Obtaining a Permaculture Design Certificate while reading George Orwell's 1984 in Costa Rica

Without an explanation, the title to this blog seems significant, only to me.  Let me begin to try and explain why this experience has been the most significant experience for me, ever.  Permaculture, as a discipline, assumes that there is a mainstream sociological/technological culture which needs to be abandoned.  Teaching people to take care of the earth, its people, and then returning waste to its respective system, means that people do not embrace these ethics to begin with. Although I feel describing permaculture to people as "cultivation practiced by our great-grandparents" works for conversation sake, it barely scratches the surface as to what it means in our modern world. Our great-grandparents, in an era of ascending oil influence, would have loved to enjoy labor-saving devices if it meant they could still enjoy the fruits of their labor.  Our great-grandparents assumed there was always an improvement on the horizon in which to bestow hope. Similarly, today's youth expects new features out of every annually released iphone. This expectation of technological progress is what we have in common with our great-grandparents' lives. The differences lie in the context.  In an era of declining oil influence, cultivation must revert to the methods which imply less "man-handling". Without relying on fertilizers, genetically modified seeds, herbicides, or insecticides, how will the next generation of people feed themselves? To me, permaculture stands alone as the only solution.
       George Orwell published 1984 in 1949.  He had just watched the world destroy itself and proceeded to write a short historical narrative on the topic of global domination, or as 1984 titles it,"The theory and practice of Oligarchical Collectivism". Orwell submitted this narrative to his publisher thinking the narrative would circulate through academic circles at Universities. His publisher advised him expand his narrative into a larger novel, because the story would reach a much larger audience.  Thanks to his publisher, 1984 has become the most widely read novel of all time.  Now we come full circle as to why I chose to read this novel while I obtained my PDC.  Whenever I leave for a trip, I choose a book for my journey which will assist me in a perspective transition.  I had seen 1984 quoted in everything I have read, for years. Orwellian dogma was something I knew I had to become acquainted with in order to truly understand the topics I read. The novel is scary. I am not used to reading sci-fi, let alone fiction.  When the novel reaches the narrative I describe in the latter half of the book, I hit what seemed like a quick ascent to divine omniscience. The explanation of "doublethink" would not prepare me for the most eloquent prose I have ever read, describing 150 years of reality above the realm of all media.
     "The book fascinated him, or more exactly it reassured him. In a sense it told him nothing that was new, but that was part of the attraction. It said what he would have said, if it had been possible for him to set his scattered thoughts in order. It was the product of a mind similar to his own, but enormously more powerful, more systematic, less fear-ridden. The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you know already." Winston thinks to himself after reading the revolutionary manuscript. These thoughts inform the reader, "You have just read some serious @*&%!, take a moment to chill."  While learning how to save the world with permaculture, George Orwell was laying out the parameters of a modern world which cannot be saved.  Optimistic Gus found it very difficult to initially marry the Orwellian world order with my new found love of farming.
       Costa Rica has been highlighted as one of the greenest and happiest countries on the planet for the last couple of years.  While the country protects its' inhabitants and its' land with devotion, there are many aspects of Costa Rican life which are poised to imitate aspects of North American life. From pesticide use to minimal sewage treatment, Costa Rica has many problems of an ascending world model of success. However, for a country with less than 300 square miles, the inhabitants enjoy 5% of the world's biodiversity.  Amazing!  Even in its deforested, sewage runoff, and pesticide-laden state, Costa Rica has so much to offer the world, with its' diversity.  I was in the middle of a rainforest which dared me to be destructive with any of my personal consumption habits.  Costa Rica could biodegrade my waste as a consumer and still hand me fresh produce, produced kilometers away.  All year, Costa Rica can feed me!  I return to the heartland of the USA only to be fed by Costa Rica, Honduras and Mexico. This overarching message I received in the Costa Rican environment, is what restores my hope for mankind, despite Orwellian overtones. I can now grow almost anything, anywhere, thanks to my newly acquired skill set. You would think that this skill should provide me with optimism for a lifetime.  Unfortunately, as we all know, the roller coaster of life gives you a hand to play regardless of your respective affinity for hope.
      I have returned from paradise with messages of hope yet hardened with an unforgiving world-view. While my heart views permaculture as the solution, my brain cannot get around the world's desire for power and wealth. In a perfect world, the path would be easy and egalitarian. In this world, the path can only be determined by struggle of the fittest.