The Prime Directive of Permaculture:
The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children’s.
Make it now.
Principle of Cooperation: Cooperation, not competition, is the very basis of future survival and of existing life systems.
The Ethical Basis of Permaculture:
1.CARE OF THE EARTH: Provision for all life systems to continue and increase.
2.CARE OF PEOPLE: Provision for people to access those resources necessary to their existence.
3.SETTING LIMITS TO POPULATION AND CONSUMPTION: By governing our needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles.
Rules of Use of Natural Resources:
– Reduce waste, hence pollution
– Thoroughly replace lost minerals
– Do a careful energy accounting; and
– Make a biosocial impact assessment for long term effects on society, and act to buffer or eliminate any negative impacts.
Life Intervention Principle:
In chaos lies unparalleled opportunity for imposing creative order.
Law of Return:
Whatever we take, we must return, or
Nature demands a return for every gift received, or
The user must pay.
Directive of Return: Every object must responsibly provide for its replacement. Society must, as a condition of use, replace an equal or greater resource than that used.
Set of Ethics on Natural Systems:
– Implacable and uncompromising opposition to further disturbance of any remaining natural forests;
– Vigorous rehabilitation of degraded and damaged natural systems to a stable state;
– Establishment of plant systems for our own use on the least amount of land we can use for our existence; and
– Establishment of plant and animal refuges for rare or threatened species.
The Basic Law of Thermodynamics (as restated by Watt):
„All energy entering an organism, population or ecosystem can be accounted for as energy which is stored or leaves. Energy can be transferred from one form to another, but it cannot disappear or be destroyed or be created. No energy conversion system is ever completely efficient.“
Principle of Disorder:
Order and harmony produce energy for other uses. Disorder consumes energy to no useful end.
Neatness, tidiness, uniformity, and straightness signify an energy-maintained disorder in natural systems.
Principle of Stress and Harmony:
Stress may be defined as either prevention of natural function, or of forced function; and (conversely) harmony as the permission of chosen and natural functions and the supply of essential needs.
Principle of Stability:
It is not the number of diverse things in a design that leads to stability, it is the number of beneficial connections between these components.
The Problem is the Solution:
Everything works both ways.
It is only how we see things that makes them advantageous or not.
Information as a Resource:
Information is the critical potential resource. It becomes a resource only when obtained and acted upon.
Excerpt from ‘Permaculture, A Designer’s Manual’ by Bill Mollison, Tagari Publications,1988
Permaculture is a dynamic interplay between two phases: on the one hand, sustaining life within the cycle of the seasons, and on the other, conceptual abstraction and emotional intensity of creativity and design. I see the relationship between these two as like the pulsing relationship between stability and change.
It is the steady, cyclical and humble engagement with nature that provides the sustenance for the spark of insight and integration (integrity), which, in turn, informs and transforms the practice. The first is harmonious and enduring; the second is episodic and powerful. The joyful asymmetric balance between the two expresses our humanity.
out of ‘Permaculture, Principles & Pathways beyond Sustainability’ by David Holmgren, Holmgren Design Services, 2002
by Donella Meadows
1. Get the beat.
2. Listen to the wisdom of the system.
3. Expose your mental models to the open air.
4. Stay humble, stay a learner.
5. Honor and protect information.
6. Locate responsibility in the system.
7. Make feedback policies for feedback systems.
8. Pay attention to what is important, not just to what is quantifiable.
9. Go for the good of the whole.
10. Expand time horizons.
11 .Expand thought horizons.
12. Celebrate complexity.
13. Hold fast to the goal of goodness.
…Let’s face it, the universe is messy. It is nonlinear, turbulent, and chaotic. It is dynamic. It spends its time in transient behaviour on its way to somewhere else, not in mathematically neat equilibria. It self-organizes and evolves. It creates diversity, not uniformity. That’s what makes the world interesting, that’s what makes it beautiful, and that’s what makes it work.
version of the whole text
found in: ‚Ecological Literacy, Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World‘, Michael K. Stone, Zenobia Barlow, Fritjof Capra
For me Masanobu Fukuoka was a poet. He is known as one of the pioneers of natural farming and was an inspiration for the originators of the concept.
“If a single new bud is snipped off a fruit tree with a pair of scissors, that may bring about a disorder which cannot be undone…. Human beings with their tampering do something wrong, leave the damage unrepaired, and when the adverse results accumulate, work with all their might to correct them.”
