Speechless! Humbled and grateful to be here now. To read this, hear this and experience the space and resonance such wonderful thoughtful beings possess and share. Very reverent bow being offered in recognition of the hopefulness manifest in this work and insights. Thank you.
Dan, curious if you asked Rowe what she thinks the “plot” is for permaculture? Her line of “we’ve lost the plot” has been a recurring thought. Just curious what Rowe’s version of the “originating impulse” is.
Love it Jason. I did not, but I will!
This is gold, thanks for this material cant wait for the second part. Lots of great bits and pieces of information. For me its amazing to get so many juicy details about his journey in becoming the wise man he is now.
What I take of most value for designing: the part when he talks about where to find inspiration to create systems, not looking into a pristine natural landscape (super common to hear and say it in PDCs) but rather look for places where there was a human intervention and was then left abandoned observing that intersection. Then he poetically compares landscapes from his region.
David Holmgren is an artist, as permaculturist that is something I want to connect to, passion and experience seem basic ingredients for this, enjoying this journey and thankful to have MPS as I walk it!
Thanks so much Hugo and all for so many great comments and reflections from everyone! I love that different moments of the conversation stood out for different people. Incidentally, we recently got footage in one of David’s very favourite abandoned arboretums, so you can look forward to some sort of video clip about this at some point (and can support the project at www.ReadingLandscape.org). Editing up part two today! Also so you all know I’m planning to take any questions that come out of comments on parts 1 and 2 back to David to hear his reflections and plan to share those here too.
I am beginning my journey into permaculture, and this conversation sparked a wave of curiosity within me that resulted in pages of incoherent written notes as I tried to process all the strands of information, impactful quotes, and perspectives Rowe offered. As a young person just getting into this work, I am overwhelmed by the potential of permaculture to fuel meaningful, community-based social, cultural, and ecological change. I really appreciated hearing her criticisms of how permaculture has somewhat situated itself within a limited-sphere. I was very conscious in my academic settings that the students interested in permaculture, along with the professors that referenced permaculture in global sustainable development or environmental sustainability courses, all seemed to be middle-class and white ‘granola’ types. While I myself identify with this group…. I really responded to her dedication to bring permaculture where it desperately NEEDS to be. I am at a crossroads of trying to pinpoint where I would like to focus my attention as I forge my own career and try to figure out the big questions: what do I truly value and what do I want to contribute to the world around me. It is so exciting and impactful (many aha moments) to hear Rowe discuss the intersection of human rights issues, community-oriented and empowered development, and regenerative ecological practices in her own work. Rowe’s work is motivating, encouraging, and inspiring. This episode is something I can reference when (if ever) I need to reassurance that this is the field I want to grow from and devote my life and studies to. I just finished undergrad- having based my concentration on the intersection between rethinking global development and the potential of regenerative agriculture- and this episode resonated with me in ways I am currently unable to articulate. I know I am hopping on the Rowe-fan bandwagon, but I am so lucky to have come across her. With permaculture, I am seemingly at a precipice of information that will alter my professional, philosophical, and spiritual life in its entirety. I am grateful to be beginning my understanding of what permaculture is and the potential it has from people like you and Rowe. What an incredible hero to champion! Thank you for the meaningful questions you asked and for sharing this powerful conversation on your podcast!
So glad you got so much out of it Julia. You’ll be happy to hear I’m recording a follow-up interview with Rowe this coming week – if anyone has any questions they’d like to ask me on top of Jason’s one about if PC has “lost the plot” then what is the plot so far as Rowe is concerned? Best of luck in exploring the big questions and I was happy to read your mention of the overwhelming potential of permaculture (which this project is all about exploring and hopefully helping develop).
Hi Dan if you haven’t already thought of this I’d highly recommend these interviews being archived somewhere. They have huge historical importance. Here in Aotearoa both the Hocken in Dunedin and one I can’t remember the name of perhaps in Wellington would have been very welcoming of it. I’m sure there would be one or more in Oz?
From Introducing Phase Two of Making Permaculture Stronger: Collaboratively Developing Permaculture's Potential (E28)on
Coming late to the coppice / unfolding potential discussion (you know what with baby making and rearing, pandemics etc) and I think it is a very exciting development.
From Introducing Phase Two of Making Permaculture Stronger: Collaboratively Developing Permaculture's Potential (E28)on
Thanks Pippa. Baby making, pandemic, big year! 🙂
This is a remarkable interview – I am surprised there aren’t more comments. I was fascinated by many things, including about design being a literacy we use in our lives rather than something a 10 day PDC teaches us fully.
Thanks Jon and yes I agree – I got SO much out of this one. I actually did have the thought that maybe I’m doing something wrong given the lack of engagement on what I would have thought was one of the most on-topic and exciting conversations yet had on the show! Lessens the motivation to pursue a follow up conversation with David, though that said there were some great comments on Part One so all is not lost :-). Up next is Carol Sanford on the Seven First Principles of Regeneration – hopefully that one inspires a comment or two, otherwise it might be time for me to start asking some questions about how to make this podcast and blog more useful and relevant for folk :-). Actually that said if anyone is actually reading this stuff and not finding it particularly comment worthy, please leave a comment telling me what would be worthwhile, valuable, and perhaps even exciting future content for your journey with permaculture as a design approach.
Dan, this is spectacular work. It is a deep contribution to the permaculture story. I’m hoping to re-listen and take more notes soon. Keep doing what you are doing.
Message received and thanks Scott, will do!
Hey Dan, I’m a long term listener that has never commented on anything. I’d like to be interactive, but have two young children which stretches my capacities to limited ‘outside of the family’ scopes. I apologise for not partaking in the work. I’m friendly with Dave and have been with him on top of two different hills watching listening and questioning him as he read landscape. As you also said: I was looking at him more than the landscape he was reading, trying to get a feel of how he was seeing.
Thank you for all your work
Hey Tys and thank you so much for popping your head up here :-). Traversing hilltops with Dave is my idea of a great time for sure :-).
I really love these two interviews and am getting so much out of them. I’ve referred to them many times lately within my community of practice. Thanks you so much Dan, David and team for the extra special care you have all taken with producing and sharing these.
I can understand some frustrations Dan with the limited comments and conversation in this forum so far on this, HOWEVER I would take this an indication of great reverence and respect, even if the radio-silence may seem less generative (thus far).
