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Non-Hierarchical Paleo Permaculture Hunter-Gatherer Intentional Community  RSS feed

 
Steven Johnson
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i'm amazed that there is all this talk about managed and unmanaged lands, this is a discussion of non hierarchial paleo permaculture, right? the permaculture part expressly includes agriculture, which implicitly means managed I think, but in a way that mimics natural systems, and specifically talks about humans designing, and I would have to think, changing, and managing land, including earthworks for water and fertility retention, and planting of a wide variety of species selected for increased productivity of life, meaning food for humans and for all other forms of life. Seems like as permaculturists, even paleo anarchistic ones we would have to do some designing and implementing for continual improvement of productivity.
like Matt says, that would mean lots of horticulture which would create more habitat for animals and people and improved opportunities for hunting and gathering.
the natural systems we want to mimic are at base all hunter gatherer things, that is what animals do after all, what natural systems do.
in todays world we can't improve land like that unless we own it, but that is where the non hierarchial element comes in and what this discussion should be all about
 
Andrew Scott
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Steven Johnson wrote:i'm amazed that there is all this talk about managed and unmanaged lands, this is a discussion of non hierarchial paleo permaculture, right? the permaculture part expressly includes agriculture, which implicitly means managed I think, but in a way that mimics natural systems, and specifically talks about humans designing, and I would have to think, changing, and managing land, including earthworks for water and fertility retention, and planting of a wide variety of species selected for increased productivity of life, meaning food for humans and for all other forms of life. Seems like as permaculturists, even paleo anarchistic ones we would have to do some designing and implementing for continual improvement of productivity.
like Matt says, that would mean lots of horticulture which would create more habitat for animals and people and improved opportunities for hunting and gathering.
the natural systems we want to mimic are at base all hunter gatherer things, that is what animals do after all, what natural systems do.
in todays world we can't improve land like that unless we own it, but that is where the non hierarchial element comes in and what this discussion should be all about


While I think we might disagree on the definition of "agriculture", I think you're on the right track with what you've restated as the goal of this discussion.

This is from the OP, and remains in line with our general thinking...

Andrew Scott wrote:Permaculture can restore human flourishing, health, and social relationships by acting as a bridge over the chasm of agriculture to the restoration of land and lifeways for human and non-human animals... Place the highest value on Zone 5, closely followed by Zone 4, and shrinking the internal cultural values placed on Zones 3, 2, 1, and 0. This is an attempt to value hunting, fishing, and foraging over the domestication of plants and animals.


Stated another way, the group aims to use permaculture to restore/regenerate land that can feed humans and wild animals. Our end goal isn't to become fullt-time farmers, and we probably don't have the skills or access to the enough ecological diversity to become full-time hunter-gatherers. We recognize and embrace design and implementation of permaculture systems while preferentially valuing wild ecosystems, or their designed analogs.
 
Steven Johnson
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we want to find ways to be able to improve the carrying capacity of the land without getting the problems inherent in hierarchy, if all we were doing was finding a place to be huntergatherers, without improving the land, well people could do that, but permaculture means designing and implementing constantly improving systems that mimic, but are even better than what nature naturally provides, let alone what farmers do to make money, which is the total hierarchial mindset.
to my way of thinking making money is antagonistic to the ultimate goal of permaculture, even while I recognize the total importance of making money for permaculture to survive in todays world.
there is a paradox, lets embrace the paradox and do both of those seemingly antagonistic things at once, be hunter gatherers and agricultural horticulturists, and make lots of money so we can buy out of the system that requires money. A fully developed permaculture system would have room for everyone, in all the zones, and hardly anyone would ever need much money.
we don't have to get it all figured out first, or justify our reasons why one way is better than another, we have to create the conditions where it can grow, and let it grow.
 
Matt Ferrall
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Sorry for any confusion.In my mind permaculture = horticulture and HG = non horticulture.Of course you will understand my confusion when horticulture is associated with hierarchy while simultaniously being advocated to be used in a non hierarchical focused group.I thought permaculture implied using intention in the landscape so it seems an odd way to achieve the HG ideals of non intention(taking what you want and than moving on).Olso,there is a word to describe what the above posts claim to aim for:horticulturist.The indigenous here focussed mainly on hunting,fishing,and gathering but also created other modified enviroments to enjoy greater diversity and yield so are classified as horticulturists.As you can see,its all abit confusing.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Matt Ferrall wrote:Sorry for any confusion.In my mind permaculture = horticulture and HG = non horticulture.



Well, without going into long academic debate...that is not a clear view of permaculture...

As such permaculture can be paradoxical at times, it also must be considered from a macro and micro construct, analogous to many (most?) natural systems. HG is very much part of the macro of Permaculture, and permaculture does not have to = horticulture at all. Permaculture is vast and very diverse system that simply is striving for homeostasis within a system...whatever that system is within certain natural parameters.

Regards,

j
 
leila hamaya
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yes i share in that confusion, i have been confused about that since we first started discussing this. apparently i have different base assumptions/ideas about these kinds of things...i do not see horticulture as being automatically hierarchical, or a bad thing. i do not see being sednetary as being a bad thing, or the cause of this. some people may be also perpetuating hierarchy, domination and other things alongside their horticulture, but i dont see them as being directly causal to one another.

well perhaps this conversations has become more intense in debate, but i feel like thats because we are all very passionate about these issues, and have good intentions to discuss this openly, and respectfully, including the problems. i apologize if i am also tangential, theres a lot of sidetracks that are related.

i had a different idea about certain basic things being discussed here when i started discussing this, so i am at least learning some things. in my mind when i hear people talk about indigenous people, i think first and foremost of their sound horticulture practices, and also of their ethics and spirituality. hunting and gathering is in there too, as an association, but not to the EXCLUSION of horticulture.

they certainly werent farmers, or agriculturalists, but i thought it was extremely common that many or most tribes practiced horticulture along side foraging and hunting. combined with their ethics, to me it seemed like a superior form of horticulture than has been practiced outside of those groups.

i have not been one to read a lot of scholarly research and such, and so have not encountered where hunter-gatherer is used as a term in such a way that it excludes horticulture. so my information is much less formal than the kind of scholarly writings presented here, with less specific terms.

rather i think of hunter gatherers as people who hunt and gather, and who also practice a very basic horticulture....mistakenly (?), based on limited knowledge, that was my understanding. as far as i know the indigenous to the west coast where i have been, have been hunter gatherers, as well as horticulturalists for an extremely long time.

imo humans are seed dispersers, this is one of our functions in the greater biosphere.in fact we are one of the main seed dispersers, in what i would see as our proper role. actually i believe we have a duty to take up this job, and we can do this better than just about any other animal. this may not sound like a grand job, but it is undervalued in its importance.

it could be simple like throwing out your extras food and having volunteer plants from that, and randomly spreading around seed close to your home, getting spores stuck to the soles of your shoes and spreading them unknowingly, or even the way animals do it by digesting and eliminating waste which contains seeds are part of this. we can, though, do so much better than that.

i dont think this simple horticultural role makes us any more likely to be hierarchical or domineering, just as i dont see sedentary people as being necessarily more hierarchical or warlike. it can and does happen that we run into the problems of hierarchy and off balanced power relations, and in the stifling confines of an IC this can get totally out of hand and wreck things, for sure. i just dont see the connection between horticulture and these problems, they seem to be completely different things, with different causes and different goals.

i maintain that this to me seems to be the ideal, to hunt, gather and practice a horticulture which is not damaging, and instead regenerative, as well as having a sedentary dwelling....and that this can be done without hierarchy, domination, and "horticultural warfare".... respectfully. this is my opinion and my goal.

and not trying to be a kiss arse or something (!) i enjoyed hearing matts perspective on this and how difficult it is when trying to actualize one s ideals in the current weirdness. i agree that theoretical ideas about living an idealized hunter gatherer lifestyle while writing on a computer in a nice comfy room supported by the capitalist/agricultural society is not as valuable as real time information from people who are attempting to actualize this. for the record i am not pointing fingers! we are all in the crazy soup of the modern world, doing our best to tread water and stay afloat while doing what we can.

but we should not polarize anyway.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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leila hamaya wrote:they certainly weren't farmers, or agriculturalists, but i thought it was extremely common that many or most tribes practiced horticulture along side foraging and hunting. combined with their ethics, to me it seemed like a superior form of horticulture than has been practiced outside of those groups.



