Peru – 01/22/12 (Day 1) – 05:40pm

Reading “Screw Business as Usual” is … what? Interesting? Enlightening? I find so many of my thoughts mirrored in Branson’s words. Thoughts which, in some cases, I barely remembered having had.

I recall a commercial, or maybe it was a show, where a man had a giant tree supported between two … somethings … I don’t know what they were but they were metal. They spun the tree quickly so that it became a blur, and this TV personality (I think it was “Tim the Toolman’s” partner, which is mildly Ironic given his later involvement in battery recycling campaigns) whittled the entire tree away into a single, perfect toothpick.

At the time I watched this, which must have been in the early nineties, I remember thinking “God, how must waste!”

Branson talks about how a single 5lb laptop might weigh 40,000lbs if you retained all the material which had been used or discarded or condensed out in the process of manufacture. Including fuel, etc.

So I find myself thinking again of the tree spinning into oblivion, whittled into a toothpick.

We pride ourselves on such accomplishments, though, don’t we? Taken from the whittler’s perspective, the toothpick was waiting in the tree, longing to be set free. Much like the stone masons and sculptors their art from the plain, stony facade.

We were cursed with the ability to justify ANY action. We are doubly cursed with the ability to believe our own justifications to the point where we will continue those actions to the extent that our abilities, resources, and external factors will allow.

I wonder how much this pen weighs? This book? My clothes? How quickly would we sink to the center of the earth if we weighed the sum of our production?

And if we sank to the middle, what then when our combined weight is more than the earth itself?

I agree that things need to change. I do. And I dream of a world where we can marry our current world with “the fix” that so many dream of and might propose. But to what end? What can we possibly accomplish that would benefit more than harm?

Telepathy? Teleportation? Utopia? And what would that utopia mean? That everyone has everything they need, right? Need is one thing. Want is another.

Buddhists speak of Nirvana as the extinguishing of the flame. The cessation of Karmic acquisition. The still water of the end. Karma is driven by desire – by want. Living only by need is essentially Nirvana. It is the renunciation of everything that drives the acquisition of Karma.

Is that what we’re going for? Societal and Global Nirvana?

A man was born into the world. As he grew he desired nothing more than to be a farmer. To work with the soil and to have it bear fruit. To create, to sustain, and to nourish.

He built a house with great skill and effort. A house large enough to hold his family in comfort and their farmhands besides.

He built a barn for his animals and hay and filled it with livestock that his family might eat and be warm and well-nourished by the products of the beasts.

He erected a fence around his property to allow the animals to graze.

And then he planted his field, and toiled at them with the same skill and fervor which he had applied to all his other endeavors.

But the field couldn’t yield enough to feed his family, the farmhands, and livestock, so he went to his neighbor to ask for help.

His neighbor listened to the man’s story and agreed to help him. He explained that he had surveyed the land before and knew where the best soil was to be found.

The man walked with his neighbor back to his property. They walked around and through every part, the neighbor nodding slowly to himself and leading the way.

Finally they arrived at the man’s house, and he asked his neighbor whether he had remembered where the fertile soil he’d spoken of might be found.

The neighbor replied that he had.

The man asked his neighbor to please tell him where it was, but instead of replying the neighbor asked if he could inspect the house.

Baffled, the man agreed. They walked through the home and inspected every aspect of it. Every floorboard, every corner. Every joint and every beam.

Finally they wen back outside and the man repeated his question about the location of the soil.

His neighbor replied with another question – why had the man build his house there? In that spot?

The man replied that it had been a simple decision – it was the best soil.

The neighbor replied “It still is, but now it is under your house.”

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