Does the Spiritual have a place in Permaculture?

Interesting and welcome post by Craig Mackintosh of the Australian Permaculture research Institute discussing the role of metaphysics and “spirituality” in the Permaculture movement.

I personally often feel frustrated that too many permaculturists are mixing subjective spiritual/metaphysical/religious elements into their courses, and are thereby helping to ensure permaculture is relegated to the periphery rather than — as desperately needs to happen — being taken up broad scale by all people everywhere, regardless of their culture and preferred belief system.

As permaculture teacher myself, this is an issue I have been wrestling with myself for the past several years, in the PC (permaculture) movement as well as the wider environmental movement.

The concern is that Permaculture Design Courses- which are typically run over 10 days or two weeks as residential courses- are being diluted and compromised by some teachers who include time or even give classes on spiritual beliefs and practices, including Shamanism, yoga, and other aspects of New Age or Earth religion.

Apart from just taking up time, and alienating some people, Mackintosh also makes the excellent point that this kind of New Age spirituality that is clearly so strongly connected with permaculture is potentially just one of many interpretations, and if permaculture aims to be inclusive- which is often one of the justification for “being open” to New Age stuff- it would also need to embrace and facilitate every other spiritual and religious belief under the sun, from Islam to Mormonism.

I was also pleased to see this early quote from Bill Mollison, the co-creator of permaculture, who clearly saw this as an issue right from the start and took a dim view of the fairy-worshippers:

Bill Mollison

As I have often been accused of lacking that set of credulity, mystification, modern myth and hogwash that passes today for New Age Spirituality, I cheerfully plead guilty. Unqualified belief, of any breed, disempowers any individuals by restricting their information.

Thus, permaculture is not biodynamics, nor does it deal in fairies, devas, elves, after-life, apparitions or phenomena not verifiable by every person from their own experience, or making their own experiments. We permaculture teachers seek to empower any person by practical model-making and applied work, or data based on verifiable investigations.

-Bill Mollison, Travels in Dreams

One commentator told of the anecdote of the time Mollison was watching lions with some tribesmen in Africa. As the lions became interested in them and moved closer, the Australian became nervous. “Don’t worry,” said his guides, “If we get eaten by lion, we come back as lion.”
Unconvinced, Bill wryly responded, “If I get eaten by lion, I come back as lion -shit”.

Mackintosh suggests that the PRI will actually write guidelines for teachers and refuse to accredit teachers who use PCDs as a vehicle for their religion. This is an excellent initiative, and the first case I know of where an accreditation body is making such a ruling.

“In short, I plead for all permaculture teachers to leave their subjective beliefs at the door when they begin to teach”.

The problem is, where to draw the line, and my own view is, this issue cuts much deeper than just guidelines for teachers. For a start, I would take issue with Mackintosh’s own view of spirituality, which he takes pains to defend:

I want to clearly express that I have nothing against spirituality — indeed, it is clear that mankind’s lack of spiritual development is a central cause of our modern woes. Spirituality goes beyond hedonism and living for the moment, and becomes inclusive of concepts of altruism and objectivity and can lift a man above his baser instincts to drive him to become a force for good in the world. Man’s spirituality grants him the ability to think beyond necessity, beyond desire, so he can make decisions based on principle.

What is needed here is a definition- what, exactly, is “spirituality”? I would argue that for most people it means something essentially “religious”- not necessarily in the formal sense of an established Church, but definitely in the sense of unsubstantiated beliefs in Another Realm- the Spiritual Realm- which in some important way transcends this mortal realm, but which we can interact with in meaningful ways- indeed, I would suggest that spiritual beliefs always claim to be over and above, more important than this realm- and often map on in some important ways onto the Judeo-Christian myth of a Fall from the garden of Eden- in other words, New Age spirituality tends to point to a Higher World that transcends the Fallen, sullied and sinful material world- which is where we actually do, say, permaculture design.

What does Mackintosh mean by the statement it is clear that mankind’s lack of spiritual development is a central cause of our modern woes.? What is “spiritual development”? and why should it have contributed to our woes? What woes, exactly?

This kind of viewpoint is reflected in some of the (well over 100) comments below the article. Many agree that spirituality should not be mixed in with PCDs but also expressed spiritual views themselves; while a few seemed to feel that spirituality and permaculture are intertwined, that they are really part of the same thing, that it is not practical to try to separate them.

