Bill: Oh, I put it another way. I can easily teach people to be gardeners, and from them, once they know how to garden, you’ll get a philosopher. But I could never teach people to be philosophers – and if I did, you could never make a gardener out of them.
When you get deep ecologists who are philosophers, and they drive cars and take newspapers and don’t grow their own vegetables, in fact they’re not deep ecologists – they’re my enemies.
But if you get someone who looks after himself and those around him – like Scott Nearing, or Masanobu Fukuoka – that’s a deep ecologist. He can talk philosophy that I understand. People like that don’t poison things, they don’t ruin things, they don’t lose soils, they don’t build things they can’t sustain.
You see, the worst thing about permaculture is that it’s extremely successful, but it has no center, and no hierarchy.
Alan: So that’s worst from whose perspective?
Bill: Anybody that wants to extinguish it. It’s something with a million heads. It’s a way of thinking which is already loose, and you can’t put a way of thinking back in the box.
Alan: Is it an anarchist movement?
Bill: No, anarchy would suggest you’re not cooperating. Permaculture is urging complete cooperation between each other and every other thing, animate and inanimate. You can’t cooperate by knocking something about or bossing it or forcing it to do things. You won’t get cooperation out of a hierarchical system. You get enforced directions from the top, and nothing I know of can run like that. I think the world would function extremely well with millions of little cooperative groups, all in relation to each other.