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Wed May 4 18:08:57 EDT 2011


got plenty of dirt under his nails. He strikes me as one of those rare
birds with both a high IQ and a strong back. His characterization:

>I've been moving away from explaining permaculture by breaking it down
>into a >description of the principles/tools/techniques/ecological basis
>etc, to an >explaination/discription of what the final output will be when
>designed using >permaculture principles i.e. an ecologically sustainable
>productive ecosystem.

is one I've found myself doing; telling people where they are going with Pc
turns out to give them a much better picture of it than just describing the
vehicles they'll use to get there. I had never put that process in words
the way Myk did, though, and his description has helped me understand why
what he calls an "output-oriented" method is effective. That's one benefit
of intellectualizing; you can figure out why something works, generalize
it, and apply it to other situations. Little intellectual ideas like
writing make that possible.

 The intellectual side of Pc is every bit as important as the tree-planting
side. Our brains come with two sides for a reason. Even ol' practical Bill
spends a bunch of chapters on theory in the design manual; remember that
quote, "protracted and thoughtful . . . ."For example, patterning requires
lots of head activity to grasp, and is a critical element lacking from many
sites that are supposedly permacultural). I could go on and on about the
importance of gaining a good intellectual grasp of the basis for what you
practice. And don't kid yourself about all those indigenous peoples who
lived so sustainably without intellectualizing; time and again, their
practices turn out to be unsustainable when done at high population
densities; there just weren't enough of them to do much damage.  Given low
infant mortality, they breed themselves into destruction just the way we
do. Thoughtless action is the problem; intelligent action requires a sound
intellectual basis behind it or we dig ourselves into the same trap over
and over.

Rather than risk a blathering intellectual rant, I'll cut this short with
one apt quote from John Maynard Keynes: "Ideas shape the course of history"

and one from Heinrich Heine (forgive his 19th-century gender-insensitivity):

"Note this, you proud men of action. You are nothing but the unconscious
hodmen of the men of ideas."

Toby







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