Paul, thank you for all you do. Congrats to Cassie, we saw her smiling face in the first issue of Permaculture North America Magazine!
Yes, there are at least a million Gerts. “Some people say that permaculture is a steaming pile of horse potatoes, because if it worked, then all of our big ag systems would convert over.”
“I think that when people have the courage to go down the permaculture path, they end up generally going silent.”
Permaculture can be a rather cerebral pursuit, so let’s pursue it…
Humbly submitted by one of those introverts (INTJ).
Here’s a recipe – start with Cognitive Dissonance & Paradigms, two ingredients that make up a vast landscape for discussion, combine the full spectrum of permaculture (themes, concepts and applicability) and sprinkle liberally with individual perceptions based on Meyers Briggs personality type, character and temperament - and you have a lifetime of mighty contemplation. Go Public with those thoughts and you have entered the strange world of how your words are received
; accolades, because you have inspired others (who find great relief in knowing you are out there working very hard on the fringes), or contempt, because you have challenged their paradigms and now you’ve pissed them off.
Awareness is, as awareness does
, and once we lift our heads out of our comfort bubbles, and elect to stop looking at the world through a straw, we’re apt to run into the multi-headed monster of cognitive dissonance. The action of purposefully seeking awareness and intentionally practicing permaculture can place you in one of several categories; genius, exotic zoo animal, pain in the ass, inspiring, just plain weird, hero, depending upon your audience. Let’s not forget The Wheaton Eco Scale. Spot On.
from the 2013 talk in San Diego 50 minutes into the talk. Gert fully understands this.
Permaculture provides us with a million ah ha moments of awareness; “No one’s going to hand out awareness like a party favor – you’re gonna have to work for it…” as in my case of an ah ha moment regarding inefficient dwellings: http://columbiabasinpermaculture.com/?m=201403
In the midst of this consumerist clown show there are; brilliant thinkers, inspiring teachers, Amsome presenters like yourself kicking it live using the full spectrum of English, and some mighty fantastic writers, the 10’s if you will; Permies.com, Geoff, Sepp, David Holmgren, Graham Turner, Salatin, Savory, Darren Doherty, Isaebella Doherty, Nicole Foss, Gail Tverburg, Dimitri Orlov, John Michael Greer.
There’s also a vast cultural world out there in North America, a place filled with contextual mismatches of reality; many can’t find Syria on the map, most watch TV, all have been indoctrinated into the paradigms of Horatio Alger Capitalism. It’s an extroverted shouting match of marketeers hawking their wares to overweight drugged up distracted button pushing consumers.
It’s the fourth industrial revolution magic show, funded by millions of years of stored sunlight energy, a story of exceptionalism and hubris told to all who will listen and obey, perpetuated in words that mark the language, collectively agreed upon to mean something
. The American pattern of reaction, more often than not is; sensationalize, capitalize, trivialize, marginalize as demonstrated on so many ‘reality’ TV shows. It is novelty & anxiety in so many forms.
To the extent each reader wants to retain their level of comfort and standard of living within the existing paradigms is to the degree the writer’s suggestions of possible alternative means of living will piss them off and receive blow back. The layers of the onion are incalculably deep. The defensive layers of language well it’s my opinion
, the defensive layers of binary thinking red/blue, liberal/conservative, rich/poor, lazy/productive, terrorists/security provide a very rich mine field to negotiate. If Gert has a tough time suggesting permaculture to the sleeping opinionated masses, I imagine my comments posted on columbiabasinpermaculture.com might engender something on the order of magnitude 100x. Yep, we happen to reside in the belly of the beast, the writhing multi-tentacle Culthelhucene of Unipolar World vision, color revolutions, false flags, staged coups and all the rest of the behind the scenes handshakes of TPP, Arab Springs, democracy, freedom and liberation this multi headed monster can bring to bear on lesser powers as it goes about gathering the energy and resources it needs to feed its behemoth dissipative organized self Our Finite World
Finding a new common language to describe what permaculture is and can do, in a palatable way to millions that live in an entirely different paradigm is tricky and potentially exhausting which is why so many Permies choose to take the path of attraction not promotion
. Permaculture; is a comprehensive multi-faceted set of understandings that then must be acted upon by repeated loops of design and observation towards our best attempts to mimic the complex interactive world of ecosystems AND is ethically inclusive of all life while providing surplus. Wow. You mean I can’t ‘just’ press and set?
Trying to convey this wholistic nature/time/dependent/resource auditing design has a difficult time (for now) convincing others to jump off the gerbil wheel because the former group can’t slow down enough to take in the information in its entirety – shared my experience with the online PDC, told countless others about Permies and PRI etc. The information generally gets lost in a sea of the paradigm we have now; specialists tied into a dissipative centralized system of magnificent proportion in all its affairs; energy, big agriculture, transportation, housing construction, utilities, economics, behavior, GDP, and perpetual growth. The number one question I get over and over is “yeah but how do you make money at this?”. I call it the yeah butt disease.
Language is critical. In the last 50 years of cheap oil, advertising, and marketing, language has literally had the meaning sucked right out of it. To paraphrase; conservatives don’t really want to conserve anything, liberals really don’t want to liberate anything, Citizens United and Patriot acts are anything but, and so it follows that for most people in North America the word sustainable is nothing more than Pablum to be tossed around for the purposes of dissuading guilt and stalling the inevitable notion that we may have to learn to do with less.
Binary thinking says; OH No! Anything other than the level of lifestyle I’m living now will look like abject poverty and drudgery and too much hard work! I happen to know this guy that has a brilliant approach to bridging this gap. He uses humor, he makes up words, he drives home critical ideas in standup comedy routine style, he lays out the dysfunctional ugliness by presenting seemingly crazy solutions and gets the audience to laugh and then be inspired. He embodies Extroverted Awesomeness with a cherry on top. For those too dim witted to fully appreciate this strategy, well, my condolences.
This Tai Chi style confronts binary thinking, by exposing it for what it is, both the content and how it’s delivered. Remember; let’s not spend time being mad at the bad guys. Thus the bridge; the notion to trade a linear life of singular income, long meaningless hours of mindless work, debt, plastic goo ga’s and inefficient homes, for something much richer, far wealthier.
It is a work in progress. Many thanks to everyone who chooses to be courageous and give it a go.