[permaculture] Bogus permaculturalists

Scott Pittman scott at permaculture.org
Wed Dec 16 01:07:15 EST 2009

Any time I see or hear the phrase "take this movement mainstream" in
reference to permaculture I shudder.  "Mainstream" is what got us into this
mess in the first place.

Mainstream thinking is all about money with no thought about the
consequences and is dressed in polyester, with white shoes and belt.  There
really does seem to be those who have never broken out of the reptilian
brain as far as ethics and integrity are concerned.  


I am always leery about engaging these people since they take an enormous
amount of energy and seem to thrive on litigation.  I have yet to meet a
single one of them who "saw the error or their ways" through an exchange of
ideas and philosophies.  What I am saying, in spite of my earlier email, it
is a thankless job but someone ...

At this point it is about shining light in dark places, hoping to send the
shadow dwellers scurrying to hide.


I have greatly enjoyed the thread on the "gardener's shadow" and especially
enjoyed how everyone managed to come together in a civil and convivial way.


I am thankful for Lee Flier's comments as she is a student of mine and I so
delight in the growth and maturity of those who passed through my class even
if I can't claim credit.  I would also like to say that I think that growing
without pesticides and fertilizers is a little hippy!


I am struggling right now to write a book on the underlying metaphysic of
permaculture.  I have come to  believed that there is a spiritual path in
permaculture that is implicit in the teaching and curriculum.  Permaculture
has certainly put me in touch with my animist self as has all of the work I
have done with various indigenous groups around the world.  What an
incredible thing to try and articulate without demeaning and cheapening the
very idea!  An even bigger heresy is that I think that Bill Mollison was
(maybe unconsciously) driven by the same energy and understanding.


I have yet to teach a class where very quickly a certain gestalt presents
itself and creates much more energy, closeness, and deep feelings than are
merited by what is said or experienced.  To name this or to try to
categorize it into an "ism" is impossible.  For me it is akin to forming a
family out of thin air.  I feel that people take this new awareness away
with them and that it, in very subtle ways, helps guide their life into a
more conscious future.  This is a significant part of the course for me and
I am very careful with how I teach and follow the curriculum as I think that
a lot of the juice of permaculture is the result of the way it is taught.
But those of you who have followed this list have heard this rant from me
before "if it ain't broke don't fix it".  Part of the curriculum is not to
engage in religious or political commentary. I often break this rule, not in
the sense that I advocate either religion or politics but to accurately
describe the sorry state of the world without naming religion or politics is


It seems that virtually everyone who has commented on this particular
subject has come to similar conclusions just with different words to express
them.  Thank you all.








Scott Pittman


Permaculture Institute



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