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Sunday, January 22, 2012

On a limb.


A covey of doves resides on this barren tree. They come and go, vacating when blackbirds fly overhead, knowing better than to stick around where they might be attacked. They are almost the same size as the blackbirds, but they come and go in a mild way, resting between foraging trips down in the garden, and know precisely what to do when they see blackbirds advance toward them.




So much of life takes place outside our viewfinder, not changed or evolved too much from its original state.

We, on the other hand,  are prisoners of our ways, eating to oblivion, sleeping to death stages. We can't see anything without our special rose-colored glasses. Whatever happens out there is not our business until it becomes a nuisance to our eating, sleeping, viewing habits.

Some of us pretend to care. We lay out bird feed, cat feed, dog feed, and occasionally drop in to check the local pantry. Even when we are not busy, we pretend to be. We arrange our days in increments of pleasure and must-dos. Ah, we whine, why can't they invent something that flushes itself, cooks itself, washes itself?

We have invented self-flushing toilets, self flowing faucets, instant hot water dispensers. Even my cat relies on all these things, like her automatic feeders! I fill these contraptions  once a week, and automatically, with a paw- up into it, pellets drop in in just the right amount.  She uses a  cat litter with self-absorption-odor absorption qualities unequaled in history.We have invented so many devices, and machines, and applications to machines, machines that replace machines, that we no longer have to lift ourselves out of bed.

Wait. No. We have machines that lift us out of bed, but then we have to get to the physical therapist to show us how to move our legs, bend our knees, push our uppers and lowers and pretend we do physical work.

My biggest concern during weather problems?  That my electricity is gone, and no machine can make my coffee, toast my bread, cook my egg, warm my water, and keep my frozen goods frozen.

We even study these addictions/relationships we have with machines. My husband's job was to analyze how we interact with machines!

I wonder if Darwin had any idea of how strange we have become, dreaming up machines to feed every one of our needs.


35 comments:

Linda Myers said...

This is an interesting post. Sounds like winter thoughts!

Rob-bear said...

In the extreme form of this affliction, we become mere appendages to the machines. That is not a happy thought.

I suppose that one could detach from the machinery by cooking over a wood fire, and walking wherever one goes. But the world is not built to handle such oddities. Our cities are ruled by cars; fireplaces are considered peculiar, and sometimes outlawed if outdoors.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Sightings said...

I always try to remember that the computer works for me; I don't work for the computer. But it often doesn't seem that way.

dianefaith said...

One of the reasons I bought my little house, the one with no garage, no TV, no microwave, and no-several-other-things was an effort to get away from having too many comforts and conveniences. But, of course I still do have too many.

Rubye Jack said...

I love machines. I've often thought a Borg like world would be perfection so that we could free ourselves of emotion.
Meanwhile, I was just sitting here trying to imagine a world without all the conveniences we have. It is difficult. I actually have little compared with many people, but I am still as dependent as most on what I do have. Kind of scary if anything should go wrong.
This is an intriguing post Rosaria.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, we are strange beings, Rosaria!

Suz said...

you are thinking too much today....have a glass of wine and some chocolate Rosaria

erin said...

i'm a victim and perpetrator, too, rosaria. some might even label me a hypocrite. they would be right. oh, damn damn damn, how do we move beyond this and move back into thoughtful and meaningful living?

xo
erin

Pat transplanted to MN said...

One machine that comes first to mind for me is this PC and the laptop...without them, the wintry world of the last few days would be oh so smaller...I often think how easy we have it with laundry, etc and how my grandmother worked so hard at all that and then cooked on the woodstove....and I think it's too much trouble to make my own pie crust at times, pkgd. or machine made...I would not want to go back though...

The Broad said...

The thing is we concentrate so much on the 'things' we think we need that we lose site of what we do need -- which to my way of thinking comes down to 'each other'. 'Things' either work or they don't -- the people in our lives are an entirely different matter...

Donna said...

Here's the thing that I think Rosaria...every time we invent something electrical...you have problems with it sooner or later. I work in surgery. At the beginning of my career 40 years ago, we used only instruments. Now we have much electrical "stuff", laparoscopes, microscopes, monitors, etc. that have electrical issues from time to time that are a huge headache!! So much for technology...right?

yaya said...

I found out this summer when I didn't have electric for a week just how dependent I was..and also how creative I could be without it! But truthfully I love many of the machines that make life easier. I agree with Donna about our surgery machines, however those same technology devices also save many lives, improve life situations and help people to have the ability to move their limbs, climb their stairs, live longer with their loved ones and enjoy this wonderful world with all its imperfections! I guess that makes me an optimist!

JeannetteLS said...

Without my computer I'd not have been able to make a living from Connecticut, writing for a university in California. I would not be able to visit in Ireland, Paris, Canada. I cannot use my legs as I did, to take me hiking in the mountains, so I visit through technology.

Yet it can make me lazy, too. I refuse to play computer games. I do not have a breadmaker. Yesterday I made six loaves of oatmeal nut bread, and the kneading took half an hour. I felt the joy of making something the old-fashioned way.

