Daniel Shields

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since Feb 03, 2013
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Recent posts by Daniel Shields

Your point is well received, and my last message was an attempt to atone for my insensitivity. Part of why I chose to speak up is that I've been hanging out with people from the philosophy department of my university lately, which is a culture where people don't last long if they take offense at people poking gentle fun at their sacred cows. I failed to adjust to my tone to reflect my lack of this rapport with the readers of the forum. Again, I didn't intend any hostility.

I don't think my one sentence explanation got across the nuance of what Metaphysics is. Having "things to say about how people should treat other living things and the planet as a whole" qualifies as Ethics, which Lawton explicitly states is part of the focus of Permaculture. Metaphysics, rather, is concerned with much more abstract questions like "What is?" and "In what way are things?".

I certainly sympathize with loving the nuts and bolts. I love geeking out about ecology and design. Permaculture is a lot more than a means to an end for me.
5 years ago
I apologize if any hostility was perceived in what I said. My intent wasn't to inflame debate so much as to clarify definitions. I just always find it strange when people use Metaphysics as synonymous with New Age. When I think of Metaphysics, I think of Heidegger's Fundamental Ontology rather than crystal healing. I agree with Lawton's sentiment either way. Neither Heidigger nor crystals have a place in a PDC.

It may be true that New Age philosophies might include stances on metaphysical questions, but that is not the same as New Age being equivalent to Metaphysics.

In any case, I didn't mean to be dismissive of peoples world views. I surely have all manner of beliefs that others would find ridiculous. I think one of the many beautiful things about Permaculture is that it allows people to carve out a space of their own to live the lifestyle the like. I encourage people to host classes on whatever ideas and practices delight them on their respective farms, but hope that as Permies we can all agree that the PDC is not a place to proselytize.
5 years ago
Metaphysics is the area of philosophy dedicated to questioning the nature of being. It encompasses fields like Ontology and Cosmology.

When did New Age folks co-opt the term and change it to mean psedoscientific silliness?
5 years ago
I've shot my own talk introducing permaculture and discussing a number of major topics and people in it (Paul Wheaton is of course talked about quite favorably). I put it together as part of the Kickstarter project for the permaculture documentary I'm trying to do. You can find it at:

5 years ago
Hello fellow Permies.

I'm writing this to let you know about the Kickstarter project I just launched to do a documentary about my first major Permaculture project. Follow this link to check it out:


This is my first time posting on Permies, but I've lost track of how many hours I've spent reading it. I have, of course, also invested countless hours exploring Paul Wheaton's permaculture podcast. I assure you this is the first of many posts over the coming season. I can't wait to compare notes on our attempts to grow a better life.

My Kickstarter video is a bit unconventional. It opens with a general overview of the project, but after that I launch into a fairly length talk giving an overview of a number of different areas of Permaculture and sharing my perspective on them. It should give backers a good sense of my background and where I stand on the Wheaton Eco-Scale. I think it also forms a good introduction to Permaculture, and includes lots of references for further learning.

I talk very favorably about Paul Wheaton in the video, and share my sincere belief that the unprecedented network he has created is going to transform the world. Now new solutions permaculturists discover can spread like wildfire.

I use Ernie and Erica's Double Chamber Cob Oven as an example. Its a simple but ingenious modification to a classic design. Prior to Permies and Paul Wheaton's permaculture mailing list, who knows how long it might have taken for this design upgrade to spread. Now, with a simple email, permaculturists all over the world will never build cob ovens the same way again.

I won't rehash the details of my project here. You can find that over on the Kickstarter page. I hope you'll come out to support me. If you can't contribute financially to the project, tells your friends about it, share it on Facebook, or just sign-up for the mailing list and follow my progress at http://www.CultivateAbundance.com Every little bit helps.

The hope is that this will be the first step on a long and productive career in the promotion and development of Permaculture. This is my life's calling. Once I manage to get my career off the ground, expect much more from me in the future.

Heres to a future of absolute abundance.
5 years ago
No problems here with Firefox 18 on Windows 8