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permaculture does not include metaphysics

 
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Chris Kott wrote:It seems to me that people are grouping opinions into the categories of "science" and "everything else." Am I the only one who finds this style of deliberate polarization manipulative and insulting?



Could you clarify this for me please? Are you saying that some world views are more valid than others and that those that align more with permaculture are superior to those that don't? Are you concerned that major theologies are being put in the same category as modern Woo. (I hesitate to use the word woo, but I feel like everyone knows what it means. I don't mean to be offensive.)
I kind of got the impression that you see supernatural beliefs on a sliding scale of validity. Some worthy of being hooked up with permaculture and others not so much. if I'm mistaken please correct me.

Thanks
 
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i can admit- i am something of a purple/woo person =)

even as a purple-woo-sort of person, i can appreciate this reasoning. you have to adjust your speaking to who you are trying to talk to, for sure, and try not to turn people off to your message. i have tried myself to follow this, though i can tell i dont always succeed, and mostly actually do not talk that much about my path of spirituality/neo paganism, animism, unless i feel someone might be already receptive to it.

it might be that people are biased unfairly, it might be that they are being closed minded (or not) about any form of spirituality, but that doesnt matter, the reason doesnt matter. what matters is that you would be alienating them and having them not listen to anything you say once they get triggered to think you are being "woo". its true that many people perceive me this way, one can tell, but hey, i do try.

even within many spiritual communities, this same sort of thing comes up. many neo pagans, animists, or other forms of paganism (theres hundreds of different groups) have discussions about those less deep forms of spirituality, or individuals who seem nonsensical about it, especially "wicca" and "shamanism"....presenting things in an illogical and inaccurate way, and sometimes in a disrespectful way. or being very hypocritical about things, and contrary, being shallow in their practice/actions. they get upset that many forms of paganism and neo paganism are so distorted, and especially the self aggrandizing which is contrary to the "real thing", and how this reflects badly upon other individuals who are on a much deeper level with it....i feel that people misunderstand and have different kinds of associations than what i am actually about, so i dont normally talk very much about it unless its with others who agree already or are open to talking about such things.

but i want to say that this is basically how i perceived permaculture from first hearing of it long ago, and after already having done many of the permaculture type practices, already being an earth builder, already having naturally figured out many of the practices, already living in intentional communities, already being both a wildcrafter and horticulturist, and already being self identified with neo paganism/animism and those beliefs.

my take on permaculture then was that it was basically neo paganism/animism without the spirituality, and with any of the woo stuff, or seeming woo stuff, very deliberately not mentioned. i do not expect anyone to agree with this, dont claim this as fact or anything, and would not want to box anyone into this, you can self identify any way you like or disagree. permaculture as a movement should self identify any way people want to.....this was just my subjective take on it, that sticks in my perception. i even would go so far as to say it is good....because of those perceptions and biases, and because of how spirituality and religions have become such dividing factors, to make a new thing, aligned with animism's ideals and ethics, similar to the core of paganism, yet deliberately not mentioning anything that would be perceived (or mispercieved) as religious or spiritual. but i still think theres a huge connection there, the ethics of permaculture, the ideas at the core of it, whats behind it, seems very much a rehashing of animism/pagan ideologies with the spirituality deliberately stripped away. (IMOO)

because its certainly not that i want other people to conform to any form of paganism (most pagans and neo pagans are usually very sensitive about freedom to choose ones religon and not invalidating others ideas about spirituality as they wish this in return and dont often get it)...rather if i want anything and can say so for others, its that they uphold those kinds of ethics and start to treat the earth better, and take actions to protect the earth, or rather participate in our small ways in the earths neccessary self healing. i would not care what they call it, how they self identify, its the ethics and actions that matter.

so here is a new thing, imo, that encourages that while bypassing all the weirdness associated with religions and spirituality....though i will also say that in a criticism it seems to me to make a very shallow practice more possible/justifiable. again, just my perception. it is not as all encompassing, to me it seems it could be more shallow. not that all do, or that this is common, and i would not point it out when i see it...because they are at least starting on that path of making better choices, being aware of things that seem too easy to not notice, they are taking a step in the right direction and should be encouraged to go deeper, not criticized or shamed for not quite doing it on a really deep level.

