Permaculture Missive Number One - Fritz the Cat

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Permaculture Missive Number One

Please accept my apologies in advance if I make suggestions that are either out of place or already well covered, as my exposure to the permaculture movement is somewhat limited.  As I understand it permaculture is short for permanent culture, that is, a way of life that is both satisfying to the individual and sustainable into the indefinite future.

That the industrial society that is western civilization is satisfying may be true for some, but the farther one looks into the future the more incredible that future seems, its short term profits slowly undermining its long term viability.  If the poisoning of the air and water, and the exhaustion of the soil has perhaps not reached the crisis some fear, yet real concern is not out of place.  This can´t go on, and as has been pointed out, what can´t go on, won´t go on.

I see the permaculture movement as a continuation of the counter culture movement I, and perhaps most of your parents, came of age in, an earlier resistance to corporate society´s increasing insistence in placing the individual in a subordinate position to society, in contrast to the current of thought that has always existed-that society (another word for culture) is the creation of individuals and must serve them, that when a society, or culture, ceases to satisfy the individual he or she is not only free to re-create society but required by humanity to at least make an attempt to do so.
I will argue for an evolutionary, not revolutionary, move into the future.  Revolutions are fraught with danger and are almost by definition the preserve of an ambitious elite only concerned with personal power, the antithesis of what is called for.  An evolutionary, incremental movement, never so far ahead of the mainstream so as to cause undue alarm, is the best guarantee of sustainability, and the drip, drip, drip of water wearing away stone, or the slow motion growth of the seed to maturity is a much better vision to teach our children than the storming of a citadel that is completely out of reach anyway.  What is urgent is that people change their minds, the rest will follow.

Thus the tactics of arson and destruction, the "propaganda of the deed", what has been called "eco-terrorism" by the mainstream, is counter-productive in the extreme, for many reasons.  The present grows into the future; what goes around comes around; those who live by the sword die by the sword.  Just as the acts of a tiny minority have allowed the enemies of Islam (or the opportunistic coveters of their possessions) to tar the whole religion with the same brush, so one bad apple, one tree spiked, one SUV dealership or ski lodge or bulldozer burned, if condoned or rationalized through some bastardized version of political correctness, spoils the whole barrel and allows the general population to acquiesce in the oppression of the vast majority of people who are trying to live off the land without bothering their neighbors.  Make no mistake, these one-time pin pricks are a drop in the ocean of industrial society, strategically and tactically counter-productive, satisfying or even exhilarating in the present, poisoning the future.

Those who would oppose the evils of industrial society must accept that this entails the rejection of the fruits of that evil.  The latest technological wonder not only requires the excavation of rare metals and the creation of toxic solvents, it requires the acceptance of the system that supports that technology.  Those who stand in line to be the first with the newest in the morning and march for equality in the afternoon can´t be serious.  Not everyone can be first, and effort puts a big strain on both the physical and moral environment.  Sacrifice is on the order of the day, and the first thing to be sacrificed should be pride, followed by our so called standard of living.  Their standards cannot be ours, and are in any event illusory.  The vast majority of the world lives on less than $5 a day.  Your $100 or $1000 a day lifestyle is a monkey on the back of the rest of the world and not sustainable.  Consumer society is the bedrock of industrial society and must be left behind.

Fritz the Cat does not see the permaculture movement as existing anywhere other than on the fringes of industrial society for many, many lifetimes.  Nevertheless, he does see a respite from official hostility in the unwelcome guise of World War Three.  (see the Dark Side Two on  Any war can only be financed from that which is left over from the GDP after civilian requirements have been met, and in any war worth its name civilians will be asked to sacrifice butter, sugar, meat, tobacco, etc., so that more money can be channeled into the war effort, as happened during World War Two in the "Victory Gardens", where people in the U.S. were encouraged to grow as much of their food as possible.

In my darker moments I see the permaculture movement as the spawn of the dark forces that plan and execute war, to educate a young suburbanite generation generations out of touch with the soil with the basic and advanced techniques and rationale necessary to the endeavor of growing food, with the intention of steering them back into the mainstream after the (god forbid) radioactive dust settles.  Be that as it may, the call of the soil is perennial and will establish itself with or against the will of the establishment, some small part of which may actually have our best interest at heart.  As the martial arts teach, the opponent’s strength can be used against him, and the effort to exhort austerity out of a wartime population can be embraced as an entrance into a better world.

Crucial to sustainability and real independence is the cultivation of grain.  Wheat, rice, and corn are the basis of all civilizations and should not be eschewed because of anyone else´s real or imaginary intolerance.  I am skeptical of all the hysteria surrounding GMOs.  Has anyone actually planted any of the supposedly sterile corn seeds?  In any event, heritage seeds are available to those so inclined.  Grains are an order of magnitude more challenging than salad vegetables, herbs, medicinal plants, etc., will separate the men from the boys, and must be tackled at some point in order to secure a truly sustainable future independent of mainstream society.

To be continued            

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