Permaculture was created in 1970 by Australian ecologists Bill Mollison and David Holmgren as a system of sustainable landscape design, with an emphasis on learning from nature, cycling energy and nutrient flows, diversity, edge, polycultures and perennial food crops. Although Mollison used to joke that Permaculture is “revolution disguised as organic gardening” over time it became much broader than just landscape design, and began to embrace “softer” areas, such as community and personal development.

Some of the history of this is described in the book Living Lightly: Travels in Post-Consumer Society by Walter Schwarz. Schwarz visited Crystal Waters Eco-village in Australia, which had been designed by architect and permaculture designer Max Lindegger

As the eco-villagers moved in and the community developed, new ideas emerged about how permaculture was to be taught, and some people felt there were limitations in the physical lay-out of the village that did not perhaps fully facilitate the development of an integral community. This resulted in 1994 the publication of, The Manual for Teaching Permaculture Creatively. by Robin Clayfield and Skye. A rejection of traditional “chalk and talk” methods of teaching, this new approach aimed to focus on more participative processes in teaching permaculture design, bringing out the best in the students, as well as attempting to break down the division between students and teachers.

While this might have pioneered a more fluid and accessible teaching technique, it may also have begin to open the door to a greater emphasis on permaculture as “personal development” which then lead onto all manner of woo and spirituality.

This wider reach was formalised in 2003 with the publication of David Holmgren’s Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability in which he presented the Permaculture Flower, which covered 7 Domains of permaculture Activity, which, in addition to the traditional areas of “Earth Care and Nature Stewardship”, “Tools and Technology” and “The Built Environment” included so-called “invisible structures” of “Land Governance and Community Tenure” and “Health and Spiritual Well-Being”. A summary of the Ethics and Principles can be read here.

Permaculture Flower

Permaculture had always included three ethics which were really the starting point of the approach, singling it out from purely utilitarian systems of design: Earth Care, People Care and Fair Shares. It was this People Care aspect that seems to have gained in significance over the years, and it is through this ethic that I think many people see as the entry route for spirituality.

Holmgren addresses the issue of spirituality in permaculture early in the book:

Although permaculture can be reasonably seen as essentially materialist and scientific, it depends on an ecological perspective. Spiritual beliefs about a higher purpose in nature have been universal and defining features in all cultures before scientific rationalism. We ignore this aspect of sustainable cultures at our peril.

I think Holmgren is making a couple of logical fallacies here. Firstly, it is not clear to me that earlier cultures were actually “sustainable”- even though it may look that way to us because their way of life remained stable for long periods of time. Their populations were small and the available land to migrate into was almost inexhaustible- at least for thousands of years. But they did have an impact, perhaps more than we would like to think, and eventually, incrementally, over-hunting and other impacts- hunting was done in many cases by burning the understorey of the forest to flush out game- may have played a contributory role in nudging us towards domestication of plants and animals and the development of agriculture.

We may have been, as Richard Leakey suggests in The Sixth Extinction been responsible to wiping out all the mega-fauna of the Americas as we migrated down through that continent, and possibly, earlier still, may even had played a foul hand in the extermination of our cousins the Neanderthals.

In any case it would take some fairly convincing evidence that our animistic superstitions represented some kind of higher spiritual/ecological consciousness- I consider this to be a myth.

But Holmgren continues:

The more we understand the world through the lens of system thinking and ecology, the more we see the wisdom in spiritual perspectives and traditions. The same process has happened in the filed of psychology, especially Jungian psychology. Many thinkers and writers have suggested that the most progressive aspects of science are moving towards a union with the universal aspects of spiritual belief. Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science, although generally ignored, is a past attempt at union that has since borne some practical fruits in the fields of education (Waldorf schools) and agriculture (biodynamics).

This appears to be an allusion to the New Age belief that science and spiritual beliefs are somehow merging with the New Sciences of Quantum physics- something that is not however subscribed to by quantum scientists.

Neither Jungian psychology nor Steiner’s Anthroposophy have any basis in science. For Holmgren to cite Steiner as being on some sort of vanguard of this supposed union is a serious mistake. Steiner was a pure mystic whos whacky beliefs were not in any way connected to science- he apparently just made the whole lot up from his not inconsiderable imaginative powers. His beliefs were however of their time and place, and, based as they were on a system of racist karma, they were adopted by some high-ranking members of the Nazi party who saw an affinity between Steiner and their own occult views of Blut und Boden, the esoteric link between the chosen race and the Fatherland.

