defragmentation

Believing, as I do, that everything is connected means you can study something years ago; let it slip away till it’s a faint ghost of a memory, and then realize later that it’s still applicable, though you’d given it up for lost… locked in a previous context.

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this fellow usually visits with me when I come by. but I was with someone, so he watched me from a distance

When I first started using a PC, and was working intensely, I would get to the point where there was a marked slowing in the ability of the computer to compute. Sometimes it would send me crazy irrelevant messages… until I realized that I needed to defragment the hard disk. No big deal. It just took quite a while… and I’d usually give it some time by itself, till it finished its work. Fragmentation of the hard disk is caused by the dispersal of bits of memory in non contiguous areas. Say, if I had a special drawer in my study, reserved for ‘important papers’… and when my friends would give me advise on how to make money or influence people, I’d ask them to write it all down and then I’d put the notes in that same drawer. I put my insurance policies there too, you know, the warrantees for the refrigerator, the washing machine, and the occasional computer I might buy… and of course post cards from friends and a drawing from a grandchild would go in that drawer too. I remember getting a check one time for a translation, or maybe it was taking a picture back in the days when you actually got paid for taking a picture… and it was raining so I didn’t really feel like going to the bank, and was going to put it in that drawer, but the drawer was filled to capacity, so I just put it between the pages of the book I was reading. And then there was the time when the pizza delivery guy came, and wasn’t able to change a 200 shekel note. I remembered that I had put something in a book. So I open the book on my desk, which is a dictionary of ‘full’ spelling of Hebrew words, in contrast to the traditional spelling, which used to be fine for scholars (the traditional), but was replaced by full spelling in an effort at standardization and the vain dream of avoiding misunderstandings.

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In going through the dictionary, I come across a bill of 100 shekels (or was it liras) with the image of Herzl on it, but that bill, though a collectors item, had gone out of currency long ago, and, I had to check book after book trying to find enough dough to pay the delivery boy… that’s fragmentation in my world.

Defragmentation is the moving of those bits of memory so that particular memories will be arranged in a contiguous manner, saving space, and making things easier to find. Nowadays, the computer is so smart it can automatically decide to put our house in order once a week, and even at 3:00 am, so as not to disturb me, though I’ll admit that I do sometimes wake up at 2:45 and go to the computer to check out what Wikipedia has to say about wells in the desert or some such pressing issue.

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We’ve been fragmented. We live in little houses by ourselves. We’ve been cut off from family and childhood friends. We have no room in our homes for the aged; no time to take care of them. We send them off to institutions. We send our mentally unbalanced off. We send our cripples and those born with ‘birth defects’. We leave behind us the wise and the experienced when they are no longer productive. We sit in our cars for hours, on our way to work or on our way home, finding ways to kill time so we won’t burn away from frustration. We’ve forgotten where we come from and where we’re going. We amass possessions that interest us for a short time until they’re replaced by new flashy toys; plastic boxes with LED monitors exhibiting maps, contacts and play lists. Boxes that take pictures, and can hear us when we ask for a song.

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the Lion of Judah has learned to throw trash in the trash bin

The environment is not just the planet and the hole in the ozone over Australia. It’s the neighbor you don’t know living in the apartment over your head, and the fellow who takes the garbage away, and the clerk in the store. There’s a saying I heard years ago… ‘you can’t take it with you’. It doesn’t just apply to money. It includes all the rest. The shoes and clothes, the car we drive, the refrigerator that makes ice cubes, the TV and the telephone… even time. It’s all temporary. There was a time when we had to work for a while most days so that we’d have something to eat and clothes to keep us warm when the weather got cold. Then we invented machines which could do some of the work and save us time. But strangely enough, we had less time. Now we don’t speak of time saving devices, because that illusion has faded.

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And through it all, the rat race, and standing in a line on the sidewalk, in the middle of the night, waiting for Apple to open their doors and sell their newest version of the telephone that is smarter than we are, we have momentary memories of happiness… memories of thinking that life is precious. Will we find that happiness again if we spend a weekend in Italy? Or in the Virgin Islands? Is there anything better than looking at nature through 3D eye glasses that can follow status updates and take pictures of the parking lot we’re wandering through, looking for the car we displaced?