It reminds me of a similar pattern of behaviour I’ve experienced many times.. ie: Sometimes a very special fruit or vegetable is brought in from our garden (the first one, the nicest one, the only one, the biggest one, etc.) and so it ends up sitting coveted in the refrigerator awaiting a very special preparation and occasion to eat and enjoy it together.. THEN of course it is found weeks later in a very compromised state.. why? Because we care so much apparently.. but quite a disfunctional (and wasteful) way to show it! Hope my analogy isn’t way off here.. just something that seemed to relate in my mind 😉
About the interview:
I have been so impressed with what David shared about how permaculture design doesn’t really lend itself well to replication.. therefore IF it could be spread by replication anywhere it’d be in the cookie cutter suburbs! I will always remember this as one of the great examples of ‘the problem is the solution’ and this story will forever serve as a reminder to me to expand my sense of what is possible when we work with the true character and potential of each unique situation.
Looking forward to hearing much more about the idea of ‘strategic design’ in future conversations as well as expanding on the story of David’s mentorship with Hakai Tane.. AND much more about Hakai’s life and work.
Something that was said by Alan Savory in your interview with him has changed the way I am hearing things now about this. It is the idea of seeing ‘Agriculture’ as a whole, not in the limited sense of ‘feild-culture’ with the mere provision of food, but the whole being (roads, clothes, cities, people, laws, etc.). This is having a profound effect on how I am interpreting what David is sharing.
Also, I felt that David’s sharing about the re/democratization of design as an important theme in his studies and work is very relevant for the further explorations of the core essence of Permaculture. This idea is not automatically understood in the reading of common permaculture “definitions”.
I’d also super curious to learn more about techniques for reading the “regoliths” (or is this limited to specialist and these special core tests?). But what can ordinary people do to ‘see’ and interpret these in a landscape with their bodies and feelings, and what are the strategies for applying these observations and interpretations into design process expressions?
So much here is still sinking in and I am looking forward to an occasion to listen through once again.
Thanks for these reflections Adrian and yes, let’s interpret it that way re this episode being an unusually special fruit :-). We had a truly massive egg recently that no one wanted to use until the perfect occasion arose :-). I’m keen to pursue the reading landscape and story of place themes in future too.
Dan – eternal gratitude for this conversation with Carol. I listened deeply; it is the perfect nodal intervention to shake up/shake loose fragmented ways of seeing. I find fresher ways of being in the world emerging. Best Holiday gift ever.
Thanks Linda :-). So true!
Thanks so much for this one, Dan. How I love the 15 second rewind button and what great use I made of it during this interview.
I do like your caution at the beginning; Carol is not someone that you have on in the background. Deep attention is required.
Some favourite quotes (and there were many):
Wholes: See a value adding process in which wholes are working
Essence: A different way of seeing the world. It’s not seeing its parts and putting them together. It’s seeing it working and evaluating process and what’s being brought at the level of core.
Potential: Once we can see a whole we can come to be able to see its essence. Now we can touch its potential.
Development: Development is the whole of my being becoming more able, less arrogant, less reactive, more able to see impossible things.
Nestedness: You only get to the quantum view when you see wholes nested
Nodal intervention: Most people think of growth and scaleability…some people started to figure out that they can leverage something….but what I want people to get to in essence thinking is nodal….you put a pin in something and poof, the whole system changes.
I don’t have one for fields. I appreciate that you were short on time at this point and I have listened to it a few times and still feel like I’m missing the essence of it.
The quotes must, of course, be considered within the context of the whole of the interview. To do otherwise would be reductionist. The interview must be considered within its nested context. Mostly I am left once again grateful for Carol’s challenging and enlightened thinking.
With regard to ‘wholes’ I feel it may be worth revisiting the concept of ‘holons’, as they are both wholes and parts simultaneously. I have found this word useful in teaching because it reminds students that any division of anything from its context is artificial as nothing can exist outside its context and we only divide the world into separate ‘things’ for our own purposes. Truly no separate ‘thing’ exists. So, for example, we may talk about a leaf, but this is a holon, an artificial boundary we have created in order to consider the leaf, and to do so without recognising the relationship to the tree, and the tree’s relationship with the planet would be to fail to truly understand the leaf.
While I appreciate Carol’s thoughts on not reducing the examination of a site to a list I do feel that for many people this may be the path that leads to a final appreciation of the whole, and Carol herself describes her own development as somewhat following this path. Perhaps for many of us, we build our understanding of wholeness over time having first observed that understanding parts was useful but inadequate.
My own essence included an experience as a teenager when I realised that “I” was a holon, and that in fact I do not have any clear edges. Where do “I” begin and end? The air I am breathing contains elements that have cycled around and around for all of time and the thing I think of as my body is composed of the same elements. When I no longer live those elements get returned to the system, like a cup of water returning to the ocean. While I live those same elements pass through me and from me. There is no cell left that was part of the “I” that had these thoughts as a teenager and yet the illusion of some kind of continuity persists. When Carol talks about seeing wholes my response is that there is only one whole. Everything else is a holon; a thought exercise that allows us to have a conversation about a “thing” but which is ultimately as constraining to our thinking as it is useful.
When I talk about all design progressing from the macro to the micro I start from a planetary perspective; what does the earth need? Carol’s “nesting” language has given me a useful way to describe this approach.
Best wishes to you and your family for a wonderous 2021 and thank you for all the leveraging podcasts.
Thanks Meg and so glad you got value from the chat (i.e., that the podcast as a whole was a value-adding process for you in this instance – woo!). I resonate with your description of holons though I remember asking Carol about them in our first chat and she wasn’t into them in favour of stick with nested wholes. Be great to have a transcription of what she said, exactly, if anyone is keen. One observation I have made is that it is very possible to grasp the concept of holons then to use it in a purely mechanical way, such as Toby Hemenway did in the Permaculture City. In my work on Living Design Process, I’m developing ways of avoiding that trap, where things get pretty damned interesting. One aspect of holonic or holarchic thinking worth reflecting on is to what extent is the whole in part-whole being thought of as a physical container, Russian-doll style, or as a super-part, in the sense of a collection of parts. I’d love more thinking partners in nutting this stuff out if anyone is keen, though we’re making solid progress in the MPS Community of Practice too.
Always a pleasure having you in the mix Meg!