Very important and well put...

There are few, even among those in the arctic circle, that do not (did not) have beliefs, rituals, and or customs of placing seed and/or root in ground. In some cultures this may be very limited while in others more complex and with deliberate goal sets. Either way, HG is not void of understanding of giving back, selection, nurturing, husbandry, and many other aspects of animal husbandry, and horticulture.

Leila, you do not have to be a "high brow" reading reams of text on all these different subjects to draw logical conclusions. I will also point out that just because academics "writes something," (especially esoteric subjects like this) does not make there conclusions, and observation completely accurate or correct. I left academia (though I still consider myself an academic) because of these often debated issues without truly understanding the intimate aspects of a subject. Good academics do research on multiple levels of consideration and also are flexible in their thinking.

leila hamaya wrote: i maintain that this to me seems to be the ideal, to hunt, gather and practice a horticulture which is not damaging, and instead regenerative, as well as having a sedentary dwelling....and that this can be done without hierarchy, domination, and "horticultural warfare".... respectfully. this is my opinion and my goal.



I will take that a step further...it is a reality. This is the way it was among many cultures, and can be done again...often in many different formats. We are lucky in these days of "easy connectivity." I am a luddite in many ways, yet will not ignore the benefits of technology and how it supports great information exchange and learning. There are many like me (us?) that may be sleeping outside year round, practicing, and/or teaching traditional life skills, yet still well connected to the "great world," and not just one intimate relationship with a singular biome.

Regards,

j
 
leila hamaya
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:

leila hamaya wrote: i maintain that this to me seems to be the ideal, to hunt, gather and practice a horticulture which is not damaging, and instead regenerative, as well as having a sedentary dwelling....and that this can be done without hierarchy, domination, and "horticultural warfare".... respectfully. this is my opinion and my goal.



I will take that a step further...it is a reality. This is the way it was among many cultures, and can be done again...often in many different formats. We are lucky in these days of "easy connectivity." I am a luddite in many ways, yet will not ignore the benefits of technology and how it supports great information exchange and learning. There are many like me (us?) that may be sleeping outside year round, practicing, and/or teaching traditional life skills, yet still well connected to the "great world," and not just one intimate relationship with a singular biome.



very good point, its important to remember this as many people assume the opposite unconsciously or consciously.
and when trying to move towards these kinds of goals can get increasingly frustrated by how difficult it is to do, when it should be as easy as breathing.
i feel similarly, i do think that computers and even the infrastructure to create and operate them may be something which benefits exceed the costs, and want still to be connected to the greater world, as is. theres a lot of compromises and moderation and lessening certain things, that come up with figuring out how to have both some comfort and modern luxuries, and how to continue towards these goals. i have to leave it up to other people to work these things out for themselves, i would certainly not try to insist someone give up their car, or all imported foods, or etc etc...to be living closer to my ideals. people need to figure this out for themselves, what they are willing to do and how to go about it. doing without these things becomes very difficult when you fully want to actualize this ideal, considering the context of the world we live in.

i am still en route to my goal, and my few creature comforts afforded by the capitalist/industrial/agricultural world are totally things i sincerely enjoy, but fight with myself about giving up. i sure do love my imported coffee beans which i guilt trip myself about, as well bananas and chocolate and other guilty pleasures i allow myself, though wish i could give up entirely.

i am far enough along towards my goal that most people think i am totally wacky! and cannot imagine living as i have. for living in tiny rustic shacks, without plumbing, without electricty and not valuing money and other things most people in the first world take for granted. i suppose i am not the only one who is moving towards similar goals that gets people coming up to them wondering , truly perplexed, why anyone would choose to live in this way, and feels these tensions. especially elders, as when i first started moving towards these goals there were still people who remembered living very raw before such conveinances existed, and loving their modern luxuries, could not imagine willingly going backwards.
 
Steven Johnson
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remember the little clip in the op talking about how easy life could be, the permaculturists were embarrassed because they didn't have to work very hard. well a lot of us have that sort of a problem. we have been living in this separatist reductionist reality all our lives and the habits of needing to justify our selves, to do something to own, earn our living, are deep, and even built into the language. I have to say that I am currently reading eiesenstiens 'the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible' and I find that I continue in many of the thought patterns that reinforce the competitive style of thinking that seem to be destroying beauty, life and ecosystems in our world.
i'm working on changing, neurolinguistic programing in progress whenever I can figure out how.
as I see it the goal of permaculture is to get to a point where we do not have to work hard at all, there is abundant beauty and life around me, and boundless opportunity for hunting and gathering.
fortunately for my current mindset, there is plenty of work to do before we get there
 
Steven Johnson
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the kind of world i'd like to see is a long, long way off, if only because it takes a long time for the trees to grow, and, most people in society, ourselves included are still caught up in the kind of mindset that makes non hierarchial systems very difficult. I think of the changes needed as similar to the current theory on how the human brain and mind have developed. the idea was that the brain grew as we developed tools, including physical, language and cultural tools.
we have to expect that the ability for many people to return to a huntergatherer society will also grow, as our ways of seeing the world change as we start to create models of how to do it
I suggest that with a few people working together that it might be possible to sequester thousands of acres of good, and contiguous land as well as smaller nodes, and well, thousands of acres in multiple locations seem possible to me. I know this is a little different than the op and maybe should be a new thread. what does anyone think of that?
 
Steven Johnson
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current iconic images to the contrary, I believe there is a lot of evidence that hunter gatherering works better in groups of people cooperating. this idea is oppositional to our current prevailing paradigm of competition between individuals and groups so it is really this basic mind set that we need to change. this is the theme that eisenstien has tried to develop if I read him correctly.
I think we could give it a powerful boost if we could get enough land for a number of people to live on in a permaculture/hg lifestyle, it could probably even be a popular ongoing reality tv show. it might not work on tv because of the timescales involved, but I do think that if we could put the idea out there that enough money to make it happen might become available.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Steven Johnson wrote:the kind of world i'd like to see is a long, long way off, .... I suggest that with a few people working together that it might be possible to sequester thousands of acres of good, and contiguous land as well as smaller nodes, and well, thousands of acres in multiple locations seem possible to me. I know this is a little different than the op and maybe should be a new thread. what does anyone think of that?



Hello Steven, et al,

For the tangible aspects of this conversation...lets not become too divergent into "theory," and day dreaming...yet I do like the way your mind and affect seem to present themselves...

So if you do (or others do) please start a new post thread. For the sake of your last post above, I will respond but briefly. It is a ways off, under the same premise that "Socialism," in its pure form is logical, and "Capitalism" is predatory by nature, so until we do "evolve a different brain" and the normative culture to go with it, folks with "socialistic tendencies" (me) will just have to live a couple more thousand life times to wait for this species of hominid to become less narcissistic...

Steven, if someone hasn't lived at least six months (a year is much better) in seclusion (hermitage style,) and then in HG group settings, as you have suggested, for some durations of time, I believe it is difficult for them to suggest such things as you are presenting...they simply don't understand them well enough to comprehend all the ramifications. If you haven't, I can make some "off post" suggestions...if you have, please start a new thread and describe what it is like to live in seclusion as a HG and then in group settings.

Steven Johnson wrote:current iconic images to the contrary, I believe there is a lot of evidence that hunter gathering works better in groups of people cooperating....

this idea is oppositional to our current prevailing paradigm of competition between individuals and groups so it is really this basic mind set that we need to change...