Aldous Huxley said, “I wanted to change the world, but I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself”.

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granddaughters visiting

Maybe it’s time for social defragmentation. Freedom is the most precious commodity in life. let’s not waste it. Let’s not waste life itself.

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77 responses to “defragmentation

  1. Very wise words and lovely pictures. Thanks for the advice.

  2. Hi Shimon. Right square between the eyes. You got me! I don’t know if it is happening there, but with the advent of “smart phones”, the world is being fragged as you mention. Kids aren’t going out to play, the game on their phone or device is challenging enough to take their full attention. And it’s not just the children….adults too, carry their phones, talk on them, cruise Facebook for the latest gossip or some news. Just walking down the street….who does that any more. Our world is Amazon, Google, Facebook and Walmart. What will become of us?

    • Hi Bob. I remember, about 50 years ago, more and more mechanized equipment was coming into use, and people started wondering what would happen when robots did all the work for us. There was worry in the air. Would people feel despair when they didn’t have to work all the time? It turns out, that we had nothing to worry about. People are easily amused, and as long as they have some game to occupy them, all is well. If you offer them a little competition or the hope of making a bundle of cash, you won’t hear from them again till dinner time. It reminds me of an experiment I read about years ago. They wanted to see if rats could learn to operate a food automat. They were put in a cage with a button on one wall, and if they pushed the button they got a pellet of food. After a few weeks they found all of the rats pushing the buttons all of the time, and very overweight.

  3. my sentiments exactly…would love to sit and have tea with you…

    • Be glad to have a cup of tea with you, smith… might even have some tasty cookies to go with the tea…

      • t smith knowles

        Would love the tasty cookies too…however we must do it virtually because we are continents apart…alas. Guess this is a time when technology is actually a benifit. I would never know you without your blog…

  4. Am amazed at what you wrote, friend Shimon … amazed and in tears of joy … cuz finally someone understands … maybe, baby … smiles … I defragmented myself years ago …stopped watching TV, still carry a stone age flip phone, am not on face book and things … cuz I want to be happy … just cat Theo and me … meouw … smiles … right? … wrong! … cuz when I go out there … I see fragmented people all around me … and have to listen to their endless stories of depression and oppression and obsession and possession … and after that me crawl back to me lil secure cave and it takes me and Theo days to defragment our self … Makes sense? …yes? … no?… anyway … although I do not believe in god, I do believe you are a god send, friend Shimon … Love you much, cat.

    • I know we’re in the minority, cat. But there are some advantages to being out of the pressing crowd. Advantages and disadvantages… It is harder to get something fixed these days if you can’t fix it yourself, because everyone just throws away anything that’s not working well, and buys new. And though there are no lines at the library, that institution has been reduced to being open just a very few hours a day, and might be closed altogether soon. But we can still enjoy books, and going out to nature, and face to face communication. The truth is, I never know what I’m missing, but I still find more than I can possibly taste in this life, and that’s enough for me, even though I haven’t joined facebook. Always good to hear from you. love

      • I feel the same about our “throw a way society”, friend Shimon … am particularly sad about waste of precious paper which comes from our beloved trees, right? … on the other hand … real books are becoming more and more obsolete … instead its these internet fueled additions one can down load onto the computer … that means no more love affairs with real books … My daughter Mary has a bachelors degree in linguistics and a masters in library science but libraries do not hire … now she works for workmen’s compensation … typing out template letters to potential claimants, which read something like that: Dear claimant. Here is to inform you that your work injury claim is being looked after as soon as possible, however due to the high volume of claims at this time, we will not be able to respond within the next six months … Anyway, friend Shimon … Mary and I still have our books which are our friends … You? … Love you, cat.

  5. What a thought provoking post. Fragmented, defragmented, indeed.

  6. Well said. I’m working to learn how to defragment my life. Not easy but worth it. Thanks for the reminder to not give up.

    • I think the hard part, is making the decision, Judy. We are constantly being tempted by commercial interests. I remember, when I first heard about social media, I couldn’t understand why they were considered worth so much by the economic journals. But it turns out that they are vehicles meant to improve sales. Commerce is what counts most these days (and maybe always). But if we decide to choose what really works for us, we can really enjoy this life. We were lucky to be born in wealthy societies.