which is also the same way i feel about those who other pagans would criticize harshly, who arent walking their talk, because i see that its a step in the right direction, people want to be connected to the earth as they should be, but dont know how.....and hopefully they can grow from there..... as i feel i have done, making my stumblings and mistakes towards being in harmonious relations, having once done and thought things that later turned out to be not really that great. and even still seemingly forced to do things that are contrary, participate in wasteful and damaging things.

the whole weird way of the world seems to force people away from these ideas and practices, so i am saying i do not blame people for not quite getting it totally right, as i dont blame myself for not always totally getting it right....its that they are at least moving in the right direction, although they may be stumbling, not able to articulate it well, saying false and damaging/disrespectful things....
 
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I took a weekend permaculture workshop earlier this year and the host added in a closing circle, smudge and her native american chanting ritual of some sort at the end. I excused myself and left. It was annoying and as my first experience with permaculture workshops, I formed an opinion that what they did was inappropriate for the workshop, as it had been advertised. I'm not sure if the PDC teacher was the one who initiated the circle, or not. Either way, I'll look for permaculture without chanting or circles.
 
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I've been exposed to many sales pitches for scientific malarkey. Hidden knowledge seems to be a key component for many claims. (The government, evil doctors or the Illuminati are the usual suspects.) Most of it has been of a medical nature but also quite a bit of perpetual motion, fantastic fuel economy etc... Those offering medical services that have no known mechanism by which they work, often feel free to make stuff up as questions come up. I've heard many explanations by "practitioners", which vary widely from the explanations given by others in the same game. I don't see this wild fluctuation amongst trained professionals in more widely accepted professions. For instance, If we were to ask 3 dentists what a root canal is and why it might be required, I would be very surprised if the answers weren't all very similar.

There's plenty of quackery out there. Some of it requires formal schooling and some can be picked up at coffee shops in your spare time. Some "healing arts" require the patient to believe that the procedure will work or that it has worked. If you desperately need a root canal and get it done, you will will benefit from it regardless of your faith in the science behind it.

I enjoy messing with those with fake services for sale. Many are both patronizing and condescending at the same time. Sometimes, I'll tell them that I believe in this fakey treatment or that, just so that I can see how they alter their standard pitch to mesh with whatever I tell them. Some try earnestly to talk me out of homeopathy or blood letting or whatever, but most make adjustments that allow it to coexist with their own treatment in a complimentary way. When questioned on how they know certain things, a common claim is that, "I'm very intuitive". Some have ESP and can read both the universe and minds. They can predict the future and tell me about my past life as a gladiator. In making such claims they are really saying, "I poses powers and senses that you do not. I'm in touch with the true force of creation. Therefore, I am a superior being". I would hope that a truly superior being could find a job that doesn't exploit the gullible.

My favorite way to end a sales pitch is to conduct a very basic and entertaining IQ test. I throw out fun questions such as --- Can you drive a car to Greenland ? Is a chimpanzee a type of monkey ? Can you name a few of the elements that everything is made from ? Can you name a few countries that were once part of the Roman Empire ? Can you tell me very basically, what goes on under the hood of a car to make it go ? The answers often provide a powerful indictment against our public education system.
 
pollinator
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My assertion wasn't that some types of belief are valid and that others aren't, but rather that by virtue of the fact that the discussion has been set up with an us and them dynamic, you get a situation where it becomes hard to be both rational and spiritual. This in itself will drive away people who should instead be ushered into permaculture with open arms.

I can believe that, just for instance, there exist a class of being we can't detect, something some might call fairies or sprites or house hobs. Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, after all.

But if we are to disseminate information, we need to do so in a common language. We need to be able to discuss what we can detect, note changes, et cetera. That is where science comes in.

Mind you, I don't think that treating all spirituality and all religion as one homogenous mass is very permaculture, do you?

-CK
 
Dale Hodgins
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Heather Davis wrote:I took a weekend permaculture workshop earlier this year and the host added in a closing circle, smudge and her native american chanting ritual of some sort at the end. I excused myself and left. It was annoying and as my first experience with permaculture workshops, I formed an opinion that what they did was inappropriate for the workshop, as it had been advertised. I'm not sure if the PDC teacher was the one who initiated the circle, or not. Either way, I'll look for permaculture without chanting or circles.