“To become one with nature — agriculture is an occupation in which a farmer adapts himself to nature. To do that, you have to gaze at a rice plant and listen to the words from the plant. If you understand what the rice says, you just adjust your heart to that of the rice plants and raise them. In reality, we do not have to raise them. They will grow. We just serve nature. A piece of advice I need to give you here. When I say gaze at a rice plant or stare at its true form, it does not mean to make an observation or to contemplate the rice plant, which makes it an object different from yourself. It is very difficult to explain in words. In a sense, it is important that you become the rice plant. Just as you, as the subject of gazing, have to disappear. If you do not understand what you should do or what I am talking about, you should be absorbed in taking care of the rice without looking aside. If you could work wholeheartedly without yourself, that is enough. Giving up your ego is the shortest way to unification with nature.”
One Straw Revolution is maybe one of his best known books and even if you are not particularily interested in gardening, I recommend to read it, and if it’s just for a few paragraphs.
The Fukuoka Farming Website:
Deep Ecology is philosophical movement that considers humankind as an integral part of its environment. The term was introduced by the norwegian philospher Arne Naess.
‚Yet, in deep ecology we ask if a society meets the basic needs of mankind, like love, security and access to nature. We ask what kind of society, what kind of education is beneficial for life on this planet as a whole, and then we ask what we have to do to impose the necessary changes.‘ (Arne Naess)
These are seven basic points of Deep Ecology. They are derived from many sources, and are general enough to be interpreted in a variety of ways. They are meant to serve as a set of core values, a platform to guide discussion and action.
• All life has intrinsic value.
• Nature, in all its complexity and diversity, results from symbiosis. Diversity means the many different kinds of individuals, species, and ecosystems which the whole of nature contains and in itself implies the idea of ‘many‘. But in nature, instead of a multiplicity of detached entities, organisms are bound to each other through threads of symbiosis and depend upon interaction with each other for survival.
Symbiosis with diversity together form the complexity of nature – a vast world of relationships, connections, and possibilities. There is intrinsic value in this crystal web of complexity. Our species is but one strand in the web.
• People are part of nature, but our potential power means that our responsibility toward nature is greater than that of any other species. Individuals of all species have a natural tendency to explore their environment and simultaneously create and fill an ecological niche. In defining our niche we have altered nature more than any other species has done. This imposed change, carried out on a massive scale, detaches us from the earth, and neither furthers our own survival nor the well-being of the planet.
• We have become estranged from the earth because we have interfered with the complexity of nature. Yet our species has more than the ability to destroy: it also has a potential for understanding.
• We should change the basic structure of our society and the policies which uphold it. The idea of growth should be redefined so that it refers to the increase of our understanding and experience of nature. Comprehending should form the basic of our actions. We therefore need to rethink our policies on:
Economics. Economic needs are the factual needs of survival. But only individuals can have such needs, not organizations nor corporations. Present economic ideology tends to value material goods and the flow of goods and services, and industries try to create or increase the needs for products. We should instead identify the needs of people and those of other species, and develop ways of realizing them.
Society and Politics. Our world is largely controlled by massive organizations and it is unrealistic to assume that we could function without them. But to promote growth we must encourage local, participatory structures, based on the principles of self-reliance. Local autonomy does not imply isolation and decentralization does not suggest a lack of cooperation and meeting. The movement towards smaller, more egalitarian and less hierarchical organizations cannot be done in opposition to the dominant system: it must come from within its depths.
Cultures. Different cultures have different needs – cultures must be seen as dynamic patterns, flows of change based on enduring values identified through history. For cultural diversity to survive demands that the basic aims of each culture should be sustained. No culture should impose upon another.
• We must seek quality of personal life rather than higher standards of living, self-realization rather than mere monetary gain. Measuring quantities in our lives is easy, but measuring quality is not. Statistics alone can never be the basic for decisions – underlying values must be considered. It is essential to establish principles of life quality before criticisms and paths for change are mapped out.
Ecological consciousness connects the individual to the larger world. It allows the full realization of the possibilities open to any person in society and nature. No one’s self-realization can come about in isolation, however: compassion and altruism must be the foundations of a life that is truly one of quality.
• We need to identify more with nature. Only then will we see our part in it again. Science can help us do this, as the search for basic laws brings us closer to natural values.
The more we learn of nature, the more we see that we cannot accept as inevitable our present dangerously imperfect world. We can direct whatever abilities we possess towards change, both immediate action and the achievement of long-term goals.
Four broad ways of involving oneself in change can be identified:
I Living according to ecological ideals of self-reliance, as an individual or in a small group. To do this at present requires some detachment from the dominant system.
II Encouraging compromise between the present and the ideal: a mix of centralized and local technologies and institutions, providing a realistic path of transition.
III Trying to change the system directly. This means talking to people, including ‘experts‘ and decision-makers.
IV Artistic and philosophical reflection on the closeness of man and nature for its own sake.
out of ‘The Green Alternative‘ by Peter Bunyard and Fern Morgan-Grenville, published by Methuen London Ltd in 1987 and by Mandarin Paperbacks in 1990
Deep Ecology / wikipedia
Notable advocates of deep ecology are amongst others Stephan Harding, Dolores Lachapelle and Joanna Macy .
