[permaculture] A Brief Creation Story as it relates to Permaculture (from Scott Pittman, posted with permission)

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Sun Mar 3 18:58:43 EST 2019

Glad to know about Permaculture Design magazine.

On Sun, Mar 3, 2019 at 6:44 PM John Wages <jwages at earthlink.net> wrote:

> Thanks for that posting. "We're all Tasmanians now."
> Related to this: at the same time as Permaculture Design's issue on "The
> Ethics of Permaculture" came out in Nov., I ran across Joseph Jenkin's
> book, Balance Point. Most permaculturists will recognize him as author of
> The Humanure Handbook. His new book (2018) addresses the materialism and
> consumer culture that you're talking about. We don't carry Balance Point in
> our bookstore, but you can find it easily enough. Sort of in the lineage of
> Ecotopia, Ishmael, and The Monkeywrench Gang, it addresses the problems
> with materialism/consumerism and presents a new definition of spirituality.
> Read more at Jenkins' website:
> https://josephjenkins.com/books_balance.html
> John
> John Wages
> Publisher, Permaculture Design
> -----Original Message-----
> >From: Lawrence London
> >Sent: Mar 3, 2019 12:55 PM
> >To: permaculture
> >Subject: [permaculture] A Brief Creation Story as it relates to
> Permaculture (from Scott Pittman, posted with permission)
> >
> >A Brief Creation Story as it relates to Permaculture
> >In the beginning there was the word and the word was spirit as articulated
> >by three ethics:
> >Care of the Earth
> >Care of people
> >Reduce materialism and population and return excess yield to care of the
> >Earth and people.
> >These ethics became enshrined in multiple religious movements and were
> >elucidated in multiple ways.
> >In the Jewish religions they were expanded to 10 ethical statements which
> >were reduced to two statements
> >by Jesus the founder of Christianity. In Buddhism it was further reduced
> to
> >Compassion for all living
> >beings. And so on...
> >Over time religion forgot about spirit and focused more on spiritual
> >leaders which allowed for the
> >callusing over of the human spirit by materialism, and narcissism. This
> >then led to humans loss of their
> >real reason for evolving here of planet Earth; to care(take) for the earth
> >and to care for all its wondrous
> >manifestations.
> >After many years of war, despoiling nature, fear of the other, and egotism
> >there began to emerge an
> >awareness of how empty life was without spirit. At first it was just a
> >glimmering of conscience revealed
> >as an awareness of our environment and the joy that it brought to those
> who
> >spent time within the
> >enfolding arms of a forest, or the awe inspiring oceanic view and thereby
> >wanting to care for what was
> >still remaining.
> >Many organizations were founded and operated to save forests, grasslands,
> >oceans, rivers, atmosphere,
> >animals, soils, and finally humans. This awakening was worldwide but each
> >organization was isolated
> >from the others and therefore they never became powerful enough, through
> >cooperation, to change or
> >engage the cultural paradigm in which they were embedded. Among those
> >organizations was an
> >Australian group formed around the writing and teaching of Bill Mollison
> >and David Holmgren.
> >Permaculture was unique in that it was a practice based on ethics and
> >principles of nature, though the
> >teaching was mostly about how to become self sufficient both physically
> and
> >socially. But at least the
> >underpinning ethics and principles were strong enough to soften the
> >calluses that had formed over spirit.
> >This is where my own personal story intersected with permaculture.
> >I was raised on a farm/ranch in the lower panhandle of Texas; a blistering
> >climate of hot windblown
> >sandstorms and bitter cold winters. I felt, as a young student, very
> >underprivileged; we had no television
> >reception, no social life except school. family gatherings. and church.
> >Church was boring to the point of
> >tears and the atmosphere of puffed up self-righteousness was belied by the
> >behavior of the congregation
> >the other six days of the year.
> >Looking back I count the blessings of living a life of nutritious home
> >raised vegetables, eggs, milk,
> >cheese, butter, cream, poultry, pork, and beef. I also appreciate all of
> >the skills I learned living on an
> >isolated homestead. We did our own carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and
> >whatever was needed in every
