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the third ethic

 
sheriff
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I think the Permaculture Association (UK) explains it as well as anybody:

3. SETTING LIMITS TO POPULATION AND CONSUMPTION: By governing our own needs, we
can set resources aside to further the above principles. Setting limits to
population is not about limiting people's free movement, tight border controls
and a one child policy. Its about working to achieve a stable human population,
using a number of key strategies. These include: access to family planning;
helping people to meet their basic needs of clean water, adequate food, and
basic healthcare and education; education for girls.

The third ethic recognises that:

a. The Earth’s resources are limited.
b. These resources need to be shared amongst many beings.

Permaculture seeks to divide these resources fairly amongst people, animals
and plants alike, not forgetting future generations who will need food,
water and shelter just as much as we do now. Its 'one planet living'.

Additionally

The 'Prime Directive of Permaculture'
"The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own
existence and that of our children." Bill Mollison.



Their copy of the 3 are here: http://www.permaculture.org.uk/knowledge-base/ethics

Too many people try to read more into them than was originally meant.
Those who have nothing to share are the most vocal about 'sharing'.


 
greenhorn
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TY John for the link. I can see I am going to be awake reading for another 24 hours.. Its already almost 2:30 am here, and I was about to go rest a while.. Now, I can't! lol Thanks!

edit: Its time for a snack and a cup of joe....
 
sheriff
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I like to bring this up every once and a while
 
greenhorn
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paul wheaton wrote:
The bottom line is that once you take a PDC, you get to use the word permaculture on your stuff.  I took a PDC.  I have visited a lot of farms that say that they are doing permaculture and I really don't see it.  But they took a PDC so they get to call it permaculture.  That's the system.  People that have taken a PDC can put bubble gum on the end of a stick and call it permaculture if they want.  It is unfortunate, but that's the way it is.




Desert Aboriginal people collect certain species of Spinifex and bash it with a stick on a clean surface to begin the extraction of resin [gum] which occurs at the base of the stems. The chaff is heated with a fire stick causing the resin to melt. It is then rolled into a ball and used as an adhesive, mainly for attaching stone cutting chips to wooden implements such as spears [sticks].

Source: Alice Springs Desert Park (no date) Nature Notes - Spinifex

So, permaculture can be 'gum on a stick'.
 
rancher
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"Money" is 2 things, and these 2 things are unfortunately confused!

1) A bridge = a system to swap even with people who do not have what you want.

2) A tool that I do not understand, but some people seem to "make something with money", and this looks like cloning, because there is a sort of nonsexual reproduction... Banks do the cloning, I guess, and they ask you for some "parent money". They do so by attracting you with a good bait: they promise you some "interests". But you never know what % they make themselves, as they only tell you the % you will get.

If you think the second system is bad, why do some people condemn the tool, instead of condemning certain ways to use the tool ?? ?? ??
I do use a hammer from time to time, but only on nails heads! I can frown at a bad hand, but not at the hammer.

By the way, I do not know what is "the third ethic" and I don't mind.
And I do not do any permaculture either, I just do my best and try to be smart with my land. SO I learn, and then I think as best I can, to respect at least the natural rules I know. And when I know that I don't know, I ask. And I do things before I know it all, or else I will stay in front of my computer all my life. Then I will be afraid of dying, as it will be too bad for the earth to loose all this knowledge!
 
greenhorn
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Just went through this whole thread. Whew!

And the winner is... Chris Lumpkin

"I believe there is a way to understand the three ethics of permaculture as a philosophy that is as practical as it is altruistic. I find it difficult to separate my personal permaculture philosophy into the three ethics - maybe somebody should reword the whole thing and call it a different name (wink wink nudge nudge). The more I practice the principles, the harder it is to separate the Earth in #1 from the People in #2, and the harder it is to conceive of any definition of a "successful" individual or entity that is not also reinvesting profits in the sources of their wealth. If there is a core teaching of my permaculture-y thing, it is this: What works will grow, and what grows is good. The ethics support the principles and the healthy functioning of all our enterprises; the only difference is the ethics require a longer view on success.

Whatever your opinion is regarding someone else's farm or business, the good news about anything that is unsustainable, by definition, it can't last. That being said, it is a poor investment for me to spend my time criticizing other people's farms or philosophies. So, I'm going to get back to work now. Great discussion, thanks everybody!"

 
greenhorn
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Thanks, Jason... what did I win?

I think a lot of people end up in opposing camps, often throwing things at each other, when they try to interpret something like these ethics and principles. It is a funny cyclic activity we humans seem to enjoy...