“The Lakota was a true naturist – a lover of nature. He loved the earth and all things of the earth, the attachment growing with age. The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth. Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth. The birds that flew in the air came to rest upon the earth and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing.
That is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life-giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly; he can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him. …
Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active principle. For the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them and so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.
The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man’s heart away from nature becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his youth close to its softening influence.”
Chief Luther Standing Bear
Excerpt from ‘Touch the Earth, A Self-Portrait of Indian Existence’, compiled by T.C. McLuhan, published 1971 by Promontory Press (reprinted by arrangement with Outerbrigde&Lazard)
“You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation as so long as the hoop was unbroken the people flourished. The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it. The east gave peace and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain, and the north with its cold and mighty winds gave strength and endurance. This knowledge came to us from the outer world with our religion. Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same and both are round.
Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of man is a circle from childhood to childhood and so it is in everything where power moves. Our tipis were round like the nests of birds and these were always set in a circle, the nations hoop, the nest of many nests where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children.”
Excerpt from ‘Touch the Earth, A Self-Portrait of Indian Existence’, compiled by T.C. McLuhan, published 1971 by Promontory Press (reprinted by arrangement with Outerbrigde&Lazard)
“Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. This we know – the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.”
Excerpt from ‘The Gaia Atlas of Planet Management’ by Norman Myers and Joss Pearson, 1985, Gaia Books
Patterns tell us that all is streams, all particles, all waves. Each defines the other…
Finally pattern understanding can only contribute to the current and continuing evolution of new world views based on the essential one-ness of all phenomena. Lovelock (1979) has perhaps best expressed that combination of scientific insights and older tribal beliefs which assert the interdependence of animate and inanimate events. The universe, and this earth, behave as self-regulating and self-generated constructs, very much akin to a single organism or a thought process.
Excerpt from ‘Permaculture, A Designer’s Manual’ by Bill Mollison, Tagari Publications,1988
In the complex of time-concepts evolved by Australian Aboriginies, only one (and the least important) is the linear concept that we use to govern our life and time. Of far greater everyday use was the phenomenological (or phenological) time; the time as given not by clocks, but by the life phenomena of flowers, birds, and weather. An example of real life is that of an old Pitjatjantjara woman who pointed out a small desert flower coming into bloom. She told me that the dingoes, in the ranges of hills far to the north, were now rearing pups, and that it was time for their group to leave fort the hills to collect these pups. Thousands of such relationships are known to tribal peoples. Some such signals may not occur in 100 or 500 years (like the flowering of a bamboo), but when it does occur, special actions and ceremonies are indicated, and linked phenomena are known.
Finally, in tribal society, one is not wise by years, but by degree of revelation. Those who understand and embody advanced knowledge are the most intuitive, and therefore most entitled to special veneration. Such knowledge is almost invariably based on pattern understanding, and is independent of sex or even age, so that one is ‚aged’ by degree of revelation, not time spent in living.
Excerpt from ‘Permaculture, A Designer’s Manual’ by Bill Mollison, Tagari Publications,1988
LIFE SAVING THEN, LIFE THREATENING NOW
…Past Reality Integration (PRI) therapy is based on the idea that we all have a divided consciousness: one part of our consciousness sees the world through the eyes of the child we once were, and feels accordingly. The other part of our consciousness sees the world through the eyes of the adult we are now. Because of this division, we perceive and experience things quite differently, depending on which part of our consciousness we are accessing. For example one moment we can feel secure, ‘on top of things’ and competent, and the next moment we might feel depressed, angry, insecure, guilty, etc.
Maybe you recognize this, often sudden, change in the way you feel about yourself and your life. Normally nothing extraordinary occurs to cause such a shift, so we can’t make sense out of the change in the way we feel.
On an unconscious level, however, something does happen. What happens is, that we are confronted with something, usually a person or a situation, that reminds us, without us being aware of it, of something in our past. Actually it reminds us of something in our past that we had to repress when we were children. This unconscious remembering is what causes a shift from Adult Consciousness to Child Consciousness.
Past Reality Integration therapy is based on the idea that children do not receive what they need. Children need more than food, clothing and shelter, they also need physical and emotional safety, respect for their own identity, loving physical and emotional attention, support, encouragement and warmth. A child needs all these things to become a healthy functioning adult. However, children often grow up with caregivers who are not able to meet all these needs. Facing the truth that some or many of these needs will never be met is too threatening for the child, because her survival depends on her needs being met. In order to survive childhood, most of us had to repress the truth that some of our survival needs would never be met. We could not feel the emotional impact this had on us, and we had to deny the truth of the situation.