This is the sort of thing that I think should be avoided. This is bound to put off many scientifically minded people and practitioners of the major religions as well. Heather was unable to enjoy the end of the workshop or to say proper goodbyes to her classmates. This sort of manipulation happens in many other settings. I attended a public meeting that was advertised to be about environmental concerns and they slipped in a speaker who went on for 20 minutes about her desire to have greater access to publicly funded abortions. I'm done with that issue and I would not have attended if the posters had honestly disclosed the agenda.

Chris should be a diplomat. I've seen him brush off nasty attacks during many heated debates. He goes right on, being very reasonable and conciliatory, even when outnumbered and surrounded by those who wish to shush him. Check out his posts in the bio dynamic forum a few months back.
 
Heather Davis
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Dale Hodgins wrote:
Heather was unable to enjoy the end of the workshop or to say proper goodbyes to her classmates.



Dale, you said it well. It would have been nice to say goodbye and end the class without feeling as though I was running away or forced out. I didn't want to get into a conversation about religion nor seem antisocial, however I was not going to stay and go through religious rites for a religion that is antithetical to my own beliefs. They could have offered a chanting circle if anyone wanted to stay later and not assumed that everyone who was there was comfortable with their religious beliefs.

Beyond my own comfort, the inclusion of the circle and native american or pagan rites at the end was a confusion of the ideals of working with the land and landscape to grow food and support food systems with earth worship or something like that. As stated before in this thread, permaculture fits very well into the tenets of many major religions and accomplishes the desired effect regardless of what you believe. In talking with a friend (of a different faith) later, about the course, I stated that I'd like to become a PDC teacher in order to bring permaculture principles to more people, without the religious overtones. If permaculture must include pagan rituals, then I'll learn what I can about shaping the land and move on.
 
Craig Dobbson
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Chris,
Thanks for clearing that up for me. I appreciate it. I do see that there is a bit of US vs THEM, but I'm also seeing a lot of people on the edges of both camps that are talking in that gray area too. I tend to shy away from things like politics and religion mainly because they are highly subjective topics for people and NEVER have I met any two people who agree on everything 100% regarding these topics. I figured since Paul was so kind as to bring up the topic, I'd weigh in.

I feel like it's hard not to break this one up into two "camps". But perhaps the language is making things difficult and more volotile than need be.

I'm fairly sure that most people agree that keeping the purple out of the PDC is the best way to disseminate the facts and knowledge about permaculture to as many people as possible. Now most people around here are just fine with letting everyone "live and let live" however they wish. With the supernatural or without it... your choice. I'm totally cool with it, it's just not my bag.

As to absence of evidence. I guess this is like a roof ridge, you either fall one way or the other. Some people say they don't believe in things for which there are no evidence, but given evidence would readily change their view in light of that new evidence. Other people go the other way and say that until you can show that something doesn't exist I'm going to believe it anyway. After all you can't prove I'm wrong.
Of course, everyone is welcome to walk that line however they wish. I tend to fall on the "prove it" side of things though from time to time I get caught up in some of those pseudoscience claims for a minute. As a matter of fact when I first started researching permaculture, I was convinced I would have to wade through a lot of Woo. It turns out that as long as you're diligent you can find a great wealth of woo-free permaculture info right here. This is not the case with a lot of other permie sites and that may be the reason Permies.com is #1. Maybe

I'm a bit confused as to what you mean when you say,
"Mind you, I don't think that treating all spirituality and all religion as one homogenous mass is very permaculture, do you?"
I'll think about that for a bit and come back with something. I need another cup of coffee.
Thanks



 
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leila hamaya wrote:

my take on permaculture then was that it was basically neo paganism/animism without the spirituality, and with any of the woo stuff, or seeming woo stuff, very deliberately not mentioned. i do not expect anyone to agree with this, dont claim this as fact or anything, and would not want to box anyone into this, you can self identify any way you like or disagree. permaculture as a movement should self identify any way people want to.....this was just my subjective take on it, that sticks in my perception. i even would go so far as to say it is good....because of those perceptions and biases, and because of how spirituality and religions have become such dividing factors, to make a new thing, aligned with animism's ideals and ethics, similar to the core of paganism, yet deliberately not mentioning anything that would be perceived (or mispercieved) as religious or spiritual. but i still think theres a huge connection there, the ethics of permaculture, the ideas at the core of it, whats behind it, seems very much a rehashing of animism/pagan ideologies with the spirituality deliberately stripped away. (IMOO)

.



