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Finding a new way, based on Permaculture principles, to form 'tribes'  RSS feed

 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Hi. I wrote a reply in a topic which seemed to be about 'living a tribal life', though in fact it wasn't really about it ... So I decided to make it a new topic myself

My view on Permaculture is: it's a total way of life, permanent culture. This way of life is based on principles (well described in every book or website on permaculture). These principles are like natural laws, so they are true for every facet of life. These principles can be applied in the garden, in the field, in doing business, in the way we interact with eachother ...

I think this Permaculture way of life will (eventually) lead to a new form of 'tribal life'. In some ways such 'tribes' are a little like the tribes of indigenous peoples, but in other ways they will be totally different. I can't tell you now how those 'new tribes' will be ... I think they will develop throughout time. I even think there will be different 'tribes', functioning in different ways, depending on (local, regional and other) circumstances.

I started this topic because I'd like to know what you think about this subject. You might even have some experience or knowledge to tell about ...
 
John Weiland
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@Inge LdO: "I even think there will be different 'tribes', functioning in different ways, depending on (local, regional and other) circumstances. "

I'm not sure what the best way is to bring all of the different threads together that would impact this issue, but will just add the other link here: https://permies.com/t/54397/Forming-tribe

Someone else also recently posted some video regarding 'commons'-type existence in Russia which may be similar to what you are describing in the Netherlands:  https://permies.com/t/62184/story-Russian-family-homesteads

I also think that Joseph Lofthouse has described elsewhere his community and family connections that play into a tribal-like existence, so there are many scattered sources of this discussion throughout Permies.com.  It may end up being a concept that comes together organically over time:  Seems to be the way it happened the world over as humans evolved and before the dawn of civilization, even as the latter did not (at least not yet) stamp tribal life out of existence.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I think this is a very important topic.  I think permaculture, as a design system for human habitation based on specific principles and ethics, can be the shared worldview which can help tribes/bands/communities form and be successful.

Here's a series of essays by Jason Godesky which I have found helpful in thinking about these ideas: 

https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/jason-godesky-thirty-theses

http://kennysideshow.blogspot.com/2008/05/agriculture-or-permaculture-why-words.html

and this long talk by toby hemenway:  


The final chapter of Permaculture A Designers Manual outlines "a new United Nations" based on ecoregions and the shared philosophy of permaculture as an alternative to existing political systems and borders. 

I think permies.com can aid the formation of these new systems of human culture, and is actually in the process of doing so.

 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Thank you Tyler, that's a lot of information to read and to watch!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I live between two worlds. I exist both in the society of my birth, and in a nascent tribe. 

I grabbed a definition of "tribe" from Wikipedia: "A tribe is viewed, developmentally or historically, as a social group existing before the development of, or outside, states. A tribe is a group of distinct people, dependent on their land for their livelihood, who are largely self-sufficient, and not integrated into the national society." And also, "A customary tribe in these terms is a face-to-face community,".

This gets to the heart of what I mean, in my own life, when I think about living tribally. I have often thought of permaculture as being all about disintermediation, or as the Wikipedia article put it, existing outside states in "face-to-face community".

When I am living tribally, I engage in person-to-person interactions. When I am living in the society of my birth, I engage in person-to-intermediary-to-person transactions.

I'll use my masseuses as an example of what I mean. I have two masseuses. One is part of my tribal life, the other is part of the system of my birth. 

When I visit my tribal masseuse, I enter her home without knocking, help her set up the massage table, strip off my clothing in her presence, and lay down nude on the table. While I am on the table, we talk about our families, relationships, mental health, physical health, stressors, politics, religion, etc. The smell of the place is feminine, earthy, and floral.  She is self taught. I do not pay her for massage. The duration of the massage depends on my physical and mental health. My tribal masseuse is organic, fluid, and flexible in what techniques she applies. I feed her and her children, she eases the aches and pains that her farmer acquired while growing food for them.

When I visit my state-licensed masseuse, I ring her doorbell, wait for admittance, get taken to a private room where she has her equipment set up, and is displaying a business license, a masseuse license, a graduation degree, a supplemental training certificate, etc... I disrobe in private, and cover up with a blanket, she knocks, asking permission before entering, and she removes one little piece of the blanket at a time to work on a particular muscle. The smell of the place is harsh and chemical. It costs me two days income  for a 50 minute massage, which she times to the minute. My state-licensed masseuse is "professional", and goes through her routine like clockwork. There is no chit-chat about my well being. That would require a license that she hasn't acquired.

My personal relationship with both masseuses is platonic. My relationship with my tribal masseuse is very close and intimate. She knows my fears, weaknesses, sorrows, hopes, secrets, sins, goals, and greatness. She suggests ways in which I can be a better father, man, lover, farmer, shaman, brother, etc. My relationship with my state-licensed masseuse is cold and distant. When on her table, it's like I'm a cog in a machine.  Once an hour a different cog gets placed into the machine, and one cog is as good as any other.