Clearly I’ve been thinking about this podcast all day. 😀
I wonder if Carol is familiar with Lynne Kelly’s work on memory and the techniques used by non-literate cultures to remember vast amounts of knowledge. One of her observations, having taught herself these techniques, is that learning this way provides her with a different kind of knowledge, where the wholeness is apparent (my words but I’m avoiding ‘interconnectedness of things’). In the same way that language limits our thinking, could the written word be causative in the compartmentalisation of knowledge? Do traditional methods of learning naturally support an appreciation of all things as being one thing?
Lynne also makes the observation that children’s stories in indigenous cultures are the scaffold that provides the pattern for all subsequent levels of learning. For me this is analogous to the way I teach permaculture (and I mean no disrespect to students here) where the introductory level is what seems to be a simple pattern but the appreciation of the whole grows with various levels of learning.
All interesting ponderings.
Dear Dan Palmer, I must say I am very grateful about the amount of work and information you have compiled over this whole enterprise. I just found about permaculture last summer and began a deep dive. Right now I don’t have the vocabulary to articulate my feelings or insights about these matters but I will do my best.
I found deeply enriching David Holmgren notion of reading landscape. As Carol Sanford hinted, it is an ability one develops and unique to an individual. Yet it was inspiring and even began to explore my own city to see what is going on. I listened to both chapters of his interview, but I couldn’t make up my mind, I will try to take some notes, if only to find points of resonance and engage in a discussion later next year. The Regenerative Life approach has also been deeply enriching on engaging my life decisions. Mark Savory interview is also excellent. And I find your departure from metaphors intriguing.
I studied oceanography in college, I like the geological side of it, particularely interested on this notion of geodiversity, I was studying fossils before deciding I didn’t like academia enough to stick with it. On the topic of marine permaculture, I found out most of these projects are big scale kelp farms, I wondered what Rose thought of these “big scale” approaches.
I am based in Baja California, sea otter populations were decimated two centuries ago, but rumour says that they are slowly returning, their populations are recovering. I wonder about this idea one friend of mine propossed to me, the idea of reef-culture, you see everytime a wave hits and washes over the sand, a small ecosystem is born, as the practice of flooding a farm and letting nature do her magic. It is a multiculture approach rather than a monoculture. Which the kelp forests farms seem to me looked from a distance, it might ignore the complex nature, the web of relationships below the sea surface. Perhaps a nodal intervention might help.
There is also the Gulf of California, which is controversial, as it involves the interests of a lot of parties (both from the US and Mexico), it is a complex issue, and people seem to blame one side or the other. Even National Geographic is involved. There is overfishing, there is a rise in private properties over the coast, minery residues, the arresting of the flux of fresh water and sediment coming north from the Colorado River. The situation is dire, but I will try to find some potential between these tensions.
It has been a complex year, but thank you for making it better, hope you stay well along with your family. Happy new year!
Thanks for offering the diagram interpretation Dan. It has stirred up some exciting thoughts.. and I still keep seeing it as the torus pattern like the “field process model” is depicted (and your drawing is basically this too if visualized in volumetric shape and motion). The path (generally) following a swirl down through the inner hole; through and around the outer field and back through the inner vortex again, ad infinitum.
I tried to illustrate this too a few months back (as you’ve seen) and realized after comparing these diagrams now that the ‘seeming’ overlap in mine was simply in a non-deliberate place (so as to not show favor).. though ultimately just a difference of perspective (the explicate order (?). But I do really love the idea of regenerative ‘development’ as the ecotone of inner and outer.
One thing I feel wanting to do is drop the numbers from the concept and title as they are not meant strongly as “steps”, but more as nested levels and so the number sequence feels a bit distracting.. perhaps some kind of realm of entry might be indicated by an arrow.. if even necessary. Though I understand why the order is also important (haha, it’s always both-and).. However with the torus concept described above (and of course originally by Jascha Rohr & Sonja Hörster) we can visualize how we are always there –in process, in an evolving field.
In any case.. good to have several models kicking around to get multi-faceted view of the various ‘inclusions’. A technique I find useful.
Something that also came up in this first listen is the idea of ‘nestedness’ where I couldn’t help but recall Christopher Alexander’s excoriating conclusion to his “A city is not a tree” essay where he warns of defining (or worse designing) relationships as strict hierarchies with razor edges. So the lesson that I take from that is: instead of feeling confounded by looking for clarity about the boundaries of wholes and nestedness (like trying to find where the fog begins or ends with a magnifying glass!).. I am just going to let that go because it is always meant to be fuzzy (and is always a matter of mindset, perspective/aspect); then be able to redirect more attention to the essence of the whole (though there is also good value in trying just a little to look for the edges! So you can know when to drive slowly and put the fog lights on). All that said.. I do find it tricky to visualize this nestedness as a 3D semi-lattice (as per C. Alexander’s essay).. and not as an overly chaotic mesh structure.. perhaps a growing, dividing cell in an eggshell in a birds nest in the mesh of tree branches in the life-field of a tree, etc.. (ie: many patterns nested and overlapping).
One last thing.. I’d love to hear more about the roots of these principles from a direct indigenous personal telling and interpretation of them as Carol has mentioned of (a take on Carol’s evolving explorations of these ideas as sincere contribution to the renaissant consciousness; as well as relating these ideas to traditional cultural understanding and knowledge).
My working take away is that ‘essentializing’ is in the sincerity of trying (opening-up) to sense ‘essence’ and moreover it is in the relationship growing processes of that.. while also coming to appreciate that one’s development of understanding is a never-finished situation.. as the essence of the whole is also in process and so too is evolving. The processes of essentializing may be also unveiling one’s own essence (thus ripening potential for both).
About nodes of permaculture education:
I’ve had the opportunity to run a small group PDC spread out over 24 three hour sessions this past year as a living design process. I have not followed an existing lesson plan sequence. Several of the first sessions we’re all about exploring what I felt is the kernel of permaculture –a compassionate anthropocene era vision for Humanity and Earth living within her limits and abundance; coupled with a belief that a conscious human realignment with-as-for living systems is imperative.
With just this we spent lots of time just trying out mentally and physically what this might entail (before even learning any of the established permaculture principles or ethics), harkening a time when Holmgren and Mollison had only a foggy notion.
By the time we got to actually dipping into THE principles and ethics, they were unpacked as just one interpretation of the core concept (Mollison and Holmgren’s kick at the vision and hypothesis).. as well as not entirely novel, just specially curated.. this then allowed us to access the rest of the curriculum through this lens and the idea that permaculture is very much open and it’s all up for interpretation (majorly inspired by your tree chopping Dan). By taking this approach to learning about permaculture I was able to bring the class in at the ground level.
