The Industrial Revolution is personal

A few days ago, mariner was about to peel potatoes when he discovered his potato peelers were in the dish washer which was running a two-hour cycle. He had to use a paring knife. Wow! Is this a lost art! He must have sacrificed 20 percent of the potato. King Arthur would have been more precise swinging his sword. This reminded me of the recent posts about Mark Boyle, an economist who lived three years without money. Did he give up peelers?

Where would mariner be without his house slippers with rubber soles or his oil heater in his study. How much time would it take to sharpen his knives, chisels, axes and lawn mower blades without a bench grinder? Mariner is old enough to remember when bathrooms didn’t have showers.

Where would our club basements be if we still used coal furnaces and the front of the basement was filled with two tons of coal? Yes, it is true mariner remembers slave labor as a child who had to shovel coal and carry out ashes as well.

These personal thoughts lead to thoughts about how society has changed faster and faster with great leaps of technology and automation changing reality before it has completed previous changes. Where once it was an innovation to invent potato peelers, now entire libraries are replaced with a search engine. Where once upon a time mothers told us what to do – now it is Alexis. When once we gathered about a table to play games together, now we don’t need people or a table to play the smartphone.

Mark Boyle chose to live without money for three years to force an epiphany in himself. How did one survive before the Industrial Revolution freed humans to ignore basic truths about survival in a natural environment? Perhaps modern folk should forego vacations at Disney World and spend a week in a primitive environment that had no modern inventions – especially not electricity, which old fashioned Planet Earth seems not to appreciate.

Now, back to those potatoes.

Ancient Mariner


2 thoughts on “The Industrial Revolution is personal

  1. Well, Ed, it’s a trade-off, isn’t it? I also had to shovel coal and carry out ashes so I wouldn’t trade my modern heater and AC for a coal furnace or a fan. I’m working on a huge project that has so far taken my over 6 years and that’s with a computer. If I had used index cards, it would take me 100 years. That being said, I understand your point. I guess there must be an element of moderation, like the governor on an engine to make sure that it doesn’t run too fast. I hope 2023 sees more moderation. Happy new year.

    • You make a good point, Robert, in that the I.R. has given us big, pithy chunks of abstract time and talents far beyond the capabilities of our root-grubbing fingers. Life for humans is easier today but perhaps not for 16,000 extinct species or a warming Earth.
      The deepest concern I have is that The Earth has stopped and started all over again a number of times in its history; is our interpretation of primate behavior forcing the issue?
      Where is a governor when we need one?
      Thanks for responding.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.