Great conversation with the lovely Tomas Remiarz yesterday. Wide ranging and stimulating. We got on to how there are always some people around who want to ‘have a go’ about permaculture or ‘the community’. I really appreciated Tomas’ insight and asked him to write it down for me. Which he did.
Thanks for the conversation – good and thought provoking as ever. Here is my take on our movement as you requested, expanded from my prior thinking as a result of our chat. Tomas
Permaculture is not a community, it is an ecology, made up of many different communities and individuals. As in every ecology, there are different types of relationship.
There is a lot of mutualism. There is also a lot of competition. We may not like it, but this is how ecology works – many contributors working often at cross purposes, but altogether contributing to the existence and persistence of the whole.
Trying to create or act like one unified community is futile in my view. The challenge is not to eradicate conflict, but to conduct it constructively. A good question to ask is: what is the bigger whole that I/we want to contribute to? If we keep an eye on high level goals it may become easier to accept that others with the same goals have different views on how to get there.
There is probably some parasitism and predation going on at the same time.
These are loaded words in the world of humans, and it would take some careful thoought to consider in what instances they are tolerable or even beneficial (thinking of analogues to say pest control functions performed by gall wasps or nematodes), and in what cases we need to protect ourselves or our ecology from them. The concept of allies or guilds may be useful in this context.
Another consideration is that no ecology is a closed system. Permaculture is at the moment a marginal one, trying to expand while maintaining its identity. Now there’s a process full of creative tension!