(Repression) happens without conscious awareness. We are not aware that we use Repression, nor are we aware of what we have repressed.
The process of Repression, dividing our consciousness in order not to feel the truth of our childhood, seems adequate in and of itself to do the life-saving work for the child (we were). However, as Jenson explains in Reclaiming your Life, Repression has a ‘helper’ called Denial. This helper denies the truth that has been repressed by substituting another ‘reality’ for the one that has been repressed.
For example: The emotional distress a child experiences when physically abandoned is too threatening to her emotional well-being to fully contain in consciousness. If she would fully realize not only that she was left by her mother, but also the meaning behind this behavior (the lack of love which made it possible for her mother to abandon her), the pain would be so enormous that life would no longer be worth living for her. These life-threatening feelings are repressed into the compartment that holds all truths that are too painful to feel. Then something extra happens to really make sure the Repression holds. The truth of the emotional neglect and physical abandonment is replaced by a lie, a lie that denies the existence of the truth. In this example it could be: “My mother and I are very close, she loves me so much, she wants to be with me, but she just can’t.”
When this child grows up to be an adult she most likely will still believe this lie – that she and her mother are very close. She might marry a man who emotionally neglects her and even leaves her. She would feel enormous pain about that, she probably would feel that she could not face living anymore.
The Denial, which saved her life as a child, threatens her life as an adult. No matter how much she still had going for her in her life, she would probably feel life has lost its meaning for her. She would feel this because that is what was true for her as a child. She had to repress the truth that it was life threatening to be left by her mother when she was too young to take care of herself and she had to repress the pain that would result from facing that truth. As an adult when a Symbolic situation presents itself (her husband leaves her), the old childhood feelings surface mercilessly. At the same time though she will still be absolutely convinced that she and her mother were close, and she will have no conscious knowledge of the depth of those terrible feelings she would have felt as a child when her mother left her. But she didn’t feel those feelings because the child she was could not survive feeling them, so she repressed those feelings and then used Denial to create a more palatable ‘truth’.. Her mother might very well remain the most important person in her life.
-The three types of denial
There are several ways to deny the truth. We define three. All of them serve to substitute another reality for what is the truth: False Hope (FH), False Power (FP) and the Primary Defense (PD). All three defense mechanisms helped the child we were to survive childhood, and all three continue to operate when we are adults. However, when we are adults we don’t need them anymore. The past is over and knowing the truth isn’t life threatening anymore, although it was when we were children.
Unfortunately our mind doesn’t recognize this. Every time we come across a Symbol (anything that reminds us unconsciously of the past) our consciousness shifts from the adult state (Adult Consciousness-AC) to the childhood state (Childhood Consciousness-CC).
Le Doux’s brain research explains how this mechanism works on a neurological level. A part of our brain, the amygdala, has a special function concerning threatening events. When something threatening happens the memory of that event is stored in the amygdala. The amygdala is able to operate independently from the part of our brain that is more rational and so memories of threatening events are stored in the amygdala without our rational brain necessarily being aware of it. The amygdala functions as a storage place for strongly loaded emotional memories. This storage process has an explicit survival function. Every time another potentially threatening situation is encountered, the amygdala compares the situation with the memories it has stored, in order to determine if the present situation represents a threat. If, after comparison, a threat is perceived, the amygdala will send out signals to alarm us.
However the amygdala’s method of comparison is not very accurate. It works through association, so only a small number of elements from the present situation need to resemble the past situation that was dangerous before the amygdala will sound the alarm. The responses that are developed in reaction to the amygdala’s alarms will therefore often be as outdated as the memories that triggered them. The storage and comparison ability of the amygdala is still vital to our survival: if we are confronted with real danger, we need an alarm to go off. But many events the amygdala still has ‘on file’ have become outdated, since they were threatening to us when we were children, but are no longer to us as adults.
LeDoux’s findings quite intricately show the brain mechanisms involved in the emotional mechanisms outlined by PRI theory. The words used are different, however the process described is identical. Every time the amygdala sounds alarm it is because something is working as a Symbol (it reminds us/our amygdala of something threatening in the past), and as a result we go into Childhood Consciousness: reacting to the present as if it were the past.
After being triggered by a Symbol into our Childhood Consciousness (CC), old pain is brought up and we start to feel terrible or at least uncomfortable. Since most of us don’t enjoy feeling pain, we then quickly move out of the CC and into the “Wall of Denial” – our defenses.
Many of us have learned to move so quickly from our CC to the Wall of Denial that we don’t even feel the old pain before we employ a defense mechanism. In that way we can completely avoid consciously feeling any pain. But pain is touched upon when we are confronted with a Symbol: And since our mind is convinced that the pain is present day pain brought on by present day events and we can’t tolerate the pain, our mind will use the defenses as if our life depended on them (because when we were children our lives did depend on them).