The food circulating in my tribal food network is local food. It is face-to-face food. If a member of my tribe gives me red-wine vinegar, it is likely that I weeded or irrigated the field where the grapes were grown. If a member of my tribe gives me apricot preserves, they might be sweetened with honey that I robbed from our bee kin. The preserves might be colored with dyes grown by the flower lady. If the egg lady gives me a dozen eggs, it's likely that some of the protein in the eggs came from corn that was grown in my garden. If I give a squash to my masseuse, it's likely that it was fertilized by her urine, or by that of her children, or other tribal members. Hundreds of the pots in the greenhouse have stories associated with them. Each particular shape, size, or color of pot is associated with a gift to me from a different face-to-face encounter with someone that I feed. When the goat lady gives me a roast, it's likely that the kid was dewormed with tobacco that I grew.

These sorts of relationships and interactions swirl through my tribal community. When living tribally, we aren't using the state's money, banks, stores, regulations, etc. We are taking care of each other face-to-face, man-to-animal, woman-to-plant, predator-to-prey. etc...

 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Joseph, the tribe you describe, that is exactly what I mean!
You are already in the tribe. I hope there is a tribe for me too and I can meet them soon ... 
 
John Weiland
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Joseph,

Can you expand on why you use both masseuses?.....why not just stick with the tribal one?

Also, I think you had previously mentioned growing up within the LDS community and was wondering if the social programs specific to that community life along the Wasatch front had helped to form your model of tribalism within your local sphere.  As someone from the outside of that community and with specific regards to greater self sufficiency and helping each member of the community out when needed, I was always impressed with (a) the size of the city blocks in Salt Lake City (YYYUUUUUGGE!) and (b) the existence of the model of community farms (run by the church?) that would distribute food and other wares to those in need, as well as provide training and work to those in the community who need it.  If I recall correctly, the formidable size of individual housing lots in Salt Lake City was designed to allow for food/stock production for each home, but correct me if I'm wrong here.  And I don't know what role ZCMI or Deseret Industries historically played in this community effort, but I could see where growing up under this umbrella of interconnectedness, even if drawbacks existed, may have influenced your decision to engage more in a local tribe than others who came from different backgrounds. Interesting discussion and clearly different avenues that end up converging on some sort of greater connection and sustainability of and within one's community.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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John: Now that you mention it, I haven't went to the licensed masseuse since I started visiting my tribal masseuse. But I didn't burn bridges, so I might go back if I really need it and my tribal masseuse is unavailable.

I grew up, and still farm in, the mormon village that was settled by my great-great-great grandparents. Communalism was a strong component of mormonism's early history. We gave it up to make peace with the federal-state. However, our history was not rewritten, and the scriptures advocating communalism are still  held sacred, and we still take an oath that I interpret as a vow to live communally. Therefore there is a very strong communalism tendency in my area. That background colors everything that I write about tribalism.  I left the church decades ago because I wanted to worship more tribally (person-to-person spirituality) instead of person-to-hierarchy. I notice a strong tendency towards tribal living among some people who no longer associate with the church.

There is another factor that pushes me towards tribal living. My community is exhorted by religious edit (I don't know if it's local or global) to grow vegetable gardens. The gardens produce way more fruits and vegetables than can be eaten by the gardeners, therefore they get gifted into the community. That drives prices way down for market farmers. So I might as well give my produce away as well.  Like you noted, lot sizes are huge. In my village, minimum lot size is 1.25 acres.

The church farms contribute to feeding the poor and needy directly, and are viewed as a safeguard against social and environmental instability.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
The church farms contribute to feeding the poor and needy directly, and are viewed as a safeguard against social and environmental instability.


To me this seems to be a key point - that shared surplus (not accumulated surplus) creates security and stability in the community.  (hope that wasn't too political and that "community" can be interpreted however one chooses).  My ultimate goal is to be able to have loads of surplus to share with my community (neighbors).
 
Panagiotis Panagiotou
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Tyler Ludens wrote: 

The final chapter of Permaculture A Designers Manual outlines "a new United Nations" based on ecoregions and the shared philosophy of permaculture as an alternative to existing political systems and borders. 



This doesn't sound like permaculture .More like globalism.
Each country was self sustainable long before cheap energy and industrialization came in. We don't need global communities to be self sustainable. It as the global experiment in the first place that robbed the self reliance of sustainable countries.
Borders define the uniqueness of each country and the unique culture ,the way of life according to which people survive.
 
David Livingston
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I think that while a tribe is a good idea I have never seen  a tribe that has ever been totally self sustained long term  and there has been evidence going back to the neolithic ( trading for flint and red oche, spread of farming ideas, religion etc  ) or even closed societies ( feudal Japan , Tibet etc had some trade contacts ) and today we see that so called new tribes discovered in the amazon have metal axe heads.
I think a tribe is a good idea for mutual support and would be open to the idea of being part of one .I believe that having a closed group can be taken too far and  is not without risk etc as some have become too isolated and this leaves them prey to extremists of every ilk  example http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-b0af7ef5-1031-4e1f-a3ac-b3c21ef0f932.
Maybe it is best to let these things evolve rather than force them . A long time ago someone asked  me how she could get more friends . I replied by being one* . It works for me and maybe will work for tribe founders too .

David

* I claim no authorship of this praise I just remember it
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Rancho Mastatal has this interesting article on what they call 'invisible infrastructure':
http://ranchomastatal.com/blognewsletter/2017/1/28/xh7bec810wfr7rqeswlpvsy8lizn25 ;
 
Something must be done about this. Let's start by reading this tiny ad:
Systems of Beekeeping Course - Winterization Now Available
https://permies.com/t/69572/Systems-Beekeeping-Winterization
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