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

Claudia Joseph permie at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 7 17:06:40 EST 2019

Thanks, John, that was a great issue. Community is one of our less focussed on design elements, it seems, yet it is key to our happiness. I appreciate all of your (and your staff i.e. Rhonda’s) good work.- Claudia

> On Mar 3, 2019, at 2:48 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 <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 <http://www.permaculture.org/>.
> >
> >-- 
> >Lawrence F. London, Jr.
> >lfljvenaura at gmail.com <mailto:lfljvenaura at gmail.com>
> >https://sites.google.com/site/avantgeared <https://sites.google.com/site/avantgeared>
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