As we moved into learning about processes, these were explored as a whole spectrum of approaches and attitudes to raise consciousness that there is no one right way (and that so much is not known). We looked at the idea of a maturation of one’s process from simple pre-planned procedures to one’s that evolve into more of an intuitive-alive arts-craft –also expandingly faciliatative and educative. The idea of processes occuring throughout whether or not one is consciously involved (or even involved at all) is also a powerful concept to share that resonated really well with the class (ie: the Field Process Model).
All in all, I am really grateful for so many of the mind expanding ideas that are daylit here. The first principles and paradigm literacy work that you are interpreting with Carol Sanford have greatly expanded my notion of what it is to ‘observe and interact’ with the whole being of a (path-project-self-fellow-place). Thanks for opening space for this all.
Adrian like for Susan this lands for me as really beautiful and important work you’re doing here. I think I’m going to have to ask you to share more in a podcast chat some time if you’re up for it!
A beautiful way to approach teaching a PDC! I am saving this comment so I can imitate this when I start teaching. I like it a lot that the students loved the lots of ways to go idea. Your sense of an intuitive-alive arts-craft while also fufilling an expandingly facilitative and educative social role is amazing. It’s a picture of how a whole new regenerative paradigm of society and culture would work. Thanks!
I am flattered that you are inspired Susan. This is still an experiment in progress, but it has garnered very intriguing and promising results and I feel grateful to have had the liberty to try this out (hooray for the agility of small groups!).
This conversation felt particularly relevant to our work; almost like looking where we expect to be in a few years. The bit about removing our biases/preferences from projects is fascinating and an ongoing challenge for us. I liked the simple activity for the PDC to practice at least seeing your initial biases/preferences and trying to break that pattern.
Oftentimes we have clients that ask straightforwardly “What would you do if this was your land/project?”. There is a mess of missing context trying to answer that. When I answer that I state clearly this is based on my skills, capacity, quality of life I want, and so forth. But I do find it is an opportunity for me to apply my bias/preference in a useful way; giving the client a different lens, and perhaps inspiring them to take a more unique approach. Almost always my answer involves something simpler, slower, with less work/time/money than what the client has been striving for.
Appreciate the ongoing interviews!
Great interview indeed!
I am feeling hugely uplifted after listening to this conversation. Absolutely energizing for me!
Thank you Takota for your openness in the meander of this conversation, lifting the paddles out now and then to reflect and drift and see where the current goes.. and the water was moving nicely wasn’t it!
..and Dan, I am so appreciative of what I am getting from the enrichment of your way of being with these questions in this realm.. real coherence was felt in this conversation.
Looking forward to a follow up to this someday and to checking out your book soon too Takota.
Thanks Adrian – I too was so energised by this conversation, and in finding another person, like yourself, genuinely interested in having these kinds of conversations and explorations.
The type of design process you describe reminds me of a waking dream or hallucination I had while on Peyote in which I could design the architecture into which I walked as I went. Most enjoyable. The process you describe also reminds me of how I think humanity has evolved to survive, especially going through population bottlenecks due to climate instability or other profound change by: adapting moment to moment, feeling our way, learning by doing, the pathway being home, barefoot, outcomes emergent.
Thanks so much for your comment Susan, beautifully put, and given how hard it can be to get the deeply nourishing lived and felt experience of designing and creating this way across, maybe I ought to look into Peyote more!
Hi Dan, another long term listener commenting for the first time here despite having listened to all the interviews (I guess I don’t consider myself a good writer 🙂 ). Still, I’d like to share that your work, specially with the podcast, has been a great inspiration and influence for me.
I’m really excited in supporting the Reading Landscape movie as I have a great interest in developing this skills and I believe the movie will be an amazing resource for people like me who want to learn to listen to places instead of imposing our well-intended energy onto places/wholes/beings.
I find incredibly beautiful, and synchronistic, that David Holmgren talks on this part of the interview about his perspective on people doing PDCs and then starting to work as professional designers since I had mentioned to a friend a couple of days ago that it would be very interesting to know what was the purpose of the first PDCs. I mean, it would be interesting to know whether the original idea was to teach people how to design for themselves or to teach them how to create/find solutions for others. One of my questions was: Could it be that designing for someone disempowers those same people to find their own design solutions and their unique way of interacting with the wholes that they are part of?
Greetings from a Brazilian “friend” who is currently working on a permaculture-model farm in Germany and giving the people here some “headache” while trying to put into practice and make sense of the great topics and conversations you bring up on Making Permaculture Stronger 😉
Thanks for commenting Igor and great to know you are out there following along!
What a nice conversation! Lots of energy. It also feels like this talk could be a nice entry point into Making Permaculture Stronger in general. I’m so excited by the work you’re doing and I want to share it with other people, but often don’t know which episode to point them to to start, as many are so deep in the pool, it can be hard for those just learning to swim with these questions.
I was surprised by the depth of this conversation as the title of the new book made it sound much less like a living design process. But this conversation definitely peaked my interest in the book!
As you were talking about this thing of aligning ourselves with nature, or working with nature, another metaphor came to my mind. Like, we are all atoms in a piece of iron called nature. We are all part of it, but depending on how we align ourselves with in it, we’re creating a magnet of repulsion or a magnet of attraction.
Thanks Han and yes it is a challenge finding the right entry point into what to me is such a crucial conversation. I’m looking forward to engaging in collegial critical discussion of this new book in ways that open up some of these doors I keep harping on about. While the focus of the book is certainly not living process as I understand it, it does provide a solid reference point in the larger conversation that I hope will tend toward more and more alive process understandings and practices over time. Also thanks for your metaphor, which took me back to the eddies in the flow of life that just need to stop fighting and trying to swim upstream so hard!
Great masters are humble. I love that someone of David’s intellect and experience appreciate the value of mentors. This conversation highlighted the humanness of design in permaculture and how it evolves through opportunities and reflections. Thanks for probing gently but deeply into his mind Until we ask, we won’t know what people can tell us.
My great pleasure thanks Lizzy!
Great discussion. I’d be interested in a workshop on the web design tool.
Wonderful! I’d also be interested in something interactive on the design web!
Music to my ears, I’d love to be kept in loop for an interactive session. Thank you both for your work…..
One of your best deep dives to date!
