[permaculture] permaculture Digest, Vol 78, Issue 16

Ben Martin Horst ben.martinhorst at gmail.com
Thu Jul 16 16:00:12 EDT 2009

>From an "animist" perspective (see Graham Harvey, "Animism: Respecting the
Living World <http://www.animism.org.uk/>" for a discussion of the term
"animism"), "personhood" is not limited to humanity, but extends more
broadly to other beings. Which beings are persons would depend on which
group of animists one is talking to. From an animist perspective, the first
and second ethics could potentially be reduced into one: "Care for all
persons, human or otherwise."

Extending the notion of personhood beyond humans might have great utility in
permacultural practice. Instead of viewing other beings as mechanistic ("I
apply stimulus A, I obtain response B"), we might be able to more accurately
observe and assess their behavior as composed of decision-making processes
different from but akin to our own. Frankly, I think permaculturists in
general do a pretty good job of this already, but the addition of a little
conscious philosophy in this regard might spark even better and more
creative results.


On Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 11:46 AM, Scott Pittman <scott at permaculture.org>wrote:

> I remember when it was Care of the Earth and Care of animals.  The argument
> was that animals were included in Care of the Earth but it was never
> articulated why humans weren't also in the Earthling category.  I ultimately
> decided that the second ethic only emphasized the cultural belief that
> humans are somehow not part of nature. Care of the Earth and a return of all
> excess from people to that care would also work.

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