The Nazis were the first to use Biodynamics on a wide scale- a magical system based on astrology,
rejecting it only later more from a sense of it competing with their own ideology, and more materialistic influences pushing for industrialisation, than anything else.

I find Biodynamics a source of fascination amongst many permaculture students- it seems to nearly always crop up, and claims a strong loyalty from its followers, who strongly resist any attempt to deconstruct it.

But are these values ones that permaculture wants in any way to support or embrace?

Holmgren goes on:

Permaculture attracts many raised in a culture of scientific rationalism because its holism does not depend on a spiritual dimension. For others, permaculture reinforces their spiritual beliefs, even if these are simply a basic animism that recognises the earth is alive and, in some unknowable way, conscious. For most people on the planet, the spiritual and rational still coexist in some fashion. Can we really imagine a sustainable world without spiritual life in some form?

As an atheist and secularist, I would say emphatically, “Yes”- in fact- leaving aside what we might actually mean by “sustainable” (a word rarely defined) that this is the only world worth hoping for- one based on rational and secular values and not influenced too much if at all by people who believe in fairies.

Holmgren then goes on to finish the section with a quite contradictory passage in which he proclaims he is proud of his atheist upbringing, yet feels himself being drawn towards a spiritual awareness… and yet “for the present, my own interpretation of the ethical principles of permaculture rests firmly on rational and humanist foundations”.

One might begin to wonder just how firm those foundations really are, especially since Holmgren now appears in a recent film, Anima Mundi, alongside Stephen Harding (Holistic Science in Schumacher), John Seed (Deep Ecology- an Earth religion), 9-11 conspiracy theorist Mike Ruppert and purveyor of Anthroposophical medicine Dr Mark O’Meadhra.

I have not seen the movie but the clip on the website and the cast imply Holmgren has aligned permaculture unequivocally with New Age religion and a motley crew of dubious quacks and snake-oil salesmen.

The view that lack of spiritual development is one of our main problems is very prominent in the wider environmental movement, and also strongly expressed in Deep Ecology for example, an earth Religion which is closely connected to Permaculture. Along with Anthroposophy this belief advocates an anti-modernist, anti-technology agenda, that holds that when we lost our connection to the Earth and consequently our spiritual path, we embarked on a path of environmental destruction, loss of community and Sense of Belonging, materialism, consumerism, that lead eventually to where we are today, with meaningless empty lives governed by Twitter and Reality TV.

The Path back, we are told, is to adopt a simpler way of life in harmony with Nature’s cycles. A good way to do this is to take cheap flights to attend Permaculture courses in natural, unspoilt places where the people still live in harmony with Nature.

An alternative view of course is that it is only the emergence of science and rationality that have brought us out of the dark Ages of superstition and religion, and that the hard-won values of the Enlightenment are amongst humanities crowning achievements. According to this narrative, Permaculture and green movement are products of the modern, industrial world, not responses to it.

This is best explained by looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model, which does in fact feature on the curriculum of many permaculture courses; rather than being a system that copies traditional knowledge, permaculture is best seen as something that can be made use of once people’s basic needs are met, something that has only really happened with the advent of industrialization.

Before then, most people lived rather precarious and short lives, often under the psychological stress of belief in witches and devils and accompanying unappetizing practices which at times included cannibalism, human sacrifice, bride price and tribal warfare.

Therein lies the difficulty with this issue. It is not surprising that permaculture has become infected with New Age beliefs of all kinds, including Biodynamics and all manner of alternative medicine and spiritual practices, because it has emerged clearly as part of an anti-modernist agenda. How can it embrace science when science is seen to represent a way of thinking and an approach to reality which is the fundamental cause of our problems? How can we even have a rational discussion about this when rationality itself is rejected as the Devil’s work?

The comment thread under Mackintosh’s article contains several encouraging comments from those who are aware that this is a serious issue for permaculture; but it also includes comments from those who have no understanding of the scientific method. Anyone who has crossed swords with a homeopath will know the script: science is just another belief system, just another religion.

Permaculture does have a lot to offer the landscape designer who wants to use energy efficient methods and grow food, build houses and protect soil. But unless the permaculture movement as a whole rejects these corrosive elements of “spirituality” and gets over the basic issue of epistemology regarding science and how real knowledge is acquired it will likely be more a malevolent influence than a progressive one, and will never live up to its loft aspirations of making the world a better place.

