Please let us explore 'spirituality' and this means being free to question

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by zvall, Jul 26, 2012.

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  1. zvall

    zvall Junior Member

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    HI, I am glad that there is a section of these forums which encourages discussion about 'spirituality' and/or 'spirits' because I think this is deeply important, especially so in the Permaculture community. I am from the UK, and recently inquired at the UK permaculture forums how come there was no section about spiritualty and was very surprised in the responses I received, and saddened too. For example (my username is sheeza there btw)
    https://www.permacultureforum.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=1645&p=7046#p7046
    IF true, that Bill Mollison was angry the hippies 'coopted' "what was meant to be a pragmatic methodology', is there implied in that that ONLY Bill in the history of human kind discoverd the intelligence of working with nature, and permaculture, OR did he either knowingly or unknowingly or a bit of both, 'co-opt' more ancient knowledge and practice by peoples who DID not reject spiritual reality? because from what I have learnt, Indigenous peoples have used many of these principles us moderns are only just re-learning thanks to the likes of Bill Mollison and others, so if anyone has 'co-opted' it is us moderns who have been 'educated' into a worldview which dismisses and discredits any knowledge and experience of spirits.

    I am not however saying I know what 'spirits' are and this is reason often I will put commas around that term as I will around 'spirituality'. The last term is a loaded term which western religion as cut off from the material realm and stuck it in the sky, so whenever I say that term I am not meaning it that way, but in the way that I see 'matter' and 'spirit' as not two conceptual catetogories, but a unified dynamic whole as is dak and ligght, good and bad, male and female life and death etc.

    As I am saying in the other forums, I am all for questioning which is fun and steers us away from authoritarianism, because many of the questions we ask we cannot declare we absolutely know, but however it IS important to explore. So if any of you join in this discussion and I question or challenge views, you can do same to me and it is this exploration that is fruitful, and hopefully we can learn from each other even though we may not agree with stuff.

    I am re-reading this fascinating book by Jerejmy Narby called The Cosmic Serpent, where he comes to the extrarodinay insights that Indigenous people say and mean that they get their knowledge from plant spirits, and that what they find out mythically correlates in many ways with science. So this is kind of the merging of these very seemingly different worldviews. I think stuff like this needs to be addressed and explored, don't you?
     
  2. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Happy for you to start a conversion of spirituality, but it is an odd topic for a first post.

    For me spirituality is irrelevant; probably because I was taught in a church school and equate it with religion/churches, which mostly disgust me today. I think if JC came back today, and saw what was being done and said in his name, he would be appalled.

    Some friends have suggested I should have "spirituality" ( I am a bit attracted to Buddhism) but mostly it just does "not compute" for me and i do not find it necessary.

    i prefer people to "do" rather than just "believe"
    What a person does is far more import to me than what he/she believes. Perhaps one of the reasons I like Permaculture as it is a practical doing thing ( for me at least)
     
  3. NGcomm

    NGcomm Junior Member

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    An interesting question zvall. My view is that 'spirituality' is simply a way to express information we, as yet, do not have the appropriate language or model for. The reason I prefer this approach is that without it we require 'faith' and this is so easily manipulated through the fundamental human condition of ignorance. I don't propose that we need to follow rationalism to the 'enth degree as we should keep in mind that the total is larger than the sum of its parts, which is, I feel, what Bill tried to do with permaculture. Look at how things interact and keep exploring, don't sit in wonderment and praise the invisible fruit faerie for all SHe provides and throw another corpse on the pyre to appease it when the fruit gets infected. Just my 2.5c worth (damned inflation!)
     
  4. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    My spirituality is very personal so I don't tend to discuss it even with my closest family members. I think spirituality is very personal and because it is personal I don't see it as part of permaculture, though permaculturists themselves may be spiritual. Seems like there was a thread about this somewhere, maybe it was on the PRI website blog comments section.....

    I agree with Michaelangelica, to me permaculture is a "practical doing thing." For me it contains ethics which are part of doing. Why I accept the ethics may be spiritual (or possibly esthetic), but I see the ethics themselves as very practical.

    I have experienced what I think might be "spirits" (or not) but I don't think spirits are part of permaculture. :)
     
  5. NGcomm

    NGcomm Junior Member

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    Hey Michaelangelica - as a practicing Buddhist (have no idea why it requires a capital 'B') for close to 40 years you will find it just as perverse as other practices even though it does not believe in a god (we can all be Buddha's, we just need to become enlightened (said with casual flippancy)). As it to is another social control framework I would suggest you review single practices such as vippasana instead of getting caught up in the "Prostrate three times but make sure your hands are positioned correctly otherwise you will be reincarnated as a duck" type of trip, which is as deeply a part of Buddhism as any and all other religions/philosophies that express themselves through the fundamental human framework of ignorance.
     
