Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Columbus Day

It was not a recent development that I could be an outdoor curmudgeon. It has been a quality I have possessed for a few years now. Believe it or not, it has driven me to write, and offer critical judgment, on the way we live as Americans, Westerners and people who embrace modernity.

I personally feel the way we conduct our lives in modern society is a grave affront to our humanity and limits us in our full range of experience. In short, I feel the world homo sapiens-sapiens  evolved in has been left behind and, with that departure, we have also lost the deep wisdom humanity gained through, literally, hundreds of thousands of years of paleolithic history. It is the loss of this wisdom and way of life that ultimately disturbs me. How it has been almost wiped out from history. Sometimes, though, my thoughts on this can get radical and downright offensive to some. I try to limit the expression of these concepts but, when you write about the things I do, it is a hard subject to avoid.

In that light, I found this lovely piece in my archives I wrote for Columbus Day in 2010. It is a great example of my continued and historical disgust of the world mankind has built. Enjoy!


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Today we celebrate  a great  day in American history. This is the day we set aside to remember when the first Europeans discovered the new world. It was a new world filled with beauty and bounty. A land with diverse ecosystems, flora and fauna, with wide expanses of plains, mountains, hills, rivers and supported great numbers of animals.

It is not only the remembrance of the discovery of this "new" land, but also the discovery of a "new" group of people. They had a significant population that possessed societies that were complex, pastoral, agricultural, nomadic, and some even remained hunter gathers. Today is the day we remember the discovery of these things but if you try to experience them today they can no longer be found in the quality or quantity they once were. This is a changed continent.

Oh you westerners who brought such great things to this land! How can you ever be repaid? You brought to this wild strange land order! You cut down the imposing expanses of forests and "controlled" those pesky native "savages". You did all of this so that we might have a newer, more complex, modern society. One of economic opportunities that did not simply use the land but exploited it for its deeper value. You brought to us systems of law that set our behavior in accordance with what is just  and right.  You gave us direction as "civilized" people. You took this foreign virgin land that no true "civilized" group of people could exist in and created the systems that afforded us the comforts of economic success. The trees alone would not bring me that kind of comfort so you taught me to cut them down and raise great dwelling places with their wood to keep all of my possessions that I had purchased from your economic system in. Because of what you have done I have become comfortable and so happy  in this great bountiful land.

Thank you so much for taming these wild lands. We surely could never have existed humbly or happily had you not brought to us modernity that has allowed me the luxury to be free from the "dangerous" wilds. I could never have survived with any degree of comfort in this land had I needed to live like those "savage" natives.  Never could I have used my days hunting in the forests with my kinfolk and friends or learning pastoral farming practices. How could I ever live in a civilized manner if my hands had to be stained with the blood of my meal for that evening? Never could I bear to have to learn to read the land to find the life-giving sources of water or if I had to dirty my hands in the soil of the earth hoping for a good harvest. No civilized person would answer to a tribal elder that bestowed wisdom based on experience and philosophical  reasons, no, civilized men direct their behavior by the logic of law. Oh how glorious is the authority of law and our western economic systems! No longer do I need to learn the skills to find and provide food  from the wilds or rely on my companions to make a successful hunt where I failed. No longer do I have to search for water! I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn  a better, much more useful, practical skill: making money. No longer do I have to deal with the burdens of an uncivilized state, now we possess the skills of making money to buy food, supply water ,and to purchase shelter! How grateful am I to have learned this!

So on this Columbus day let us remember and thank Columbus and the Europeans who wanted this kind of life for us in this great land. They brought this rich land a new order that gave the people of this land the skill of making money by exploiting the bounty of this place. Forever man has searched for the true meaning of existence. I think that what our modern system has done is allowed us to fulfill what really has to be the meaning of existence. That meaning of existence being making money.

P.S.  The Europeans called the native Americans  “Noble Savages” but I ask who really was noble and who was savage?

-MG 2010

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