I had a very similar thought earlier on while studying permaculture but it centered on Taoism as the representation of holism. I also perceived a humorous esoteric element in permaculture being labeled a science which is generally associated with reductionism, while it is openly striving for holistic understanding and management. The question kept appearing in my mind, "how do we get discrete minded hard science believers to behave more like holistic Tao practitioners?" "Wouldn't it be funny if we used science!?"

Anyway, being that permaculture is said to be a design science, seems to me that religious tones in pdc's go against its non spiritual foundations even if said tones are completely in harmony with the tenants of permaculture. When speaking with people versed in sustainability about permaculture I have found that many consider it an agrarian niche or worse yet "just a buzz word".
In my opinion, the concept of sustainability is exploding and I would not be surprised at all if it were the primary means to judge all things in the near future. Where permaculture may fall is obviously unknown but does it matter? Aren't we just talking about sustaining our selves?
That being said many influential people may miss the innovative thinking and ideas permaculture has under its belt, simply because it has an agrarian reputation, or purple reputation etc.
 
Chris Kott
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The word "permaculture" has become something of a buzzword. That's what happens when you let anyone use the word to represent whatever their interpretation of regenerative design science might be; you wind up with some of it being bubblegum - on - a - stick permaculture.

It's for that reason that many people writing on the subject, Sepp Holzer included, eponymize their texts (i.e. Sepp Holzer's Permaculture).

As to what I meant about treating spirituality as a homogenous entity, I think that is like grouping every plant you don't have a use for in a single group, giving that group an unflattering name, and then describing it with unflattering adjectives like noxious. That would be wrong, just wrong.

-CK
 
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The reason the teachers were registered, why there was a teacher's registration mainly put up is because some teachers were missing out subjects - particularly earth works and some teachers were teaching metaphysics and we are not about metaphysics. So, we are about science and ethics.......and not metaphysics. The unproven sciences will discredit and dilute our system.



I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. I know this puts people in direct contrast against each others opinions here but even being a devout Christian, I feel it is very important to remove the metaphysical or the "purple". I think purple falls in the realm of the occult and in my opinion encourages the conflict by fundamentalists ideologies (Atheists, Christians, Neo-Pagans and all the alike) we are seeing here in this thread. That is why I disagree with anything like "purple" advertising itself as an arm of permaculture but what ever people do individually I have no objection. As expressed by Mollison and Lawton, the purple stuff is not permaculture and could damage the entire permaculture brand by encouraging a polarization against the teachings.
 
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:I thought that too, Leila, but his image is all over the PRI site, he's in videos, etc. Gambling is probably the more likely issue. Or not.


Leila, duh! I realised that was a silly thought some time after posting
Gambling it is.
 
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Since most people here seem to agree that Permaculture does not need woo or purple stuff , then should not be the question why does purple stuff need Permaculture?

David



Leila
The Quran is unambigious games of chance forbidden.
 
Zach Muller
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David Livingston wrote:Since most people here seem to agree that Permaculture does not need woo or purple stuff , then should not be the question why does purple stuff need permaculture.



In my experience belief structures often times invigorate people and a chain reaction happens where they feel compelled to share and get you into the fold. ( see permaculture itself on that one!)
Or Maybe the purps who need permaculture are just following the example laid out by rudolf Steiner when he changed from talking strictly about purple and decided to apply his lectures to farming.(creating biodynamics)
I think Purpleness behaves like a fluid, always automatically filling any space available to it and taking the path of least resistance. Permaculture is an easy target given it's involvement with nature, observation, etc. It stands like a moral but non religious person. And from what I have observed religious folk often get threatened or suspicious by the moral non religious person and want to show them how to fear God. So maybe purples seek to show you cannot have holism and natural harmony without respecting and seeing the purple behind it all?
Just some ideas.
 