  6. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    Organized Buddhism always struck me as kind of a way to get poor people to be ok with being poor. That social control framework.... "Karma tells me I'm good because I'm rich. You're poor therefore you must be evil now or have been evil in a previous life." But not having studied it, I may be confused..... :)
     
  7. NGcomm

    NGcomm Junior Member

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    Well said Ludi - May my karma run over your dogma :)
     
  8. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    I try not to have any dogma....but - *arf* - it may appear in spite of my best efforts! :)
     
  9. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    I think of it this way. The ethics, principles and design aspects of permaculture are the hardware and framework from which we should operate. To make it work for you, you can install your own software including for example, religion, quantum physics or spirituality.:nod:
     
  10. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Hi zvall, I followed the thread on the UK forum for a while. There are some people in permaculture who get nervous about the whole spirituality thing, mostly I think because of the uptake of permaculture by hippies and new agers. This is seen as undermining permaculture's ability to colonise the mainstream.

    I'm pretty relaxed about it because I live in a country where it's not really an issue. We do have hippy/conservative divides, but on the whole people get along well enough. I also think that spirituality is important, and that there is a natural confluence between people working with nature based spiritualities and permaculture. Can't see how that can be avoided.

    So by all means, talk about spirituality and permaculture here. We've had a few other threads like this before.


    As an aside, we don't really know what Mollison thought, but I have to say that if he or anyone rues the day that the hippies took over permaculture then they should have been more careful about who they let into the PDCs at the start. Personally I can't see how mainstream farming would have been open to permaculture. In the West at least, the hippies were needed to practice Pc, make it normal, and then gradually others have taken it on. Speaking from the NZ experience at least. We should be grateful to the hippies instead of pillorying them (and I say that as someone who sometimes rolls my eyes at hippy culture).
     
  11. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    I agree, pebble. Maybe Bill was just being a cranky old guy and has since turned into a less cranky older guy. :)
     
  12. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day zvall

    Welcome to the PRI Forum.

    Always an interesting topic (especially after a few glasses of Terra's Rhubarb Wine down at the Beer Hall).

    However, for me, the practical (and therefore the rational) must take precedence in terms of my time and effort.

    I'm sure you will have lots of fun chatting about it, and I wish you all the best.

    Cheerio, Markos
     
  13. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    Bill Mollison and David Holmgren have talked about indigenous tribes and their permacultural methods quite a bit. Permaculture, in regards to the concepts of food forests along with the ethics and principles are taken from pre-industrialized cultures with a lot of added science. There are also other examples of food forests in the 1930's. So while parts of permaculture were not invented by the originators, the entire package wasn't put together before then(that I know of at least). I don't think I've ever heard Bill Mollison say anything about hippies other than permaculture needs to be more science based(but I don't think it was derogatory, but then again I'm not a hippy).

    My opinion in why religion(call it what you will) is held at arm's length by permaculturalists is simply because science and religion do not play well. For instance, the Judeo-Christian religions put humans above nature, but permaculture puts humans as part of nature. That is a very important distinction.

    Add in to the mix that most religions don't play well together(they all think their god is the right one after all), then you have a real headache when dealing with a group of people. Besides, you're already dealing with a lot of politics with permaculture, you don't really need to be adding more fuel to that particular fire.
     
  14. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Hi Zvall, I'm always up for a metaphysical chat.

    I just sneak it into my regular posts like devious little splinters of subterfuge. My version of spirituality has nothing to do with organised religions (I reckon they mostly miss the whole point of spirituality). For me it has everything to do with my own personal inner truth. The principles and practices of permaculture resonate very harmoniously with my inner universe.

    I too think we should embrace and celebrate the contribution hippies have made to permaculture and the wider community. I reckon there are now things that happen in mainstream society that were once the sole domain of hippies - I still don't understand what the hippies do/did that is in any way offensive or something to cringe about. I'm talking about proper hippies, not designer hippies of course. ;) Designer hippies, designer greenies and designer permies are a more troublesome issue perhaps. The problem is the 'Label', once you label something you limit it.

    I suspect those who wish to distance themselves from hippies don't understand hippies and more importantly I think they are denying their own inner hippy. Those who have no problem with hippies most likely understand hippies and embrace the hippy within.

    We can learn from everyone and everyone should be included and embraced.
     
  15. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I heard it from the horses mouth - Some of Bills best friends were hippies and some were ecofacists too - there is plenty of room for all and no room for divides IMO
     
  16. zvall

    zvall Junior Member

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    ahaaaaa, love your post. All this interest of replies is great. I really want to reply to everyone because you all make good points, but I wonder if that might screw up the thread--I dunno, but I will use yours as a kind of of springboard and which takes into account the gist I feel coming from all the current replies. I kinda hear that science and spirituality canot mix well; that Judeo Christian and even Eastern religions are more trouble than they are worth because they impose constrictive traditions and practices on them and divide. I actually agree with this, and I questions the Eastern beliefs like I question western.

