Transformational Heresy

Maddy Harland, editor of Permaculture Magazine, uncovers some contemporary heresies within our society’s worldview. Unpicking the current, destructive mythologies of our time, she believes, could support social and ecological transformation.


“It’s characteristic of democracy that majority rule is understood as being effective not only in politics but also in thinking. In thinking, of course, the majority is always wrong.”

Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Throughout history human beings have invented heresies (theories that are strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs) and usually regarded as ‘provocative’ by the status quo. Heresies involve holding power over people and often appear under the cover of the predominant religion and its attendant scientific worldview. In the post-industrial world, our heresies are subtly imposed and laced with a cultural and ecological consequence as deadly as arsenic.

I want to discuss three contemporary heresies and reframe them in their transformational context. The concept of ‘Transformational Heresy’ arose out of a conversation I had with the eco-poet and activist, Helen Moore. The gist is that our post-industrial growth culture has demonised so many areas of our lives. For example, new technologies with decentralized economic models, ideas that empower ordinary people, and traditional, even ancient insights and practices that are outside the patriarchy of the state.


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One Response to “Transformational Heresy”

  1. Vishwam Jamie Heckert
    Vishwam Jamie Heckert
    December 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    Beautifully clear and cutting essay! Thank you for reminding us what is truly possible.

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