To live simply is to lead a life uncomplicated by unnecessary things.
I use writing to try to interpret the world around me and understand it better.
I use photography to try to see the world in new ways.
A summary of Karl Jaspers’ writing, “Sunk in the noise of nationalism and technology, people become intellectually and emotionally stifled, stuck. The crowd rules. Slogans and rhetoric pass for meaningful conversations”. Marietta McCarthy, How philosophy can save your life. Penguin Australia 2009.
What have we learnt? A German survivor of the first and second world wars, Jaspers was an early 20th century philosopher. He still speaks to us with relevance, as if alive today. Nationalism is destructive. Those who seek advantage through manipulating others naive enough to follow blindly, to adopt the slogans of ill considered electronic media and rally to the flags of puppet masters – will be perpetrators of great harm.
However, Jaspers was not without hope. “Amidst discussion, a silence is possible in which people may listen together and hear the truth.”
Are we still able to effectively hear the truth, to discover and explore the scant remaining silence? Or have we sunk so deep into the swamp of nationalism and the noise of technology to be beyond positive, constructive, truth seeking communication?
I sit on my green cane chair The best chair for thinking It is outside It has the advantage of being in a good place A verandah from which there is much to see Even if the weather is cold it is in the right position because the wind slides past laterally In this chair you can avoid confronting winds of change You can sit here for a long time confident you won’t have to move or make way for someone or something You can watch all sorts of things unfold from this chair Insects birds animals people the day the night the light Seasons pass you by I unfold from this chair This is a sitting for thinking chair It gives access to great scope for thought A matching cane table stands by this chair It is for all the paraphernalia I choose to utilise for observation and thinking for research recording and writing Endless cups of tea Vegemite and salad rolls Fruit nuts stacks of books Pens paper Camera iPad and phone Background noises surrounding this chair are soothing Creek water tumbling over rocks An irregular breeze wafting at leaves Morning song birdsong evensong Another nice sound I often hear from this chair is children playing Always happy to be outside In cooler months running along the bush track In summer swimming in the waterhole by the bridge or excitedly calling to each other as they splash about amongst the cascades You need to wear a brimmed hat sitting in this chair regardless of the season This is to shade your eyes from the northerly and westering sun To balance the glare against the shadows on the surface you are working on This chair has soft cushions for the seat and for the back They rest against its structure of bent cane It is a very good fit You can sit for a long time before needing to move However, the arms of this chair are narrow They may confine you to a limited range of positions This has the advantage of forcing movement This state of affairs is conducive to constructive thinking by prompting physical activity around the house along the verandah in the garden along the creek Such activity can be necessary to continue to be effective A mental activity reset New approaches come with a reset Quite often they are so new you get a pleasant surprise This is because you didn’t know they were there within you beforehand Another way to reset is change the scene move this chair to the edge of the verandah or reorientate A different outlook New space New thinking You have to remember to take the cushions in every evening to stop them getting damp They get tired and worn They are due for a new skin Just like me This chair is exposed to the elements One day it won’t be there I wonder will another chair be so generous?
Advertising seduces me into ever wanting more. Advertising leaves me wanting.
Nature arouses in me the need to belong, experience and explore. Nature fulfils these needs and more.
This may be the last of the best of times for much of humanity. This may be the first of the worst of times for indigenous animals and plants. SM
Humankind must understand that we have crossed a retrograde developmental line when our use of technology is based on faith that it will work rather than understanding of how and why it will work. SM