Sunday, March 15, 2009

."A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects".
Robert Heinlein


A reflection catches the light, bringing the steam engine to life once again. The image was captured a year ago, an effort to keep alive the memory of the powerful machine. Carefully built by man as a tool of industry, now maintained lovingly as living history. A rolling, roaring, smoking, screaming monument to the ability of man.

Man... a tool using animal... but more than animal. Gifted and cursed with feelings, emotions, guilt, bravery, and most of all, reason. The dog who laid by my fire this morning is a bright animal, but dependent on man for warmth and food now. Instinct alone is not enough to create the home and hearth. Intelligence is required. A thinking mind.

This weekend, in my relaxation, I carried through with the promise of mind. Hungry, I became chef and created delicate pancakes from sundry items found at hand. Desiring ammunition for my weapons, I built my own from components bought and found. Lacking bullets to load in my cases, I cast my own bullets from lead ingots I alloyed myself, using lead weights I recycled myself. Needing a wooden tool, I taught myself to use a lathe and made what I wanted. Pistol needing cleaning, I took it apart and cleaned it. Wishing images to share with friends, I took my own, retouched them, and wrote the words to accompany them. Bathroom dirty, I turned to housekeeping and scrubbed the floor myself. Needing clean clothes, I became laundry master and washed clothes. Computer needing service, I became hardware engineer and repaired connections. Printer inoperative, I navigated the internet and sought out drivers to make it work once again.

We are far removed from that chilly cave, foolishly shaking a sharpened stick at an uncaring sky. Man has created this world we live in with the power of his mind. It's by that same power we'll continue to build our world to suit us, unless we give up the labors of the mind and turn away. Turning.... back to the cave, the sharp stick, and an animal existence.


2 comments:

Old NFO said...

Well said... Also we need to re-assume responsibility for our actions, not try to blame others.

Brigid said...

I know there are times I have to turn to others for knowledge, but I will then use that knowledge to fix it myself.

When my Dad had his stroke, he worked unbelievably hard to get up and walk again, amazing his doctor and even golfing six months later. He said to me, on that first day, "when you voluntarily give up walking you begin to die".

I think the world is like that as well, you give up doing for yourself, waiting in the cold for someone, government, society, to take care of your every need, you too begin to die.