Saturday, October 16, 2021
Friday, October 15, 2021
The moment comes when suddenly you find you do really want anything any more. It is rather a shocking feeling, because due to the natural state of being a human or from an inherent sense of covetousness, there always seems to be (at least for me) something that I always want to have.
Part of it derives from the fact, I suppose, that from a young age we always seem to have things we want. We have holidays that things come on - Christmas, birthdays - and especially when we are small children, that is pretty much when things come. So we begin to associate those days with getting things and so we look forward to those days or months in advance (how many years did I spend pouring through the Sears catalogue right when it came, looking for Christmas ideas?).
Then, when we first start earning money, we find out that we can buy our own things. And so begins the life long pursuit of things. The economy runs on us purchasing things, and so we are actively encouraged (the fancy word for it is "marketing") to not only think getting more things is nice, but that it is an imperative. This, we are told, is how we measure our success in life and show that we are "doing it right". Happy people, so "marketing" tells us, have things - and so should we. And if we cannot have those things, we should spend our time eagerly wanting them and spending time dream about them (and watching marketing, of course).
Until that moment comes when we find we really do not "want" anything anymore.
There will always be needs, of course: no matter how many times I darn my socks I will eventually need new ones and sports shoes simply do not last forever. Things at the house need to be replaced, as do parts on my car. Maybe in another world these do not qualify as "needs"; in our modern world, they tend to.
But the rest? There suddenly seems to be no desire.
Oh, if pushed to the wall I suppose I could find something. But that is only if I am thinking about it a great deal or there is something which, although not a necessity, is something which would make life more pleasant or easier. But now, only if I am really thinking about it. For the most part, I find I am not thinking about such things as all.
It would be a problem, of course, if thousands or even millions of people suddenly found they no longer wanted things with the same intensity. Imagine the complete rewiring of our economic system if this were to be case.
Or put another way, imagine if someone created a consumer goods based economic system, and over time no-one showed up.
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
One of the greatest things lessons I have learned over the years on independence and thinking independently is simply the practice of learning to do things for myself.
My biggest example for this is yogurt.
For the last two years (except when traveling), I have not purchased yogurt. I have made my own. Yogurt is just about the most easy dairy product to make and takes about two days: one to heat the milk and inoculate and let it set, one day to drain off the whey. Although my kitchen scale does not go high enough, my estimation is that a gallon of milk will get me about 1 to 1.5 lbs of yogurt. That will last me for about a week, at which time I will get a new gallon of milk and heat it and introduce some of the culture from the previous yogurt into this one (such culture will acidify over time, so I do have to start with new starter culture every now and again).
To a lesser (much lesser extent) I can do this with other dairy products like cheese (but my friend, Rain, is an actual master. Her, you should follow). And one can make the argument that on the whole, I am probably not saving a great deal of money - for yogurt, I think I save a little.
But that is not really the point.
As one provides for one's self in any aspect - yogurt or vegetables or car repair or sewing - one is doing something much more valuable than just providing a product: one is training the mind.
The mind is being trained to think and act for itself in its own provision, rather than constantly having to go to an outside source to provide for it. One realizes that one can do things: I can make yogurt or cheese or darn socks or make something out of leather, something that is useful and productive. Will I necessarily save money? No. It will at best be a wash and at worst cost me more.
But in doing these things, I realize a truth. I can provide for myself. And as I learn to provide for myself, I find that I am learning to think for myself. My first reaction is not "Where will I find this?" or "Who will do this for me?" It is "How do I do this?" or "How do I find out how to do this?" I am looking to myself to do the thing or get the information, not relying on someone to provide it for me or tell me what to do.
In a way, I think this is why Our Political And Social Betters disparage the concepts of doing for ourselves and really only encourage those sorts of things that make us look to them as the fount of all supply and wisdom. To do for ourselves is to remove their power, and to remove their power is to make them obsolete.
Want to start someone down the route to independent thought and self determination? Teach them to make yogurt.
Monday, October 11, 2021
This weekend I pulled out most of the Summer Garden. This is the last view:
One of the reasons the garden was pulled out this weekend was a suggestion by Leigh to back calculate 10 hours of sun to determine planting. Although we do get a lot of sun here all year, this was the most reasonable time. So I will start replanting this week for Autumn.
Overall I was quite pleased with this Summer's outcome. This is in a lot of ways the most successful garden I have grown. I think with some tweaks I can do even better.
Sunday, October 10, 2021
I respect MacArthur's biblical scholarship - it really is first class, and arguably he would (along with the late R.C. Sproul) would be my standard against which I would measure late 20th Century pastoral teaching (his knowledge of New Testament Greek sets him far above most others) - even as I sometimes deplore his lack of tact.
But that said, this statement struck me as powerful, especially given yesterday's post and frame of mind.
To be clear (and I have followed MacArthur for over 20 years), he is very consistent on this point. He has not been one to discuss or monitor national or international trends of social or political import. He has always brought the conversation around to the Church as witness in a dead and dying world.
It seems such a different message now from some much of what passes for church, does it not? But I think MacArthur would say (of course, I am not speaking for him) that all of that can come from a people that are redeemed. Otherwise, one is merely continuing to make repairs on a structure that is continuing to fall apart - and people can do all the "right" things in life and still be condemned in the afterlife.
The other thing that strikes me is the phrase "the lost and condemned world in which you live". Not a phrase one hears at all any more. The world systems are just flawed and can be repaired, not lost and condemned.
Believing that a society is flawed and can be repaired is a hallmark of utopianism. Believing that a society is lost and condemned would completely change the focus for the larger Church in how the interacted with it.
Be the light that cannot be hidden under the basket, understanding that as a light our primary job is not to make the house better or cleaner but rather to show the fact that it is falling apart, and that there is a ultimately a way to make it better. But it will require something more than minor fixes.