When we were children the defenses saved our life. As adults the defenses threaten our lives, or at least they make our lives a lot more painful then it needs to be. The childhood pain is not the problem when we are adults. It isn’t the old pain that has such destructive consequences on individuals, societies and our world. Our defenses are the course of the harm. Because of our defenses we engage in big or little wars (False Power), because of defenses we feel we are no good for anything (Primary Defense), because of defenses we persist in behavior that doesn’t lead anywhere and might even cause harm (False Hope).
Le Doux confirms that the interaction during the first few years of life will lead to the imprinting of emotional lessons based on the harmony or disruption of the contact between parent and child. These emotional lessons have so much influence and yet are so difficult to understand from an adult perspective because they, according to LeDoux, have been saved in the amygdala as undefined, worldless blueprints of emotional life. These earliest emotional memories are imprinted at a time when a child does not yet have words for her experience. One reason why we can be so surprised by our emotional outbursts is because often they date from a time early in our life when things were still confusing and we had no words to understand what was happening. We do have the chaotic feelings but we lack the words for the memories that formed them.
For the child we were the pain was life-threatening, for the adults we are now our defenses are the ones that can destroy our life. The mentioned inaccuracy of the amygdala can have disastrous effects on our life because we might e.g. fight with or flee from the wrong person or situation. Before the cortex, the seat of rational thinking knows what is going on, the amygdalaa can react with an outburst of raw anger or acute fear. Reactions which would have been accurate a long time ago.
In order to heal it is of great importance to realize how destructive it is to defend ourselves against our old pain. It is a difficult job, but relinquishing our defenses is the most important aspect of the healing process outlined in this book, a process aimed at improving the quality of our lives and the lives of those around us.
It is my personal conviction that the state of being that the great spiritual teachers have described as enlightenment, is “nothing more” than that: a state in which we are no longer employing any defense mechanisms. Most spiritual teachers seem to say that enlightenment is nothing out of the ordinary, that it is not something we can work towards, because it is already here. It is our natural state of being. However we don’t realize this because we are not living in the present, in the moment that is now. Instead most of us are living mainly in the past, trapped in the illusion that that is what is happening now, making it impossible to see the present for what it truly is.
This description of what prevents us from living in our natural state of enlightenment much resembles what happens when we see the past reality and act upon those perceptions, while convinced that we are perceiving and acting upon the present. This is the nature of our defense mechanisms. An undivided consciousness – lacking defenses – would be able to fully perceive the moment that is now every time, as described by these teachers. And isn’t an undivided consciousness our natural state? The state in which we were created and born?
out of ‘Rediscovering The True Self’ by Drs. Ingeborg Bosch, Ingeborg Bosch PRI b.v., 2002
„How does one breathe during meditation?“
„Naturally. Slowly. Through the nose if your thoughts are peaceful, through the mouth if they are agitated. By letting the belly out completely while inhaling, and retracting it without force while exhaling. The diaphragm supple as a jellyfish; the anus relaxed; the throat relaxed; the brain relaxed; the cranial bones like another diaphragm; the shoulders, the arms, and the hands relaxed. The point of the tongue on the palate, against the upper teeth. The spinal column very straight, the vertebrae stacked up like little round cushions full of sand. The eyes slightly opened, fixed before you on the ground, or completely opened and fixed on infinity, right in front of you. Then, without forcing it you extend the breath, you let it become subtle, and then you notice a pause between the exhalation and the inhalation, and then you realize that the divine is in this interstitial void. Then you practice circular respiration born of hamsa.“
„At the beginning, when one first starts to meditate, isn’t it easier to have an object to concentrate on?“
„You can concentrate on a little pebble or some other object, but you have to be careful not to do this for too long or it will become fossilized in your mind. When you meditate with some sort of crutch, you must alternate your concentration with mind relaxation like a series of waves. You must let the concentration breathe, or you wear yourself out for nothing.“
„How should one consider the intrusions of thought that come to interfere with one’s absorbtion?“
„You have to stop believing that these distracted states are at odds with profound absorbtion. They are a kind of energy to be grounded in the absorbtion. As soon as you stop considering them as obstacle, you witness a wonderful transformation in which the agitation begins to nourish the calm. There is no antagonism in non-duality. All efforts to reduce turbulence or make it disappear only reinforce it. The clouds are part of the beauty of the sky. The shooting stars are an integral part of the night. The night doesn’t say to itself, ‚Here comes a shooting star to interrupt my peace!’ So be like the sky, and your mind will integrate all states.“
„And when one leaves meditation, how does one move in the outside world?“
„It is necessary to really grasp that you don’t sit down to avoid or achieve some exterior thing. You don’t meditate to experiment with altered states of consciousness or whatever else. You meditate only to perceive by yourself that everything is within us, every atom of the universe, and that we already possess everything we would wish to find outside ourselves. To meditate is to be one hundred percent in reality. And if you are in reality what would you be leaving by entering the outside world?
