Saturday, December 21, 2019

moving beyond the days of 360° 24/7 self-aggrandizement

I mention again an interesting book by Catherine S. Barker. It was first published in 1941 and was republished this year with fresh notes and introductory materials by the University of Arkansas Press. Yesterday Today is a factual account of life in the Ozark Mountains and of the challenges faced by the rural poor. The book is lovingly written, and I celebrate the University of Arkansas Press for bringing it back to life.

The book presents an interesting contrast with life in the Ozarks today. Now we have multi-national corporations and companies that specialize in making things from plastic.

There's an interesting Zen saying, that, "Poverty is your greatest treasure. Never trade it for an easy life." A song lyric that interests me is from Joni Mitchel. She sang about "the thumb and the satchel or the rented Rolls Royce, and the crazy you get from too much choice."

We are in the times of 360 degree 24/7 self-aggrandizement. Did you know that the big gold letters on the top of Trump Hotels and towers are not gold and that they are actually made of plastic? You can make plastic look like virtually anything. But there's a difference between virtual and virtue. One is the denial of the other. Not enough is said these days about simplicity. Another favorite suggestion is to live simply so that others may simply live.

The eight year old youtube star is making 26 million bucks a year reviewing and thereby promoting toys. Can you guess what they're made of? In the meantime, the maker of Lego blocks is offering to take back legos from the hoards of unsorted legos that are out there, and to resort them and send them to the poor. That's better than having them floating in the great Pacific garbage gyre. Perhaps we could consider a similar effort in the collection and renewal of old barbies. Gather them up, take them apart and reassemble them into new creative forms.

I'll compare legos to homemade wooden Froebel blocks. Does the world have enough? Being made  from wood, most have been burned or composted with no harm to the environment. My book, Making Classic Toys that Teach might send my readers in the right direction.

Yesterday we began moving tools and work benches from the old Clear Spring School wood shop to our new studio in the hands on learning center. I felt extremely grateful to have had a tractor for some of the heaviest lifting and to have had great help.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning lifewise.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:55 AM

    Throwing away Legos is a strange idea to me. The grandsons ( 6 and 4 year old)are now playing with the son's legos.
    They receive also new ones. The more one has, the more creative one can be.
    I was frustrated to receive various incompatible construction games. The one I loved most was meccano (metal). I had the chance to have access to some boards and branches from the garden to make things with some tools.
    Now there are plenty of cheap plastic toys which don't resist a few hours and which develop zero creativity. Those should be banned.