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Powerless

October 31, 2012

As my little corner of a little corner of the world, (Madison Ct., in New England), is thrust into the electrically deprived 19th century, ironies abound.

Architecture, a profession once done by hand (drawn) for handmade creation (versus manufactured) has, like everything else, become dependent on precisely what is now missing here: electricity. Humans create systems, they fail, we adapt.

Dutch dikes create land, are breached, and better dikes are built. Software that crashed every day, now crashes every week (or 3). Heavy rain erodes little ravines into my driveway – rather than give in and pave, I have infilled bag after bag of repair blacktop into those ravines, slowly toe-holding stability over the last 27 years – and keeping the soft gravel feel I so illogically desire.

As I sit in a Starbucks, connected and charging, using huge systems of technology offered up in a storefront selling low-yield drugs to aging Boomers – I think I see Darwin’s light bulb go off.

We have no idea how many satellites take the data from zillions of little transmitters and send that invisible “stuff” to another set of hundreds of thousands of servers, somewhere, and then someone else using one of those transmitters, (and another satellite) clicks a few prompts and gets that insubstantial stuff. And we move forward.

Our long dead predecessors had no clue that in their bodies where zillions of cells, with millions of zillions of information bits that either went ahead with each child, or didn’t.

The desire to get through remains the same. A sharp thing kills food better, seeds can be planted, versus just eating what is naturally present…and some go on.

Our survival, now, has layers – we can have love, we can have success, hell, we can have fun – but ultimately the success of just living has slipped into the assumption we feel for things that seem guaranteed. Like electrical power.

But the toothache, the flu and others passing knock us upside our head to the fact that our concern, ultimately is no different than the million-year-old grandpa who gave us life by not dying: survival.

So when you think that cake “always” has frosting, the internet is a natural occurrence like the tides, that you are actually the master of your own domain, just lose power.

It wasn’t there in the first place. All those dead generations created increasing layer upon layer of capability to the point where we have lost sense of the core of our efforts – survival. You just had access to the huge tip of the human iceberg of unrelenting effort.

Feeling gratitude does those endless generations of survivalists little good, as they are long gone –  but knowing you are the tip of a very long branch on a very tall tree makes the potential for its blow down a natural possibility, versus a heinous imposition of cruel fate.

Having charged my laptop here in Starbucks from 12% to 99% as I typed this, I can click 3 times and allow you to click twice and receive it. Thanks, grandpa.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. J M Grendel permalink
    October 31, 2012 4:55 pm

    This is totally wonderful. Duo, in light and darkness, is a good thing. JMG, Bfd

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