Research study: recommendations and suggestions – general points

First, if one is considers the context of the ecological ‘situation’ on Earth to be of any importance, then it is crucial that s/he remembers that human actions and industries have consequences for ecology. Human beings, in our current numbers and with our current Technology, have a notable (negative) impact on planetary ecosystems. It would be very useful if one carefully considers the outcome of their individual actions, and of the collective actions of socio-political and economic groups of all sizes, making adjustments on the spectrum where the ‘strictly Promethean’ and the ‘strictly Orphic’ are the far extremes. These adjustments would occur in the context of flexibility (Mollison 1988:3) that was seen in my outline of permaculture theory and practice:

It has become evident that unity in people comes from a common adherence to a set of principles, each of us perhaps going our own way, at our own pace, and within the limits of our resources, yet all leading to the same goals, which in our own case is that of a living, complex, and sustainable earth. Those who agree on such ethics, philosophies and goals form a global nation. [Emphasis added]

Second, to look carefully at the context(s) into which one has been born and raised, and acknowledge the default (historically dominant) Promethean assumptions and attitudes at play in the given context(s). These assumptions and attitudes mould people in the sense evident in this comment (to which I have referred more than once in this study already) from White (1971:11): “What people do about their ecology depends on what they think about themselves in relation to the things around them”. The Orphic/Promethean spectrum allows one to position certain discursive ‘qualities’ at different points on the spectrum; a good example is the assumption that humankind occupies a higher rung on the evolutionary ladder than all other forms of life. This assumption can then be identified for scrutiny, as Rosi Braidotti does in The posthuman (2013), and the impact of the assumption can be considered versus perhaps a different and more Orphically-aligned idea. This evaluation process seems in accordance with Badiou and Žižek’s depiction of the general role of philosophy as focused on in Chapter 7.

Third, to consider carefully the extent to which one’s socio-political and economic environments (for examples, one’s workplace and government) keep the cycle of Promethean action spinning. I am not suggesting that one immediately acts upon the knowledge that, for example, Capitalism “is the uncontrollable force driving our ecological crisis” (Kovel 2002:vii), but certainly to look honestly at, for example, the way in which the Capitalist system is structured to perpetuate itself at the exclusion of alternatives to it. The tendency of the Capitalist system to reward certain Promethean actions with monetary remuneration – for example, the externalising of costs, which is accompanied by heavily detrimental ecological impacts – can then be positioned on the Orphic-Promethean spectrum.

Fourth, to seek out attitudes and ideas, movements and projects, etc., exhibiting qualities and outcomes that have been identified as Orphic in this study, remaining aware that the character of the Orphic must entail a heterogeneity of attitudes and ideas, movements and projects, instead of the dominance of only one. Chapters 5 and 6 contain examples of such Orphic alternatives.

Fifth, it is important for one to begin implementing permaculture principles. This can be done on various scales. On a small scale, and as a start, one might arrange the objects in their bedroom according to the principles in order to gain a rudimentary understanding of the way that energy flows through a given system. On a bigger scale, one might abandon their neatly-mowed lawn and establish a set of garden beds for the growing of a few seasonal vegetables, and plant fruiting trees on the perimeter of their abodes, paying attention to the way that nature’s energies flow through the environment and how s/he can most harmoniously synergise with the energy – and in the Orphic view, human energy is included here. This careful approach to design, as well as the outcome(s) of the approach, can then be compared to other systems where people were not cognisant of permaculture principles or the natural factors constituting a given environment.