Group...not a group...there are realities to both. Logic dictates, if our species is to survive, you must have some group settings, yet these could evolve into a myriad of formats from strictly female matriarchs, to a wide range of different modalities. This is all theoretical Sociology...and probably not really worth pursuing other than an academic curiosity. The "idea" of changing the "mindset" and the normative cultures that go with them is, once again, more hypothetical than practical from a logistical, environmental, and geopolitical reality. (I'm not saying stop thinking about it, or conceptualize it...just don't put too much energy into believing it will come to any type of tangible fruition on a large scale in any "1st world nation."

Humans, still haven't figured themselves out well enough to "pull off" most of what you are suggesting in a substantial way. We still don't really know if our base line Ethology from our primate ancestry was more like that of todays Chimpanzee (patriarchal) or that of the more loving, and compassionate (matriarchal) Bonobo behavior patterns. One lends us to a brighter future, while the other is going to take some time to overcome...I do have my suspicions of which we are more like...

Regards,

j
 
leila hamaya
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Humans, still haven't figured themselves out well enough to "pull off" most of what you are suggesting in a substantial way. We still don't really know if our base line Ethology from our primate ancestry was more like that of todays Chimpanzee (patriarchal) or that of the more loving, and compassionate (matriarchal) Bonobo behavior patterns. One lends us to a brighter future, while the other is going to take some time to overcome...I do have my suspicions of which we are more like...



much as i would like to say we are more like the free loving bonobo, i think the answer is that we have BOTH of these kinds of natures, and then even more than this duality, a whole lot of other potentials.
we have a drive towards autonomy and personal gain, and we have a drive towards the good of the collective.

not so contrary as it can appear, they work hand in hand. but in the moment to moment of life, especially with the here and now as is, they often seem to pull at us from opposite directions. then there is much more to interaction than the tired old master/slave game, but our perceptions and cultural conditioning tend to hyperfocus on this, while missing the rest.so people do tend to believe it really comes down to "dog eat dog", or you can ONLY be one or the other, if you dont get up on someone, then they will get up on you. this is all very unhealthy thinking, not only that but inaccurate and limited in perception.

but i agree, most people arent there yet, and i am not holding my breath for them to be so. but i do think ultimately we are on the verge of a great leap forward in our consciousness, just that could take 100-1000s of years.
 
Andrew Scott
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leila hamaya wrote:yes i share in that confusion, i have been confused about that since we first started discussing this. apparently i have different base assumptions/ideas about these kinds of things...i do not see horticulture as being automatically hierarchical, or a bad thing. i do not see being sednetary as being a bad thing, or the cause of this. some people may be also perpetuating hierarchy, domination and other things alongside their horticulture, but i dont see them as being directly causal to one another.

...i dont think this simple horticultural role makes us any more likely to be hierarchical or domineering, just as i dont see sedentary people as being necessarily more hierarchical or warlike...


First, I think it's important to say that I don't think horticulture is "good" or "bad". I have tried to cite references from the best and most recent anthropology I'm aware of to support my current perspective. It does seem to be the case that horticultural societies generally tend to have higher levels of violence, hierarchy, and domination. It does seem to be the case that subsistence methods and sedentism play a primary role in determining these dynamics in societies. Steven Pinker's recent book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, includes a ton of data on this question. While I have been able to find problems in his treatment of research/data on hunter-gatherer bands, I have not been able to find problems with his treatment of research/data on horticultural societies. If I'm missing something, I would absolutely love to be shown otherwise. Seriously, please please please show me arguments based on actual long-term societies that demonstrate horticultural subsistence modalities in general have as low levels of violence and as high levels of egalitarianism as hunter-gatherers—I'm happy to be wrong on this point.

While our personal feelings, intuitions, and anecdotes are important, I don't think I'm asking anyone to take my thinking based on those alone, and I'd hope others would understand and respect that I can't override years of my own research based beliefs because of others personal feelings, intuitions, or anecdotes either.

This was the first reference listed in the OP. It's a free download and remains one of the major works on these questions. It's an older paper (1982), but the subsequent anthropology since then has seemed to generally support it. If you haven't read it, and it's a main component of my argument, then the confusion will likely persist. "Egalitarian Societies" by James Woodburn Ph.D.
 
Andrew Scott
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Matt Ferrall wrote:Sorry for any confusion.In my mind permaculture = horticulture and HG = non horticulture.Of course you will understand my confusion when horticulture is associated with hierarchy while simultaniously being advocated to be used in a non hierarchical focused group.I thought permaculture implied using intention in the landscape so it seems an odd way to achieve the HG ideals of non intention(taking what you want and than moving on).Olso,there is a word to describe what the above posts claim to aim for:horticulturist.The indigenous here focussed mainly on hunting,fishing,and gathering but also created other modified enviroments to enjoy greater diversity and yield so are classified as horticulturists.As you can see,its all abit confusing.


It is simply a matter of combining:
1) what might be called a "progression of principles" rather than the ideological purity you seem to repeatedly be imposing on us/me
2) choosing values, and moving as close to them as we can over time, and not in any singular fixed temporal point
3) consciously avoiding embedding 'lower' values (lower in terms of our chosen progression, not in their inherent better/worseness) in the microculture of our communities

As we discussed earlier in this thread (page 3 mostly), we have consciously chosen the hunter-gatherer values listed in the OP as a goal. Because we live in a world 100% owned by nation-states predicated upon agriculture, we recognize that some compromises are necessary. We view horticulture as an acceptable compromise—preferably as one of many steps along our chosen progression. However, we choose to avoid embedding the values that tend to be shared by horticultural societies (hierarchy, private property, etc.) into the design of or own microculture communities. It is self-evident that others do not share all of the values we aspire to, and in a world of billions of highly domesticated humans, that is to be expected.

 
Andrew Scott
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:We still don't really know if our base line Ethology from our primate ancestry was more like that of todays Chimpanzee (patriarchal) or that of the more loving, and compassionate (matriarchal) Bonobo behavior patterns. One lends us to a brighter future, while the other is going to take some time to overcome...I do have my suspicions of which we are more like...


Have you read Boehm's "Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior"? Though I'm not sure he'd characterize his work as ethology, it does serve as a sort of phylogenetic bracketing of human social systems in the context of our closest ancestors. I think combining Boehm's perspective with the ethological perspective is particularly relevant to this discussion. I suspect Leila was right here...

leila hamaya wrote:much as i would like to say we are more like the free loving bonobo, i think the answer is that we have BOTH of these kinds of natures, and then even more than this duality, a whole lot of other potentials.


Stepping around the nuances of horticulture for a moment, it does seem that humans constrained by agricultural societies (zoo humans) exhibit a largely different set of social behaviors than hunter-gatherers (wild humans). This sort of differential phenotypic expression fits perfectly into ethology, and underpins my thinking that the closer to domestication we are on the HG-agriculture spectrum, the higher levels of hierarchical domination and differential property (private, owned) access we'll see. This seems fundamentally compatible with Boehm's "reverse-dominance hierarchy" concept found among hunter-gatherers.
 
Andrew Scott
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Steven Johnson wrote:remember the little clip in the op talking about how easy life could be, the permaculturists were embarrassed because they didn't have to work very hard. well a lot of us have that sort of a problem. we have been living in this separatist reductionist reality all our lives and the habits of needing to justify our selves, to do something to own, earn our living, are deep, and even built into the language. I have to say that I am currently reading eiesenstiens 'the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible' and I find that I continue in many of the thought patterns that reinforce the competitive style of thinking that seem to be destroying beauty, life and ecosystems in our world.
i'm working on changing, neurolinguistic programing in progress whenever I can figure out how.
as I see it the goal of permaculture is to get to a point where we do not have to work hard at all, there is abundant beauty and life around me, and boundless opportunity for hunting and gathering.
fortunately for my current mindset, there is plenty of work to do before we get there


This is getting really close to my own thinking. I haven't gotten to Charles' new book yet, but Ascent of Humanity and Sacred Economics both helped disabuse me of some bad assumptions. Your first few sentences about the work ethic embedded into our culture, and the shame some feel in the idea of abolishing work or viewing our economic lives like hunter-gatherers, are really important concepts to understand or identify with (or cease to identify with) in order to "get" what this group is about.