As I did, however, I reminded myself that I will be ever grateful to my washer and dryer. Hanging out the clothes was never a joy. I remember my mother CLAPPED when she got her first dryer--about twenty years after everyone else.

But still? Some of your post hit close to home. My laugh's a tad uncomfortable. I enjoyed this post, Rosaria!

Eva Gallant said...

Yes, we've machined ourselves right into obesity!

oceangirl said...

I can't imagine living without this machine on my lap.

Brian Miller said...

we find new ways to make life more simple, forgetting many of the simple things that made life worth living...

#1Nana said...

During the recent storm I worried about our power going out, then I remembered that the RV has a generator. I can always move out to the driveway to make toast!

the walking man said...

My only curiosity is how many of our jobs, how much of our work for pay have we mechanized to oblivion?

cheshire wife said...

I am a great believer in Darwin's survival of the fittest theory. Today we do rely too much on machines powered by electricity but it is the way of the world and a necessary evil in order to keep ourselves up to date.

A Cuban In London said...

Love, love, love those reflections. How far have we come as a species? And how far will we go? Many thanks for those pearls of wisdom.

Greetings from London.

Hilary said...

A fine and true post. The more we distance ourselves from nature the less capable we become. Animals don't need to be told how to survive.. they just do.

Jenny Woolf said...

But human beings usually love to have machines, I think perhaps it's an evolutionary thing, which has driven us to be civilised.


I cycle rather than using the car or public transport, whenever possible. I feel it's good to me. Yet, thinking about it, even the bike is a machine! :)

She Writes Here Now said...

This is almost sci-fi. I often think of how busy we make ourselves and how there is a cultural need to be busy, speak of being busy; if one is important, one is busy.

The part about the machines lifting us from bed... YIKES. Scary and true.

And pretending to care. This post reminds me of the philosophy that everything is an illusion. I am convinced when I read this, that this might be reality and yet, it has the feel of illusion.

I like what you did here. In a few short paragraphs you have me thinking of a hundred things. Not all things I want to examine, even of myself.

rosaria said...

Final reflection:
Even with all these contraptions we invent, we still can die from a single punch.

Maggie May said...

Love your dove picture.
Having no electricity is really awful. We get so used to the convenience of it.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Creative said...

Hi from England. As far as I see it, I love wild life but I agree about modern inventions. I can do without a lot of them and do so. I don't have a dishwasher and won't have one; I won't have an IPad or an Iphone or whatever. I have though lately obtained a battery operated toothbrush and it cleans my teeth more thoroughly than the usual ones. As for wild life, our magpies, rooks and pigeons together with smaller birds such as robins, blackbirds, blue tits are sharing the food on the bird table! Perhaps I am putting too much food out but nature is kind to them right now.

NitWit1 said...

I can even remember how some simple things evolved into other things which evolved even more things.

Like clocks. The wind ups are still around but I remember when electric ones became the mode,followed by electric digital numbers instead or "arms." Then came battery powered ones, and now we have digital gizmos that read from some far-flung emission to give is time, temperature, and even weather.

Or Newspapers. The time is coming you won't read a newspaper delivered to your house or bought at a stand. It is rapidly converting to digital on0line paid subscription. As far as that goes, what about books? Don't separate me from my Kindle.

amalia said...

bel post Rosaria
un caro saluto

Vagabonde said...

We are dependent on so many machines that is so true. But, some people are not and are happy. When I went into the bush in Gabon, West Africa, and was invited in the hut of a very old lady, I saw she had very little, but she was smiling, laughing and happy. I guess it all depends on where we live and what we are use to.

Journeyin' Lady... said...

Interesting thoughts. Every once in awhile when we are on the road we boondock (park in our RV somewhere with no water, electric or sewer hookups) It is really pretty relaxing. . .for a few day and then we are anxious to get back to the electronic world!

CiCi said...

Did you husband enjoy the job? It sounds like it could get quite in depth.

I like my conveniences but could live without them if I absolutely had to. I would have to have my coffee though, even over an open fire.

Rachel Cotterill said...

Interesting thoughts - I do think about these things from time to time. I wonder what it will be like in fifty or a hundred years' time.

rosaria said...

The work my husband did brought to light carpal tunnel syndrome, and the overall effect of repetitive work on the human body and psyche. There has been a great deal of work from industrial/research psychologists and scientists to ease back pain, neck pain, eye strain, boredom, etc...

lo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lo said...

I admit to being dependent on all the modern conveniences myself, and I even admit to loving the ease of life they afford me, but the last time we lost power, I surprised myself by rather enjoying the ways we managed. Turns out we could still cook and have morning coffee, with my husband firing up the gas grill outdoors, we could still see our way around with flashlights and candles, we could still read and paint and talk and talk and talk and socially, we blossomed! I determined that I wouldn’t let it all slide away once the power came back on . . . but it’s just too easy, isn’t it? And yesterday I whined that the auto-timer on the coffee machine hadn’t come on, and I actually had to push the button when I came downstairs in the morning and wait a whole five minutes, rather than having it ready to pour when I got up! Ugggh…
Thanks for the timely reminder, Rosaria. Today I live a little more mindfully, I think.