I appreciate how you both embody the content – more than a few lightbulbs went off
and concepts really landed because of the HOW of what you explored and not just the What. Just ordered her book. Dan – you are a game changer on the planet – thank you for your own Emergent-ness!
Thanks Linda (you are too kind :-)) and also Josh, Christine and Lizzy. My sense is that it will take some enthusiasm for at least a few others before setting up an interactive session, but I will keep Looby posted and be guided by her sense also. Also – get excited – the next episode is looking to be an interview with the incredible Leah Penniman from Soul Fire Farm.
Happy to have my lover back after 3 months of breakup, 👭👭👭👬👭 thanks to Robinsonbuckler11 (@) gmail com…..😃😍😜😎😆
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Awesome inspiration and insight!
Would love to do a workshop on the design web.
Epic gratitude to you both for this uplifting offering.
Great conversation. Really enjoying the harmonics going on all around. Thank you both.
Liking the discernment sparking around patterns (which can be such an abstract notion, but now being appreciated with more nuance.. eg: implicate process and development patterns.. and how they express into explicate patterns of form and function).
I’d love to engage more with this here and whatever an interactive session might be. Webs, nodes, waves, wholes, eddies and nests.. Oh my!
Wonderful discussion, great to hear Looby’s voice again here. I did the Cultural Emergence course at Applewood in October 2019 – just before setting off on permaculture exploration travels to South America. I used her dedign web to plan my trip. I ended up getting stuck in Uruguay because of the pandemic but as a result I have met some amazing people and we are trying to start a project together here.
I would love to take part in an interactive online workshop with Looby.
Thanks again and best wishes.
HI Maya, nice to hear from you. Hope your project gets going. Looby
Please do share Tyson thoughts. The conversation needs continuing and maturity needs practicing. I have disagreements and questions and there are not many ways to process these thoughts without a continuing conversation.
Hey David thanks for commenting, right on re the need for maturity in these conversations, and prepare to have Tyson chime in (with a rather different perspective) when I release the next episode later today!
Dan, thank you so much for making this conversation happen. I really enjoyed listening to Leah. She contextualized a lot of her comments and perspectives well. I appreciate that she clarified that she wasn’t coming from a permaculture background, hadn’t taken a course, etc. That helped for me recognize how she might consider permaculture as a set of stolen/borrow/appropriated techniques, as opposed to the process of design, of reconnecting to place that I believe your work, this show has really tried to distinguish. More evidence of the need for this show.
It was interesting how you expressed the weakness of the approach of the appropriated permaculture grab bag as taking techniques out of context of their usefulness while Leah expressed it as something closer to theft. Both of you recognized this grab bag approach, whether from youtube videos and permie books or direct from indigenous land stewards, as highly problematic.
Leah’s clarity in defining decolonization, the return of land, period, was refreshing; and will inform my use of that word.
My follow up question; let’s see how well I can articular them:
If we are striving to acknowledge/compensate for the use of indigenous practices in our work, at what point might that be a barrier to people having the courage start a garden, plant a food forest, etc? We already suffer from paralysis by analysis in taking these leaps. I can genuinely see how this conversation would make people stop and question if they should make raised beds or design a multistory polyculture because of fear of political correctness, because of wanted to do it perfect, but knowing they can’t. So how do we both give people permission to do all these things, which as Leah said, are good things, that we want people practicing, all people, while simultaneously meeting the standards of acknowledgment and compensation? Is one of these more important? What tools allow us to do both simultaneously?
Huge fan of Leah’s work and appreciate her articulation of complex ideas. I enjoy how they make me think about my teaching, our clients, our work in a “developing country”, etc. More of these conversations please!
Thanks Scott and great follow-up question. Look forward to seeing how Tyson’s in some ways refreshing perspective on this lands for you :-).
Lovely story unfolding as the property was designed. It was great to see a few masters at work and you unpacking their approach. I would love to hear more about the property and how things ‘stuck’ or evolved.
As everything has a context, is the ‘element assembly’ design teaching an artefact of permaculture teachers and how they taught at the time?
Thanks Lizzy and that’s a story for another time how it has all evolved from back then, suffice to say Yandoit Farm is still going strong and continuing to find and walk its own unique path. With a gorgeous house dam that is almost always full to the brim :-). For me ‘element assembly’ design thinking, teaching and practicing is an artefact of the mechanistic worldview that has held modern civilisation captive for a long time. Meaning it ain’t no small thing to resolve or dissolve or put in its proper place! I’ll keep chipping away though :-).
Utterly fascinating – he’s such an original thinker and disruptor. It’s definitely time we started learning from Aboriginals and their culture. Lucky (in spite of our efforts in the past and ongoing) we have so many brilliant minds we area able to listen to in that community.
I think there’s a lot of truth to be gained by looking in the side mirror. Things are closer together than they appear. I’m grateful for this episode because I think the conversation shows how true that is. Thank you Leah, for your spirited work, and thanks Dan, for doing the show.
I can clearly see Leah’s perspective on permaculture. I think it’s a fairly surficial view, as I’ve observed very different outcomes of permaculture’s history, but on the surface I share a lot of the same criticisms. It’s really just the surface though, kinda like judging a book by the cover. The cover is still there and it’s annoying, but Permaculture’s full history hasn’t even been captured so that someone could actually dig deep and learn about it without having been very involved in it. And it’s imperfect, hence the reason for Dan’s work in the first place.
We’re in a time of feeling very deeply for the pain that people cause each other. We should feel that pain, and we should change the conditions. I know I’m there. We might hope that critiquing everything and shaming things will be enough to change them, but that strategy has a very low track record. It can be enough to get an acknowledgement, but it’s never been enough to shift the pattern. Time for something new. The on the ground work is what matters and Leah’s work is fucking awesome!
So good to hear from you Jason and beautifully said. Hope to talk again soon my friend!
Dan, I’m keen to join any future workshop with Looby, I’ve listened to both conversations twice now, enjoying the richness here.
Hey Dan, I really appreciated listening to this conversation, and the follow up with Tyson! I wanted to share something I’ve found helpful – distinguishing between decolonising and de-colonial -ising. I think MPS is doing the later for permaculture.
Decolonsiation being about colonised people reclaiming & healing their land and culture.
and decolonialisation being about settlers giving back what was stolen, dismantling the dominating power structures, unlearning habits of control, entitlement, separation etc. learning to be humble, reciperocal participants in the creative unfolding of life. MPS is ever refining and enriching my perspective with that worldview/habituation stuff, so thank you 🙂
Hey Rowan and thanks for this distinction and my pleasure!