  7. Such true words Shimon. We have created a new world to live in- alone, disconnected from the real world. What is that critter that visits with you? So cute he is. Have a good shabbos

    • The sweet little animal is called shafan in Hebrew, Lisa-Elisheva. They are very smart, and related to the elephant. I have gotten to know some, and have friendly relations with them, though they are not seen as pets or domesticated here in Israel. Over the years I’ve gotten to know them quite well, and to learn their customs. They live in communities, and have different roles to play within the community. Though they are very shy, I have seen them mating, and watched them as they brought up their children. A gut voch to you.

  8. Shimon, you have offered yet another another stellar commentary on present day values and evolving customs. As usual, you’re spot-on. I enjoyed the photographs. You have many gifts. Thank you for sharing.

    • Sometimes, I attempt to tell people about things that are going on in my country… about our culture, religion, or language. But recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s going on in all of the western world. I’ve been influenced by the globalization as we all have, and I see the extreme changes that technology has brought. I think most of the changes are not entirely given to the control of mankind. We might or might not bring changes about. But I doubt that we can really control where it’ll lead us. All my life, I’ve been curious about my environment. I usually was able to understand how machines worked, and the nature of things around me. But as progress becomes more intense, there’s more and more that I can’t understand. But I still keep thinking about this world of ours. And it’s a pleasure for me to share my thoughts with others. Thanks for the comment Myra.

  9. The more we can remove ourselves from the busyness of the world around us, the more we can enjoy all those little things that make us smile.

    • I remember going to social functions with my parents on occasion. My mother was a very social person. Back in those days I used to think I was just like her. She would meet with a lot of people, and be able to converse with all kinds. She really liked people, and could find something in common with most. My father was more shy, and withdrawn. He used to say to me, ‘just like in the chicken coop, they’re all saying the same thing, “How are you. I’m fine”. I guess come of us need the chicken coop. We get lonely if we don’t have someone to say that to. And with facebook, you don’t have to get out in wind or rain in order to get together with others… there are so many different ways to enjoy a smile…

  10. Defragmantation, does it apply only to technology? I use that term in a way that divides people in so many ways.

    • No, it certainly isn’t limited just to technology. One of the things that amazes me about modern technology, is though it offers us many very new possibilities, the majority of the inventions echo something that we’ve known in the past. There is a continuum that is much easier seen looking back. Thanks for your comment, Pilgrim.

  11. Those drawers we fill to bursting, filled with all that irrelevant miscellany that we were sure we would use again. The analogy to our lives is spot on, for that which matters is around us – if we would take the time to look around. Thank you as always, Shimon…Shabbat shalom

    • When I think of the way we look at things, and the way we deal with them, it often seems to me that we see things in a way that is easiest for us to accept. For instance, on the eve of WWII, the English were still worn out from the Great War, and they wanted peace. So even though the Germans were showing some very obvious signs of militarism, they kept seeing a possibility of peace. We, who have learned about the ice ages in the past, and about forests turning into deserts on the face of the planet, want to believe that even if the planet is heating up, we can change that. Some think that we’re to blame. There’s a sort of innocence in our faith in mankind. What once we attributed to god, we now attribute to man. Thank you for your kind words, Mimi. Have a real nice week.

  12. Good morning Shimon. Another superb post and one that is perfect for me at this moment in time.
    As I begin to compile notes about my own life journey – I realised that I have so many sketchbooks, note books, albums photographs, letters ….and these are not on computers necessarily. Anyway, when I was contemplating this issue the other day I looked at the colourful ‘post its’ on my desk – and suddenly began to write down a thought on each little square. I now have many squares filled with thoughts….I have been able to stick these to a big board, which has helped me to see the big picture – to see how everything in my life is interconnected. I can move them around like a jigsaw puzzle and start to connect the dots…..to put them in some sort of sequence.
    When I cleared my parent’s house, I put all letters, telegrams, photographs, etc. into a big box, and then into big photograph albums. They are now connected so that when I kick the bucket my children will be able to take them from my book case…and most importantly, hopefully they wont be lost.