That "little clip in the op" has been pinned to the top of the facebook group for a while, and will probably remain there a while longer.
 
Andrew Scott
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It occurs to me that I may not have directly referenced anything specifically commenting on the prevalence of hierarchy (or as in the paper below, "complex sociopolitical organization") in "horticultural" societies (in the paper below "hunter-fisher-gardener populations"). I feel like we've gotten hung up on this point for too long, but in case anyone wants to launch their own research effort, perhaps this is one place to start.

Source: Nonagricultural Cultivation and Social Complexity. Current Anthropology, Vol. 54, No. 5 (October 2013)

Thomas W. Killion, Ph. D. wrote:Concluding Remarks
In summary, I return to the central theme of this paper and to the long tenure, wide distribution, and significant potential of mixed subsistence systems in the Gulf Coast lowlands for social complexity during Late Archaic and Early Formative times. Simply stated, I argue that the rise of the Olmec and their ancestors was founded on a system of mixed subsistence practices in place in the tropical lowlands by at least the third millennium BC. Mixed subsistence based on wild and cultivated foods supported hunter-fisher-gardener populations in a variety of well-watered lowland environments. In some cases, high-population levels and complex sociopolitical organization also were possible depending, in part, on the local abundance and extent of wild and cultivated resources. Emerging economic, social, and political arrangements, underwritten by the environmental and subsistence factors forming the core of the HFG model, yielded a level of complexity generally attributed to agriculture.



Note the "level of complexity generally attributed to agriculture" in the last sentence. Killion is basically saying that this horticultural society reached the same levels of stratification and hierarchy as agricultural societies. That roughly echoes my thinking on the question at this point.
 
Matt Ferrall
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Thanks for filling in some of the backstory.My own journey has found me feeling a sense of ownership over a landscape when I have put effort into its management.Since this group effort is to be a progression,how do you overcome the feelings of ownership/resposibility that might come up while practicing the horticultural compromise?It seems that management is THE direct lead into hierarchy.The video is interesting in that is uses horticulture to defend HG with no mention of the social structure his clients formed as a result of their extensive investment is setting this up?As for 'work',I dont do any 'work' because I enjoy what I do but I stay active all day.I think this is somewhat what Fukuoka was talking about with his 'no work' method.Landscapes are not stagnant so once established,will require management or it will revert to far less productivity.I have always found this video confusing in that everything he is talking about is horticultural(modern genetics,fences and domestic animals) but he uses HG statistics.Still though I guess I can see your point of idealising HG lifestyle while actually practicing horticultural.I hope you succeed!
 
Andrew Yansen
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I've been following this conversation with both interest and frustration. I would consider myself a "post-primativist" feral permaculturarist at this point in terms of mindset, and while I am completely in support of the OP's mission and would love to see it come to fruition, I find it troubling how linearly the relationship between horticulture and hierarchy is being viewed here. I also would like to speak out about the role that ideology has been playing out in this discussion, and how dangerous it can be in the context of a larger movement (the permaculture movement). The primativist ideology, like all ideologies, tends to see things in black and white, and I don't think this is a constructive way of looking at the world, especially within the context of our shared global struggle. I was deep into the primativist ideology hole until I read Ted Kaczynski's critique of John Zerzan's work (http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/ted-kaczynski-the-truth-about-primitive-life-a-critique-of-anarchoprimitivism). He rips Zerzan's work apart by looking at his sources and realizing that most of what Zerzan quotes as proof of primative human's wonderfulness is no where to be found in the sources cited! I have noticed the same thing going on in this very thread, the references to "The Art of Not Being Governed" (which I started reading after following this thread) must be to a different book than the one I picked up!

A suggested "post-primativist" work is Ran Prieur's "Beyond Civilized and Primative" (http://ranprieur.com/essays/beyondciv.html). Good exploration of why go beyond the ideology, and of how much that opens up the possibilities for us!

Hunter gathering and horticulture can both exist in harmony, in fact, I think you would be hard pressed to find an example of any society that explicitly practiced one or the other (barring the Inuit example). From my perspective, something as small as breaking the stems of certain plants, or staying in one place long enough to build up a concentration of seeds from food plants, would be enough to count as a form of horticulture. I would like to propose that a new term gets used to remove the charges behind the terms "HG" and "horticulturalist." For example, indigenous land management, with that term representing a whole range of possible ways of subsisting.

Primativist ideology sells the idea that simply by adopting a hunter gatherer lifestyle we will reach the optimal state of human being, and cure all of our earthly woes, but I consider that a cop out. It is a much more difficult (and in my opinion, important) task to actually form a relationship with a landbase and to form a unique culture that inhabits and takes part in that ecosystem, and that relationship will not simply fit into some linear model of (HG/non-hierarchal<--->Horticultural/Hierarchal). The ideology says that if we live as hunter gatherers that an egalitarian lifestyle will be assured and life will be gold, but the world just ain't that simple.

Much more to say on this topic, but the library is closing down and it's back to the woods for me.
 
Andrew Scott
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Andrew Yansen wrote:I find it troubling how linearly the relationship between horticulture and hierarchy is being viewed here.


Please respect the conversation and provide some basis for this. I have asked for evidence to the contrary, and zero has been offered.

Andrew Yansen wrote:I also would like to speak out about the role that ideology has been playing out in this discussion, and how dangerous it can be in the context of a larger movement (the permaculture movement). The primativist ideology, like all ideologies, tends to see things in black and white, and I don't think this is a constructive way of looking at the world, especially within the context of our shared global struggle. I was deep into the primativist ideology hole until I read Ted Kaczynski's critique of John Zerzan's work (http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/ted-kaczynski-the-truth-about-primitive-life-a-critique-of-anarchoprimitivism). He rips Zerzan's work apart by looking at his sources and realizing that most of what Zerzan quotes as proof of primative human's wonderfulness is no where to be found in the sources cited!


"I can't generalize broadly since I've communicated personally with only a few anarcho-primitivists..." - Dr. Theodore Kaczynski, "The Truth About Primitive Life: A Critique of Anarcho-primitivism". From: Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, a.k.a. "The Unabomber"

First of all, dismissing everything we don't agree with as someone else commiting the sin of ideology is a rhetorical tactic, and is largely counter-productive. Even Kaczynski, in your own reference, is circumspect about this sort of generalization. Ideology is immune to contrary evidence, yet throughout this lengthy thread, and despite multiple requests, nobody has provided a single shred of evidence to counter the OP or my subsequent ramblings on horticulture. Until that changes, we're forced to wonder if those throwing around the charge might themselves be exemplifying ideological tendencies. I challenge folks to read/listen to Dr. Layla AbdelRahim's thinking on anarcho-primitivism and fairly slap the label of ideology on it (see: Interview with Layla AbdelRahim on anarcho-primitivism and red anarchism and "Primitivism" 101).

Kaczynski's (2008?) piece (of which I am familiar), Prieur's 2008 (lightly revised in 2012) piece (of which I am familiar), and Wolfi Landstreicher's piece (2007) (the other common anti-primitivist reference) are critiques of Zerzan and strawmen. That said, I respect parts of the critiques, but don't find that they significantly negate points being made in this discussion. None of them build a case for horticultural societies generally leading to more peaceful, less hierarchical than hunter-gatherer bands. Kaczynski's piece, as he freely admits, lacks direct reference to the underlying anthropology as it was written from memory from prison, and doesn't critique any of Zerzan's work more recent than 1994 (John seems to have added a significant amount of nuance to his more recent works). All three are earlier than many of my references, and they generally fail to recognize the immediate-return vs. delayed-return distinction made in the OP, and articulated by Woodburn's, "Egalitarian Societies".

