In a 1981 PDC in Wilton, NH (and probably in the Designer's Manual somewhere, I haven't raised the funds for that brick yet), Ol' Bill Mollison said (my italics):
Diversity isn't involved so much with the number of elements
in a system as it is with the number of functional connections between these elements. Diversity is not the number
of things, but the number of ways in which things work.
In this recent TED video, Dave Troy maps big data to show the connections between people in different cities. This is systems science stuff. What's interesting, as permaculture people, is that even in cities (huge human near-monocultures with some canines and felines) there are specific elements (ideas, people) that form functional relationships, and others that don't.
What I take away from this is the importance of remembering that diversity isn't just a lot of different elements, but elements that work together, or work for other elements. I really like Holzer's seedbucket mix and dispersal method that helps you to observe those relationships (or lack thereof) as they evolve.
Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity, and in cold weather becomes frozen: even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind.
--Leonardo da Vinci (So let's get to it.)
Definitely a significant point. It is not just about lots of different elements. If it were just about lots of elements, why would we have interest in function stacking?
I think a useful term to keep in mind alongside diversity is "redundancy". We need a diversity of means for achieving objectives. This leads to another important idea, resiliency.
Diversity allows you to have many baskets of eggs
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