Hey Dan, you are doing important work reaching people that HM wouldn’t reach. I often share the podcast with you and Allan to people thinking that permaculture and HM is incompatible.
Thanks Gustav and glad that lovely chat with Allan hit the spot!
We have used the David Jacke process and found it really helped us with the design of our site, we had become bogged down with functions and elements and pulling out to loook at the overall patterns and broader concepts of the ‘whole’ site freed us up to progress the design.
From Inquiring into Systems Thinking with the Making Permaculture Stronger Developmental Community (E64)on
What a very stimulating conversation. So pleased to be able to be a fly on the wall for this. Thanks all for sharing this out.
I’d love to comment on all sorts of stuff in there (and share my play-along at home with Dan’s question prompts), however I’ll limit my commenting in this go by sharing that when the conversation moved into discussion about “field-thinking” it reminded me of a book I had read by Peter S. Stevens called “Patterns in Nature” where he came back several times in the book around the idea that what is common to all patterns and their manifestations is not the ‘stuff’ itself, but the space between (more specifically the energy that flows/ebbs/eddies/creates turbulence, vortices, etc. that shapes them).
From the chapter entitled ALL THINGS FLOW in the section called The Turbulence of the Universe, Stevens begins.. “It is no coincidence that the milk poured into a wet sink imitates the design of galaxies.. ”
Soon after in the section called Stress and Flow.. Stevens quotes physicist Richard Feynman, who had posited:
“[.. could it be that] the thing that is common to all phenomena is the ‘space’.. the framework into which the physics is put? .. What is common to all our problems [in the study of ‘physics’] is that they involve space.”
When I had read this years ago, I never forgot how profound that idea was.. can’t say I comprehended fully or knew what to do with it (and it was framed as a question after all), but so intriguing!
On another note:
The conversation about “systems” that commenced this recorded session conversation reminded me of this great quote:
“If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.” ~Carl Sagan
I’d love to comment more about how I can also see that a ‘zoo’ is an ecosystem (of a different but no less relevant sort) and how a bicycle is actually alive (if looked at differently.. and isn’t really much of bike until it is ridden by a living breathing creature!).. but will leave those thoughts for another round.
All the best to the MPS inquiry community.. really enjoyable to hear what you are up to!
From Inquiring into Systems Thinking with the Making Permaculture Stronger Developmental Community (E64)on
Thanks so much Adrian – that apple pie quote is a gem and I’m glad to learn of Stevens work. Now I must implore you not to hold back on another round! – I for one really want to hear your thoughts about riding a bike through a zoo!
From Inquiring into Systems Thinking with the Making Permaculture Stronger Developmental Community (E64)on
I have been listening to your podcast with great interest over the last several months whilst taking part in Geoff Lawton’s online PDC. (Although I have been exploring permaculture for many years) I am also a supporter of and very excited about the reading Landscape film, congratulations on making the goal. I was prompted to send this note when I heard the most recent podcast you released regarding a conversation with your core group about systems thinking and more. In that podcast you encouraged your listeners to hit pause and answer the question(s) themselves prior to continuing to passively listen which led me to engage with the conversation more actively and I thought there may be a value in sharing a perspective.
I agree with you that when you prod systems thinking, it quickly dissolves back to parts, and I believe this is because it evolved from parts thinking (or mechanistic thinking) in the first place. However generative or regenerative thinking is totally different (until the word gets co-opted). I come at permaculture from the perspective of a cultural and spiritual root which is Kongo-Taino out of the Caribbean. When we look at something (be it a person, place, river, mountain, event), the first thing we acknowledge is that it is “Un Misterios” (effectively a spirit) and we know that we cannot possibly understand it fully and if we pull it into its parts, the essence of it (the spirit) will disappear on us. The mode of approach is one of listening and sensing and letting it tell us about itself, knowing that this process could be indefinite. Over time that place (or person, animal, what have you) slowly reveals different aspects or understandings of itself to us, if we continue to pay attention (or “follow the trail”).
For sake of illustration, let’s say we are talking about a particular land, it could be a “property” a landowner has purchased. Your typical permaculture designer is going to go in and analyze it for water, access, structures and the various desires the landowner expresses interest in. This is a big improvement on blindly going in a throwing structures and access wherever. However, the land itself has its own spirit, as does everyone who lives on it. I really do not see that permaculture as taught even tries to understand this. The reason is simple, it cannot be measured, easily seen, or “proven”. This is where Indigenous or Re-indigenized culture clashes with Permaculture. I understand that people want to shy away from terms that cannot fully be defined such as “spirit” (or even essence). However geometry is built upon three undefined terms- a point, line and plane.
I do understand why permaculture teachers do not want to get into these waters, (there would be a big backlash and accusations of pseudoscience). Yet, permaculture wants to cosy up with Indigenous cultures (and it should do this to reach its potential). However, if you do want to cosy up with Indigenous cultures, then you have to be ready to see life as infinite worlds within worlds, each one essentially Un Misterios.
Keep up the good work!
Laura thank you so much for your beautiful comment – everything you share resonates with and inspires me deeply. Isn’t it such a muddle how we find ourselves trying to force the deep beautiful mysterious and sacred essence-spirit of a place into our puny little mechanical containers and how in doing so we cut ourselves off from perhaps the most deeply nourishing and soul-warming energies there are to access as a human being (namely relaxing back into the larger pattern of life).
Un Misterios. Love it.
Warmly, do stay in touch, and thank you again for reaching out and for supporting the Reading Landscape film!
I was listening to your podcast on systems thinking and among the tensions I heard was one about ‘how do we teach field theory to novices?’. Mollison not surprisingly beat us to the punch. I just relistened to his lecture on patterns from the 1992 PDC that’s easy to find on YouTube. Replace “media” with “field” and think you’ve basically got it.
Even though Mollison definitely slips into “parts to wholes” mechanistic systems thinking at points when he’s dealing with pure ontology like he is here he basically sounds like Deleuze. We have a sequence of events in a field. You have some differences. This is darker than That. This is saltier than That. Because difference tries to equalize there is a pressure against the boundary of This and That. This pressure creates movement, events, processes.
Difference based ontology (as opposed to the ontology of the One which comes from the Neoplatonic and Christian tradition) seems to be the trick. Alexander, Deleuze, probably Mollison are all Spinozists. There’s something about Spinoza that gets you out of mechanistic thinking. God or Nature is simply that which entails itself. It’s simply the totality of difference or a body of the whole multiplicity of all difference.
