You jump up and swiftly swipe your hands where you felt it crawl; a tiny, harmless spider moves away, you wonder why this made you scared. This reaction to spiders and snakes is a classic example of a fear we inherited from our ancient forefathers. It can still be helpful if you find yourself wondering in a tropical jungle, but for most humans living today, in cities and urban areas, this fear of harmless spiders and other small insects is not rational.
I am still looking for a subject I can put my teeth in and write about. Today I had another idea; it cam while I was making a fancy molding. I do this on a milling machine, for these complicated moldings, you have to use several differently shaped cutters and figure out when and how to use them. It can be challenging which one to use first, and we have almost 100 different cutters, but it is not always clear if we have the one we need. Knowing this, you can do this job in different ways; you can try to figure out precisely which ones to use and in what order and make sure you have all the cutters. This takes a lot of preparation, and the end result is not guaranteed; there are almost always surprises down the road. I usually work by finding one cutter that cuts out one part of the shape I need and then look for the next cutter when I am done with the first. This is committing to a road without knowing where it leads.
I like to listen to podcasts, some tech news, scientific news and interviews, gaming, and formula 1. Most of the podcasts I listen to come from America; this is interesting because it gives you an insight into parts of the American psyche. You get this also through movies and series, but that is more filtered and edited; podcasters, and some YouTubers, don’t play a role; it feels more real.
Yesterday I watched an excellent documentary about the animals you can find in Africa. I love these documentaries; it takes you away for a while. I noticed one thing, and it is not the first time; almost all the animals look approachable like you can touch them. I know the rhino is dangerous, but they don’t look all that dangerous. But if I look at the lions, and then to our cat, I know that the lion is dangerous, unapproachable, you might say. It’s something in his eyes; you know he will eat you alive if he gets the chance. It reminds me of something.
I’ve been raised in the Netherlands, and you might know that it is a flat country. I can’t speak for all Dutch people, but I think that most of us get excited when we see hills and mountains. I still do after living between them for 15 years now here in Norway. Don’t get me wrong; we have a beautiful landscape in Holland too, but for me, hills and mountains are always associated with vacation. So, I still like this flowing landscape end I did it to this morning. At one point, somewhere halfway, I noticed a tiny snail slowly going somewhere. I took out my phone to take some pictures, the one you see at the top is one of them. After I saw this first one, I started to notice more that tried to crawl somewhere; I also saw many that were flattened by the wheels of an occasional car that drives by.
Later I took a picture with two signs telling the speed limit is 60. I wondered how fast you could drive if you didn’t want to hit these tiny snails.
I have set myself a goal to find out what I know about certain subjects after 49 years on this rock, I did that with the question: what is gender? I have given it my best shot a few days ago so today I was searching for a book related to that question, I did that on one of those book sites, and before I knew it, I saw all kinds of recommendations in the corner of my eye, and one of them was “delusion of gender” by Cordelia Fine. I realized what I already knew: I would like…to read many of these books and question my presumptions.
Yesterday I wrote about philosophers and how seriously they can take their task. You can widen this, of course, to all kinds of professions. Today I listened to a podcast where some biologists talked about the history of the crocodile. One thing they have done the last ten years is scanning fossils with all sorts of equipment to see how many different kinds of crocodiles there were 200 million years ago. It’s fascinating and cool to spend your day doing that, and it probably has some purpose down the line. I myself restore old wooden buildings and boats, and I can tell you precisely why it is important but, as I do now, I can tell you also why it is not that important. This finding meaning in what we do is something we all do. That’s why I called it “playtime” for grownups yesterday, and that sounds all jolly, but there is also a downside. We are so rich that we can do all of these fun but unnecessary jobs and produce so much stuff that we don’t need, and this pollutes the world and maybe even cynical.
Yesterday I wrote that I don’t necessarily look for proof when writing something in one of these blog posts. I want to elaborate on that a little bit; I don’t look for proof when it comes to my ideas, the ideas that come to me when I start writing. As I wrote yesterday, I want to see what kind of thoughts are in me, and those thoughts need no proof. Only when they hit the real world can they be judged, but not by me the moment I write them down. I do, of course, check arbitrary things like quotes, dates, specific historical facts, and so on.
That I don’t judge my thoughts so harshly is something I started to do not so long ago. Doubt about what we can know (Epistemology) has been strong with me. Part of my character has very little doubt; I have no problem saying yes to tasks I know little about. This more practical fearlessness has been in me as long as I know, but it got stronger over the years. Getting face to face with death and hitting rock bottom a few times has put a lot of things in perspective. In the world outside my head, I downplay my bravado and be the stubborn, nice guy I am, but in my head, I have a “fear” to say what I think out loud.
Yesterday I wrote some of my thoughts down about what it is to feel like a man or a woman or even none of those. I have no scientific training, and I have not done any extensive research in this specific matter. The way I write on this blog is: I pick a subject, or it pics me, and I begin writing what I know about it without a plan where I want to end; I use what is still there from 49 years on this earth and a 25-year interest in science, philosophy, and psychology. I enjoy writing like this because while I write, thoughts start flowing, and often things float by that I haven’t seen in years; I can even surprise myself where I end, usually after around 1000 words.
I don’t know if you have that feeling, that feeling that it is all going well. It its going well for a while now but something should happen, things always happened in the past and its overdue. Where is that unexpected bill or that fight with a friend.
I thought about this because I got a strange association when I saw the picture from today, why is all that important stuff concentrated on the top, on the top of a really thin stem. Seems like an odd choice of nature. It looks like it all happens in one place and nothing below.
Why is our brain concentrated in one place, where one hit can end it for you? Why don’t’ we have redundant organs spread out trough the body, these organs lay dormant and kick in when the other kicks out, nice and fresh. Why one heart end not four smaller ones. Why are the most important things in our life concentrated in one place or happen at once and not spread out?
Today I helped my landlord harvest the last potatoes, she used a 50- or 60-year-old machine for this and that was a big help but it is still all hands on deck. Ever since we started living on a farm, I get more and more appreciation for the work of a farmer. This is off course a small farm, she runs it besides another job but she still feeds many people that appreciate food from local ground and not produced on large industrial farms. She also has a few cows and chickens; it is all kind of idealistic and certainly not a solution to feed cities but what is.
I should know some of the answers because I come from the Netherlands where efficient farming is something “we” do for hundreds of years and we export more than far larger countries, only the USA exports more but is also 237 times larger. We invented all kinds of machines and robots in the Netherlands that take away a lot of manual labor and we make excellent use of the fertile ground. There are also downsides and many people think we should produce less to lessen the effects this all has on the environment.
For me food is something you get in a grocery store but doing part of the work myself now makes me think more about the whole process, I want to know more.