Speaking for myself, I arrived at my current position through the anthropology, and before ever having read Zerzan, Daniel Quinn, Kevin Tucker, et cetera. While I think they are all (and others) influential in popularizing ideas, I don't look to any of them as paragons of unquestionable truth.

Andrew Yansen wrote:I have noticed the same thing going on in this very thread, the references to "The Art of Not Being Governed" (which I started reading after following this thread) must be to a different book than the one I picked up!


Again, please be specific. Lodging ambiguous criticisms is itself a "cop out", and not helpful to the discussion.

Andrew Yansen wrote:Hunter gathering and horticulture can both exist in harmony, in fact, I think you would be hard pressed to find an example of any society that explicitly practiced one or the other (barring the Inuit example). From my perspective, something as small as breaking the stems of certain plants, or staying in one place long enough to build up a concentration of seeds from food plants, would be enough to count as a form of horticulture. I would like to propose that a new term gets used to remove the charges behind the terms "HG" and "horticulturalist." For example, indigenous land management, with that term representing a whole range of possible ways of subsisting.


It seems like you're stretching the definition of horticulture beyond its usefulness. "Indigenous land management" obscures a lot of nuance. It is, in effect, the same tactic Pinker uses to smear hunter-gatherers with the violence statistics of sedentary pre-state societies. To my mind, that isn't exactly helpful.

"When I've cited figures on violence from a variety of hunter-gatherer, hunter-horticulturalist, and tribal peoples, I often get the criticism, "Well, these aren't all hunter-gatherers." My response is, "Well, that's irrelevant." For the purpose of testing a specific hypothesis, say, whether government reduces violence, it doesn't matter whether they're literally hunter-gatherers." - Steven Pinker

The distinction is absolutely important when we're talking about the causal link between, as Matt relayed a few posts back (and I believe him), the property ownership psychology that tends to develop among horticulturalists, but not hunter-gatherers.

Andrew Yansen wrote:Primativist ideology sells the idea that simply by adopting a hunter gatherer lifestyle we will reach the optimal state of human being, and cure all of our earthly woes, but I consider that a cop out. It is a much more difficult (and in my opinion, important) task to actually form a relationship with a landbase and to form a unique culture that inhabits and takes part in that ecosystem, and that relationship will not simply fit into some linear model of (HG/non-hierarchal<--->Horticultural/Hierarchal). The ideology says that if we live as hunter gatherers that an egalitarian lifestyle will be assured and life will be gold, but the world just ain't that simple.


I agree with the criticism as you have reframed it. However, it is not requisite to—as anti-primitivist ideology often claims—demonstrate that hunter-gatherer life is 100% perfect, but merely that it tends to be better. What if it is that simple?
 
Andrew Scott
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Matt Ferrall wrote:My own journey has found me feeling a sense of ownership over a landscape when I have put effort into its management.Since this group effort is to be a progression,how do you overcome the feelings of ownership/resposibility that might come up while practicing the horticultural compromise? It seems that management is THE direct lead into hierarchy.


I think your self-assessment and pinning the causal factor on management is on the right track. This is an old question, and a lot of brainpower has been put into it by those more insightful than I...

Source: "A Discourse Upon The Origin And The Foundation Of The Inequality Among Mankind", by Jean Jacques Rousseau (1754)

Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote:The first man, who, after enclosing a piece of ground, took it into his head to say, "This is mine," and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society. How many crimes, how many wars, how many murders, how many misfortunes and horrors, would that man have saved the human species, who pulling up the stakes or filling up the ditches should have cried to his fellows: Be sure not to listen to this imposter; you are lost, if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong equally to us all, and the earth itself to nobody!


The idea that the tendency toward notions of private property coincides with land enclosure persists to this day. It's modeled and articulated in the study below, and remains the basis for most (if not all) current theories of statecraft. This paper doesn't distinguish between "farming" and "horticulture", but as in the previously cited study of the Olmec, complexity can be quite similar in both production/subsistence strategies, so I hope we don't get hung up on terminology again...

Source: "Coevolution of farming and private property during the early Holocene", by Samuel Bowles and Jung-Kyoo Choi

Samuel Bowles and Jung-Kyoo Choi wrote:Our model and simulations explain how, despite being an unlikely event, farming and a new system of farming-friendly property rights nonetheless jointly emerged when they did. This Holocene revolution was not sparked by a superior technology. It occurred because possession of the wealth of farmers—crops, dwellings, and animals—could be unambiguously demarcated and defended. This facilitated the spread of new property rights that were advantageous to the groups adopting them.



{I believe most of these points were articulated in the OP, but I will attempt to go over them one more time in case a different wording/format helps someone.}
Tactic 1: No individual will own our land
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm assuming you personally own your land in accordance with the laws of whatever jurisdiction it's in. I think that's part of the "problem". From my research on intentional communities, this seems to be one tactic for avoiding feelings of exclusive ownership:

Source: "Keeping it Together: A comparative analysis of four long-established intentional communities in New Zealand"

Olive Jones, Ph. D. wrote:I consider that a central underlying reason for their long-term stability is the fact that they are all owned by charitable trusts. Charitable trusts enable land to be held in perpetuity. They preclude the rights of individuals to assume ownership of any of it.


Tactic 2: Multiple nodes/lusters of land under the umbrella of "the community"
We believe that regardless of consensus, benevolent overlord, or other decision-making styles, all communities suffer from the social "pressure cooker" of a single piece of land within which the entire group is enclosed. As I referenced in the Robert Sapolsky quote a page or two back in the thread, hunter-gatherers tend to solve this issue by 1) individuals choosing to leave one "node" (our term) for another group 2) entire groups choosing to leave one node for another area and/or group 3) a group within a node requesting or insisting that an individual leave that node for another node/group. We believe that this non-sedentary fission/fusion process also serves the dual function of helping to prevent individuals from developing a specific attachment to a specific piece of land, while also allowing them to develop a connection to the bioregion.

Tactic 3: Practice a system of "reverse dominance" to prevent anyone from assuming power over land or others
This theory is drawn from the work of Christopher Boehm ("Hierarchy in the Forest", linked in the OP), but is summarized here by Peter Gray. This excerpt uses an example of hunted meat, but the same social dynamics generally apply to attempts to exclusively own other types of "economic" items, including land...

Source: "How Hunter-Gatherers Maintained Their Egalitarian Ways"

Peter Gray, Ph. D. wrote:The writings of anthropologists make it clear that hunter-gatherers were not passively egalitarian; they were actively so. Indeed, in the words of anthropologist Richard Lee, they were fiercely egalitarian.[2] They would not tolerate anyone's boasting, or putting on airs, or trying to lord it over others. Their first line of defense was ridicule. If anyone--especially if some young man--attempted to act better than others or failed to show proper humility in daily life, the rest of the group, especially the elders, would make fun of that person until proper humility was shown.


Tactic 4: Nurturing the playful side of their human nature, and play promotes equality.
This excerpt is from the same article as in Tactic 3, and again, it uses examples not specific to private property, but the method of social interaction applies similarly in that realm...

Source: "How Hunter-Gatherers Maintained Their Egalitarian Ways"

Peter Gray, Ph. D. wrote:...the theory is this. Hunter-gatherers maintained their egalitarian ethos by cultivating the playful side of their human nature.

Social play--that is, play involving more than one player--is necessarily egalitarian. It always requires a suspension of aggression and dominance along with a heightened sensitivity to the needs and desires of the other players. Players may recognize that one playmate is better at the played activity than are others, but that recognition must not lead the one who is better to lord it over the others.


Summary of Tactics
All of these ideas are drawn directly from observations of actually existing hunter-gatherer bands, or (as in Tactic 1) are selected to model a hunter-gatherer conception of land ownership. At the same time, none of the tactics are incompatible with permaculture-horticulture. I don't think any of these things would be singularly effective, and Tactics 3 & 4 are ongoing considerations, and not "set it and forget it" tools. Hunter-gatherers actively work on egalitarianism, and though they seem to have been generally successful for 2+ million years of human evolution, it was a part of everyday life.