  • Someone has a profound insight about how we live and relate to each other, and shares it with others
  • Some people are horrified/threatened by the message, and they may nail the author to a tree
  • Other people are inspired by this insight, and someone decided it should be written down and shared
  • The profound message is written down, often by people other than the original author (who may have been nailed to a tree or otherwise removed from circulation), declared holy by those who Believe, and made into Dogma
  • Time passes, context changes, and maybe people don't even speak the language in which the message was originally written
  • Camps develop around different personalities or interpretations, and they often exhibit behavior which is inconsistent with the original inspiration
  • Many people will only hear of the great conflict surrounding the personalities and extreme behavior, and make judgments about the ideas and their original author without even hearing the originally intended message



  • I think this progression is why Paul dislikes hosting these types of conversations on the site. He wants us to stay focused on the message, and not make a religion of Permaculture. Maybe it is easier if we read, watch, and listen with a clear mind, taking everything in without judging, and argue with humility. I like what Paul says about educating people in the logical fallacies. We are so accustomed to looking at information as some kind of monument to be worshiped and never changed. Arguing is a fine art, and great ideas only become greater when subjected to such polishing.

    This is a great video to watch before a good argument:



     
    Jason Lindsay
    greenhorn
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    Pie obviously!
    But only if you share it with all the non-winning participants and the non-participants as well.
    Too bad there is no pie left for you.

    My preparation for arguements is to not be in them. Do or do not. Arguments are trying.
     
    greenhorn
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    I liked the video. This one popped up in the choices that YouTube presents at the end of a video.

    This guy has all of the answers and strong "belief". The video is titled --- The Truth About 2012 And The New Beginning. He's selling truth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHA9Gj5xtQQ#t=422

    I'd like to think that this guy is no longer with us, and has gone on to live with other superior beings.
     
    bartender
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    Paul talks about the third ethic, and people's manipulation of the meaning in podcast 085 - we just made it free again in this thread. Download or listen online.
     
    bartender
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    "I'd like to think that this guy is no longer with us, and has gone on to live with other superior beings."

    Well, at least his video is no longer with us... not available on youtube.
     
    greenhorn
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    Hi,
    Long time listener, first time caller.

    I don't profess to be an expert (on most things) but find this site a valuable resource which should be respected and appreciated.

    One of the issues I think people have is the line between 'self sufficiency' and 'greed' and where people sit on that line.  I think it's unreasonable to expect everything to be free (whether that be produce, information, courses etc...) but by the same token I can well appreciate why people cry foul when they see $40+ charge for a pdf document.  We all want to feel like we're getting value for money and sometimes the product itself needs is just as important as the information contained within, however useful or valuable that information is.

    Bottom line though is that if you don't want to pay for it for whatever reason then don't buy it - it really isn't a difficult concept.  IMO anyone who abuses someone else for whatever reason is contravening ethic 2 which is care of people.  We are all adults and should be able to have rational debate about difference of opinion etc... without name calling.  
     
    greenhorn
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    Well, I tend to agree with Mollison, but as I can't personally control world population, I work on the Limiting Consumption part.  I also think that "Fair Share," "returning the surplus," or "Parity" water down his initial intent. Mollison founded the movement, I think that pretty much gives him the right to establish the ethical framework. Just sayin'.
     
    greenhorn
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    paul wheaton wrote:A friend emailed to say he was watching the Mollison/Lawton PDC DVD and Mollison says "I think the eco fascists should be forced to eat nothing but native plants because it will kill them all quicker than anything else"



    You made me laugh, Paul!

    I've never heard of the third ethic until I read this thread, so I did a quick search to get a rough grasp of what it is.

    What struck me is that the first two ethics are inside out... actions which begin inside me as an individual from the inside out.

    Now I could be totally wrong because of the lack of depth of my cursory knowledge, but the third ethic struck me as being just the opposite. Outside in. Actions which begin inside others acting upon me from the outside in.

    Ok, got it now. Thanks SO much Jack Spirko for your insightful videos. Now I realize I live in the land of the third ethic... California.

    (edit: Jeez... I just realized how old this thread is. Sorry... I'm new here.)
     
    greenhorn
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    (edit: Jeez... I just realized how old this thread is. Sorry... I'm new here.)[/quote wrote:

    Thanks for bringing this subject back to light. I consider myself a newbie and appreciate older topics that are still relevant today.

     
    rancher
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    jack spirko wrote:Here is how I explain the Third Ethic when I teach it.  

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIRGXSkAFms [/youtube]

    I am pretty much done with this at this point.  In my view if you want the third ethic to be "giving stuff away" that is fine as long as you don't attempt force others to do so or tell them they need to, etc.

    I see Permaculture as an anarchist movement and cite Mollison's quote of,

    "Permaculture is anti-political. There is no room for politicians or administrators or priests. And there are no laws either. The only ethics we obey are: care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends."

    You can see the citation for that here, http://www.scottlondon.com/interviews/mollison.html

    So Paul how the hell do you post stuff so a youtube video is embedded.




    Awhile back I saw a video of Mollison where he said pretty much the same thing and explained himself.
    I totally agree.
    If you want to give away all your surplus, that's up to you.
    If you force someone else to give away all their surplus, you are stealing from them.
    You are also taking away their ability to reinvest in making permaculture better and stronger.
     
    Dale Hodgins
    greenhorn
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    Many people are seriously lacking in knowledge. I have no problem at all sharing any knowledge that might be useful to someone else. We have plenty of people here who share knowledge every day. But nobody gets to demand tangible goods. Every penny I give them is a penny not put towards my own goals.