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17 thoughts on “Does the Spiritual have a place in Permaculture?

  1. Thanks for your post. It’s a nice addition to the discussion. I thought I’d attempt to clarify my statement on ‘spirituality’ that you’ve taken some issue with. When I use the term ‘spirituality’, I’m using it a sense completely detached from any particular belief set or framework. It is simply a brief attempt to state that if we all think only in pure animal terms – ‘survival of the fittest’ you could say – then the world, and society, would be a very ugly place (think mafia, feudalism, totalitarianism, etc.). I’m simply talking about man’s ability to think beyond himself and his own immediate needs – where he can instead be more objective than the rest of the world’s creatures, and more giving/sacrificing for the good of others. There is nothing ‘woo woo’ inherent in this passage, or its intent. I had hoped the rest of my post made this clear.

  2. Thanks for that Craig- do you think that what you refer to then could be addressed say by a look at Maslow as I refer to in the post- I actually did a class on this just this week.
    In my view this provides a good explanatory framework for what you are talking about, and is also linked in with Earth care/People care.
    I still think it is better to avoid the “S” word which will inevitably be interpreted as meaning beliefss by many. Also, there are many ideological beliefs prevalent in the environmental movement (and permaculture) which are not spiritual in this sense but carry religious/moralistic overtones- eg. “there are too many people” “humans are a cancer on the earth” “ancient peoples had higher ecological awareness” etc – which can in my view be almost as damaging as the woo.
    Do you think that some classes on critical thinking/scientific method should be formally integrated int PCDs?

  3. Hi Graham, I enjoyed reading your contribution to the discussion. It has prompted me to carefully enter the discussion myself as I am setting up a business in regards to sustainable approaches to self, health, earth & community of which permaculture, homeopathy (Eeek!) and yoga all play a big part. The discussion has really made me look at the way that might be perceived in the permaculture (and wider) community and I felt I should clarify my position and that of the business. I feel it is very possible for people to make the assumption I think they should intertwine, however I tend to agree with Mackintosh. If you are at all interested in reading my thoughts I would welcome (and brace myself for) your feedback. http://www.littlebranchesbigtrees.com/permaculture-spirituality/

    Regards, Kelly @ Little Branches Big Trees

  4. As a tutor and teacher of Italian Academy of Permaculture, and a professional consultant and designer too, reading this post was very interesting to me. In facts, all the PC movement, in Europe too, is full of people that enrolls in PCD courses just to have a confirmation of their deep beliefs, not because they wanna learn something new. But also it’s full of pseudo-teachers that use new-age topics to manipulate this kind of people, ’cause, everyone knows, courses are a very remunerative business indeed. Why don’t give to customers what they want? Brrrrrr. As a teacher, if you care your students and push on ecology, agronomy, ethics and economics, sustainable architecture, chemistry, physics, complex systems etc. In a word “Science”, you become tedious and “not ethic at all”. I experienced that the current definition of “ethic” is: “If you are agree with me and you give me what I want, you are ethic. If you have another point of view and you ask something to me, you are not ethic at all”. Gosh. Something I feel like a Don Quixote that fights against windmills. Windmills “eco-fashion-guru-sustainable”, of course.
    Sorry for my poor english
    Regards

    Luca Denti

  5. Thanks Luca, very interesting perspective ““If you are agree with me and you give me what I want, you are ethic. If you have another point of view and you ask something to me, you are not ethic at all”- so true! Im sure you share my feelings as a teacher at how depressing it is to have students who dont want to learn.

  6. An excellent article, and I love the quotes from Mollison that I was previously unaware of. I need to get my hands on that autobiography. I’m thrilled to see more discussion of this among permaculturists. The trend towards new age (uncritical) thinking and away from science-based practical design-based information is a very worrying one indeed. In the courses I have taught and been a part of the sheer amount of people advocating things like biodynamics, conspiracy theories, qigong medicine, climate denial, that water bullshit by masaru emoto, etc, just blows my mind. I think integrating a session on critical thinking into PDCs is an absolute must, although doing so without alienating a large part of the students is a tricky thing indeed.

  7. – Yes Graham you have shown that by close analysis the spiritual argument can be taken apart.

    If something works, PROVE IT and it and it’s an easy sell. If Pc is filled with fuzzy spirituality then it makes it difficult to pin down the numbers and sell it.

