Monday, July 26, 2021

the real world

 I've been going over edits of my new book, attending to the editor's comments and questions, and realized that I make a number of references to the "real" world that might be confusing to some of my readers who are so heavily invested in alternative and digital realities that they might question why I do not regard those realms that capture so much of their attention as being real.

So, without meaning to offend, I'll tell how you can distinguish real and true from false and made up. You can call it "the smell test," though it involves more senses than the sense of smell alone.

When something is real, the experience of it involves ALL the senses. When something is artificial or made up, that is not the case. So, is it any wonder that some folks retain an urge to feel the full range of sensory experience? The lack of engagement of the full range of senses, is like fingers sliding over glass. And we'd have to be dumb-numb to our own bodies to mistake one world for the other.

There are two sensory things that are difficult to emulate through the screens of our computers. One is the smell of things. The other is the full range of interaction with gravity and sensing through the hands, fingers, musculature and mind of the tactile qualities of life and doing real things. Those real things have weight and texture. Seeing something made up may convince us to believe in the short term. But a body left hanging loose without the full range of senses to confirm reality, ultimately begins to question.

The other day when I had my one day box making class for supporters of the Clear Spring School, one of the attendees arriving in class noted the strong smell of wood. My own nose is accustomed to that smell, but my student's senses awakened her to welcome the reality of what the day would bring.

Is there something that we can call "the real world" that stands apart from stuff that's made up? I defend the concept and your own senses will confirm.

The drawing developed for the Sloyd teacher training school at Nääs, shows a movement that some in Tai Chi would call "warding off." With the legs spread apart, the body moves forward, shifting weight from one leg to the other as the hands push the tool forward. In this exercise in the real world, you feel the pull of gravity on your own body, the grip of the plane, the resistance of the wood as you push it forward. You see the shaving emerging from the mouth of the plane. You feel the utter smoothness of the fresh surface. You hear the whoosh of the plane cutting the wood. And the smell test? The aroma of freshly planed wood. Of course this is just a picture on your screen. But in real life, there's so much more.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning likewise.

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