    Another thought. Yesterday when skypinig with my daughter Christie, I talked about how when I read books today – books that I have read in the past, I am seeing and understanding them very differently. The same applies to films. A new clarity seems to have come.

    I absolutely love the idea of ‘social defragmentation’ – Finding ways for we humans to acknowledge our interconnectedness rather than moving further and further into private little cells – because that’s what they can be…cells like in a prison.

    As for decluttering, I plan to do a little more this weekend…..:) I have found that STUFF simply weighs me down.

    I wish that you and Nechama enjoy a beautiful weekend. janet x

    • Dear Janet, as we approach the age allotted us in the bible, we naturally thing of summing things up; of putting our affairs in order; of leaving something to our children. I’ve had similar thoughts on the matter, and might even share some of those thoughts here one of these days. I appreciate your system of organizing your thoughts with the help of ‘post its’. But I still haven’t decided for myself regarding the things that are put in cartons. As you know, I admire your paintings very much, and believe they can stand by themselves even after you’re gone. You’ve given them life. And once a creature has life he can go on his way through this world independently. But on the other hand, there are so many things that we are connected to, that mean a lot to us, that are a treasure to us… and yet… without us, I don’t know if they will have much to do… reason to exist, even. They are a treasure within a certain context, and as the world changes… Like yourself, I too went through things that had been treasures to my parents… some of them were adopted by their grandchildren, but became functional banalities a few hours later. As you write, about the clutter that you’re cleaning up… that stuff that weighs you down. Hope this finds you in good spirits… you’ll hear more from me privately.

      • “A treasure within a certain context” I like that a lot. When I look at photographs of people who are long dead….I am always fascinated. It occurs to me that although the context in which they lived their lives was very different to ours…their thoughts, desires and wishes were probably similar. I am sure they looked for meaning in love, family, mother nature and of course whatever their religious beliefs might have been. I used to love listening to stories told by both my grandmothers, who I was fortunate to have around into my early twenties. They taught me so much and to this day I see them as two of the most important influences in my life. Compared to mine their experiences were very different, but underlying all the social changes – their wisdom, good humour and deep understanding of human nature (that’s what if felt like to me) prevailed. They always gave me a sense of hope. Maybe that’s what I would like to leave – a message to other young men and women who wish to follow a creative path – a message which encourages them to do it and to follow their bliss. Clearly I think we could both write a lot more on this subject. Certainly it is much food for thought. Today I have to go into Kingston upon Thames and although it is cold, the sun is shining brightly .:)

        • I too, loved the company of the elderly; enjoyed hearing about the world, before I was born. But it could be that you and I were a little different Janet… or maybe just that we had the luck and the circumstances were right. From what I’ve seen, children are especially self centered, and adults just a little bit less. So while I would like to leave something to the soul who questions, and desires to transcend his or her own context, I can’t say I have big expectations. I sort of imagine the coming generations very occupied with giving each other ‘likes’. xxx

  13. As others have said, Shimon, you have hit many nails on heads here. So much echoes my own thoughts recently – the weight of material possessions, and yet somehow one keeps finding oneself possessing more; there is always a ‘good’ reason; and of course we can keep acquiring stuff if we are among the fortunate with income to spare. On a lighter note, is that fellow in your first and last photo a hyrax? If so – he is the elephant’s nearest relative, and also, if you think about it, a case of natural fragmentation!? 🙂

    • Tish, you made my day on Friday with this comment. Finally, I got a name for this animal in English. In Hebrew it has a name that goes back to the bible and before. Only one name, and this name is known by all. The animal is known so well, that certain human behavior is connected to him in day to day speech. But when I went looking for a translation of the word in European languages, I got a number of different names, and even when I used them, there seemed to be no recognition by others. On Friday, I looked up hyrax, and almost every description seemed applicable. So that’s what a shafan is in English. Now I will have to retag some of my photos on the internet. Yes, he is the elephant’s nearest living relative, and they have quite a bit in common. Like memory. And if you got to know them in Africa, I am sure you appreciate them as I do. Thanks so much!

