or more years ago. At the time it was just
  a loose movement reuniting all types of people, almost, but not 
  quite as loose as permaculture is now. A local group of the newly 
  formed party, probably constituted by progressive psychoanalysts 
  or the like, decided to hold a meeting for paedophiles. The party 
  leaders managed to block the move in the last moment. A green 
  party seen to be championing the cause of paedophiles wouldn’t 
  have stood much chance in an election. Now, just to avoid any 
  further misunderstanding, this doesn’t mean that I accuse people 
  here of being paedophiles or Chinese red guards, does it? I’m 
  trying to point out a type of radical thinking that can destroy a 
  movement even though in its internal logic it has the best of 
  Lastly, my cultural background and experience probably differs
  largely from that of most on this list. But a different perspective, 
  if we are willing to admit it, can sometimes be useful to get a more
  complete picture of a situation.
  Cheers, Dieter

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