Re: Global transformational process (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 07:42:54 WST
From: Victor Guest <vic@daena.eepo.com.au>
To: Permaculture WA <perma@eepo.com.au>
Subject: Re: Global transformational process (fwd)

From: Allan Savory <allans@igc.apc.org>

At 03:30 PM 11/4/96, d.richardson@mail.utexas.edu wrote:
>From: Dick Richardson <d.richardson@mail.utexas.edu>
>I'm sending this to two lists with paralleling discussions, the Holistic
>Resource Management general list, and the Gaia Preservation Coallition list.
>Please pardon any multiple copies.
>Dick Richardson

Thanks for this information Dick. As you know I tend to stick to what I
understand and not to get involved in theoretical debate too much about the
holistic nature of things and related matters. I accept the holistic nature
of the universe and gaia and am concentrating my efforts on perfecting
practice.   I am responding thus to one portion of what you put on our

>In a "knowledge system", the source of understanding will
>>obviously be human ingenuity and creativity, aided by the
>>extension technologies at our disposal.

I would be as worried about a "knowledge system" as much as I would worry
about any of the great many systems tried throughout time and civilizations.
To almost all of us had we participated in Voltaire's time we would have
most probably welcomed the "age of reason" and praised Napolion when he used
his position and influence to try to bring about the basic tenets.  We have
since seen the devastating results and are still seeing them and yet to find
a way out.

 Thus, the primary
>>objective of our servant governments would be to develop
>>the full potential of every citizen to contribute to the whole
>>community, local to global.

And in this to ensure that governments face the crucial issue of what is
needed to get beyond shallow debate on sustaining agriculture and
communities to how we are to sustain civilization.  While we are all
individuals we function today at the level of civilization which is
predominantly city-based.  Taking care of the individual will not take care
of the whole as we have learned so painfully in almost all attempts to save
rare and endangered species.  But taking care of the whole does enable the
individual to flourish - which we seek.   The critical wholes now are
civilization's cities together with total biodiversity and functioning of
our planet's four foundation ecosystem processes.  I am just being practical
as I cannot see us abandonning cities and saving only small communities and
our planet.  We need to learn to sustain or save civilization or fail and
take all higher life forms with us.

 To realize the benefits of this
>>potential we would need a synergetic framework in which
>>all creative thought was synthesized in its flow toward
>>action. Current institutions and its members, which/who
>>deal with descrete parts of the system and compete for
>>resources and power with each other, would be very
>>uncomfortable in this new milieu.

Our human achiles heel.  You will not even bring in the new milieu with the
present situation where every aspect of our lives is dominated by one
bureaucracy or another - agricultural organizations, schools, universities,
environmental organizations, local - national - international government
agencies.  History has taught us that this form of organization is almost
waterproof to new thinking and knowledge.  Our universal log jam but we have
to find ways to get such organizational stuctures (which assume the
properties of a whole and unfortunately never the level of humanity,
commonsense or intelligence of the individuals who constitute that
organization) to accept new thinking quicker than the average 50 to 100
years or so they take today. (this is an informed guess as we only know it
takes a very long time). I will return to this below.

 Since knowledge and
>>mystery would be the motivating forces, rather than
>>dollars, time would take on a very different meaning. It
>>would be geared to learning, developing human potential
>>and consensus-building; time-consuming pursuits.
>>Concensus-building is, I think, a cultural attribute and in
>>some cultures it is more effective than in others. 

I feel this is conjecture based, understandably upon universal
decision-making.  When I look at this same scenario through the lens of
holistic decision-making I see a different picture.  I believe the
wherewithal to do what is needed is today available in practice although in
infantile form.  When I say this I do not only look at the miriad of
problems and difficulties facing us from the point of view of holistic
management and decision-making from the individual, family to government and
international organizations, but I am also viewing it from my past
experience as a Parliamentarian and President of a political party in that
system.  I would not even dream of trying to govern any nation today using
universal decision-making. An impossible task and that is why we keep
throwing parties out.  I do believe people by and large are ready for and
seeking good government rather than ideological government, any system of
government or any other variant thereof.  Having done many mental excercises
now round problems facing nations from the most mundane to war and having
lived through some, I am in my own learning and beliefs at the point where I
am seeing that the first government to just start managing holistically
(just do it - don't theorize or tell people what you are doing) will
probably remain in power for a great period of time because it will provide
what people are seeking and what the theoretical ideas expressed in this
contibution you have placed on our conference is seeking.  

I think I may have told you that in preparation for a conference in Vermont,
where I was asked to speak on radical democracy, I ran through a serious
scenario.  I took a policy critical to the survival of any nation.  I had
one government be a ruthless dictatorship and the other be a perfect
democracy (whatever that is).  I had the democratic government ONLY
permitted to use universal decision-making which as you know is used by all
humans and governments today.  I had the dictatorship ONLY allowed to use
holistic decision-making.  What came out was interesting.  From the
democracy with all the collaboration and consensus possible out came
increased bureaucracy, centralization, regulation and law, and a policy with
no hope what-so-ever of success ( does this ring a bell with all USA
government natural resource management policies?)  From the dictatorship
what came out was what we all seek - decentralization, empowerment of
individuals and small communities, reduced law and regulation and a policy
which had every chance of success.  This automatically posed for me the
question are we right in seeking the answer to human problems in better
forms of government persuing what we have tried ad nauseum for centuries or
should we perhaps just look at the actual decision-making process used?

You can see why perhaps I feel perhaps we are all barking up the wrong tree
and have been for centuries as we have experimented with every imaginable
form of government. We cannot blame any people of past ages for not trying
to look at decision-making because they did - they looked at forms of
government which would be more consensual, more collaborative, etc.  But as
we have discovered with holistic management it was not lack of concensus of
collaboration with produced humanities problems it was the previously
undiscovered universal human decision-making process.   The cause of our
dilemas and situations which we looked to governements to cure they could
only worsen as they have because they all use the same d - m process which
caused the problems in the first place.

>Dollars can be redefined as a resource or a tool, rather than a goal, as
>suits the context. And some individuals are more prone to seek consensus
>than individual power. In the animal world, we see species that display more
>or less of these features on average. Both "nature" and "nurture" form the
>expression we need, individually and species-wide.
>I am impressed many times at how similar I see parallel paths of thought,
>and developing understanding. At times I begin to see why the authors of the

I agree - it is amazing how many of us round the world who have never met
are finding a lot of our thinking converging and high agreement.  What I
feel we are bringing to this exciting table to be at is a simple way for
people to attain what we seek.  Thanks for assisting to bring groups into
closer proximity.