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the false dichotomy of feudalism vs. consensus  RSS feed

 
Andrew Scott
Posts: 113
Location: Boreal Alaska
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The discourse about what a permaculture community could attain seems unnecessarily limited by a false choice between feudalism and consensus. Feudalism is a concept arising directly from the context of agricultural people systems. Consensus (its modern iteration at least) is a concept arising from the context of industrial agricultural people systems.

Community A - Consensus Model (experiment duration: decades)
1st ethic: permacultural earth system design
2nd ethic: industrial agricultural people system design

Community B - Feudalism Model (experiment duration: centuries)
1st ethic: permacultural earth system design
2nd ethic: agricultural people system design

The permaculture community wholly embraces the rejection of agricultural systems with respect to the earth, but appears to cling to agricultural people systems. To my mind, this ethical mismatch designs inherent conflict into a community envisioned through a permaculture approach. I'm not saying that those approaches are or are not permaculture; when dealing with people highly socialized to identify with agricultural systems, there are reasonable arguments to be made for approach A or B. Sure, feudalism has a few hundred years of experimentation (we can disagree about how successful that has been). And sure, consensus has a questionable track-record measured more in decades (I think it's fair to delineate between the modern conception and indigenous peoples since the latter don't appear to suffer from the same forms of indecision often objected to). But there are stable human societies that practiced neither that were stable in timeframes measuring in the tens of thousands to millions of years. Just as permaculture earth systems learn from indigenous, pre-agricultural peoples, it seems wise to attempt to learn from them in terms of people systems too. Adopting feudalism implies that they have nothing to offer, and I think the anthropological literature shows us that's empirically wrong.

Community C - Horticulture Model (experiment duration: millenia)
1st ethic: permacultural earth system design
2nd ethic: non-agricultural people system design

Community D - Hunter-gatherer Model (experiment duration: epochs)
1st ethic: permacultural earth system design
2nd ethic: non-agricultural people system design

There are attempts to break out of the it's either feudalism or consensus debate, but I think it's fair to say that there's more work to be done before resigning ourselves to systems involving lords and peasants or gridlock. I definitely don't have all the answers, but the idea that we can't do any better nags at me, and I'd love to see more brains take up the question.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1133
Location: northern northern california
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agreed.

but all dichotomies are false, and people get trapped by them
not just this polarization, all polarization and people limiting themselves to the either/or mindset is a hindrance.

is the world run by binary?

i dont think so...not in actuality, but this seems to be how people get stuck, with the memes of duality....only seeing two options and trying to decide between the *lesser of evils*
when theres billions of ways, the and/or, a little of both and then some....
but instead its something vs something else, so black and white...instead of the way it REALLY is, an ever changing spectrum of every side and a bazillion shades of rainbow

i'm on the lookout for the third option, or maybe its the fourth or fifth.... none of the above/all of the above
the one that hasnt been considered yet but quietly sneaks up on you when you least expect it! and then seems like it was always meant to be

even though i lean towards C being the best model to borrow from in your example, i wouldnt want to pin myself even to that.
i'd rather just be, and not have to pigeon hole anything. i just want to be a person, at a place...which is what i am anyway regardless of what i call it, or anyone else perceives. we all are, just human animals being human animals.

all that said, i do think theres reason to call out the falseness of this choice, the whole *lessor of two evils* kind of thinking, and anything that coerces people to think they have to choose a side when all the choices arent being considered or presented. and i do think theres a very good reason to move away from agricultural models of society, from all forms of trying to impose control and domination upon the earth and the non human, and human beings.

so it seems it needs to be addressed, some things brought out of the dark hidden corners and ....because people need to create new and better ways (plural). i just dont presume to say theres a certain way they should look or be modelled on. i know how i want to live, it is not my concern that it be in accordance with anyones ideas or models previously held.

i think the new cultures that are just starting to find their wings now, may follow along with much of that kind of old school culture, but be something entirely new, distinctly not distinct, not directed but rather unfolding...but in many different forms. more plural and multifaceted that the old tired dualities and false dichotomies.
 
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