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Sunday
Dec232018

our greatest challenge at this historical moment: denial and disinformation

A great deal of permaculture design concerns itself with practical, material matters: sun patterns, capturing and conserving energy (of all kinds), establishing ways to live which honor and work with various planetary cycles and systems dynamics, and so on.  However, an area which doesn't get as much airtime as these practical matters, but which is of great importance in permaculture, involves the ethical principles of permaculture design. 

In coming posts, I will discuss how I work with and apply these principles in my life in more detail.  For now, I will simply say this:  deception (also known as disinformation) is an abuse of human energy and intelligence, and as such, is a violation of the ethical principles of permaculture.  As permaculture designers, it is incumbent upon us to learn how to percieve deception, recognize its harmful effects, and respond effectively to counter it.  The ability to do this is the counterweight to disinformation and denial--two dynamics which are epidemic in global human society at this historical moment-- and thus, deception perception and management is of critical global importance.

As permaculture designers, developing our capacity for deception perception and deception management is as essential to permaculture design as is managing pests or making compost. Tolerance of deception is as damaging to human society as ignoring Himalayan blackberry or Kudzu would be to a food forest.  Unchecked and unaddressed, deception spreads by undermining our ability to trust our own perception and our intuitive sense of the truth. It is invasive in nature, and unless we attend to it constantly, it will continue to expand until it fully undermines our ability to live ethically and responsibly.  

The embedded video has more to say about the current state of deception in human culture.  While this video is explicitly discussing the media's response to reports of Extra Terrestrial contact, and how people self-censor accordingly, the dynamic described--the use of social stigma to control perception and behavior--is equally applicable to other issues, such as geopolitics (for example, invoking "conspiracy theory" to silence people who question the official story of 9/11 or seek to investigate it properly) or history (for example, brainwashing college freshmen into believing that the drafters of the U.S. Consitution were "white supremecists" and that destruction of the United States as a sovereign nation is required to atone for this).

In permaculture design, we are tasked with paying attention to the whole...and this includes awareness of our mental models and our thought processes, as well as awareness of who (or what) is influencing our perception.  I encourage you to watch this video and to consider how the current state of deception (in media, politics, education, medicine, etc.) is affecting your ability to foster a generative ecosystem in your corner of the globe. As one permaculture designer to another, I encourage you to learn to observe the patterns of deception in your communicty, and to educate yourselves on the methods necessary to attend to them in a holistic and gnerative manner, just as you would do with any other problematic development in your sphere of influence.  More later.