That’s for sure. Wordsworth was a couple of hundred years ahead of his time, but he probably never had a clue about how downhill thought could go as our expertise in nuts and bolts grew by leaps and bounds.
The Times has a great article today about the rise of organic agriculture in which it discusses the Mexican organic farms in Baja California. These places are going after the aquifers in the desert, using a sea of plastic to control evaporation. These farms provide us so-called locavores in New England with all the good, standard size tomatoes, asparagus and strawberries that we crave right into the months of December, January and February. This has the rather weird result of giving us our cake to have and eat too, a kind of word game that I haven’t quite caught on to, it being more subtly nuanced than I, in my normal simplicity, view the world. And much, much more improvement goes on every day, so much more that I couldn’t begin to list it all. We probably should have better access to unamille in order to keep track.
Certainly, with all the inventions and discoveries life is easier. For instance, I imagine that long, long ago the only way you could get a fried egg would be break it on a hot rock on a sunny hillside. People should probably be happier but we just don’t seem able to let all that busy work go.
There are nascent urges you can notice if you keep your eyes open. Nowadays when the workers of the world can take off for a week-end, you are apt to find them steaming on a beach somewhere, or skiing down a slope. Still they continue to receive statistical updates on their iPods or cell phones or other myriad implements to keep us in touch. You may also have noticed, however, that taking a trip is far more strenuous because it is necessary to take educational tours of various establishments. Say your child persuades you to take her to visit a maple syrup factory. There will be a grizzled leader, fresh from the forest collectors, who will inform you, as you move among the hoses that feed the various vats that prepare grades A and B, intoxicating, steaming fragrance, of the facts.
“Here on this farm, each of 5,000 maple trees are attached by plastic tubing to the main tube artery, from this section of the maple forest. depending on its age, each tree gives between 1000 and two hundred gallons of sap, and THIS SAP has to boil down into 2,000 gallons of syrup.” (You know I made this up. )
But I can’t remember that stuff. All I want is to eat some of that maple syrup and then find out from somebody who knows how we can protect our northern sugar maples from the curse of climate change. There’s a good place to use some information.
And it wouldn’t surprise me at all if, at one of its courses around the sun there might be enough extra people get picked up by centrifugal force and flung into the spheres. It would be wonderful if we could figure out how to feed what people we’ve got and not make quite so many more get to work reading the statistics, or looking for more oil, or whatever else useless they need to be busy doing.
Well, I think the earth is yelling Ouch, and I think we had better shake off some of that lying fairy dust get into our gardens. I think we ought to walk down town and enjoy a coffee with a friend. I think we need to sit back and enjoy our improvements, apply our great learning to a better understanding and begin making lots of art, and music, and stories, and explanations of where it all came from.
As Willie Loman said, “Attention must be paid.”