leila hamaya
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strongly disagree ^^^^^
anyway not all religions/spiritual paths work with the whole "fear of god" concept, or even the god concept! as far as i am concerned the whole concept of an old white guy god being, high above and detached from life being a fearful bully, is all non sense and a damaging concept.
i cant speak for anyone else, but i am neither threatened nor suspicious of moral non religious people, and i do not see others being this way either. i certainly think people can and SHOULD have morals , and recognize the importance of respecting and understanding nature...irrespective of subscribing or not subscribing to any particular religion/spirituality.

as i said above- i am glad that people outside of the pagan/animistic groups are finally starting to realize the importance of what pagans/animist have been saying for eons!!! even if they want to shun pagans, other purples, and misunderstand their beliefs or think its all hogwash. and i am glad that there are ways to introduce these concepts to people which can be more universally accepted without the weirdness that has happened with all the bias and prejudice pagans and animistic cultures have dealt with for hundreds-no thousands of years....how long did it take "advanced" civilized cultures with all their know how to realize what our so called "primitive" ancestors, with all their supposed "savage" ways, took for granted as being obvious?

i also disagree with the folks who are saying that all these other religions, and the major religions are somehow reflecting permaculture ideas...or that one could say any of the major religions are also visible in permaculture, its quite the reverse.

perhaps i should get on my tip toes here...but its plain as day to me that the major religions, not to say they are useless or without their own lessons/good points, but as far as respecting the natural world, understanding holism, and not dominating nature the only religions that have this as their central beliefs are all pagan/animistic. many of the other major religions have had a LARGE part to play in the damaging ideologies which have messed up our environment, especially dominating human centric ideologies which hold humans as some ultimate pinnacle of creation, given dominion OVER the animals and nature, etc. except the various pagans paths which are centered on the idea that humans are just one small part of creation, and need to respect the natural world, and that animals, even plants and especially trees, have their own purposes and value outside of human usefullness...are not to be exploited or taken for granted. and are at least as valuable as human animals, if not (as with the trees) potentially more valuable than humans....or perhaps its better to say that they may actually be able to teach us a thing or two if we would listen, and are not inferior, or to be blown off as unimportant.
 
Zach Muller
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leila hamaya wrote:strongly disagree ^^^^^
anyway not all religions/spiritual paths work with the whole "fear of god" concept, or even the god concept!



I realize that, I meant the fear of god bit as an example I guess, substitute "show them how to respect gaia","see the truth","live like the buddha" etc whatever the case may be for the persons belief/reason for maintaining morals.

leila hamaya wrote: as far as i am concerned the whole concept of an old white guy god being, high above and detached from life being a fearful bully, is all non sense and a damaging concept.



But this is a concept so persuasive in American culture and so real in so many lives that it might be safe to say that the damage is done.

leila hamaya wrote:
i cant speak for anyone else, but i am neither threatened nor suspicious of moral non religious people, and i do not see others being this way either. i certainly think people can and SHOULD have morals , and recognize the importance of respecting and understanding nature...irrespective of subscribing or not subscribing to any particular religion/spirituality.



Maybe the discrepancies in our observations of religious folk could have to do with location. I am here in bible belt Oklahoma and you are up in Northern Cali two incredibly different areas. just a theory.

The question I like to ask is Why should people have morals? Everyone has a different set of what is moral to them, so how is it really different than mere opinions?
When I ask this I generally get a hostile answer and it pertains roughly to "what is good for civilization" or "without morals we would be animals!"
If a person felt no internal morals but had learned how to be moral by observation just to maintain an existence in society, are they really a moral person, or a phoney sociopath?
 
Chris Kott
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I'm not so thrilled about the faith-bashing going on here. It feels like the suggestion underlying most posts is that the spiritual need not apply. I can agree with that statement where it pertains to teaching PDCs in ideologically mixed company, but the intimation that spirituality is for the rationally impaired is insulting, and probably won't help the dissemination of permaculture any more than teaching only purpleculture.

-CK
 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I wonder if Paul foresaw where this thread would go. I don't normally claim to be a prophet, but it seemed obvious from the beginning that the subject would cause some squabbling.



I'm not sure if he did, but I think the whole thread has ended up illustrating very well why discussion of metaphysics and religion is best left out of PDCs and permies.

I think it's time to absorb the lesson, and lock the thread.
 
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