The Permaculture Ethic
The following was taken from Bill Mollison’s landmark text introducing the concepts of permaculture design to the world (1).
“The permaculture ethic pervades all aspects of environmental, community, economic and social systems – cooperation, not competition, is the key. There is a basic life ethic, which recognizes the intrinsic worth of every living thing, even if it has no commercial value to us. In short, the ethic is ‘Earth care, people care, fair share.’”
Care of the Earth – “includes all living things: soils, species and their varieties, atmosphere, forests, micro-habitats, animals, and waters, It implies harmless and rehabilitative activities, active conservation, ethical and frugal use of resources, and “right livelihood” (working for useful and beneficial systems).”
Care for People – “emphasizes caring for the wellbeing and fundamental needs of humans, to strengthen human communities.”
Fair Share – “means contribution of surplus time, money, and energy to achieve the aims of earth and people care.”
Ancient Vedic wisdom from India talks about the fundamental laws of nature and how everything is connected. According to the vedic tradition, all life is embedded in a unified field of consciousness that pervades life on Earth and the entire cosmos. Modern quantum physics and super-string theory are based on observations and formulas explaining the nature of matter; all matter, they say, is comprised of inconceivably small sub atomic particles. These fundamental building blocks of matter are all essentially the same thing – they are vibrating strings, or energy forms. Atoms are not particles, as the forefathers of classical physics wrongly conceived. The various forms that we see on the surface (human, plant, mineral, etc) are a result of different frequencies of vibrations, which create different elements and structures that form the matrices for an infinite variety and diversity of life forms and living systems. But at the deepest, most fundamental level, all is one – the source of all matter is an invisible universal ocean of pure potential.
Modern scientific studies have shown that the way we think, feel, and act as individuals actually affects the thoughts, feelings and action of others. Likewise, groups of people thinking, feeling, and acting together create a measurable influence in the surrounding population. This has been scientifically documented and replicated (2). This points to an invisible, all pervasive field, or space in which life happens. Thus, if we think and act from the understanding that we are all interconnected and not separate, then it makes more sense to design systems that integrate people and the surrounding ecology without destroying the integrity of earth’s inherent diversity. In this way, its clear that Vedic science and permaculture design are complimentary.
(1) Mollison, Bill. Permaculture Design: A Designer’s Manual. Tagari Publications, 1988.
(2) “Journal of Conflict Resolution” http://jcr.sagepub.com/search/results?fulltext=maharishi+effect&x=0&y=0&submit=yes&journal_set=spjcr&src=selected&andorexactfulltext=and