To meditate in solitude or to walk amid the hustle-bustle of a polluted city is fundamentally the same thing. Only when we have realized that do we really begin to meditate. In meditating we run after nothing; we aren’t looking for any state, any ecstasy other than being totally within reality. Those who pretend to reach higher states of consciousness through meditation are only taking bhang.*
Beginning from the moment when we are the entire universe, how could we be lifted toward anything? It’s enough to open your eyes. It’s all there. When we meditate in this way, seated, standing, or lying down, we overflow with the divine and the divine overflows into us.“
*Indian cannabis-based hallucinatory drink.
out of ‚Tantric Quest’ by Daniel Odier (Inner Traditions, 1997), who left to India in 1968 and was initiated into the teachings of Shivaic Tantrism by Devi, a great female Yogi.
Improvisation in Jazz
By Bill Evans
There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He must paint on a thin stretched parchment with a special brush and black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke will destroy the line or break through the parchment. Erasures or changes are impossible. These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communication with their hands in such a direct way that deliberation cannot interfere.
The resulting pictures lack the complex composition and textures of ordinary painting, but it is said that those who will see will find something captured that escapes explanation.
This conviction that direct deed is the most meaningful reflection, I believe, has prompted the evolution of the extremely severe and unique disciplines of the jazz or improvising musician. …
Excerpt from liner notes from ‘Kind of Blue’ by Miles Davis, Columbia Records, 1959
Every shaman, an Indian holy man, has his own particular song which he sings when calling up his helping spirits. This was the song of Uvavnuk, an Eskimo woman shaman, celebrating the joy of being moved by nature. “To the Indian,” writes Natalie Curtis in The Indian’s Book, “song is the breath of the spirit that consecrates the act of life.”
The great sea
Has sent me adrift
It moves me
As the weed in a great river
Earth and great weather
Have carried me away
And move my inward parts with joy.
out of ‘Touch the Earth, A Self-Portrait of Indian Existence’, compiled by T.C. McLuhan, published 1971 by Promontory Press (reprinted by arrangement with Outerbrigde&Lazard)
Music has a very special significance in the value system of Indian culture. The whole universe is music. The music of the spheres is not audible; it is anhata which means ’not struck’ or ‘not beaten’. Nada on the other hand, the audible sound, is ahata, i.e. ‘beaten, struck’. This audible sound creates harmony between Man and the world of the inaudible sound. Even the very earliest treaties on music, which date back some two and a half thousand years, focus on the belief that the musician – this means the singer in 20th century India – is able to evoke feelings and thoughts that lie beyond our rational ability to think and speak.
Dhrupad is first and foremost religious music. The performance of a raga is not intended to entertain the audience: on the contrary, it represents a kind of prayer, an expression of religious feelings, and endeavors awaken the awareness of God in the listener. Originally, dhrupad or its forerunners was only sung in temples: the singer stood facing the deity, and anyone wishing to listen sat behind him….
Various aspects of yogic discipline such as Asana, Pranayama and Dhyana, thus form an integral part of the performing technique.
Text of Raga ‘Miyan Ki Todi’
‘Clever as you are, O mind of mine, knowing all about Ragas and words and meanings and nuance of speech; yet delude not yourself!
For this – the Primal Sound – is too deep for us, inscrutable and beyond knowledge. To grasp it, you need not learning but Grace.’
Text from cd-inlet of ‘Dagar Brothers, Raga Miyan Ki Todi’, jecklin disco
The Mnemonics*Of Meaning
(*a word or string which is intended to be easier to remember than the thing it stands for)
Buddhists remind themselves of the pattern of events with their oft-repeated chant “Om mani padme hum”; pronounced “Aum ma-ni pay-may hung” by Tibetans and Nepalese, and meaning:
Om: the jewel in the lotus : hum
As Peter Matthiessen explains it (The Snow Leopard, Picador, 1980):
Aum (signing on) is the awakening or beginning harmonic, the sound of all stillness and the sounds of all time; it is the fundamental harmonic that recalls to us the universe itself.
Ma-ni: The unchanging essence or diamantine core of all phenomena; the truth, represented as a diamond, jewel, or thunderbolt. It is sometimes represented in paintings as a blue orb or a radiant jewel, and sometimes as a source of lighting or fire.
Pay-may: “Enfolded in the heart of the lotus” (mani enfolded). The visible and everyday unfolding of events, petals or patterns thus revealing the essential core (mani) to our understanding. The core itself, or the realization of it, is nirvana (the ideal state of Buddhism). The lotus represents the implicate order of tessellated and annidated events, and the process of unfolding the passage of time to successive revelations.
