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Permaculture Zoning and "People Care"

"We can teach philosophy by teaching gardening but we cannot teach gardening by teaching philosophy."

Periodically, people remark on the lack of ‘spirituality’ in Permaculture writings and courses, even on the lack of attention to a ‘Zone Zero’ or concerns with human interactions.

Yet all of Permaculture deals with the welfare and interdependence of living things; and it is all directed to right livelihood, beneficial interaction and a conservative lifestyle.

Permaculture is about living system design. It is not pop psychology, co-counseling, anthroposophy, or any particular belief system.

Permaculture has always been about skills and systems that are practiced, and verifiable by any individual; it does not, and will not, teach purely individualistic beliefs – such systems are already taught elsewhere, and there are numerous courses on spiritual, therapeutic, or theological subjects available.

The strength and credibility of Permaculture lies in its projects.

In my experience, all cultures recognise Permaculture as a tool to extend their native understanding of what is observable, hence a tool to empower themselves, a way of thought that anyone can own.

We can teach philosophy by teaching gardening but we cannot teach gardening by teaching philosophy.

Fukuoka, Bahaguna and many acknowledged spiritual people would agree and have said much the same thing. We begin with the small and practical, and end up with larger concepts of the whole, including the human and spirited dimensions.

“Duty and work, well performed, are elevated to the level of sacrifice or spirituality in the Gita” (ancient Hindu scriptures).

Bill Mollison


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