Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Stuff we make

This morning I awoke to these clear as bell thoughts, well they were more of a series of short clips interspersed with some inner dialogues.

Over the years I, much like most people, have had a number of passions. You might know them as hobbies, interests but passions seems a more appropriate term to me.

There was a period of intense bike riding, building and every thing bike. I spent most of my resources on this and almost all of my friends we into them one way or another. If I cast my mind back to those days I was very happy doing just that. If I had more resources I would have just built better bikes... A lot of fun was had and also a lot of pain, I had to scrounge and trade a lot and when they were finished just right, they got stolen....

Then there was a period of motorbikes. It went pretty much along the same lines. I had a large social circle that pretty much did the same thing. We built them, fixed them, rode them, broke them and so on. A lot of fun was had indeed and once again a lot of my resources were devoted to this, including money. True to form I sold them in the end and got ripped off.

Following closely on the heels of the motorbikes were cars. Quite a few. I bought, improved, drove and even raced some. We, there was quite a number of us, indulged, honed, polished, painted. We added new pistons and polished air passages. Much money was spent on this and I have many happy memories of drinking beers and chatting into the nights.

Then came going out, restaurants, computers and somewhere in there were cameras. Many mornings and evenings were spent waiting for the perfect sunrise or a thunderstorm. The perfect flower or the perfect moment at a party to capture. Many lenses and bodies passed through my hands and much film was exposed, developed and printed. We talked about it and proudly displayed our pictures. Even today, I still look upon some of these and get a sense of pleasure. There's no doubt much beauty was captured then.

Then there was road bikes and so on....

This morning, I reflected on how many people wasted their lives in assisting me in these "persuits". How may lives were spent manufacturing film, how many hours did people pour over developing my photos? How many people produced the parts and tools for the cars that we built, now just pleasant or indeed unpleasant memories? Why do I spin so much in the mud and go nowhere? What was and is the point of it all? I mean in 10, 20 or whatever years from now, how will I see what I do now? What will it mean? What does it all mean? Somehow, right now, I get this profound sense of pointlessness. What would humanity look like without all this self business? Without people turning up for work to churn out stuff just for my esteemed pleasures. Are we just slaves of each other?

Have I churned out stuff for other people's esteemed pleasures? Highly likely. The whole Internet / networking and even dare I say it electronics era was for this? That is why I got out of there. In the end I felt that we could just switch all of that off and nothing would happen. Food would still grow, tomatoes would be ... Tomatoes. Peaches would still pop up somwhere on a peach tree. People would still have food, babies would be had. Meals would be cooked, homes would be built and many years later knocked down all without the labors of the entire IT workforce!

Similarly we could dispense with the whole canning industry, aviation, car manufacturing... How many industries could we switch off and have no net effect on life? Highly likely, our standard of life would go up! We would actually know our neighbors, we would actually need to help them and in turn they would need to help us at times. We would definetly have more time.... Now having 8 or so hours formerly given up to the offices and factories. Of course I am not blinded to the facts either, lots of things would drastically change, houses would be much simpler as they would be built by the communities them selves. Cash registers would just be calculators but I digress.

So to bring it all back, what should I no longer do? What should shape my life? How should I guide my self? Where to place my energy and what do I no longer support? There appear to an endless number of paths open before me with many, I am sure, leading to dubious ends.

The best I can come up with so far is simplicity. Simply enjoy. But what? I mean, I admit it, I did and indeed still do enjoy the bikes, cars, computers, books, pictures and so on for a time at least. So for these reasons "enjoy" seems problematic....and "simple", well, I was simply taking photos or simply riding much for simple as a guiding factor...

What comes up for you? I would dearly love to know your take on this. Please share your story below or if it is a longer piece email it to mhodza (at) I look forward to reading them.

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