A great comment from Claire Whits a couple of months ago which I just found
Community may not always have the same meaning to each of us, very often people who want to set up a community do not feel part of one, and out of feeling isolated work toward creating opportunity to find people and connection. Which in a way, could describe members of the PA as a load of outsiders.
Permaculture can feel like community of sorts, and in any intentional group mutualism and competition exist, but we are free to call it what we want, network, movement, party, society or association.
Competitiveness can be fun, spur people on, and be healthy, to me it feels is negative when it all gets a bit serious, especially when being physically elbowed out of a conversation, which was extremely unpleasant. I have found it challenging when there has been a pretence that competition does not exist it the permaculture network, and has been demonstrated to me by some one telling me “competition doesn’t exist because there is only collaboration!, that’s the rules!”, so it is nice to hear Tomas’s views.
After working with many different people, in teaching and gardening I think that conflict can arise when we are not aware of assumptions, our own or others and if take on a controlling sense of ownership of ethics and principles, but within a network of this size it would be weird if conflict didn’t happen.
I do not think your words are that “loaded”, I do think “trying to expand while maintaining its identity” sounds like a description of a teenager, and some of the best music ever made has come out of that creative place.
I do think this Association will blossom and mature away from its steady roots when is it is decentralised, then a stronger flowing regional network will develop, growing into its self.
Thank you for sharing!