Shifting to Matt's other questions/comments

Matt Ferrall wrote:The video is interesting in that is uses horticulture to defend HG with no mention of the social structure his clients formed as a result of their extensive investment is setting this up? ...I have always found this video confusing in that everything he is talking about is horticultural(modern genetics,fences and domestic animals) but he uses HG statistics.


Geoff Lawton designed, and helped the family (2 adults, 3 small children) to install, a permaculture design for this property. I don't recall the upfront investment, but I believe it was something like 1-3 years. If I'm not mistaken, the video refers to the same ~5 acre lot that he regularly uses as an example, in which he installs several ponds on a property that he owns, then sells it to someone else.

This reminds me of a question I wanted to ask you earlier. What was your community's population over time? It seems like this would have a large impact on all of the things you've discussed, and in varying ways.

Matt Ferrall wrote:As for 'work',I dont do any 'work' because I enjoy what I do but I stay active all day.I think this is somewhat what Fukuoka was talking about with his 'no work' method.


It's easy for definitions of work to get in the way here. Even if we use your definition of work, hunter-gatherers have a lot of free time beyond the... um... 'no work' kind of work. The Sahlins paper referenced earlier is a starting point for this line of thinking, even if the numbers have been slightly revised over time.

Matt Ferrall wrote:Landscapes are not stagnant so once established,will require management or it will revert to far less productivity.


I suppose this is a matter of perspective. If we plant productive fruit and nut trees along with self-seeding and/or perennial food plants, production may increase for years, decades, or even the span of our lifetimes. As has been mentioned before, it also depends on the specific land in question, particularly how much food can be acquired from wild animal (including fish, shellfish, etc. with the land animals) sources. Perhaps your statement is more true the closer we get to plant foods, and the ability of those plants to naturalize to the area.

Matt Ferrall wrote:Still though I guess I can see your point of idealising HG lifestyle while actually practicing horticultural.I hope you succeed!


Thank you.

 
Andrew Scott
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A note on definitions
As stated in the OP, I am using "hunter-gatherer" in Woodburn's "immediate-return" modality.

With this distinction: agriculturalists, horticulturalists, and complex hunter-gatherers are outside the scope of my use of "hunter-gatherers". Each falls under Woodburn's classification of "Delayed-return systems in all their variety (for almost all human societies are of this type)...". As the delayed-return vs. immediate return distinction is fundamental to underlying and causal theories about private property and social interactions, I find it inappropriate to obscure this difference behind terms such as "primitive", "native", or "indigenous". Aside from the colonialist/civilized frame from which these terms are established, they add more ambiguity than they resolve.

For anyone resistant to reading the linked PDF, I've snipped a couple shots from the Woodburn paper, and provided a couple of other links showing why I'm defining things accordingly.

Sources
The Emergence and Persistence of Inequality in Premodern Societies" - Current Anthropology (2010)

Bowles, et al. wrote:...the boundaries demarcating the four production systems that we study—hunter‐gatherer, horticultural, pastoral, and agricultural—are a matter of judgment. We employ these conventional categories because past research has suggested that these are strongly associated with different levels of equality and inequality...

Accordingly, we define hunter‐gatherer production systems as those that make no (or minimal) use of domesticated species (either plant or animal), whereas pastoralists rely primarily on the livestock that they raise for subsistence and sometimes commercial purposes. Pastoralists may farm, but the extent of land that is cultivated is constrained not by ownership rights but, rather, by labor availability. Horticulturalists are variously distinguished from agriculturalists in the use of plows and traction animals by the latter, in whether the system is labor or land limited, in commercial orientation, or in the alienability of land. A strict technologically based definition of production systems would focus on the use of plows and traction animals versus hoes. In practice, the systems analyzed here differ in terms of technology as well as in terms of the productivity, scarcity, and alienability of land. Accordingly, horticulturalists cultivate land that is plentifully available with hoes, and agriculturalists cultivate family‐owned farms with animal‐drawn plows. As subsidiary activities, horticulturalists often fish, hunt and gather, and keep livestock, whereas agriculturalists most commonly supplement their production of crops with livestock rearing. We recognize that distinctions between these production systems are necessarily somewhat arbitrary, and we stress that production systems are in no sense viewed as evolutionarily sequenced stages. They are, however, very useful for defining the broad contours of how the intergenerational transmission of their principle wealth types might be correlated with levels of inequality.

"

Agriculture & Horticulture - Journal of Anthropological Archaeology (2009)

Terms like agriculture and horticulture can be problematic: as used here, agriculture (farming) denotes a primary cultural commitment to, and reliance on, domesticated plants while horticulture (gardening) reflects small-scale investment in the production and consumption of cultigens.



Cultigen - Wikipedia

A cultigen (from the Latin cultus - cultivated, and gens - kind) is a plant that has been deliberately altered or selected by humans; it is the result of artificial selection. These "man-made" or anthropogenic plants are, for the most part, plants of commerce that are used in horticulture, agriculture and forestry.



Hunter-gatherer (immediate-return vs. delayed-return) - Woodburn (1982)


 
Steven Johnson
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Andrew, I want to thank you for starting this discussion and for your ongoing efforts to keep the focus clear and honest. it seems to me that you have done much of the work that I aspire to in my own life.
I downloaded and started to read the work by woodburn that you recommended. I will take my time finishing it, but was interested to note what he said in the second page. the one numbered 432, in the second full paragraph.
"There is of course no question of the equality being a simple product of the hunting and gathering way of life. Many hunter gatherers have social systems in which there is very marked inequality."
I believe this is key to the difficulties we have been having in this discussion.
we are inculcated by the greater society to find problems with what others propose, but that is part of the tendancy toward hierarchy, we all want to be on the top.
we all want to have a say, at least.
there is a lot of thought about what our basic nature, and the nature of a beast is indeed significant, but I believe that the nature of humans is to make a choice.
 
Steven Johnson
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it is only when we each come to the point of taking the responsibility to make that choice, instead of giving it over to the leader, that we will find ourselves on the path to that more beautiful world.
When the world was less populated by people, and it was virtually all common land, someone enclosing a piece of it and saying this is mine was an aberration, and others could easily go around them, there was plenty to go around. Well that has changed. in todays world, in order to have a space be unenclosed we must enclose it, thus I agree, that while no one person will own the land, it must still be owned.
we will have to use the tools we have, which in this case is the corporation, with the appropriate charter. this is what we should be working on, the wording of the charter which will own the land. that will define the balance of horticulture and hunting/gathering we develop
 
Steven Johnson
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In a couple different places, over the course of over 30 years, I have mad considerable progress toward developing the physical aspects of the kind of life we are talking about. In each case the land was owned, or partly owned, by someone else who did not completely agree with what I was trying to do. as long as I did at least most of the other things that they wanted, we got along for a while. Both places were fairly large, one was 1100 and the other 80 acres, mostly undeveloped, and contiguous with much larger wild land. I kept goats and let them go free, at least in the direction of the wild land. they really could have left me, they were not fenced in and there was plenty to eat. I had an abundance of goat meat, I needed to reduce their numbers myself to keep them in balance with the grazing in a reasonable distance, but they gradually learned to go a distance away, and let things grow closer in as well.
I could have helped with appropriate fencing but that was not allowed by the other owners.
I also planted orchards and gardens, not with an emphasis on making money, but planning for constant supplies of fruit and such to pick throughout the year. again this is not what the greater society encourages, though it is much more popular now. seems to me what permaculture is all about
 
Matt Ferrall
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Andrew:Wow,gotta say Im impressed with the length of your response.Kinda exhausted at this point.My original community was mainly just me because I couldnt find anyone fanatical enough to go along.The only point I would question in your above response is that having no one own the land does little to alter feelings of ownership.Ive seen folks feel ownership for others land if they have utilized it for any period of time.Ive seen land trust communities that publicly disavow land ownership have obvious feelings of ownership as a group which I find to be identical to the usual ownership model even if they cant see it or wont admit it.The litimus test being they dont move on and tend to protect it from outside intrusion.It seems if someone were to come and do whatever they please on this land these folks would feel some sense of entitlement to deciding to allow it or not.Is there a plan in place should someone from outside this community start to intrude?It seems feelings of ownership might naturaly occur in a defensive role as well.
 
