world being, Nature, Lost connections

Lost Connections With Nature and Our Souls

“When a horse stops work and goes into the barn there is a life and a vitality left, there is a breathing and a warmth. … But when the motor of a tractor stops, it is as dead as the ore it came from. … The tractor man drives home to town, perhaps twenty miles away, and he need not come back for weeks or months, for the tractor is dead. And this is easy and efficient. So easy, that the wonder goes out of work, so efficient that the wonder goes out of land and the working of it, and with the wonder the deep understanding and the relation. … For nitrates are not the land, nor phosphates; and the length of fiber in the cotton is not the land. Carbon is not a man, nor salt nor water nor calcium. He is all these, but he is much more, much more; and the land is much more than its analysis.” ~John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath

Lost Connections

Technology can be a wonderful thing. Technology is a wonderful thing. But it can also be a horror, a devil. Machines were invented to help us, to make life easier for us. They give us time to do the things that are important in life. But they also take away that connection between man and his work, between man and the land.

Steinbeck is telling us that when the farmer planted crops by hand, and harvested them by hand, or with the help of draft animals, he had a connection to the land, to the animals, to nature. When corporations own the farms, and planting and harvesting is done largely by machines, with help from hired hands who don’t own the land, that connection is lost. But farming is not the only place where that connection to our work has been lost.

When a cobbler made shoes by hand for a specific customer, he took pride in his work and wanted the customer to be satisfied, for the customers were his friends and neighbors. When a blacksmith made shoes for a horse, he made them fit that horse, and not just the average horse.

Mass Production

While we can easily list many advantages that have happened because of mass production and assembly-line manufacturing, there is also a down side to it that is often ignored. When the workers have no connection with the customers, ore even with the entire product, they tend to lose the incentive to produce a quality product. Then we end up with big corporations who’s goal is not to satisfy the customer, but the share-holders. They are more interested in the amount of profit than in meeting the needs of customers. In fact, they spend millions advertising products and services we don’t really need at all just to convince us we do.

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New thought, opinions, thought power, impassioned images

Random Thoughts 8-23-2015

I’m not a fan of Donald Trump or Jeb Bush, but I really don’t get the fuss of their use of the expression “anchor babies”. They didn’t invent the term, but it is a common one so until someone can offer a better one, they don’t have much choice.


 

It’s curious how Republicans who consider the constitution holy writ, never to be questioned or violated, are the ones who most often suggest changing it. First, they wanted to add an amendment a few years ago to make same-sex marriage illegal in all states (they failed on that one, fortunately) now we have at least one candidate who wants to rewrite the fourteenth amendment and millions who are agreeing with him. I guess it’s only holy writ if you agree with it.


 

Why is it the media can’t shut up about a black teenager getting shot by a police officer for months after it happens, but few even bothered to mention this week that a two-year-old child picked up his father’s loaded gun and shot dad dead? I guess none of the media is willing to take on the NRA. And this isn’t the first one. Dozens of similar incidents happen each year and are almost always ignored by the national media. Continue reading “Random Thoughts 8-23-2015”

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Let Go Of What’s Comfortable to Find What’s Important

“It is indeed a difficult thing to leave those things that are accustomable and present, and turn to those things that are ancient, and according to the original. For these things that appear, delight us, but make the things that appear not, hard to believe, or the things that appear not, are hard to believe.
“The things most apparent are Evil, but the Good is secret, or hidden, or to the things that appear, for it hath neither Form nor Figure. … But the spectacle or sight hath this peculiar and proper: Them that can see, and behold it, it holds fast and draws unto it, as they say, the loadstone doth iron.” ~Hermes

TrappedFotolia2

Caged by the comforts of Matter

One of the worst things that can happen when you are on a diet is to go with friends to buffet restaurant where you have to go by all the rich and fatty deserts before you get to the healthy food. It is also unfortunate that hings that taste good on the tongue are often not at all good for you, while the healthy, nutritious food is ofter bland. But those who, like myself for the past fourteen months anyway, choose to eat the healthy organic vegetables and fresh fruit instead of pies, cakes and ice cream find a pleasant surprise waiting around the corner: that a happy tongue doesn’t last, but a healthy body feels good, gets sick less often, and can do more of the things you like to do, especially physical thinks like hiking, swimming, SCUBA diving, and so on.

Similarly, people who take pleasure in material comforts such as a very nice house in a very nice part of town, with three luxury cars in the garage, tend to get so trapped in that cage of matter that they rarely look beyond it. Or the person who gets so hooked on techno-toys that she stands in line for days to get the latest gizmo and soon, even if they don’t admit it to themselves, develop the belief that somehow technology is going to solve all the problems of the world, so we need to embrace it and support it as much as possible. These people are like a fisherman who has found a spot where he get an adequate catch of acceptable fish, so he continues to fish in that spot never realizing that if he took his boat to another spot only one or two knots away, he would catch much more fish, and fish of better quality. Continue reading “Let Go Of What’s Comfortable to Find What’s Important”

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Slow Down and Experience the World

“Trying to keep up by perceiving one thing at a time faster and faster causes you to understand less about each thing, because you spend less time with it and focus in a shallower way. … It’s easy to jump to the wrong conclusion or act on insufficient information. Now we combine hundreds of functions in a single gadget—multi-tasking phones, for example, are so addictive they have spawned the “app” industry which produces even more stimulation and activity for our already-divided attention to process.” ~Penney Peirce

Cartoon super busy man and father multitask doing many worksSo-called multitasking is a favored buzz word of the day. Business types love it. Government loves it. Let’s all do ten things at once and we will get more done. But even the best jugglers occasionally drop a ball (or knife, or flaming torch). More significantly, several scientific studies have found that rather than increasing productivity, multi-tasking actually reduces it. It helps you give your boss the impression that you are always very busy, busy but not really getting anything done. Or the tasks you do complete are often done poorly because you get all those different things mixed up in your head.

Further, the studies found that the idea of multi-tasking, that is doing several things at once, is largely an illusion. Your mind simply cannot handle doing many thing at once, so what you really do when you are supposedly multi-tasking is flittering from one task to another every few minutes so you never stay with one task long enough to really understand it. If you are designing a new product, this may result in a design error that makes it useless or too costly. If you are writing software, you may forget to account for some things a user (or hacker) might do and leave fairly obvious bugs in the software. If you are writing advertising, you might unintentionally include something in the ad that a group finds offensive. So multi-tasking often does not give the results desired. So it is usually better to concentrate on one task until it is completed. Or at least one task at work and one task at home. This, of course, does not include tasks which simply don’t require any concentration. There is no reason, for example, why you can’t have a meal cooking in the oven and a batch of laundry in the washing machine. Even without multi-tasking, we often rush too much to get things done. We become more concerned with quantity and the quality of our work usually suffers.

This may seem to contradict another article I recently wrote telling people to stop focusing too much on one thing and missing what else is happening around it, but it doesn’t. The two ideas actually work well together. When we are working on something, we need to concentrate on that one thing, but we also need to not focus so much on one thing in our environment that we miss others that may be equally important. Don’t be that person concentrating so much on your cell phone conversation that you walk out into traffic and get killed. Be the person who is aware of all of it, but still work on one thing at a time.

The spiritual side of this is that, while it is true that a spiritual person can live a more spiritual life by including a little spiritual philosophy, morality and humility into all her activities, that in itself doesn’t make you spiritually enlightened. In order to become a truly enlightened person, you need to set aside a little time, preferably daily, to practice spiritual techniques without engaging in material tasks at the same time. You spend most of the day thinking only of material pursuits, surely you can spend a few minutes being spiritual and nothing else. The rewards are well worth it.

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