Monday, July 11, 2011

Lake Tahoe

My wife and I are at the biennial Stowe family reunion, which is being held this year at Lake Tahoe. The setting is beautiful, and our lives are marked and enriched by this every other year event. Conversations with my cousins whom I've known for my whole life, are always intellectually stimulating and emotionally engaging. One of the things that came up in a conversation last night is the way our tools are accumulations of human knowledge, relieving a human being of the need for development of particular skills. A simple example is the calculator. When was the last time you added a long collumn of numbers and do you still remember how? The downside of having such smart tools  is that tools become so specific in their capabilities as to narrow our our range of perceived solutions to problems that arise. As Maslow stated, if your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. What if our only tools are laptops and as powerful as they may be, do they narrow the range of human capacity? Without a doubt, we are experiencing  an explosion of human creativity with new devices making things easier each day, but narrowing our range of potential actions as we ourselves begin to have less and less actual skills invested in our hands and bodies. Is that a good thing?

This morning my wife and I rented a sit-upon plastic kayak, and arranged to take some of our youngest relations on their first trips onto the lake. Being on the water, whether on a plastic boat, or on something larger is a gift. This afternoon the wind should blow the lake into white caps, so it was good to get the paddling done early.

Make, fix and create

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome view. I have a cabin on the cedar river here in Iowa. There is something about being next to the water. It really is relaxing to sit outside the cabin and watch the river go by. We take the boat out a lot also. Can not see my life with out that place.