[permaculture] the gardener's shadow falls both ways

Lee Flier leeflier at comcast.net
Sun Dec 13 14:13:59 EST 2009

Tripp Tibbetts wrote:
> I don't believe any of us are post-poning the joy of that connection.  If you don't feel it, you don't feel it.  Fair enough.  But I'd like to propose that the anti- sentiment is at least as dogmatic in nature as what I've been talking about.  Hard-line science and Darwinian gradualism produce a certain type of superiority and inherent condescension that one usually only sees in the certainty attending religious faith.  It's a brutal irony that afflicted me as recently as a year ago.

I'm not advocating "hard-line science and Darwinian gradualism."  Now 
it's you who's being dualistic. ;)
> I think as long as we subscribe to a Cartesian dualism that delineates practicality and spiritual belonging-ness, we certainly will never fully understand the connections reported by Fukuoka, Einstein, Stamets, DaVinci, Newton, Galileo....not exactly a bunch of teleological flakes.

Thank you for making my point for me.  ALL of those guys came to their 
understanding of connectedness and spiritual belongingness *as a result 
of* direct observation of the natural world.  And I'd be very surprised 
if anyone came away from a PDC not having a greater spiritual awareness, 
but not because anybody taught it to them directly.  Thinking 
permaculturally just inherently seems to lead to that.

But how that awareness and understanding manifests itself is going to be 
different among different cultures and different individuals, whereas 
directly observable things will not.  If you can demonstrate something 
in practical terms and it will feed people, that's something anyone can 
see regardless of their cultural or individual background.  The rest 
will take care of itself.

So, if a student at a PDC gets the urge to talk to plants, they should 
go right ahead.  If members of the class want to organize a sub-event 
like a dance or a sweatlodge, great.  But as an *instructor,* one 
shouldn't force any of these things on students, but simply let that 
awareness emerge and manifest itself however it does, if it does.  And 
certainly as an aid worker in a vastly different culture (which a lot of 
permaculturists go on to be), one should never enforce one's own 
spiritual direction on anybody else.  Whatever practical good you might 
do will be lost at that point.

If you feel that you have to shove spiritual awareness down somebody's 
throat in order for them to "get it," then it's you who doesn't trust 
that the natural world is the work of the divine and that this will 
become apparent when one learns to observe its patterns.

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