Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I've blogged a bit on Permaculture (7/22/08) and Permaculture Principles (12/24/09). It's amazingly useful stuff.

I was recently reading Bill Mollison and Reny Mia Slay's book, Introduction to Permaculture, which begins with a chapter on 'Permaculture Principles'. The principles were all familiar to me (in one form or another) and all listed at the beginning of the chapter--except two, which are snuck in at the end. These are referred to as 'Attitudinal Principles'. The authors go on to say that the principles that they've outlined so far "...deal with the site, or the environment, or the actual design. The following are people-oriented principles, and deal with the principles of attitude." (Italics in the original.)

The first 'attitudinal principle' is "Everything Works Both Ways". According to them, "Every resource is either an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on the use made of it. ... Disadvantages can be viewed as 'problems' and we can take an energy-expensive approach to 'get rid of the problem', or we can think of everything as being a positive resource: it is up to us to work out just how we can make use of it."

If you are having trouble imagining how you might use some things, that may in itself be the problem. Their second principle is "Permaculture is Information and Imagination-Intensive". The authors say that "Permaculture is not energy- or capital-intensive... It is the quality of the thought and information we use that determines the yield, not the size or quality of the site. We are using not only our physical resources, but our ability to access information and to process it."

Of course, these principles (like much in permaculture) are not limited to agriculture or growing things. Some of this reminds me of Stephen Covey's ideas, especially 'Think Win/Win' (see my post on Win/Win, 7/30/10) and a habit I haven't really delved into yet, that he simply calls 'Synergize' (or Creative Cooperation). A lot of this is simply saying that the most useful tool we have is creativity (or what Richard Heinberg terms, 'ingenuity' and 'artistry'--see my posts on Peak Everything, 7/20/08, and Scarcity and Abundance, 8/11/10). Seeing everything as a possible solution and using our imagination and all the information we can gather, means there is a lot more possible than we may think at first. It's all in our attitude.

Quote of the Day: "Information is the most portable and flexible investment we can make in our lives; it represents the knowledge, experience, ideas, and experimentation of thousands of people before us. If we take the time to read, observe, discuss, and contemplate, we begin to think in terms of multidisciplines, and to design systems which save energy and give us yields.
"... The only limit on the number of uses of a resource possible within a system, is in the limit of the information and imagination of the designer." - Bill Mollison and Reny Mia Slay


Turil said...

Yeah, that goes along with my favorite philosopher guy, Fred Koffman, who says that the only real scarcity is information. Everything we experience in the universe is made up of the same things, so when we are lacking in something we need, all we need to do is to figure out how to use what we have to get what we need. :-)

I've been trying to figure out what to do with the attention I'm being given by these people who follow me around and heckle me (including the woman my husband has been having an affair with). I feel like there is something beneficial to everyone that I can do with that attention/energy, but I haven't come up with anything specifically useful yet, other than just doing more of my usual intellectual exploration. But this seems like some kind of opportunity I'm not able to take advantage of as much as I could, if I only had some more information. :-)

MoonRaven said...

Thanks, Turil.

Unfortunately, I'm the first to admit that I'm far from being always able to access the imagination and information necessary to solve my own problems. It's great to see every problem as a solution and every disadvantage as an advantage, but I'm not always sure my imagination and information capabilities are up to it. It's something to work on, anyway. (Part of why I post these things is as a reminder to myself that this is something that I do want to do.)

Good luck with figuring out how to cope with the people bothering you. I'm sorry you have to deal with the harassment.