Steven Johnson
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In both cases, I lived alone most of the time, people liked to come and visit, but, I believe they were mostly not ready to put their faith in that kind of life. It did not bring in money, but the satisfaction of living there was great for me. I would walk out and find something to eat in the garden and eat it there, often not even taking it back to the kitchen and preparing a meal.
when I needed to kill a goat, I would walk out with them and kill one in the woods. the others would run away, when one fell, but then they would come back and watch, they were each concerned that it not be them, but as a herd, they seemed to have no problem with the process.
it felt a lot like hunting and gathering to me, combined with the horticulture that made much of the gathering possible. I found that with supervision, I could let the goats into the orchard areas for a period of time, they were pretty easy to convince to not eat much of what I didn't want them to and they got great nutrition, and they loved it. visitors were always remarking on how happy and fulfilled the social life of the goats was.
in both cases, I eventually had to leave. Now I would like to start again, in a way that it will not be taken away, I think maybe the right sort of corporation might be the answer. any one else agree?
 
Andrew Scott
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Steven Johnson wrote:I agree, that while no one person will own the land, it must still be owned.


Completely on board with the idea that the core "nodes" of the community must be owned. By land not owned in previous posts, we only mean that it won't be owned by an individual or other entity that can sell the whole or parts to others, or compel the group to sell or otherwise mess things up. The answer seems to be less in the realm of LLCs and C/S corporations, and more in the trust, land trust, charitable trust, or other 501c3 compliant structure.

Joe brought up the interesting idea of using a church structure a couple pages back. I've since looked into that, and think that the group's mission might actually fit with the U.S. conception of what a church is. That said, I'm not sure there are advantages beyond a standard 501c3, but we're still open to the idea.
 
Andrew Scott
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Matt Ferrall wrote:The only point I would question in your above response is that having no one own the land does little to alter feelings of ownership.


Yup. As stated above, I agree that the legal structure is not a solution on its own. However, it seems highly unlikely that someone like yourself—who worked for money and purchased the land with money—would not feel significantly differently about their own ownership of the land. Once instantiated, these systems seem to self-perpetuate into ownership cascades. Without being raised in a gift economy, it is unlikely that any of us are particularly likely to break that cascade without significant effort and/or ceasing identify with that slice of our immersive cultures.

Matt Ferrall wrote:Ive seen folks feel ownership for others land if they have utilized it for any period of time.


Indeed. I would say that this is due to cultural influences, and can be countered by Tactics 2-4 above. It's also why we've chosen to place hunter-gatherer values as a goal rather than typical horticultural, agricultural, or pastoral values.

Matt Ferrall wrote:Ive seen land trust communities that publicly disavow land ownership have obvious feelings of ownership as a group which I find to be identical to the usual ownership model even if they cant see it or wont admit it.The litimus test being they dont move on and tend to protect it from outside intrusion.It seems if someone were to come and do whatever they please on this land these folks would feel some sense of entitlement to deciding to allow it or not.Is there a plan in place should someone from outside this community start to intrude?It seems feelings of ownership might naturaly occur in a defensive role as well.


This doesn't resonate with me. I don't have a easy to view reference at my fingertips this second, but the anthropology and psychology of property ownership seems to often show in-group and out-group conceptions in starkly different ways, and anything but identical. For a book-length review, I'd offer Property & Equality: Encapsulation, Commercialization, Discrimination. In terms of this group, and realizing we live in a property ownership dominated world, we should probably start off with our highest leverage point (in-group), and play the things we can't significantly influence (out-group) by ear.

 
Andrew Scott
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I've done a little more research on this, trying to find evidence supporting horticultural societies levels of egalitarianism. This is the best summary I came across. The first bit, indicating there are horticultural societies with "high mobility", is new information to me, and I was happy to find it:

Source: "Domestication Alone Does Not Lead to Inequality" Current Anthropology, February 2010

Gurven, et al wrote:"Horticulturalists characterized by high mobility, little storage, small group size, and interdependence are more likely to be egalitarian, similar to foraging groups..."



This quote below is part of the same sentence/paragraph as above, and highlights why I'm reticent about adopting a mode of sedentary horticulture:

Gurven, et al wrote:...whereas horticulturalists that differ along these dimensions tend to display greater levels of inequality, as found among complex hunter‐gatherers. Property ownership and territoriality are more culturally explicit among horticulturalists than among many foragers, while leveling mechanisms designed to maintain egalitarianism are less evident but not absent. Accusations of witchcraft or sorcery among aggrandizers are common in horticulturalist societies. Extensive wealth accumulation and self‐aggrandizing are atypical among egalitarian horticulturalists. Craft and ritual specialists, politicians, and formal leaders are not uncommon.


The linked paper is from a Special Section in that issue of Current Anthropology titled: "Intergeneral Wealth Transmission and Inequality among Premodern Societies". After reviewing the several articles, the analysis seems to further support the group's model of multiple pieces of land individuals can freely move between, while not precluding horticultural practices so long as sedentism is minimized.
 
Steven Johnson
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I believe that the essence of non-hierarchial (I might as well say anarchical) thought, is that there is not only one good way. it seems that to try and deduce the essence is an inherently hierarchial,'one way' sort of thing. i'd say we are getting very close to the line paul drew about discussing philosophy here. instead of the nuts and bolts of how to grow more food. now i'm ok with that, but it has gotten me in to trouble on this forum before, so I try to be careful. it seems to me Andrew is trying to figure a way to reduce stress between people, by avoiding farmng and the inequalities that seem to go along with it.
I wonder if the inequality ideal maybe came first, and farming came along as a possible outgrowth of that. but not a required out growth.
I suspect that we could make the decision to have horticulture, even somewhat sedentarily, and still be egalitarian. Andrew just found some research saying that some people did that. Might it be that the real deciding factor in whether we fight is whether we decide we should or not?
 
Steven Johnson
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Seems to me that the goal of permaculture is to increase productivity by mimicking natural systems. Well natural systems and most permaculture gardens look messy, like jungles, compared to neat, normal (square) farms. there is a lot more biomass/food around, and the normal farms don't like that since it makes it harder to make a profit, which is the tool of hoarding, and the cause of fighting.
I guess my idea is that we should recognize that the ultimate goal of permaculture is already to minimize hoarding, but to try and say that we are slaves to a certain system distracts us from the truth that we fight because we decide to. I respect Andrews attempt to find a way to subtly reduce the need for conflict, I think we need that, and we need to not be so subtle too, and just choose that whatever form of agriculture we engage in that we won't be greedy and fight. it probably takes both.
 
leila hamaya
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Steven Johnson wrote:I believe that the essence of non-hierarchial (I might as well say anarchical) thought, is that there is not only one good way. it seems that to try and deduce the essence is an inherently hierarchial,'one way' sort of thing.



strongly agreed.
what is needed is pluralism and diversity, instead of binary thinking, or authoritarian controlling laying down the must do it this one way.....even if it is a good way. i believe very strongly in freedom for people, but freedom doesnt have a particular way or look. thats why its really freedom. i believe very strongly that all beings have self sovereignty and above all else this must be respected.

the problem with freedom and everyone making decisions from their own self sovereignty is that people will do some horrible things, disrespectful things, things you strongly disagree with and thats just as much an expression of freedom as people doing the excellent things you like and think are right. regardless its important to allow others the room to do things as they will. it would help if people had good information and not twisted up propaganda, small sampling rates, and all the rest, to make better decisions.

