Earlier this week I was staring at a retro design greeting card where a 1950’s woman had a stove full of dinner cooking in her oven, was in her dress, heels, and apron with a giant smile on her face while holding up a tray of foodstuff. If memory serves me right, the tag line in the modern card said, “what in the world is this woman doing?” With all the work we doing in controlled environment agriculture and watching the path and trajectory of food in the USA, I realized the idea of the “kitchen” we have with the orphans, probably is what the average home needs in the states.
When I first went to Switzerland, I thought the idea of Sunday having the store closed was odd. Coming from a 24/7 world, it is effortless to get lost in a narrow space and society where you have so many choices and options with what you want to learn, watch, do, make, or be entertained – anytime, anywhere, and anyplace. When I stopped running on the gerbil mill that the world feeds us, “success” and started taking time to go out in the middle of nowhere and experience the silence and stillness and being alone with the creator of it all and asking, “so what would you like me to do?” I was sucked into the world where people commonly say, “life is just like this…you can’t change it.”
While you can’t change the systems in place yourself, you can change yourself. I think many are too afraid or shy to learn to be themselves as it will usually cause friction. In Japan (and in a different variant in Switzerland) they have a quote, “the nail that sticks out the furthest gets hammered first.” it is a paraphrase that in essence means that no one in society should get too far in front or be different than the masses.
In the united states, technology and the infamous mobile has opened the door to massive information, and while I still need to go to libraries for in-depth research on some subjects, you can find out just about anything, and there probably is a bunch of poorly shot and edited videos of people telling you a way to do something. Thankfully you can scrub through the noise and do a bit of self-editing to save time
I digress again. I was just in a Starbucks waiting to get a coffee, and two sets of parents with young daughters traveling in what looks like a club football team (it is soccer in the USA) were all talking about breakfast and food. "You point at it in the display window, they stick it in a high-speed oven, and you have food. It is convenient, simple, and probably not as healthy as eating a home cooked or homemade meal – but as our distribution systems get further optimized, and the competition for scale and market share keeps evolving, and we reward ideas with imagined stock valuation than reality – you will see the system get further out of skew.
What do I mean about skew? I watched a young woman about 12 wanting a certain treat from the display case. Her dad mentioned that “mom wouldn’t approve” and there were 25 other things to choose from. The girl didn’t throw a fit, but she was disappointed or wanted that specific treat that a barista could take from the display, throw in an oven, and call it a healthy, nutritious, suitable, ecological, organic, lifestyle enhancing meal.
I had to giggle at the last sentence. Why?
I was thinking about the folks in the world that are hungry today. A bowl of rice or beans would be a godsend for them. Having a supply of clean water would wipe out a lot of diseases. I saw the images from Caracas in the newswire and simply was sad. Venezuela was goofy when I was there, but the pain today… just doesn’t make any sense when people don’t have water to drink.
so as this young woman, who had so many choices, parents that cared about her and many other privileges and benefits than the orphans, I had to wonder about it all with relationship to god.
Then it occurred to me, it is man’s dichotomy and broken distribution system. I doubt many Americans realize on a global scale how much we consume and use for the resources of the globe for our lifestyle. It is about 25-26%. The population is about 5% of the world population. For whatever reason, the packaging and the number of choices are what jumps out from coming back from swiss.
Trust me, there is no utopia and perfect space on the planet. Each is a bit unique, and the culture and way of life in all with custom and traditions give each a single language on the planet. Many times it is hard to learn the language fast enough to really feel or understand the spot. In Switzerland, you have tremendous wealth that came from ww2 and the post ww2 reconstruction of Europe and banking that traverses the globe. It affords a few million people and the high net worth individuals of the planet a unique space to live/work/raise a family/grow in. It is just, and the idea of trying an idea is usually not realized with the scorn of public failure. It is a really odd and interesting phenomenon. I still listen to people that have never tried anything say, “if you plan well enough, it will work just fine.”
If you are doing linear progressions, probably. If you are going for a new or different solution or process…good luck. I have not had one idea end up exactly as I initially planned or thought.
so what I see in my mind is the young soccer player pointing at a display case of food, and despite having over two dozen choices, …she could not find something.
I think back to Johnny in India who is feeding a few thousand kids today with simple food to fill their bellies to hopefully get them strong enough to learn a skill…
And then I think of Kevin carters image of the small child and the vulture. He won a Pulitzer and ended up committing suicide.
What I think I am writing myself into merely is realizing I have been sitting back and trying to fit into others ideas and life models despite being the one that has traveled the globe and done so many things. I am not different than anyone else, you just want to fit in. The problem is when you look at what most of the world does for “living,” it isn’t all that interesting of fun. How many things can you buy, how many new shops or restaurants or canned vacations or cruises can you take? I see people on Instagram posing and calling themselves “influencers” I wonder, of what? How not to think for yourself?
And yeah, I have to just push forward with these ideas for agriculture in developed and 3rd world models. It looks insane, but perhaps that is only my purpose before I leave this planet. Instead of entertaining people and getting them to depart with their money. Maybe now it is to give the people some tools to take them back away from the gerbil mill that technology has put them on.
I can’t change another person, only myself. But I wonder how blind we all are to believe our “life” is the best we can do for ourselves?
Sorry to get all philosophical and psychological…life really is and can be very simple and beautiful. Why our human minds like to complicate things – is a mystery. What is a ray of hope is that in the entire coffee shop – I see two people having a conversation…actually talking. There is hope.
Taking the time to look at the multiple and seemingly infinite perspectives to something is not a bad thing. What it is is frustrating when you see how locked into one way of living or thinking most on the planet are in. People love black and white in a world of zillions of shades of gray. Ambiguity and fear hold more back than propel most forward – at times, myself included.