    If any of you read the link I posted to the UK permaculture forum you may have read a little of my life story were I was actually turned onto LSD by some hippies, though they were more called 'heads' then. I was only 15, and what they did was wrong, because you SHOULD never give people psychedelics without their understanding what they are taking, BUT nevertheless it sure changed my life, and brought me back to awe and wonder of nature I had lost from being a little kid. So that is GOOD. When I look at the politicians and suits and see the masks they wear, and their sadism, and their cocksuredness in their 'all-knowingness' and their utter disregard for nature and community, I see how it can happen, because like I said --with hindsight, I could see that I had lost respect for nature, and in parks would just throw litter at it, which is a sure sign of disrespect, right, and I would LOVE the big cities with the skycrapers, and roads, and flyovers, and neon, and where nature is hardly seen except for some designer tress here and there to gentrify the concrete and glass phallic structures. get me? So when I look at this culture now with its suited, (both males and females), coiffured , with the backdrop of the computer click non-organic scenarios they live in---all that, and the wars, and corruption, and greed, etc etc--I am seeing people who have been 'educated' like I had been, and have lost their soul.
    I got online in about 2004, and of course the first ports of call were psychedelic forums, but I was shocked to find some of these places moderated, and also having conformist members of same mindset who EVEN though they claimed to have had psychedelic experience would yet still support the scientific materialist model!! And would castigate you for what they called 'magical thinking', and would demand evidence for anything you might say. I found this SO disturbing, because my own experience was nothing like that...lol. I have wondered about this, and although I have not interviewed these types--they are so freakin arrogant, I wouldn't be able to--I am assuming this: That, unlike myself who had very early experience of psychedelics, and had hated school, so although somehow the culture had done its stuff and de-wilded me, and got me hooked on thie cities, nevertheless I had not been too indoctrinated in their 'science is god' trip. Whereas, I am assuming that people who have had psychedelic experiences, and yet do so, this could be that their initiation into psychedelic experience came later in life when they already had been 'too educated' in rationalism, and what this maay do is that on the 'come down' all that takes hold again and any insights that may threaten that worldview are suppressed.

    You may wonder why I am emphasizing psychedelic experience? Well as I say it changes MY life, and made me realize that spirit is part OF nature, or in other words nature is ALIVE. This insight is of course the very ancient Indigenous animist understanding.

    Why people are so disillusioned with western forms of religion which are Judeo Christian is that 'spirit' was taken out of nature and put in the sky and nature was said to be 'fallen', and that we are born in original sin. This I call a TOXIC myth, because it is designed to divide us from nature, from our bodies and our own natures, and destroy real community as well as sense of community with all other species. So you are RIGHT to be repulsed by this toxic myth!
    As for Eastern religion, let us take Buddhism---the bones of it seems to be emphasis on meditation, the shutting of the eyes and 'going within', and the goal is ESCAPE from nature, our bodies, and our natures---so once again there is this sense that nature, and ourselves are wrong and need escaping from. So I challenge all that, and when I say the tern 'spirits' or 'spirituality' I do not mean any of that.
     
  17. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    "Designer" looks like a label...... :)
     
  18. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Some believe that religion started with mushrooms

    https://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/wong/BOT135/Lect20b.htm
     
  19. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I just love it when someone starts a thread on spirituality.
    There are so many diverse ideas and beliefs on this subject.

    One of my best friends is a hippie from way back and was thrilled when I told her I had discovered permaculture and told her about the ethics and principles.
    She was part of the Nelson commune for ages and enjoyed her stay at the Wanganui commune.

    For me spirituality starts with the understanding and acceptance that we are in essence spiritual beings who just happen to be existing in this physical place at this time for whatever reason.

    The partaking of drugs seems to be an accepted part of 'discovering ones spirituality',but to me its not much more than escapeism and maybe alitle bit of just being naughty.


    I dont see it as developing your spirituality as it is using something to create a feeling of euphoria-or wellbeing...or until you come down again....why do you need a drug to make you feel good?
    If you are a spiritual being then taking something that makes the body loosen up is just that-you're already a spirit and dont Need any additive to prove it.
    Its abit like putting flavour enhancers in your food or colourants to make it look or taste better.


    I dont understand why people say science and spirituality cant exist side by side....Quantum physics when studied should show that this is definitely not the case.
    Science is defined as the study of.... what ever; therefore it is a never ending journey, just as a spiritual journey is.

    Our culture has very little spirituality in it, even with its religions, which are mostly to do with the worship of a god and an accepted form of behaviour along with required rituals.
    There seems to be little attention paid to our own nature and unforutantely, they seem to be hijacked by controlfreaks who want you to conform to the ideal and not deviate.

    My belief is that too much attention is put on the physical.materialism leaving us feeling unfullfilled and dissatisfied with our lot.
     
  20. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    Many/most of the plants, mushrooms and other substances people use to experience an altered state of consciousness/spirituality do not make one "feel good," as far as I can tell. Substances and methods used to gain altered consciousness of the spiritual variety are, in general, uncomfortable and/or difficult, even excruciatingly painful.
     
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