    – Are spiritual system excempt from PROPER trials ? How do you tell the difference between 2 different spiritual approaches if not by the numbers ?
    – If a catholic hospital believes that praying is a vital part of their cancer treatment , that doesn’t mean their treatments should be excempted to the same rigors applied to other trials. (Even if Jesus himself took a job as surgeon). -Same goes for PC

    – “Alternative systems” can prove themselves by presenting data from PROPER scientifc trials. Often it’s not that trials haven’t been done, but rather they didn’t produce CONVENIENT DATA so it was buried.

    – “Can’t do it without spirituality” : this is similar to say “there is no morality without religion”, It’s BS we atheists ge morality from logic.

    – not clear to me that earlier cultures were actually “sustainable” : Yes wishful thinking which doesn’t stand up to close analysis ..there are many examples of ancient cultures practices destroying their own microclimates etc.
    – And actually if they left the eco-system as it was instead of Freaking around with it we wouldn’t have the superproductive crops and practices we have now.

    – God citing Steiner ..one of those things that first glance seems like science ..then reveals itself to be pseudoscience once you scratch the surface.

    BTW – there is a rule that mentioning Nazis in a debate immediately causes an discussion to go downhill.

    “refuse to accredit teachers who use PCDs as a vehicle for their religion” you mean they have been accrediting such people until now ?
    – NIGHTMARE VIEW : is the flipside of easy thinking Romantic Idealism. Nightmare /catastrophe is the opposite side of this false dicotomy. Today is supposed to be a nightmare, whereas Pinker says TODAY’S WORLD less violence & longer lives than ever. and yes as GS says It was a world with more spirituality and less rationalism that was worse.

    – “RATIONALISM & SCIENCE are the problem” : science works .. what alternative testing system do the spiritual have ?

    – Scientific Permaculture is a hard sell , I get the impression the movement is 90% Spiritual and only 10% science.
    (The phrase has only 1 real mention on Google) http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture/2010-August/037322.html
    – Googling : “Scientific method” “Permaculture” yield smore articles e.g. http://permaculturenews.org/2012/01/20/when-orthodox-science-meets-permaculture-principles-techniques-and-design-process/

    – OK So spiritual doesn’t mean spiritual – it mean big picture thinking, not in the moment materialism ..isn’t that holistic ?
    isn’t permaculture “Holistic agriculture ?”

    – Luca Denti – good points

    How do we decide if anything works ?
    – follow the money
    – follow the PROPER evidence proper = replicated double blind randomised trials etc
    (feelings and anacdotal evidence doesn’t cut it.) and when you’ve got that that’s great you can sell it

  8. @ Skeptco, In relation to your following paragraph, “Before then, (industrialisation) most people lived rather precarious and short lives, often under the psychological stress of belief in witches and devils and accompanying unappetizing practices which at times included cannibalism, human sacrifice, bride price and tribal warfare.” It is interesting that Neil Oliver in his recent documentary a History of Ancient Britain, stated that in bronze age Britain there is no evidence of human conflict. The evidence suggests that the tribes lived in a very peaceful time. This apparently changed in the Celtic iron age times before the Roman invasion. It was during this time that evidence of human sacrifice began to appear. This was also at the time that the Druids appeared and the evidence also showed that migrations from the continent were beginning to happen. Oliver cites the reason for bronze age Britain being so peaceful was due to the population being small and that there was no resource competition happening. These statements by Oliver would appear to be at odds with your above statement in one part of history, at least. It would appear to me that various bizarre things were pretty much down to whether resource competition was in place or not. Of course, the practise of human sacrifice is happening in greater numbers than ever before and war is nothing less than human sacrifice. (reference the Pat Tillman story as just one example). On another issue with what you have written. As you are a man who obviously places so much importance on the facts then it is simply good practise to make sure that you get your own facts correct in order to appear credible. “Permaculture was created in 1970 by Australian ecologists Bill Mollison and David Holmgren”. In 1970, Holmgren was just 14 years old and was yet to meet Mollison. Permaculture 1, was Holmgren’s Uni thesis and was published in 1978, he was just 22 at the time. In 1970, Mollison was on his path to Permaculture and had already had plenty of forest experience but he was still working on it. I have heard him say that a big driving factor for him to act was when he read the book, ‘The Limits To Growth’ which was published in 1972. Where ever Mollison’s thinking was at in 1970, he was most certainly not associated with Holmgren, who did not arrive in Tasmania until 1974 and who did not meet Mollison until the end of that year. I very much take your point about working with the facts and working with the qualified but you are then setting yourself a high standard that can easily be dismantled when you are so loose with a fact such as this. We should not create myths while in the act of myth criticism otherwise we end up with the legend of David Holmgren and Permaculture, in some far off future time, that tells us that Holmgren taught permaculture to the pharisees while still a boy before traveling to India to meet the Buddha.