      • I’m so happy to have been of service, Shimon. The other thing I know about hyraxes is that they screech to mark territory, which at night can be unnerving. But I’m fascinated that they are so very much part of your world. Then, why not, when the Great Rift Valley extends from the Dead Sea down to Zambia.

        • Not only do they screech to mark territory, they also call their fellows to come and feed when a hostile presence has left an area they are interested in. I don’t actually hear a screech. To me it is more similar to a bird call. And one can learn to differentiate between the different calls.

          • I’m fascinated that they’re living in your vicinity. We only saw them out in the bush, though often within the protected hotel gardens and grounds inside the game reserves. They obviously know how to take advantage of a good situation.

            • There are three habitats close to where I live. They visit a park within easy walking distance from my home. And if someone walks their dog into the park, all of them disappear leaving one or two watchmen, under a bush or in a tree (they are wonderful tree climbers). Then when the dog leaves, they will call their fellows back.

  14. I meant to say how much I enjoyed the photographs….

  15. What a super post! Lovely pictures too,

    A relative of mine always said in relation to personal possessions “There are no pockets in a shroud”. When I visited him in his compact apartment in Netanya, I wondered how his various media ‘libraries’, let alone any other objects-some of which I had added to – would be dispersed. I hoped that ‘treasures’ would be respected by whoever had resposibility for the task. Of course, this all becomes a subjective sorting and clearance process of what might be emotionally important for whoever is doing it and how they feel at any particular moment in the defrag job.

    I look around me and frankly, sigh at the enormity of the filtering and sorting task I should undertake. It will be seriously editing periods of my life and special moments. I honestly do not think I will ever be able to contract it all into one carton, like two cartons, of which I am the custodian.

    • Yes menhir, though I didn’t intend to burden people with thoughts of their demise, I see that the subject is something many of us have considered. When I wrote of defragmentation, I was hoping to focus on the need for social interaction and identity. That we may have more presence and a greater sense of purpose when we belong to a family or a tribe, and are not just individuals, each on his own path.

      But it is hard to ignore the importance of leaving something in this world when we part from it, and considering what should be left, and who might appreciate it. The fact that we live today on the seam between two eras, makes it all the more difficult to know what might be appreciated. Your relative in his compact apartment has seemingly already trimmed his belongings, and perhaps transferred some of his valuables to a digital incarnation. A few years ago, I went to great pains to transfer some of the music I most loved from records, tapes and CDs to digital files. At least my friends and I have been able to enjoy them a little longer. But when I started to scan endless texts and photographs, I began to wonder, who would be interested in all this stuff. Certain things that I had always considered unique and precious fell into the shadow of doubt.

      I can sympathize with what you say about the enormity of the filtering and sorting. And after that comes the question of who else might enjoy these items? As you might remember, I moved from an old house to a new one about four years ago after living in the previous one for forty years. And now I have a store room, and closets filled with what were once very expensive items, but which might be totally useless now. Should I make decisions? Or just let others clean up after me when I’m gone?

  16. An excellent analogy. Humans are social creatures … and we seem to be losing the most precious aspects of that trait as we migrate toward a different social method. Well done, Shimon!

    • Thank you Frank for getting us back to the crux of the subject. I am a student of history (among other things), and I look at our time as the dawn of a new age. I look at what happened during the industrial revolution, and worry about where we are going on a global plane. We have already acquired miraculous tools which have allowed us to design airplanes that are incomparable to what we had before, which are able to replace body parts which enable a human being who might have been a tortured victim a hundred years ago to lead a normal life, But we haven’t updated our moral values to deal with these changes. We keep a person in a vegetative state when it might be more appropriate to let him die. And most obviously, we allow the manipulation of human desires for the sake of commercial interests. Can we influence the future of our society so that as to encourage a dignified human existence on a social plane? Can we protect the privacy of individual lives? Could we distribute the common wealth of mankind in a way that would insure the dignity of life without the old fashioned revolutionary desire to rob the rich in order to ease the suffering of the poor? Those are some of the questions that disturb my peace of mind.

