Click to listen to audio file: Foundations of PatternDynamics
This talk was recorded as part of the Certificate 4 and Diploma programs in Accredited Permaculture Training I taught at Permaforest Trust. This was recorded at the beginning of the second semester in 2006, probably in late July or August. It is interesting to go back and listen to how I was thinking about PD at the time now that it has developed into something more tangible 6 years later.
Fascinating talk Tim, thanks for sharing it. When you started talking about being “wholly uninterested…in ‘sustainability’…” I decided I wanted to transcribe that…and then I didn’t know where to stop. So I just posted a transcription of the last part of your talk on my blog, and I’ll share it here for your readers.
“…I am wholly uninterested now, after having witnessed lots of failures, in ‘sustainability’; because there was no attempt at working with self or culture. It was just a focus on nature – those failed. I don’t really have an interest in perpetuating that failure. I will not introduce you to that failure.
I would like to integrate acting on nature through Permaculture and other practices with acting in culture – that’s about storytelling, it’s about framing worldviews, it’s about collective understanding – that’s story and myth. And also introducing practices on self – that’s about developing awareness. Opening up this space where everything you thought was not you becomes you. The only way to do that is to sit in awareness and witness all this stuff. Then, all of a sudden, the boundary fades. That’s human development.
Integrating all those things is a very cool thing to do, and is very powerful. I think that’s what we can offer, and in developing PatternDynamics as a discipline or a modality, what I’m hoping to do is to give you a tool to develop your own integral capacity for sustainability. If you can understand the dynamics in integrated whole systems, you can understand where to intervene to create health where it will have the most effect – how to relieve disease, how to open up the flow. There’s no rational way to understand it- it’s too complex. You can’t understand this by learning ‘A’, learning ‘B’, learning ‘C’, learning ‘D’ and then coming out the other end. You don’t just have A,B,C, and D, you have the whole alphabet, and they’re all swirling around in this great interconnected dynamic play. There’s no way to comprehend that holistic dynamic one bit at a time. You have to develop the capacity to understand the dynamics.
The only way to do that is to stand back in awareness and see the patterns. Patterns are the only way to really understand fluid dynamic integral wholes. And that’s what the universe is, and that’s what we have to get a grasp on.
Both David Holmgren and Bill Mollison [co-founders of Permaculture] have keyed in on this. They know that patterns are how you understand wholes. Ken Wilber also keyed in on this. He calls Integral “The pattern that connects” [a phrase borrowed from Gregory Bateson – another pioneer of pattern literacy]. He’s just taken that natural step beyond ‘if everything’s connected,’ that means my awareness is connected to the awareness of the universe. There’s not such a separation between my experience and the experience full stop – you know, ‘out there’. It’s a natural extension.
So we’ve got a natural resonance between Integral and Permaculture through their understanding that patterns are important to understand integrated wholes.
…PatternDynamics is a base pattern set for understanding – it’s a tool, it’s not reality, it’s just a tool. It’s an educational discipline to help you gain an integral capacity for understanding integral dynamic systems.”
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