    • Thanks for your corrections on permaculture history.

      Of course, the practise of human sacrifice is happening in greater numbers than ever before and war is nothing less than human sacrifice

      Tillman seems a rather odd example of human sacrifice?! One death by “friendly fire” hardly challenges the data showing we are on balance more peaceful overall.

      The Bronze Age may have been (relatively) peaceful; so what? how peaceful was it in ancient Britain before the Bronze Age? You would need vast amounts of data and a sweeping historical over-view to claim things were better in the past- the kind of overview Pinker provides, which strongly supports my view.
      Resource competition can of course contribute to strife; but resource availability is a function of technology, and democracy is closely related to wealth (fossil fuels facilitated the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of women among other things). According to Limits to Growth thinking, resource availability has been steadily declining- and yet to give one notable example, violent crime in NYC has been declining since the 1990s, despite being a densely populated modern city.

      If you think things were generally better in the Bronze Age when life expectancy at birth was about 26yrs, good luck.

      • Just read your reply. As I said, Tillman is one example of what is going down in the modern world of human sacrifice in the guise of war. That was just an example that came to mind as I had recently learned about his story but it must not have been a good way to the make my point as you didn’t get the point. You know and I know that war results in the death of millions upon millions of people. If you don’t think that is human sacrifice, then good luck to you! I personally find it very difficult to see it as anything less than human sacrifice. I take your point about the bronze age. I don’t know what life was like in Bronze Age England but Neil Oliver did make the point that there was no evidence for conflict at that time and he then went onto say that this was due to the small population. I would be interested to know your reference for the life span at that time. Having said all that, I have to admit that I am now more prepared to take on board what you are saying about human life in history. I think I have been too prepared to idealise human pre-history and I think what you wrote made some good points. Probably needed to read it a second time which I just did.

  9. Howdy,
    An interesting article. Lots to think about.
    Only one thing. The link to Holmgren’s Essence of Permaculture is a dead one. If you can relink to the current one below that would be great.
    http://holmgren.com.au/essence-of-permaculture-free/

    regards,

  10. Thanks for this blog post, I had drafted a very similar post for myself, born of deep frustration that the Green and Transition movements in my area seem to be obsessed and infected with anthroposophy and all sorts of other kinds of woo, and there seems to be no awareness at all that might be a problem. But now I don’t have to write it because you’ve already gone there – thanks! You might also be interested in the short book “Dispirited” by my friend Dave Webster, who is a Religious Studies and Philosophy lecturer, where he takes on the “Spiritual but not Religious” “Mind, Body and Spirit” crowd… worth a read IMHO http://www.zero-books.net/books/dispirited‎

  11. It may be in our best interest to encourage everyone to practice Permaculture regardless of their personal views. If we are using PC to invalidate others beliefs or validate our own, we are not promoting our cause. Biodiversity and human diversity do not have to compete. If a person tells me that they experience the Tao while practicing PC, great. If a person tells me that PC demonstrates or affirms their atheism, great, too.

  12. It seems to me from your excellent article, that pc was intentionally designed to be as flexible and universally applicable to various religious expressions as it is in various climates. While new age woo woo is personally irritating to me, it appears that new age woo woo has actually been a vehicle to promote and expand pc, rather than discredit it. If pc can be combined with and furthered by any other belief or nonbelief, I am happy to support its evolution in that way. I had to explain last month to a HOA board that pc is not the came as communism. It’s not hard to just clarify that pc doesn’t have to include spirituality, nor does it have to be distinctly nonspiritual .

  13. Great article! Ive come to permaculture from a gardening perspective and while I’ve gathered a lot of great information on the web from campaigners such as Geoff Lawton, their gift of the gab sometimes drifts unchecked into the realm of woo woo. Bill Mollison on the other hand was sharp as a tack and his skepticism and (in later life) antipathy towards spiritualism and community really strike a chord with me. See the following interview… 
https://youtu.be/6RD1GW-vOHg

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