  17. You did a great touches dear Shimon, I do agree with all your points that you made. But world, people, have already been trying a way to go back, in old days, where we were more human, where we were together, where we all knew how precious it was… There is not any chance in the future, for me, so we should find the way without forgetting the precious in the past days…

    Thank you dear Shimon, Have a nice day and weekend,
    Love, nia

    • I don’t believe we can ever go back, my dear Nia. Just as we humans can’t go back to what we were when we were younger, so mankind can’t go back. But on the other hand, there are many stages of adulthood, and many of us continue to change as we grow more mature. I’m hoping that part of mankind’s reaching maturity will be a greater sense of respect for life in all its many convolutions. I still have the hope that we will build more enlightened societies. There has been progress in history. There is much we can be grateful for. I would like to believe that things will get better.

  18. You have it in a nutshell! It is sad isn’t it how so many exist rather than live, as if there is a huge emptiness inside that is temporarily filled with possessions and distracted by social media. The real world is becoming a dream for many, I know people who don’t even notice the seasons, or the stars, people who have no idea where their food comes from or what vegetables look like in the ground. It’s a different world now, not sure if it’s a better one. I suspect people will be part machine in the future, maybe phones will be installed in wrists and screens in eyes….technology is moving at a terrifying speed, I’m not sure we’re ready for it!
    How I enjoyed your rock badgers, they fascinate me, I can’t imagine what it must be like to see one close up, they are such wonderful creatures. I enjoyed the flowers too. Good to see your post in my email, hopefully all is sorted now. Take good care of you, my friend.xxx

    • Older people will never be ready to accept the changes that continue to come at an ever increasing pace, of that I’m sure Dear Dina, But as I wrote Nia just above, I see mankind as a parallel image of man. And I think there are stages in the progression of man’s behavior and his awareness. I would like to think that a more mature mankind will allow for our intuition as human beings, and for our dignity and freedom, I keep hoping for improvement. Maybe this is childishness in me. I couldn’t judge. I’ve had some disappointments. Technology isn’t everything. It’s just one of the characteristics of human kind; the ability to make tools. But I do see improvements in our collective history.
      I’ve learned from Tish that the proper name for the rock badgers is hyrax. I have known these animals by their Hebrew name, and got numerous translations, but this time I think I’ve got the right one. I looked for information on them, and hyrax seems to bring the right descriptions. They aren’t as popular as certain other animals, but I have learned to love them.

  19. A great read once again, Shimon! This is a topic that Goddess and I frequently discuss.

    As you know, we have taken the path of freedom, lamenting the path that many in society have selected for themselves. But then again, we are thankful for their decisions, as it provides more enjoyment for us. For example, one of our favorite moments together is Monday morning.

    As we hop in our car to drive to the mountain and spend the day sliding on snow or walking among the trees, we discuss the unbroken stream of cars headed into the city, as people head to jobs they dislike (or hate) just so they can amass more things that they don’t get to experience until a weekend, scheduled down to the minute, where they strive to forget the week of work.

    Our enjoyment isn’t in their decisions, but in the fact that so many follow that path that on Mondays (through Fridays), the areas where we find our greatest enjoyment are nearly devoid of crowds. That’s when we find our closest connections with each other and our environment.

    • It makes me very happy Bill, to think of you and the Goddess enjoying freedom. There is nothing so precious as that. And your description of going to the mountain on Monday reminds me of a time when I was teaching in college and was given an 8:00 morning lecture. I used to go to the college two hours early, and enjoyed studying or reading before the lecture, and in this way avoided the morning traffic jam here in Jerusalem. One doesn’t have to suffer because of the conventions. There is always another path which better suits us. Enjoy the mountain, and I will continue to enjoy your pictures.

  20. I’m so glad you didn’t quit blogging the other week when people were rude and you thought of quitting. If you had, you would have deprived us of this beautiful piece of writing.

    • Believe me, Corina, I enjoy this just as much as those who come and visit with me here. I feel as if I’m tasting a bit of the future. When I was young, I was a great reader, and felt a kinship to many of the writers I read. But there was no conversation going on between writer and reader. I am still learning about this virtual world that exists alongside the world of earth and sky, and it seems to me that sometimes the communication from heart to heart and mind to mind is improved here in virtual reality… though I think the many pictures that are published here are just to remind us that there’s no replacing the world in which we were born.

