Monday, February 23, 2009

Changing Times; devolving towards pure theory

Being that we have changed our scenery lately, Sheryl and I have been subject a fair amount to the scenery changing us-- some of us more than others, or maybe it's change in different ways. Sheryl has been writing about philosophical and political matters lately. I've been more affected by the countryside, nature, the wide open spaces than by the local town twenty miles away.

Aside from photography, I've taken on other creative projects in the past. I've always been a fiction writer, a musician, and occasionally liked making or modifying things for myself. I made an electric guitar in my 7th grade woodshop, for example. That was back when we had woodshop, metalshop, printshop, drafting, and these are just the hands-on classes that I remember. At the time I needed a good electric guitar because I was in the midst of forming up a rock band. I didn't have the money for a good electric guitar, so I made one. I got a lot of help from a lot of people, some books too, but I pulled it off and that was my main electric for a long time. We wrote our songs, performed them, and some of those guys went on to some degree of fame with our home-made music.

In college I had to watch while the school administration again closed down just about everything related to building/making things for yourself. They closed down the electronics department, welding and fabrication and the whole industrial design program. Similar things happened across the whole State of California in the eighties. Some of my old electronics instructors engaged in contentious legal battles in order to try to save their jobs, and I think, to save some piece of mind over the trades that they had devoted their lives to promoting and educating about. At the time, I had recently formed my own business making custom built speakers and designing sound systems while still holding down a job in tech support for an educational organization which was making a pretty blatant statement about my skills: they were obsolete. Not complaining, I had my day in the sun and ultimately I moved on to devote myself more fully to my spiritual life. But still, was it wise to unravel every hands-on, practical skill from our entire educational system?

In town we saw a one room cabin that dates back more than a hundred years. It's in fine shape. There is a plaque on the wall stating that a cabin like that could commonly be built in a single day by a couple of guys with axes. Damn. If you could see it, I think you'd be as awed as we were.

I'm getting ready to take on more hands on projects-- having a time of it justifying the "why" of it but it just feels like the thing to do.

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