My Ph.D; This Blog

Update: the structure of the PhD changed since this post was written. I won’t have the space in the PhD to review journal entries, so I stopped writing them! In Chapter 6, where permaculture principles were used to reflect on ideas that appeared in previous chapters, I do incorporate information pertaining to the rustic permaculture lifestyle. The content below appears ‘for posterity’s sake’!

Last year I spent 2 months writing a proposal for a Ph.D. called Philosophy and Permaculture. Thereafter I applied for bursaries, which took me another month or two of form-filling. At the beginning of this year (2014) I found out that the hard work had paid off – I am being funded via 2 different bursaries, essentially enabling me to be paid to study. This is not uncommon – people are paid to study all the time – but I do find rather cool that I happen to be one of these people! This post is not about the details of the Ph.D. – those will come later. Instead, this post is to announce how the Ph.D. has consequences for future content and structure of this blog, to articulate what intentions I currently have for the process with regard to the blog, and to suggest that all of this does have some ‘motivational relevance’.

My official proposal for the university’s theses review panel is due in soon – it is in a completely different format to the one I wrote for bursary applications. I’m happy that I have had to rewrite and restructure it, as the articulation of initial ideas becomes more focused during the reworking process. During feedback from one of my fantastic supervisors, a certain issue about methodology was raised. Specifically, I proposed in my final chapter to review a variety of local permaculture sites and do so in light of the philosophical theory that would constitute the previous 6 chapters of the study, but how I was going to do this was vague (to say the least).

My supervisor asked a few questions, and eventually the fact of this blog’s existence arose – a blog that already has some record of the implementation of ‘my’ small permaculture site, and which has the potential to have far more such records. We decided that reviewing random permaculture sites was a bit of a can of worms, whereas a reflective literature review of what I’ve written (and will write) on the blog is more feasible. This was great synchronicity, as I had been wondering how to go about keeping content regularly appearing on the blog considering how much other work I have; now part of my ‘other work’ will involve regular journal posts.

How these journal posts will look, however, is as yet undecided. I have a few ideas: for one, permaculture theory certainly has to be included – eventually! This will force me to brush up on my permaculture principles and the theory behind the practice, which I would have to do sooner than later for Ph.D. purposes. The journal entries will also have to include as many details of the lifestyle I/we now live, as well as ideological aspects that drive the process and also result from it. This is great, seeing as I have often felt like I fail to provide detailed information in this regard, which readers may want to access if they are ever thinking about transitioning from a ‘normal’ home to a low-cost, low-impact permaculture abode.

So the site will have a new page added to it called Ph.D. and new sub-pages will gradually be added to the page drop-down menu. One of these will obviously be for journal posts, but on other sub-pages I will post the proposal when it’s done, as well as sections of the research as it arises. I also wouldn’t mind having a sub-page for readers’ ideas. We’ll see how it goes. For certain are the up coming journal entries: I plan to write 1 per week, or every second week (we’ll see how it goes), for the next 2 years, starting next week.

This is all rather exciting for me, as things are really coming together. I took a huge leap of faith last year when I spent three months writing the first draft proposal and filling out bursary forms – this took time that I could otherwise have spent expanding at the plot or looking for other employment opportunities, but I stuck to what felt right at the time despite the little questioning voice in my head trying to derail me. I remained open-minded about the process and put out the right intent into the ether – and it worked.

I suggest giving it a try: send your own intentions out into the universe. If you are just waiting for something to happen to change your life, then all you will get is more waiting. Rather decide that you will change your life; that you have become receptive to new ideas that you will have as a result of increased optimism and awareness; that you will develop personally, and live as a sovereign human being. Looking back on my life journey, it is clear that this Ph.D bursary is the culmination of more than a decade’s work; so it took a while for me to get here, but it was well worth it.