[permaculture] the gardener's shadow falls both ways

Lee Flier leeflier at comcast.net
Sun Dec 13 16:11:32 EST 2009

fdnokes at hotmail.com wrote:
> Interesting discussion...
> Truly, community will move ahead or fall apart on lines of culture...
> Yes, having courses that are free of it will offer something to everybody.
> But, they will not create community.
I disagree... at my PDC there was a wonderful sense of community, and 
there was no mention (by the instructors) of any specific spiritual 
> Wouldn't it be a part of a course to have people introduce themselves, where 
> they're coming from, why they're in the course, etc.?

Absolutely, and in my class, each person did just that.  We even had a 
talent show at the end of the course, where each student or a group of 
students could put on a skit or play, or sing a song, do a comedy act, 
make a flint tool, any kind of talent of their choosing.

We also had class hikes through the mountains, nightly campfires where 
we sat around talking and telling stories.

None of this served to alienate anybody of any particular spiritual or 
religious belief, including atheists.  And none of it contradicted any 
accepted science or observable reality. :)

> On another note, there is a whole body of course work about building 
> community with awareness of other dimensions of life beyond the overt focus 
> of our modern global culture.
> In particular, I took a course with Carol Heywood Bebrauskas, a NW pacific 
> 'seer', who had been to Findhorn and wanted to share with us the exercises 
> for building community that she had learned there.
> Interestingly, if you really look into 'presence', you'll find that it takes 
> some work to bring people into presence. People have analyzed where people 
> really are half the time, and mostly it's not here and now.
Absolutely, and I think this speaks to an underlying issue of trust.  
Part of the reason we are where we are in the modern age is because we 
don't trust nature to provide for us.   Regardless what the ideal of 
science is (to find truth), the *application* of science has been mostly 
to solve problems - problems that we see as having been caused by the 
vagaries of nature.  Disease, climate, natural disasters, accidents  - 
all of these are things that science has helped to mitigate and keep at 
bay.  And we can't ignore that, but on the other hand... we've also sort 
of forgotten that while nature can be cruel when something in her 
systems breaks down or isn't favoring us at the moment - when natural 
systems are working as they should, they work wonderfully well - better 
than anything man could devise!  And the interesting thing is that you 
don't have to have any particular spiritual bent to recognize this.  You 
may believe we are the handiwork of the divine, and/or the product of 
billions of years of evolution... either way, it should be obvious that 
nature works pretty well all things considered. :)

But we (in the scientific age) tend to think of ourselves as our own 
saviors, our own conquerors of Nature the Enemy, and feel that the 
greater the degree of control we can exercise over Nature, the better 
our lives will be.   That even includes the parts of ourselves and our 
humanity that are closest to our animal nature - those, too, are "base 
instincts" to be overcome by logic and reason, and not to be trusted.  
We think of "animalistic behavior" as barbaric, regardless which animal 
you're talking about. :)  When most animals' behavior seems to make more 
sense than most humans.' :)

So it's no wonder that people aren't very "present" - they're afraid to 
be in reality, afraid to be inside their own minds and bodies, afraid to 
be in the natural world to the extent that they can't "control" it.   
But since there's no real way to escape any of those things, denial and 
being "not present" is where they end up.

And this is just as true of many people claiming spiritual awareness as 
someone with a mechanistic worldview.  So long as "spiritual" is 
something "other," something outside of the world we live in, or 
something far in the future or the past, then we are not present.

So I think permaculture is really about rebuilding a sense of trust in 
nature, and in ourselves, and each other.  A sense that we're in a 
partnership with nature, not in opposition to it.  That means exercising 
control where we really need to or really think it will be beneficial, 
sitting back and trusting nature to do the work when we can, and gaining 
the wisdom to know the difference. :) In that sense, we're obligated to 
reject anything that smacks of denial or falsehood or speculation, and 
unfortunately that includes many people's ideas of "spirituality" as 
well as many people's ideas of scientific thought.

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