Which brings us to patterns. What’s easier to communicate? Field theory or patterns? Consider your example of the jelly over a garden. I get it but would it be easier to talk about patterns? We already have a language of patterns. If you have a black line and a white line how do you make a whole? A field of lines that is more than random? Are there parts? Perhaps there are motifs, refrains, themes but the pattern is always the whole of differences, the field of differences, the map of immanance, the positive force of good shape and the affordances and possibly of the Void.
Anyway here’s some annoying rambles for you to wake up to. Good night from the other side of the world.
Awesome ramblings Aaron and I will check out Mollison’s 1992 thing for sure!
I take your points re patterns especially given that field theory is completely undeveloped in this field (well, maybe I’ll take that back after listening to Bill) though I find that “pattern” very quickly becomes a synonym for “system” again, as much in Mollison’s writing as anywhere.
Hey can I put your comment on the site as a comment on the ep please?
Sure. Feel free to post it. I’d do it myself but I’m a little overwhelmed with farm things.
Here’s a link to that lecture. I find, aside from an off joke that didn’t age well, it’s really Mollison at his finest:
Did you ever get into Deleuze in your philosophy days? I find he’s built this incredible toolkit for ontological thinking, especially for getting out of the machinic ontology. They (as Deleuze and Guattari) famously use the image of desiring machines but these are coupled with the flows of pure immanance from the body without organs.
A final thought on machines. If we take Donella Meadows definition of systems being purposeful then the bicycle itself is not a system. It has certain affordances but to have purpose it needs a rider. In a sense a desiring agent makes a system. At a minimum we would need something that entails itself, the way a river is self entailing (and a bicycle is not). Maybe that’s why D&G are talking about desiring machines? A bicycle and rider and pavement is like their image of the nomad which they call an agencement (usually translated as assemblage but I think this is incorrect because the agent is lost). In the bicycle and rider is, historically, the becoming of pavement and paved roads. Cyclists were the first to advocate for paved roads which then ironically becomes the affordance for modern car culture. The point is that the authors drew the boundary around the system in the wrong place. The bicycle as a system is not the machine. It’s the agencement of bicycle, rider, and the becoming of roads. It’s the set of connections that becomes self entailing.
I sniffed around into little Deleuze and Guattari in my day. Wild ride! I remember appreciating the critique of arboreal metaphors in favour of the rhizome (actually Alexander’s essay A City is not a Tree overlaps at least somewhat in my recollection and the overall dissolving of the subject-object dualism). Wasps-becoming-orchids-becoming-wasps and all that. I hadn’t picked up on the notion of agencement which rings better that assemblage to me.
I’m reading The Spell of the Sensuous at the moment and enjoying his coverage of Merleau-Ponty which I think of in reading about flows of pure immanence etc. Also Henri Bortoft has much of relevance to offer. The sensuous pre-conceptual experience of undivided flowing wholeness and all that. And distinguishing-relating as something we do prior to analysis and synthesis (which is where the whole idea of connected elements comes in).
Finally your last paragraph resonates hugely with Gregory Bateson’s famous line about the blind man with the stick:
“Consider a blind man with a stick. Where does the blind man’s self begin? At the tip of the stick? At the handle of the stick? Or at some point halfway up the stick? These questions are nonsense, because the stick is a pathway along which differences are transmitted under transformation, so that to draw a delimiting line across this pathway is to cut off a part of the systemic circuit which determines the blind man’s locomotion.”
Interesting conversation… it left me wondering about what is indigenous in Europe? “White people” have a right to being indigenous to somewhere as well and to have traditional practices. Concerning ourselves with how endogenous or exogenous people are to place is, in my view, a way of compartmentalizing the perception of human experience and relativizing value. The role one claims in the whole is much more important than the inheritance you have a right to claim. Furthermore, we are always assuming who owns what even if we relentlessly go revising our history through archaeological evidence – and even that can be misinterpreted and is inherently based on human perception.
My answer to Scott up there would be that his concerns are well-founded. We do not need to claim possession over our cultural lineage and to reflect that technologically – the philosophical effort would render any regenerative development process completely impractical if we are always concerned about being offensive for simply claiming possession of ideas that are not our own.
That being said, there is a need to compensate people and cultures who were subject to the injustice of forced or imposed colonisation (there are other kinds in my opinion). However, it is hard to relate to this discourse being an “indigenous person” from Portugal (if that even is a reasonable claim in a continent that has been through consecutive civilization shifts, wars, etc.). Portraying myself like that makes me feel like a nationalist of sorts, which is something I abhor.
Decolonisation doesn’t seem to me to be a good thing per se. , but then again I am white, so it could just be my cognitive dissonance. It reminds me of the broader biological/ecological debate between restorative/adaptive approaches to ecosystem regeneration. Should culture be preserved too, or should it just adapt to its place and time, unhindered by conservatism?
This whole-parts conversation reminds me a lot of the book Phenomenology of Perception by Merleau-Pointy, the works of David Seamon, and many others.
Even if there is a whole, you always have a fragmented perception of it. Even if you are convinced about the indissociable nature of reality, it is very hard for you to operatively use that knowledge. Interdisciplinarity has been a beacon for the hope of bringing forth holistic processes within science, technology and design for the very reason that it should *somehow* bind those fragments into (nested?) wholes – holistic processes of development and design.
However, because omniscience is kind of a remote skill for any human to hone, one is prone to disregard the usefulness of studying the undivided flowing wholeness of reality unless they can afford it. On the other hand, we all pay the cost of generalised ignorance of such matters. It is very important to understand though, how exactly can such a thought-process or state-of-being be investigated/developed, how can it bring forth or regenerate value.
Here in Denmark, this very issue within Architecture design is so breathtakingly broad that people are developing all types of criteria for performance indicators and quality levels to keep track of the value creation their designs can bring forth. (through Danske Ark’s – Danish Archicture Firms Association – and DK-DGNB (German Sustainable Architecture Certification System in Denmark influence mainly). However, it just looks like a constellation of interlocking synergetic parts.
I mean, their efforts are commendable, but they seem to go in the opposite direction of what is being discussed here. Is it though? And how so? What could be changed? What is really so different between fields and systems? Between living systems (or beings?) and systems and general? I think the time is coming to peer-review some definitions.
