17.11.12

Level Up


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Ola's comment seemed out of place among a lot of otherwise insightful questions and observations throughout this documentary on the implications of our networked existence.  

His words remind me of Peter Gabriel's Big Time lyrics "the place where I come from is a  small town, they think so small, they use small words.  Not me, I'm smarter than that".   Sure, it is a marvellously connected creative and commercial world, but imagine the network shut down tomorrow. What are the skills of the stupid and uninteresting?

Consider agriculture.   You learn to interact with large unruly animals, successfully grow their food, and likely large portions of your own.   This is no small feat when contending with mitigating factors as unpredictable as the weather can be.  Whether they're in Asia, Africa, USA or Canada - farmers apply  creative problem solving and risk management to their work several times a day (and sometimes in the middle of the night, getting up every few hours to check herds during calving season).  That kind of "intelligence" has had the power to create the stable human living conditions to support the modern information and technology revolution that Ahlvarsson is so enamoured with.

As a surly teenager, I was constantly being yelled at come away from the TV and help weed the massive vegetable garden we had behind the house.  Now, after an adult life of urban dwelling, myself and many others are realising how raising a portion of your own produce has the potential to free you from the rising costs of living.   In the past, these skills were frequently acknowledged for their virtue and value.   At the moment, the resurgence of agrarian practices are struggling against shallow aesthetics that measure value by it's effect on profit,  failing to appreciate the beauty of functionality.


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