  21. Lovely curious little being… which kind of mammal is he?
    This same statement I learned from my dad, many many year ago…
    ‘you can’t take it with you’
    And he continued: you borned naked, they sould put your body over a pire of fire as well naked… (Actually, his desire wasn’t to be respected since in the “modern” world we can’t act as we please…) but I know dad forgave me that.
    Unfortunately, what Aldous Huxley said, is still very actull… and I did put it in practice quite many years ago. But, even if you can be sure only of your own changes, you shall not despair. Teaching is still important, and you may do so giving the first good example.
    Families have to be the very first learning place, and the importance of having sensible and osservant parents, is the best start.
    It’s a great task, which cost a lot of good meanings and time, but it’s worth it. Not from all the “best selected seeds” you grow beautiful plants… the soil is also important as it is the water and the climat…
    Society will have to take a great turn, we cannot keep going that way: it take us to self destruction.
    But in the christian Apocalipsse, if I’m not mistaking, there are written interesting giving us a sort of key to look afar in the possible future.
    I guess I will have to come back in the Samsara for many time more lifes… and belive me, that give me some real concern. I wish peace for the next generations and the one to yet to come.
    I wish you a quiet and sunny week
    🙂 claudine

    • The rock badger, also known as hyrax is a vegetarian in the order of Hyracoidea. He is a relative of the elephant, and do resemble that animal in their intelligence and memory, as well as numerous other characteristics. They live in tribes here; little communities and are very shy of people. When they see a dog, they will all run away. However, they are able to coexist with cats, and sit calmly in close proximity. Though they don’t especially care for human beings, they have permitted me to sit with them. I’ve developed a great fondness for them over the years, and learned a lot about their social behavior.

      I don’t know if what Huxley said is unfortunate. It emphasizes the dignity of each and every human being. We do change all the time. And mankind changes too. Though it’s always very hard to guess where the changes will lead, looking back, I think we can see some definite improvements in history, and this is what gives my hope. As you say, teaching is important, and giving an example too. Wishing you an occasional taste of Nirvana, dear Claudine, as you continue your wanderings.

      • I have the nirvana in my hearth specially when I walk in the nature or when I’m with my beloved cats… they have the power to erase each and every trouble from my mind. Unfortunately, I’m not that good in meditation (very little improvement) I guess I’m too sensitive… and too quickly the “here and now” smashes my dreams of quietude and peace.
        Hugs and be blessed 🙂 c

  22. However unsocial one may view selfish humans, they/we, nevertheless do have to communicate and socially interact in a whole variety of styles. This comment applies as much to the media savvy generation who are using objects and their different realities to operate in, in wider society. Our old fashioned methods are quaint and curious to them, as were those of our forebears to us. I don’t think you or I are intransigent, we just like socialising in ways that are familiar and comfortable for us and our generation.

    On a practical level, some tech savvy ‘oldies’ have found their I.T. a social lifeline.

    The final questions you pose are telling, and if the truth be told, they provide the less complex option the majority would concede to.

    xxx

    PS I wouldn’t have liked to tackle my relative’s study, nor screen his computer files… perhaps, someone would feel the same about mine!

    • I don’t notice much curiosity in the media savvy generation regarding our old fashioned methods. But that is the nature of what we know as ‘progress’. As soon as technological methods became known to medicine, modern people put the knowledge acquired by many generations in the corner, and what was learned over thousands of years was forgotten. I don’t feel a need to justify my old fashioned customs, nor to condemn those who have no need for them. What works is good. If it enriches me, I’ll celebrate. But I don’t have the passion (anymore) to try everything that’s new, or to climb a mountain just because it’s there. Thanks for your comment, menhir. xxx

  23. Indeed, Shimon, and as I get older I feel this more and more. We only have now. Let’s connect things up and make the most of it.
    What a delightful picture of your granddaughters. I’m expecting our daughter in law this week with our latest grandchild – at four months old she’s younger than the others by 5 years. I call her our baby grand … and then wait, to see if people assume that I mean a grand piano 😉

    • Yes, It is a joy to meet our grandchildren, Gill. Congratulations on the arrival of your latest. Unfortunately, I have never learned to communicate with the newly arrived. I have to wait till they’ve learned how to speak (and more) before I can enjoy their company. But some of my grandchildren are adults already, and they give me hope for the years after I’ve gone. Thanks.

