The Radical Permaculturalist

Permaculture is a design science. It can be studied, and thus internalized. When done so successfully, our thinking is transformed. The world is a garden, with potentially infinite yields. This is the basis for radical changes in human behavior.

Radicalism is distasteful to the thoughtful amongst us? It is because it now requires redefinition. Radical is now embodied in the most simple of gestures; in what appeals most forcefully to the Divine within us: our sense of justice, beauty, humility, intuition, aesthetics, and love. These are, and have always been, the tools of personal transformation.

And so, they are radical. In a world of mass production, rampant consumerism, crushing poverty and delusional ideology, the simplest of gestures are the most radical.

The seed is a fitting metaphor. Put it in soil, water it, give it light, nurture it, and it will grow. It is constrained by natural law, limited by the resources of sunlight, water, and soil nutrients; yet it yields measurable returns, producing more seeds, and the fruit in which they are encased. The human nurtures the seed, so that in turn the seed will nurture the human.

There is reciprocity, and there are limitations; in the care of a thoughtful gardener, the seed resists commodification. It is antithetical to the designs of the derivative traders, who require infinite growth, limitless profits, and endless commodification.

The permaculturalist does not reject the law of diminishing returns. Instead, this law is embraced, and then sidestepped. A tomato reaches its optimal rate of return, then drops off because of pressure from garden snails. The farmer reaches for his gun, the permacultarist reaches for his ducks. The ducks eat the snails, and the humans, the ducks, and the tomatoes thrive. Limitations are removed through synergy and imagination, not through the brute force of poisons and machines.

The measuring stick for all of this can be seen in the light of a child’s eyes. Thus it is void of ideology and fanaticism. That which strengthens the light is good. By definition, it is radical. That which dims the light threatens our existence.


The Radical Permaculturalist — 2 Comments

  1. Transformative. That’s the word that is the hidden player here I think. Transformation, the individual, the community, the species.

    We NEED transformation. I heard somewhere that to “Follow Your Bliss” is now an evolutionary imperative. And what does that mean other than to radically transform one’s Self into a vehicle through which Nature acts?

    Permaculture, a skill I still have not yet even become certified in, is something that relies completely upon the transformative nature of. . .Nature. Us being humans, we are able to parse that reality, those patterns, and re-determine them for our own purposes and Will – which still keeps us in the game because we’re using THE blueprint instead of the maps we construct with our monkey prejudices and lack of Big Picture.

    I think the hardest part is not getting too tense about all of this, especially those of us who see the power inherent in the Work. If only EVERYone could see it, eh? 😉

    Still, as Gaia’s Warriors, we must go forth acting as if our small contributions mattered – because they really do, in fact. But it’s as the ol’ saying goes, “if the caterpillar exists, the butterfly does not.”

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