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Re: reprise: guilds

On Tue, 7 Oct 1997, Lee Flier wrote:
> Dan wrote:
> Bill Mollison's idea was to distill this information
> into a system which would not just educate the student but allow the
> student to turn around and educate others.  This would get the word out to
> the greatest possible number of people who need it.
> Why does this matter?  Because to a farmer or a starving person or anyone
> else who isn't a "professional" permaculture student or teacher, it doesn't
> matter by what terms you call these things - they need answers, and they

.. a handy glossary of terms (even "buzzwords") to help them remember
permaculture principles & methods, to learn more about it and feel at home
doing it, something tangible to keep them motivated.

> may need to have something to go on in a very limited time.  As Mollison
> told us in class: "You may feel that you aren't qualified to start
> designing after only a two week class, but you've got to get out and try
> because you can't really do worse than what's been done!"  

Amen to that!

>  And for some people it's a matter of survival that they agree with it and
> get on with it.

This is very true here in the US where you have lots of folks getting
involved with permaculture design/implementation/teaching and
food-production/shelter/community building who in some cases were
uncertain as to what to do with their lives or were dissatisfied
with their current lifestyles and needed a positive change. 
Whatever works. 

> >Recipes of any sort have no place in
> >the fundamental permaculture design.  We already have an excellent, valid
> >Mollisonian term for things arrangements that tend to repeat in enough
> >designs to be formalized.  We call them Standard Designs.  This can be a
> >species assembly, where one is know to work.

What would an ecologist call "plant guilds" or "standard designs"?
Ecological communities, natural cycling of ecological communities affected
by regularly occuring environmental conditions. It seems to me this term
describes a continually evolving process of discovery, experimentation and 
application of newly learned methods. Consider all the variables in the
ecology of the food garden. Possibilities for "discovering" and
replication of "plant guiilds" are numerous.  

Dan: How do you define a "Standard Design"? Is this a "macro" approach
that would, in reality, utilize the development of "plant guilds" within
a permaculture design for a given area of land? 

> >here.  I've worked teaching permaculture in many places and I have not found
> >any great difference in intellectual capability between peasants and college
> >professors, except that probably the peasants have less in the way to
> >understanding what we are talking about.  What people of limited means and
> >limited formal educatio need is some space to work out their permacultures,
> >not being talked down to, being given the Dr. Suess version of permaculture.

> Has nothing to do with intellectual ability and it isn't talking down to
> anybody.  It has to do with "appropriate technology" in education - the
> ability to put a lot of people to work and quickly.  It's more of an insult
> to people to give them a lot of analysis they can't use than a conceptual
> idea they can apply themselves to their own circumstances - and a lot of
> college educated people just don't have any clue how to talk to a
> "peasant".  I mean that as an insult to the professor much more so than the
> peasant!

Well asid!
> Is it an insult to a village to give them 300 shovels instead of one
> bulldozer? Considering that the shovels will allow everyone in the village
> to go to work immediately using equipment they can maintain themselves, no.
>  A hand tool is a simple, elegant concept - and by no means an insult to
> anyone's intelligence, even though it doesn't represent the most complex
> technology available for the job.  Likewise the idea I got from Bill

The mind-body-handtool-Earth connection is rich with latent creativity
and life-sustaining energy.

> Mollison was that he is trying to find those gems of essential knowledge
> which people of any culture or means can apply.  Anything else is
> extraneous and possibly disempowering.

Amen!!! This is worth doing! Lets build a databank rich with this sort of
information. NOW.
How about an incoming ftp directory for uploads of files? mail2html
archive, newsgroup, another mailing list, just name it & I'll set it up.
WEe need this yesterday.

> We see so many bad examples of oversimplification in our culture that we
> sometimes forget the essentials of survival really are simple, elegant,
> beautiful, and obvious once we learn to look for them.  I'm not talking
> recipes; I'm talking the conceptual tools to come up with these ideas on
> your own, and perhaps a few starting recipes if you happen to know what
> will work in that bioregion.
> > Living close to survival margins does not allow for the risk of change, even
> >very, very promising change.  That is the central difficulty, not that these
> >peopel can't think permaculturaly.  In is my personal view that literacy is a
> >barrier to permaculture-type thinking.  Non-literate people have more of an
> >"of course" reaction.

I'd have to disagree with Dan here. There are many non-literate people
who posess excellent powers of adaptability, survival, observation and
inventiveness who could easily learn an put into effective practice most
permaculture principles. Being able to read is not necessary.
...they could always surf the Web and look at educational graphics if
provided with the necessary technology.
> I agree!  So, non-literate people don't care by what term you call
> something as long as they can put it to work.  I'm with them.