Steven Johnson wrote:
it seems to me Andrew is trying to figure a way to reduce stress between people, by avoiding farming and the inequalities that seem to go along with it.

I wonder if the inequality ideal maybe came first, and farming came along as a possible outgrowth of that. but not a required out growth.
I suspect that we could make the decision to have horticulture, even somewhat sedentarily, and still be egalitarian. Andrew just found some research saying that some people did that. Might it be that the real deciding factor in whether we fight is whether we decide we should or not?



i also agree with this.
i see these things as being different, as i already stated and should probably shut up about =P
if i havent made my point already, then i probably never will!
but i think regardless of the format there will be individuals who are awesome and sharing, and some people that suck and want to control things.and actually mostly people who suck sometimes, and are awesome the rest of the time!

i also think we are wired for conflict, and attachment, its biochemical, psychological, and physiological.
not all animals are wired like this.

animals who dont form pair bonds, who dont have attachments have a different kind of brain chemistry and wiring. they also dont experience anger and fear and fighting for territory or mates, having something you love and are attached to is the other side of the coin of anger, conflict and fighting to protect what you love. none of this implies you need to dominate anyone, or have hierarchy, but it does set the stage for some difficult things to come up.

in this way f*** you means i love you, its very weird, but there it is. the opposite of anger, fear control and all those negative emotions and actions is not love, but apathy. thats a kind of detachment i do not prize or strive for. and i think one of the issues is that people think there is a way where everything can be suddenly perfect, and avoid the negative emotions as being bad, facing your darker side and dealing with the pain fear and anger is much healthier. i do not think there is a way to avoid pain, conflict or anyway to have the idealized version people think we SHOULD be able to have.

and anyway this is at least an interesting perspective, i really had not been down this train of thinking. the concepts of sedentary behavoirs, horticulture, and hierarchy were not really configured in my mind as being directly related to each other. i still see them as different things that sometimes (or often) can be found together.

i dont have any references to support this, just my own experiences and ideas and way of looking at things. my own base assumptions and ideas i have taken for a walk.
the problem is of a different nature, and regardless of being sedentary, or doing horticulture, or never planting annuals, etc....these things arent tied into it, IMOO.
the issues imo are more about the insecurity, cultural conditioning, and the seeming "normalcy" of dominating abusive behavoir being rewarded.

and the way to get beyond this, although i realize many will not agree, is for me found in spiritual healing, and emotional healthiness, and embracing the ethics of right living. get this right and the rest falls in place of its own accord, in alignment with the integrity you follow.

not perfect though, cause its not going to happen that suddenly everyone becomes profoundly healed from all this....
 
leila hamaya
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but anyway for all my thoughts and ideas i have never managed to even come remotely close to actualizing the "everywhere community" ideas i have been having for a very very long time.
outside of trying to talk to everyone i know, and hope someone catches onto to the idea and has more ambition and togetherness to actualize something like this. instead i have just attempted as best i can what community i can foster, in my small way, and had some really bad experiences, along side some positive experiences. the bad experiences seem to far outweigh the good, so i am kinda burnt out on everything! ah no thats not true...i still try in my way to figure it out, see why these things dont work, how can they work, etc...and live as though the everywhere community already does exist. the world is my IC.

so i do wish you the very best , andrew and others, in forming this community that you vision.

 
Andrew Scott
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leila hamaya wrote:i have just attempted as best i can what community i can foster, in my small way, and had some really bad experiences, along side some positive experiences. the bad experiences seem to far outweigh the good, so i am kinda burnt out on everything! ah no thats not true...i still try in my way to figure it out, see why these things dont work, how can they work, etc...and live as though the everywhere community already does exist.


keep at it. dominator culture actively seeks to destroy the social relationships of community and replace them with the economic relationships of isolation. the hundreds of thousands of years of success of egalitarian hunter-gatherers societies shows us that the difficulty is not inherent in humans, but in the accumulation of power and power's self-reinforcing mythologies.
 
Andrew Scott
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Wise words from the folks at the Delta Institute of Natural History:

Arthur Haines wrote:I personally see no irony in suggesting to people how to live, think, or act. This has happened in all cultures throughout history. Every group of people (wild, traditional, and domesticated) has a core life view that is constructed through stories, social customs, taboos, and (today) laws. People respond to this today because many laws can be seen to be influenced by lobbies that support the well-being of a small segment of the society (such as a certain gender, ethnicity, religion, political party, etc.). The customs, rules, and "laws" of indigenous people, those who were truly egalitarian, also forced a certain way of thinking. For example, I recently read an Inuit fable of a group of successful hunters who did not share their successful hunting seal hunting bounty with a woman and her children. In the story, they stopped being successful in their hunts and starved. The story served to promote the sharing of foods among the people, just like a speed limit today attempts to guide people to drive at safe speeds so other people aren't harmed. Suggesting to people a manner of thinking or eating or living, so long as it is based on good intent (i.e., isn't promoting the individual) and is backed by evidence (preferably both historical and modern forms of evidence) isn't supporting hierarchy. Cultures that have successfully lived sustainably had factors in place that did suggest ways of acting and thinking. Combined with the fact that most people have lost all touch with practices that generate and/or support health, awareness, self-reliance, community, and ecocentrism, leaving everything to anarchy* is a very unpractical approach. With all our broken traditions and practices that only serve to harm people and the environment, suggestions that are based on "good message" practices are both timely and needed.


*I'd quibble with the use of "anarchy" here, and suggest that "chance" is more precise in this context.
 
leila hamaya
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and ooo one more thing- you talked a bit about trying to get seen as a church to get the tax breaks and everything else. one of the communities i lived in tried this for a long time and they pretty much denied it over and over again. we were saying that we worshipped trees (truth) and were doing a lot of activism and creating and educating people about tree free products (also true) as well as doing conservation projects- they seemed to basically laugh at the idea that we were trying to scam it as being a church and denied us.

though pagan tree worship and nature reverence is one of the oldest most popular spiritual paths still around, as far as the thousands of different kinds of pagans and animist groups have lived throughout history, it is unfortunately not seen as a valid religion to many (conservative monotheist) authority type folks.

i think the only way to do this is to conform to one of the major already established religions, and i cant see how that would fly. plus then it would become a religious themed IC.

maybe you could hook up with UU folks? idk...just saying that might not work if you are thinking to attempt this unless you are coming from one of major recognized religions. although you have a pretty sharp mind and communication skills. perhaps you could pull it off if you really wanted to explore that angle.

maybe better to try to look into grants/gifts/tax breaks for preservation or conservation, of course theres the fact that you are talking about people living on it....which to me doesnt exclude the conservation and regenerative horticulture aspect, but there could be a way to frame that instead of looking into becoming a church.
 
Andrew Scott
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leila hamaya wrote:i think the only way to do this is to conform to one of the major already established religions, and i cant see how that would fly. plus then it would become a religious themed IC.


have you heard the good news of christian anarcho-primitivism? apparently it's a real thing.

it was an idea someone threw out on page 2 or something. i looked into it, and it seemed very interesting, but the benefits didn't seem be any more than a standard 501c3 anyway. that question will probably end up being answered by attorneys.
 
leila hamaya
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Andrew Scott wrote:
keep at it. dominator culture actively seeks to destroy the social relationships of community and replace them with the economic relationships of isolation. the hundreds of thousands of years of success of egalitarian hunter-gatherers societies shows us that the difficulty is not inherent in humans, but in the accumulation of power and power's self-reinforcing mythologies.



agreed!

only i would say the difficulty is in the accumulation of (fake) power (so called), and in (fake, so called) power's self reinforcing mythologies.

true empowerment seeks for the empowerment of ALL beings.

it sounds so simple, and it can be, but it certainly doesnt play out so obviously.

there is strong life lesson for humanity involved in discovering just what POWER really is
 
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