Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Reality 101... the quick course for beginners. You may have noticed that an agreement on reality is elusive. Whatever you say or believe may be challenged by others whose view might be just a bit askew from your own.

A number of years ago, I was involved with a citizen's group that was trying to get the city of Eureka Springs to pay some attention to the springs for which it was founded in the late 1880s. It was believed then and well into the 1950's by some that the springs had magical healing qualities, but development around the springs and the leakage of sewage lines from homes and businesses soon made the springs unfit for human consumption. In fact, the health department regularly posted the springs as unfit, and local vigilantes concerned with the loss of tourism would take the signs down in the middle of the night to keep the tourists coming (and going) despite serious risks of infectious disease.

So when it came time to build a new treatment plant, those of us in the citizen's group asked that instead of building a much larger plant, we should take care of the necessary line repairs and stop the leaking of sewage into our springs. And of course, the state and federal governments said, "Yes, we know the springs are polluted, but how can you know it is leaking sewage lines that pollute them?"

Such is the way with science and reality. When you are ready to go off the deep end, you can head any direction you choose. The governmental agencies refused to admit that the leaking sewer lines were the cause of contamination until we had invested a quarter of a million dollars in a study, proving what anyone with intelligence beyond that of a moron would have understood and accepted without question.

Time Magazine this last week presented statistics on what people do each day. Sleep 8.5 hours (35%) Watch TV 2.35 hours (15% of time awake). Start adding in the other forms of escape from reality, and you begin to get the picture. The first thing you need to know about reality is that it exists despite all the traditional means used to escape it, and by using our hands in the making of things we have a chance to experience it. Very sadly, woodworking wasn't an activity significant enough for Time Magazine to list in their statistics.

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