At the core is the unchanging understanding.
Hung (signing off): “It is here, now.” A declamation of belief of the enchanter in the words. It also prefaces the “Om” or beginning of the new chant cycle, although in a long sequence of such short chants, all words follow their predecessors. This is the reminder mnemonic of implicate time; all events are present now, and forever repeated in their form.
We can choose from tribal chants, arts, and folk decoration many such mnemonic patterns, which in their evolution over the ages express very much the same world concept as does modern physics and biology. Such thoughtful and vivid beliefs come close to realizing the actual nature of the observed events around us, and are derived from a contemplation of such events, indicating a way of life and a philosophy rather than a dogma or set of measures.
Beliefs so evolved precede, and transcend, the emphasis on the individual, or the division of life into disciplines and categories. When we search for the roots of belief, or more specifically meaning, we come again and again to the one-ness underlying science, word, song, art, and pattern: “The jewel in the heart of the lotus”.
Thus we see that many world beliefs share an essential core, but we also see the drift from such nature-based and essentially universal systems towards personalized or humanoid gods, dogma, and fanaticism, and to symbols without meaning or use in our lives, or to our understanding of life. Many other world-concepts based on the analogies of rainbows, serpents, and songs cycles relate to aspects of the integrated world view, and are found in Amerindian and Australian tribal cultures.
Excerpt from ‘Permaculture, A Designer’s Manual’ by Bill Mollison, Tagari Publications, 1988
Transformative learning involves experiencing a deep, structural shift in the basic premises of thought, feelings, and actions. It is a shift of consciousness that dramatically and irreversibly alters our way of being in the world. Such a shift involves our understanding of ourselves and our self-locations; our relationships with other humans and with the natural world; our understanding of relations of power in interlocking structures of class, race and gender; our body awarenesses, our visions of alternative approaches to living; and our sense of possibilities for social justice and peace and personal joy.
Definition by Edmund O’Sullivan, Professor for Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto
… In 1887, the Scottish surgeon J.B. Dunlop hit upon the idea of equipping his small son’s bicycle with an inflatable rubber tube. The bicyle tire was patented in 1888. During the years to follow, the demand for rubber multiplied. That was the explanation for the increasing brutilazation of the regime in the Congo which is reflected in the diaries of Sjoeblom and Glave.
Belgium’s king, Leopold II, issued a decree on September 29, 1891, which gave his representatives in the Congo a monopoly on “trade” in rubber and ivory. By the same decree, natives were obliged to supply both rubber and labor, which in practice meant no trading was necessary.
Leopold’s representatives simply requisitioned labor, rubber, and ivory from natives, without payment. Those who refused had their villages burned down, their children murdered, and their hands cut off.
These methods at first led to a dramatic increase in profitability. Profits were used, among other things, to build some of the hideous monuments still disfiguring Brussels: the Arcades du Cinquantenaire, The palais de Laeken, the Chateau d’Ardennes. Few people today remember how many amputated hands these monuments cost. …
…The forest was cleared, the flora and fauna Europeanized, the Guanches lost their land and thus their living. The modorra returned several times, and dysentery, pneumonia, and veneral disease ravaged.
Those who survived the diseases instead died of actual subjugation – loss of relatives, friends, language and lifestyle. When Girolamo Benzoni visited Las Palmas (Canary Islands) in 1541, there was one single Guanche left, eighty-one years old and permanently drunk. The Guanches had gone under. ….
This group of islands in the eastern Atlantic was the kindergarten for European imperialism. Beginners learned there that European people, plants, and animals manage very well even in areas where they did not exist by nature. They also learned that although the indigenous inhabitants are superior in numbers and put up bitter resistance, they are conquered, yes, exterminated – without anyone really knowing how it happened. …
…About five million of the indigenous American population lived in what is now the United States. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, half a million still remained. In 1892, at the time of Wounded Knee – the last great massacre of Indians in the United States – the native population reached rock bottom: a quarter of a million, or 5 percent of the original number of Indians.
…In the medieval hierarchy, the human being had been one and indivisible, created by God in His image and by Him placed on the top rung of the ladder of Creation.
The first person to divide the abstract human being of medieval theology into several species, of which some were considered closer to animals, was William Petty. “There seem to be several species, even of human beings”, he wrote in The Scale of Creation (1676). “I say that the Europeans do not only differ from the aforementioned Africans in colour…but also…in natural manners and in the internal qualities of their minds.” Here human beings are divided up not only into nations and people, but also biologically separate species. This occurred in passing and aroused no particular attention.
