[permaculture] What happens to a society that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion?…

Andrew McSwain aeromax.way at gmail.com
Fri Jan 14 02:07:52 EST 2011

Well stated. Though i must interject where you said that postivism-
postitive thinking- points us to believing that "solutions" are still
possible and say that it is not a mere faith in solutions into which we must
project our energies (turning the world's arable land into a giant GMO
battery is considered by many as solution) but faith in ourselves as being
able to stretch our capacities from consumer to
whatever-it-fucking-takes-world-saver.  or in with a less lofty and
volumetrically altitudinous rhetoric: teach them how playing an active role
in that solution- in essence, being the solution- can be a source of the
happiness that they seek through their ravenous consumption and/or
money-hungry habits and lifestyles. Be the change and the change will be

On Dec 2, 2010 12:57 PM, "Paul David Stockhausen" <david at pdsculture.com>

Re: Keith Johnson Via Chris Hedges, "American Psychosis"

I respect and applaud your awareness and eloquent description of the
immanent threats that face our humanity, our nation, and world today.  Your
deep awareness is something shared by my fellow permaculture activists and
the like but rarely stated with such explicitness.  Among my cohort of the
concerned and active, there is an implicit understanding of those challenges
which face our generation, though every so often I stumble across an article
such as this.  One that clearly tolls the warning bell again and again,
attempting to connect what might seem disparate dots for some.

What you say is true I think, the curtains of this illusory world are full
of holes as many of us know and have known now for years.  And as the harsh
bright light of reality shines through the weathered threads of this guise,
the path towards clear solutions still befuddles many.  I dare not exclude
myself in this rhetoric either.  While I search, share, and activate my
passions and ideas toward a regenerative future, I can't say that I have the
formulaic answer for what might heal our deep wounds.  But this article
begged me to respond, as a self proclaimed permaculture practitioner and
earth activist.  For while I don't feel compelled to disagree with your
observations on our common plight, I do feel compelled to comment on both
what I perceived as your attack on positive thinking and the lack of a
solutions based approach.

In my humble opinion (as I am no Pulitzer Prize winner, no PhD, no expert)
the age of soapboxing about the issues, about the looming thunderclouds,
with out an attached clear directive toward action is long past.  Please
don't misunderstand me, while there is still a deep need to sound the alarm,
it shouldn't be done so without some constructive suggestion, some solutions
based strategy.    While you do make reference to resistance movements
retreating from culture at large, what of those not yet involved in a
resistance? What is your suggestion to them?  A simple boycott will not
change culture, it will simply marginalize yet another group.  What of the
parents and children and families, all with an equal right to life who have
bought the lies and the hype of consumer culture, who I, dare say, remain
victims of this raging machine we call western culture? What do you suggest
for them to do, outside retreating from the only thing they've ever known?
What of those that are still shrouded by the dark light of the illusory
curtain?  What directives do you have for them?  Retreat from culture?   I'm
sorry, but I feel that the warnings, no matter how eloquent, are all too
often lost in the din of fear-mongering and finger pointing made common by
just about every news source in the west.

Permaculture, in my understanding, is a design science that is focused on
solutions based thinking and positivism (paraphrased from Bill Mollison's
own 1985 notes).  Its aim is to approach problems with a protracted approach
that helps us create unity and solidarity, that seeks creativity to
integrate possible solutions into every niche.  While Bill himself often
cajoled and pointed fingers, his texts are often focused on designing
solutions that benefit all people.  ***If we are to stand out as a movement
that truly affects change we must demonstrate abundance, offer practical
solutions, and, most of all, directives to action.  For, shouting about the
hurricane and directing people to shelter are two very different things***
While your article is poignant, It regretfully lacks any clear call to
action, much less specific directives.

Lastly, while I agree with the need for a broad ability to distinguish
between reality and illusion, I would never thwart anyone from the ability
to generate hope within themselves.  In my view, positive thinking isn't
believing that magic will save the day, or that robed saviors are waiting
for the right moment to save us.  It is the belief that there are still, and
always will be, solutions.  It is the understanding that life as we know it
is impossibly intricate, full of nuance and surprise, and within that there
is a way that we can change everything.  Rather than point a finger at those
that believe in hope, I might point them in the direction to channel their
hope into action.  In my training as a wilderness first responder, I learned
that when people are afraid they look for leadership.  As a first responder,
you have to take control and give directives to save lives.  As you so
eloquently pointed out, that leadership can come from hatred and evil, or it
can come from "us".  Let us give our directives with peace and acceptance
and dogged persistence.


P. David Stockhausen
Permaculture Instructor
Earth Activist.

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