The most significant problem we face in our society is a cultural one. Our society does not value wisdom. Fortunately, Permaculture has the potential to provide it. It is important to focus on this cultural issue, as the best water, energy, housing, gardening, you-name-it type of system will only have limited impact without solving people/cultural systems.
We live in a culture where our heroes are measured by their short-term actions, from flying to save damsels in distress, to battling evil-doers with brawn and metal. Unfortunately, these heroes are primarily defined by their physical abilities rather than their capacity to make wise choices. I always wonder what happens to these heroes after their amazing deeds are done. Do they live a happy life? Do they live in harmony with their day-to-day environment? Do they eat healthy? Do they lead sustainable lives? Do they set a behaviour we can all emulate? From the recent strain of heroes coming out of Hollywood the answer is most definite: No.
Long ago, we used to revere wisdom. Many societies used to have elders that were respected and sought after for their wise council. In contrast, in our current society people grow old in age, but not in wisdom. We lock our elderly in nursing homes and we certainly don’t seek their advice. They seem to be more lost than children, who have unlimited ability to absorb new electronic technology.
In fact, our society has replaced wisdom with technology. The current belief in the media is that technology will save us in every aspect. We have been convinced that somehow technology will help us grow more food, technology will clean after all of our waste, technology will teach us how to be better people, technology will allow us to have better societies. We have this unhealthy idea that we will be improved by some technology that has not even been invented yet. We have forgotten that technology is just a tool we wield with our hands, we still need to use it wisely.
That is why permaculture is so important. It seeks to incorporate the wisdom gained over the years with a sustainable culture in mind.
“Man Cliff Jumping” by Stacey Swinehart
Why delve in Permaculture?
It was not always like this, there used to be a time when we only had to “work” a few hours of the day for “subsistence”.
There used to be a time when we would spend most of our time with our children and teach them how to be full human beings:
how to deal with death, how to comfort our fellow men, how to court a woman, how to dream and create, what plants to eat, which plants heal, how to live in harmony with nature, in essence, how to be happy.