    I dealt with some really aggressive begging in Kenya and the Philippines. I did not waver in my resolve to not give any of my earnings away.
    .......
    I have broken my own rule on this stuff with my fiance's family who have always been amongst the poorest of the poor. But I'm not going to be their benefactor forever. None of her immediate family have finished school, because they were shipped off to be house servants at 8 years old. So I'm offering a time-limited way out of poverty. One has already become a full-time student and two more will start in June when the school year begins. I rented a house and food will be supplied for the duration. It has been made crystal clear that they are expected to stand on their own two feet after their education is complete. They are not to drink, take up any other vice and they are not to produce children while they are still in school.

    My fiance has been contacted by more distant relatives, wondering what is in it for them. Nothing. She has two grandmothers who are not on the help list. It's important to set limits and to stick to them.
     
    Greg Mamishian
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    Dale Hodgins wrote:Many people are seriously lacking in knowledge. I have no problem at all sharing any knowledge that might be useful to someone else. We have plenty of people here who share knowledge every day. But nobody gets to demand tangible goods. Every penny I give them is a penny not put towards my own goals.

    I dealt with some really aggressive begging in Kenya and the Philippines. I did not waver in my resolve to not give any of my earnings away.
    .......
    I have broken my own rule on this stuff with my fiance's family who have always been amongst the poorest of the poor. But I'm not going to be their benefactor forever. None of her immediate family have finished school, because they were shipped off to be house servants at 8 years old. So I'm offering a time-limited way out of poverty. One has already become a full-time student and two more will start in June when the school year begins. I rented a house and food will be supplied for the duration. It has been made crystal clear that they are expected to stand on their own two feet after their education is complete. They are not to drink, take up any other vice and they are not to produce children while they are still in school.

    My fiance has been contacted by more distant relatives, wondering what is in it for them. Nothing. She has two grandmothers who are not on the help list. It's important to set limits and to stick to them.



    Dale, you are wise far beyond your years.
     
    Greg Mamishian
    greenhorn
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    John Polk wrote:Those who have nothing to share are the most vocal about 'sharing'.



    It's ironic how the entitled can be found among the selfish
     
    rancher
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    I'm a pretty strict Mollisonian permaculturist myself.  I see the Third Ethic as returning surplus to the biologic system.  If I feel like giving stuff away to other humans, that doesn't (for me) have anything to do with the Third Ethic.  
     
    Dale Hodgins
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    I think many moral systems, implore us to help those who cannot help themselves. But they also have countermeasures to prevent lazy people from simply allowing others to provide for them. There's the story of Ruth who is allowed to glean resources from a rich man's field. There are stories of the poor being fed. But there are also parables about those who have squandered their resources and at some point there's mention that if an able person will not work, do not let him eat. I can't remember where that one is although it's one of my favorites.

    And I don't think this sort of help can be simply tit-for-tat. There will always be those amongst us who because of physical or mental infirmity, can never be expected to return what they have received. In a culture where I'm moving, in the Philippines there's a tradition of members of families who have made it financially putting resources into the education and upkeep of not only their own children, but orphaned relatives. It is expected that once these people reach a point where they have surplus, they will in turn help those less fortunate. That's the way it's supposed to go, but some people only take and don't ever return anything. Some do nothing for the less fortunate and then when those people come of age and surpass them, they demand resources. It takes all kinds.

    But I agree with Tyler that Mollinson and was talking about returning nutrients and rebuilding the natural world outside of human society.
     
    Tyler Ludens
    rancher
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    Dale Hodgins wrote: But there are also parables about those who have squandered their resources and at some point there's mention that if an able person will not work, do not let him eat. I can't remember where that one is although it's one of my favorites.



    Paul's letter to the Thessalonians.  2 Thessalonians 3:10  "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you: that if any would not work, neither should he eat."  
     
    Dale Hodgins
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    I know we are talking about these things in the context of ethics and no one is trying to seek converts, but this could be seen as religion outside of the cider press, although to this heathen, it's literature.

    So I think that Bill was concerned with returning resources and our personal energy and time toward improving or restoring the natural world. For him, I think that was the return of surplus. And you don't necessarily need a surplus of cash. It could be cleaning up junk and planting trees, restoring minerals and taking steps to make your property more attractive to wildlife.
     
    greenhorn
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    Don't work for food that spoils.
     
    Dale Hodgins
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    There's a little problem there. Just about every type of fresh, healthy food has the potential to spoil. Over-processed stuff is more likely to store long-term.

    Try to not let your food spoil, might be an ethical thing in some way, although I don't think it's related to that 3rd ethic which is the return of surplus.
     
    Marshal
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    When this thread was made, there was no Cider Press. Now, we have the Cider Press, and that's the place to have further discussions of the Third Ethic. We have this lovely forum called Ethics and Philosophy, which would be the perfect place to discuss ethics like the Third Ethic. We're going to lock this forum now, and if Paul ever wishes to continue discussion here, he has every right and power to unlock it.
     
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