…It is not knowledge that is lacking. The educated general public has always largely known what outrages have been committed and are being committed in the name of Progress, Civilization, Socialism, Democracy, and the Market….
…You already know that. So do I. It is not knowledge we lack. What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and draw conclusions.
Excerpts of ‘Exterminate All the Brutes’ by Sven Lindqvist, Granta Books, London, 1997, translated from Swedish; (www.svenlindqvist.net )
If we continue to operate in terms of a Cartesian dualism* of mind versus matter, we shall probably also come to see the world in terms of God versus man; élite versus people; chosen race versus others; nation versus nation and man versus environment. It is doubtful whether a species having both an advanced technology and this strange way of looking at the world can endure…
‚The whole of our thinking about what we are and what other people are has got to be restructured. This is not funny, and I do not know how long we have to do it in. If we continue to operate on the premises that were fashionable during the Pre-Cybernetic era, and which were especially underlined during the Industrial Revolution, which seemed to validate the Darwinian unit of survival, we may have twenty or thirty years before the logical reductio ad absurdum of our old positions destroys us. Nobody knows how long we have, under the present system, before some disaster strikes us, more serious than the destruction of any group of nations. The most important task today is, perhaps, to learn to think in a new way.‘
Gregory Bateson (1904-1980), anthropologist, scientist and biological philosopher
*In the seventeenth century, Rene Descartes based his view of nature on the fundamental division between two independent and separate realms – that of mind, the ‚thinking thing’ (res cogitans), and that of matter, the ‚extended thing’ (res extensa). This conceptual split between mind and matter has haunted Western science and philosophy for more than 300 years.
Concerns of ecologically conscious consumerism / of an ecologically conscious way of shaping one’s life
- Protection of nature and its resources
- Protection of the biodiversity
- Preservation of the very basis of our existence
- Healthy food, clothing and environment
- Sustainability (We fulfill our needs and aspirations without limiting the chances and possibilities of future generations.)
- Man sees himself not as ruler or owner of nature, but as part of it
- Higher quality of life
- Identification of suggested needs
- Identification of dependency on corporations and consumer goods
- Identification of own consumption behaviour (food, clothing, media, news, …)
- Discussion of the own definition of ‚quality of life’ and the question: ‚How much is enough?’
- refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle / refusal of consumption, diminution of consumption, reusing, reparation, recycling
Immediate Effects of Ecologically Conscious Behaviour of Consumerism
- support of concerns mentioned above
- thus support of prosperity of the vicinity and greater diversity
- money is kept in the vicinity, flowing off of capital towards corporations (supermarkets etc) is not being supported
- no support of exploitative conditions of work and use of resources by corporations
- no support of appropriation / management of vital goods (water, seeds etc) by corporations
- no support of environment destroying work- and cultivation methods
- no support of the production of food or clothing with genetically manipulated organisms, which create a dependeny on corporations and present hazard to nature and man
- no support of high energy consumption and environmental pollution by importing goods
Practical Possibilities of Application and Implemenation
Food (Vegetables, Fruit, Meat, Diary Products, Cereal Products, Water etc)
- avoidance / reduction of meat consumption
- buy at organic market, at organic food shop, pay attention on local and seasonal goods
- buy by retail
- buy at fairtrade stores
- cultivate your own food on balcony, in garden, community-garden etc
- use fallow ground in cities
- buy from selected clothing producers
- buy Second Hand
- clothing exchange
- revaluate, recycle used pieces of clothing, eventuall by seamstress
- pay attention on selected products (organic shops, organic cosmetic shops…)
- pay attention on selected products (organic shops etc)
- pay attention to electricity consumption
- use green electricity
- pay attention to consumption of heat energy
- use house / apartment and its exposure in an energy-efficient way
- pay attention to water consumption
- check out alternative possibilities of energy supply
- avoid waste
- separate waste
- if possible create compost or organic waste bin
- public transport
- do not buy a new car
- pay attention on pollutant output and consumption of your car
- if flying is necessary: www.atmosfair.de etc
Financial Investment / Banks
- no investments with major banks or financial institutions which are not transparent in terms of how the money is being used
- ecological banks, green / ethical investments
Building (Interior Work, Construction/Building of a House etc)
- pay attention on origin and certification of materials (prefer locally and sustainably produced and/or sustainable materials)
Health and Medecine
- engage in preventative actions (physical exercise and activities, Yoga, Tai Chi etc)
- pay attention to approach of your doctor (wholistic or treating the symptoms)
- become acquainted with and integrate wholistic and alternative cures or healing methods
- choose your doctor carefully
- if possible, get an alternative diagnosis
- if possible, choose an insurance that supports alternative cures
Life and Job
- integration of above mentioned concerns / engaging in ecological principles and integrated / systemic thinking
- create communities and networks
to all points mentioned above you will find links here