  24. Dear Shimon, wise words as we observe so many looking for real connection. I take walks and trips without a phone. There is a table where I am making a space for creation and I am gifting myself time to write. We are souls crying out for simplicity, yet I am grateful for the technology that allows me to be connected to you. Hugs Xxx

    • How good it is to take lighthearted walks, Jane. I am happy for you that you go without the phone, though sometimes it is good to have the phone with you; just turned off, in case of emergency. I am very fond of tables. I have quite a few in my home, and a very special table in my work room, which has been with me for many years, ever since I lived in a kibbutz, where it was hand made for me. That is where I write… and it is where I rest my elbows at times, and contemplate all I don’t know. Your picture smiles at me now. I send you a hug right back. xxx

  25. I truly love this. Well-spoken. We have become this way in the world of cooking too and it pains me.

  26. Beautiful pictures, as usual.
    I hate to display my ignorance but what is the animal in the top picture?

    • That animal is a שפן in English letters, shafan. I’m sure you’ve hear about them even if you haven’t had the pleasure of getting to know them personally. Thank you, Shimona

  27. In my first year at primary school, my mother would bring me strawberries and cream for lunch. Most likely in summer, but at that age it was always summer. These days I bring my mother food and care for her.

    • I enjoyed your description of your relationship with your mother. It sounded just right. And I’m sure you will always be happy, thinking about this stage of your relationship. It is a beautiful addition to this post, and it reminded me of my own relationship with my mother from the time my father died until her death a few years later.

  28. Amen to that, Shimon, and the defragmenting metaphor is a good one. The final photo says it all – there is something that I have to say feels “old-fashioned” about the scene. I noticed that and asked myself why. I still can’t put my finger on it, but it’s something about the girls sitting very calmly in an ordinary room, with food nearby, paper and pencil, quite voices….it just doesn’t feel like photos I see of kids that age in our country these days. I’m glad the granddaughters visit – another action to keep the world from falling apart. Be well, Shimon!

    • Yes, that was what I was trying to say Lynn, that it seems to me we have too much going on, and we’re getting fragmented. But on the other hand, we tend to forget that every generation has lots of people who’re not going along with whatever is most popular then. I suppose that when I was the age of my grandchildren, I was a rather atypical young fellow myself. Thanks.

  29. Your description of our fragmented lives is exactly right, Shimon. A day rarely passes that I don’t hear someone complain about one or more of the issues you touched on: the long commutes, the demands of social media, the isolation of urban living, or the lack of funds to purchase the newest gadget. What we seem to be losing is a sense of agency; a sense of personal freedom; a belief that we can shape and reshape our lives in the midst of changing circumstances in order to live in more deeply satisfying ways.

    We are surrounded by voices telling us that we “must” do this or that in order to be happy; that we “must” purchase this or that in order to be satisfied; that we “must” believe this or that in order to be acceptable. It’s the old tension between freedom and necessity, writ large — and we have a great deal more freedom than the merchants of necessity would have us think.

    The English poet Wordsworth got it right, I think, when he wrote:

    The world is too much with us; late and soon,
    Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
    Little we see in Nature that is ours;
    We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

    In the end, time and the world are our greatest gifts. As I like to say to friends who complain about not having enough time, “We have all the time there is. The only question is, what are we going to do with it?”

    • I really do like those lines from Wordsworth. Had he not died in the middle of the 19th century, I would say he’s very topical. And I do agree with what you say about time as well. Though I blame the commercial world for a lot of what ails society, I’m not really sure about all this busyness going on. I myself fell into the same rat race for a good part of my life, and I can’t help but wonder if we don’t stay so busy in order to avoid thinking about what really matters. Which reminds me that Maimonedes cautioned about the triviality of repentance and remaking one’s life after 70. Most things seem a little clearer as we age, but maybe that’s the way it was supposed to be.

  30. Hi, Shimon, glad to see that you’re back in blogworld (I seem to recall reading that you had stopped writing).

  31. Lovely to be pondering and have on of those remnants float up just when needed.

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