> >day life. I also loved the open spaces and my encounters of what was left
> >of wildlife in that part of west
> >Texas. My early spiritual encounters were experiences of being out of body
> >watching huge thunderheads
> >rolling overhead as I lay on my back in a row of sorghum, or a cluster of
> >Mesquite trees.
> >When I encountered permaculture many years later most of the “how to do”
> >stuff I already knew but what
> >really drew me was the statement of ethic and principles of nature.
> >Unfortunately my teacher Bill
> >Mollison had a hard and fast rule of no spiritual (woo-woo) and no
> >political teaching in permaculture.
> >Once again I was confronted with my youthful dilemma of my personal
> >experiences of hours of
> >Methodist pew time and the out of body thrills of my youth. I accepted
> >Bill's belief that spiritual and
> >political were more divisive than was agriculture, construction, forestry,
> >ecovillages, and all of the
> >sundry topics within the permaculture curriculum. But as time went by,
> some
> >25 years, I watched the
> >conditions in the dominant culture deteriorate along with the environment.
> >
> >Living in a swamp of racism, xenophobia, grand larceny, fear/anger, and
> >poverty it was obvious to me
> >that planting a garden and building a tiny house were not the solution.
> >More and more I felt that we as a
> >culture were suffering from a lack of ethical direction and spiritual
> >groundedness. I took off a year from
> >teaching and went to an ashram in Costa Rica to take another look at
> >spirit; seeking a healing of my own
> >from my cultural dis-ease.
> >After over a year of quietly sitting meditation at 4:00AM each morning and
> >sometimes twice a day during
> >retreats I decided that spiritual wasn't the problem. The problem was that
> >religions for the most part had
> >lost their spirit and were more devoted to the same pursuits as the
> culture
> >that surrounded them that is the
> >paternalistic pattern of materialism and narcissism. It seems that most
> >churches, temples, mosques and
> >other places of worship serve as monuments to the ego of the spiritual
> >leader rather than as examples of
> >social justice and ethical behavior. Somehow spiritual became confused
> with
> >religious.
> >I left the ashram with an understanding that the cultural ptsd was its
> loss
> >of spirit and the teachings of the
> >spirit that so many of the religions gave service to but did not provide
> to
> >their congregation. I realized
> >that permaculture too had focused to narrowly on the material world and
> >that without the enlivening
> >influence of spirit was just as unsatisfying to those seeking another
> >paradigm.
> >We have just concluded a year of sabbatical of the Permaculture Institute,
> >an organization founded by Bill
> >Mollison, Francis Huxley, and myself 21 years ago. Our purpose was to be
> an
> >educational,
> >demonstration, and research organization founded on the teaching of
> >permaculture. After a year of
> >thought, meditation, and conversation we have agreed that we want to
> >include more emphasis on ethics,
> >principles and spirit in order to heal our wounded culture. We believe
> that
> >part of that healing comes
> >from learning how to cast off the economic bonds of the culture through
> >self regenerative lifestyles. We
> >want to take the standard permaculture curriculum and add to it rather
> than
> >taking away from it. We want
> >to try and eliminate the greed and materialism (capitalism) from our lives
> >and introduce mutualism and
> >love in their place. I often substitute the word love for care as I think
> >that one can only truly care for that
> >which one loves.
> >I certainly hope you join us in creating a strong and viable medicine for
> >the cultural malaise we seem to
> >be surrounded by. I am only hopeful when I think of a future of more
> caring
> >for each other and our living
> >Gaia.
> >I am stepping down as board member and director of the Permaculture
> >Institute and leaving it in the
> >caring and capable hands of Jason Gerhardt. I will continue to serve in an
> >advisory role to the institute.
> >The Permacuture Institute will be offering three courses this Summer: 1
> >teacher training and 2 PDC's, we
> >hope to offer more so please check our website www.permaculture.org.
> >
> >--
> >Lawrence F. London, Jr.
> >lfljvenaura at gmail.com
> >https://sites.google.com/site/avantgeared
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Lawrence F. London, Jr.
lfljvenaura at gmail.com

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