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Permaculture: A Designers' Manual - Chapter 2 CONCEPTS AND THEMES IN DESIGN

 
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Brad Vietje wrote:
I'll continue reading with great respect for Mollison's brilliant ideas and insights, but hey -- he was a mortal man, after all, and can be allowed a few imperfections.



Psst. He aint dead yet.
 
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Ann Torrence wrote:
-------
Mollison's woo-woo factor nearly gives me heartburn, and I'm already on the side of the converted. I just about threw the book across the room with the aside on training brain surgeons begets more brain surgery. I can't imagine how my friends coming from a more conservative perspective would read the first 15 pages. So many people come to permaculture looking for solutions to a myriad of problems, I wonder how many get so turned off at the Mollisonian philosophy that they throw out the baby with the bathwater. It would be an interesting exercise to do a version of Jefferson's Bible, editing out the amateur theology and tribal romanticism and see if the conceptual framework is still sound. I would be shocked if it weren't; the fact that permaculture solutions have a broad appeal to people who would violently disagree on most of their world view suggests it is a more universal approach than Mollison's philosopical underpinnings might first suggest. So I will read these first two chapters as a historical description of how Bill got to his framework, but not necessarily as a document of the true faith I must adopt to use the tools he is going to lay out eventually. Soon, I hope.



Thank you for saying so. Anyway, I came to the conclusion a long time ago that there will never be a person that I can agree with on everything so I will listen/read for the wisdom that resonates with me and leave the rest.
 
Elissa Teal
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Ann Torrence wrote: Make no mistake, I want up the same mountain; but I don't have to follow his every footstep.



Exactly!
 
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Location: Colo
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Well, I'm probably gonna get some flak for this, as I always do... But, I completely agree with section 2.2. I read it, then I re-read it, before finishing the chapter. After coming to read the discussion here, I re-read it again, and then again. I still agree with it.

Science is akin to religion, for some people. Some humans must "know" everything, or at least pretend that they do, to feel comfortable in their life. They cannot accept that we are part of, not God to, the Universe. Science is never settled, especially biological sciences. Science and knowledge are ever evolving. We, as humans, may get closer to "truly knowing" some things, but I doubt we as humans will "truly know" everything there is to know about why certain things happen. His relating biological experiments and previously unknown variables to 'true believers' is spot on. Spot on.

I particularly liked his later statement of "Every large tree is a universe in itself." I'll further this statement and say every living being is a universe in itself. There are untold numbers of organisms living inside and on each of us. Every day science discovers something new, or further refines or disregards previously held notions.
Take cholesterol, for instance. Science "proved" it was bad for us; invented medicines with grave side-effects; made lots of money; and then science caught up .... and now they realize cholesterol may not be the devil it has been made out to be and it may actually be good for us.
Well how many lives did science shorten, end, or permanently alter, because they "proved" cholesterol was bad for us way back when? Maybe it was just another variable that was not properly considered, as like Mollison describes in 2.2?

So it's not woo-woo to me, but I am self-admittedly in the nutter camp. Or as I like to think of it, I try to remain humble and admit I am simply a mere human being, incapable of understanding or knowing everything, while remaining open to logical possibilities. Humans are smart; but not omnipotent.
 
Elissa Teal
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Johnny Niamert wrote: I try to remain humble and admit I am simply a mere human being, incapable of understanding or knowing everything, while remaining open to logical possibilities. Humans are smart; but not omnipotent.



Well said. Me, too!
 
garden master
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I recently got through reading Chapter 2. I had to break it into two-days because it is so information dense. And I have come to the conclusion that to post an analysis of the entire PDM would be crazy b/c it would amount to writing probably an entire library. So, instead I will try to briefly discuss my favorite bits and pieces when I figure out what those are which is gonna be hard to do, too, since practically every line is very deep, meaningful, and could be expounded upon heavily.

Considering the way that i read Gaia's Garden by Toby hemenway last year, which was reading during the interspace (time between events in life), and the way I have been trying to read the PDM in one full go, I'm going to go back to read the PDM in the interspace which will definitely be slower but ease with comprehension and make the journey fun, instead of trying to turn it into a task which is what I have been trying to do which is why it was not working.

I thoroughly appreciated the intellect and humor Bill Mollison imposed in Chapter 2 when he was describing the production of eggs: industrial vs. permaculture. Also, the juxtaposition of Figures 2.3 and 2.4 side by side creates a startling realization of the fact that industrial methods are outmoded and wasteful.

What I found, personally, to be the most profound parts of Chapter 2 was Bill Mollison's discussion on "Cultural Impediments to Yield" and the "Principle of Cyclic Opportunity". Here's a quote that really really resonated with me:

Bill Mollison wrote: I mention this only to show that cultural prejudices can grossly reduce the available food resources, and that if we refuse to take sensible actions, some gross results can follow, with the biomass of useful foragers such as domesticated animals and replaced by an equivalent biomass of pests.


I found the words "sensible action" calling to me because, in light of what I have learned from APES, Chapter 1 and 2 of the PDM, I think that Observations and Insights are perhaps the most powerful tools that we have for learning.

Better yet, just make observations (+ some thinking) the single most effective tool we have for learning. Insight is a derivative of observation, and the process that creates insight is thought.

So, revised, Section 2.2: Science and the Thousand Names of God may perhaps be the most profound part of the PDM that I have read, so far: 12 more chapters to go! Because after observation and insights, the proper course of action becomes obvious and begins to merge with commonsense.
 
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