Sunday, January 02, 2011

who needs to know and why

My wife, daughter and I arrived this evening in San Jose, Costa Rica for a short family vacation. The 6:25 AM flight out of XNA (Northwest Arkansas) had mechanical trouble so we spent the day in the airport, eating junk food on vouchers. The ticket agent was operating near solo, the printer was malfunctioning and  he handled all the changes with aplomb. But to spend all day in the airport when your vacation awaits is not the greatest joy

As we flew out of Houston, our first and only stop before arriving at San Jose, I looked down at all the lights. There are millions of them. Most of them come on without human attention, as they are programmed to come on at a certain time. And so, as I looked down, I wondered how much consciousness I would find if I were on the ground instead of in the air looking down.

We have surrendered a great deal to mechanical control, and are we not somewhat mechanical ourselves in response?

As I have mentioned before in the blog, the hands, once they have learned a skill, withdraw from consciousness, and this thus allow the hands to proceed with only minimal supervision. A skilled craftsman can do wonderful things while his mind is engaged in other things. Anaxagoras said man is the wisest of all animals because he has hands. He had also been the first Greek philosopher to note the existence of Nous or mind. So you can say that the mind and hand together form a team through which consciousness is expressed. To neglect that essential partnership is to place human wisdom, intelligence and character in peril.

So, who needs to know about this? There are millions if not billions of people in the world who are deeply engaged in shaping reality and serving others through the conscious deliberations of their hands. They use them for healing, for making, for growing, for preparing food, or even for manipulation of information on computers to make sure that all the passengers in their care arrive safely at their destinations.  Many use their hands to express their intelligence, wisdom and compassion without giving a second thought. But there are others in government and in education who have little sense of how important the hands can be, or why it is essential that children learn everything they learn, hands on. There are others who for some reason or another live lives lacking in some certain sense of fulfillment that the hands can most assuredly provide. Make, fix and create. If you feel so inclined, join the hand tribe and promote a better understanding of hands. You will discover a few things on your own from your own experience that I attempt to describe here in the blog.  If you are reading and I repeat myself, know that I am like any craftsman, just trying to get things right. Demonstrate a few things so that others might understand. Let your hands speak up.

One of the things that you will probably discover is that the hands have a role to play in our meditations. They have a way of bringing us to the here and now. Your mind can rush off to other things, but your hands always are the voice of now and here. Let them speak up and call your attentions back from their wanderings to what lies at hand and  in touch.

So, here I am in Costa Rica. The sign at the airport said the people here are the happiest in the world. Can that be true? Could it have something to do with the hands?


  1. Anonymous5:10 AM

    Have a great vacation! My great grandfather came from San Jose, and it's one of my dreams to go there and dig up family roots.


  2. Mario, we won't be in San Jose long. The airport looks like so many others. Your grandfather, finding his roots might be easier on the internet, but I suspect he might be found in the countryside where things are less of the 21st century.

    But it was a relief to us to be on a list for the shuttle to the Hampton Inn when we arrived so late at night. Civilization can be a comforting thing, too.