Thanks Manuel and right on. I would so love to see a converted collaborative inquiry in these directions.
Hi Dan, I’ve been wanting to get to this for a long while now. Busy summer for me. I have to say I’m so damn grateful to your podcast for continually pointing to relevant and necessary considerations. Tyson Yunkaporta’s interview got me straight to a local bookstore to buy Sand Talk. I read it one chapter at a time and had some serious time to contemplate it recently. He cuts through social/personal-paradigm systems with a sharp, witty, and simultaneously loving blade. I have not felt this way about a book in a few years. There were times when I felt like he was explaining parts of myself to myself, and times where I realized how short of wholeness I can fall. There were also times that reenergized me about permaculture’s own true nature. Lot’s to come from this, and I just wanted to reach out over the lightening speed of the web and say thank you for all your efforts Dan. They are recognized, appreciated, and incredibly useful to my life as a designer, thinker, and nature immersed critter.
So good to see your comment Jason. I have been thinking it is high time for a catch up with your latest adventures! Thanks for your appreciation and so glad to hear Tyson’s book and style hit the spot for you.
Absolutely! I’ll reach out via email. Definitely missing our conversations.
From On honouring Indigenous Tradition, Ancestors, Spirit and Intuition in our Permaculture Design Processes with Laura Adamson
Thank you Dan and Laura for a great conversation. A few ‘pings’ for me on particular things, I feel Laura was able to articulate quite well some of the niggles I am personally trying to grapple with such as the use of intuition, in which I have no doubt every designer is using but perhaps not always aware of or even admit to. The part about the brain/body at 36 mins in, how dominant is “thinking” vs “feeling”, which I know is a focus for you too. When talking about energies, and lack of sensitivity which is so dominant in the culture we live in, it reminds me of what Alanna Moore writes about in her book on “Sensitive Permaculture” where she uses dowsing to understand the energies of a land (although I know very little about this practice). I also loved the reference to the Gingko tree, millions of years old and the sense of time she was conveying in various parts of the conversation with reference to what has occurred in the history of a place and people, before, now and in the future. I was also wondering how she enters conversations with her prospective clients about process, what she offers goes against the grain culturally.
From On honouring Indigenous Tradition, Ancestors, Spirit and Intuition in our Permaculture Design Processes with Laura Adamson
I agree wholeheartedly! I advise those developing land to spend at least one year, preferably more, in and on and with that land, gaining a deeper understanding of it in all senses, building intuition, BEFORE any design work. My experience is that designs are absolutely to be changed and evolving as understanding of a property deepens over many many years. Developing land is a form of succession, with the cycle of observation, implementation, observation, reflection and review, and further implementation. I believe that we need to move very slowly as permaculturists, slow and small! Love this discussion. cheers jo
From On honouring Indigenous Tradition, Ancestors, Spirit and Intuition in our Permaculture Design Processes with Laura Adamson
I listened to this podcast right after an interview with the complexity economist Brian Arthur on the transition from noun based thinking (arithmetic, algebra) to verb based thinking (algorithm, process). I wonder if some of our issues in relating to process and having a design process of unfolding and of structure preserving transformation come from having to think in largely a noun based way. Most of the eastern woodlands people where I live in Canada speak an Algic language ( for example Annishinaabemowin) which is largely verb based. Take ‘miini-baashkiminasigani-biitoosijigani-bakwezhigan’ which is blueberry pie. Literally translated it’s something like cooking down blueberries and putting them between bread. The word is the process not the object. It’s also notable as a language because the two genders of Annishinaabemowin are animate and inanimate (not say male and female like French). So a stick is inanimate but a tree is animate (interestingly related to the discussion on bones rocks are animate in the sweat lodge are refered to as grandfathers).
There’s something here about the process of transformation or a becoming of forms. Would we be better at thinking in becomings if we thought more in verbs? Thinking as Brian Arthur suggests more algorithmically? It might suggest a mechanistic world view but if we remember that algorithms are simply step wise processes which affect form and have memory (and can be done on an almost infinite number of media as Turing showed) we’re talking more about the way in which nature thinks and computes. Even this theory of a panpsychic would where nature thinks through physical computation is making a few inroads into the firmly mechanistic thinking of the sciences. What’s interesting is it’s quite resonant with certain ideas of spirit and the spirit of the living world.
Thanks Aaron. Love that blueberry pie example and the gender thing is fascinating! Years ago a friend and I started developing what we called VOS – where we would practice formatting all our sentences starting with the verb, then the object, then the subject. I think of statements like “the river is flowing” or “it is raining” where we have to invoke a non-existent noun-thing to be ‘doing’ the verb and yes how much this messes with any attempt to move into more of a process-as-primary orientation. And transitions from the likes of “I/we did the design” to “I/we am/are designing” to something like “designing is happening and we are participating within it” :-). Thanks also to Evie and Joanne for chiming in here!
After 4 years, I finally noticed the discussion 🙂
In the end, what conclusions or learnings did you come to about the relationship between agile and permaculture design?
I wish I could have participated in the discussion in real time.
Your curiosity and inquisitiveness is so great.
Thank you Dan and the core group for sharing this talk. The analogy of flowing water with the shapes, patterns of eddies and whirlpools really helps with accepting that fields contain everything, and is the primary reality. As one in the group expressed, contemplation of the living world rather than observation allows to tune into this primary reality and detach from the mechanistic, dualistic lens we interpret it through. I have always used this intuitive aspect when doing design work, but have resisted putting words on it for fear it’d sound too woo-woo for the client! And I think it is essencial we integrate it into permaculture practice, both to teach westernminded permies what the world actually is, and of course to be able to understand indigenous people’s view.
Enough ramblings, thanks for a great episode (as always)!
Thanks Linnea and right on!
Thanks for a fantastic podcast episode. I’m quite new to permaculture and found this discussion very interesting! The discussion of a bicycle (and agencement as in the comments above) seems like a deep well to explore. A bicycle does not have emergent properties because its constraints/relationships are fixed. In a forest or river, the constraints are much looser, more fluid, and have an element of chance. It is dynamic in a way that a bicycle cannot be.
Very interesting to consider what/how one can use field thinking into design. One idea that comes to mind is how one’s expectations might change for seasonal/annual/longer cycles. E.g. the banks of the river will change, the quality of the water as well (and the life within it!). To create an eddy I can place a rock in a certain place – but the eddy is not guaranteed to be there always….