Independent Thinking : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Its breezy today  farewell kisses blown back from Floyd. The sky is a flawless blue and the glider on the screen porch is luring me to linger with another cup of coffee. Easily seduced when I have a deadline, I submit. I breathe in deeply this perfect morning, with profound appreciation for the relief from the past oppressive heat.

Relaxed and reflective, my mind wanders around, pausing on yesterday and all the new signs of y2k awareness I encountered while running my errands. The Ace Hardware now has a Y2K Center. On display are kerosene heaters, lanterns and several different types of generators. There is also a small sign announcing that all y2k merchandise is non -refundable. I considered quizzing the manager how he could tell the difference between a regular shopper of these items and a y2k shopper. But I didnt. What would that have accomplished?

Then off to the bank where in bright, confident blue font on the cash envelope I was assured that all was well with my bank on the issue of y2k readiness. Theres even a number I can call to reaffirm this. I dont mind telling you, all relieved, I exhaled.

Next, I dashed into the Kroger and found a new end cap display of canning supplies and Scripto multipurpose lighters. An interesting combination. In the magazine racks there are large y2k letters on the covers of several magazines. Ive spotted big blue barrels sitting out in front of a clothing store and last week I noticed four wire-caged poly containers in a front yard. The handmade sign propped in front said, "For Sale- food grade". Yep, there are signs. I think mostly it is representative of people cashing in on the possibilities. But then, if you think about it, conversely, if someone is cashing in  someone must be buying. Someone, maybe a bunch of someones has figured out how to think independently.

Sipping my coffee, I wonder how we got to this place and Im not talking about the boiler plate year/date  programers- saving- space-thingy that is inserted in every report about the 00 date changeover like there is still someone left who hasnt heard about it. No, Im talking about this dependence or more specifically, this dearth of self-sufficiency. We have become, in our blind haste into mindless progress, dependent, vulnerable and essentially helpless because we dont have to think for ourselves anymore. We have worshipped at the alter of the dubious gods of convenience and speed until we have become enslaved to the concept that any innovation that removes us farther away from effort is better. At the risk of being labeled "anti-progressive" I confess out loud I see immeasurable damage done in the past twenty years to basic human resourcefulness and general problem solving skills simply because we have capitulated to the system and/or advertising that brainwashes and manipulates our thought processes. What intangibles in terms of instincts and creativity have been exchanged for nothing more than quick results?

I teach people how to make things. The first obstacle I encounter is the attitude that is pervasive in this electronic culture. "Im not creative" is what I hear over and over again. I sigh and respond to this by asking this question  did you believe that when you were a child? Were you born that way, or was it leached out of you over time because you never had to use your creativity? I have never seen a new human who wasnt curious and inventive. I have met plenty of grown humans who have forgotten this.

I realize my philosophy on this issue wont set well with techies who make their living using their creativity to make devises that "make life better". But what about the end user who loses, in bits and pieces, day by day, the ability to think and do for himself. It is a subtle erosion, almost imperceptible. For example, I chose not to have an ATM card early on, because I could see down the road that I would become dependent on it. Have you ever been in a hurry for cash and then had your card refused because the magnetic strip was damaged? A little thing you say. But without this crutch, I am responsible to myself to remember to plan ahead and go to the bank when it is open. Call it a routine exercising of my embedded memory chips. It could certainly be argued that an ATM card is only a tool and should be used with prudence. But, in general, people are too busy and lazy to be prudent  they allow themselves to be the used instead of remaining the user; controllee instead of controller. Inch by inch humanity is losing its grip on self-responsibility and accountability because it is easier and indeed faster to let someone or something else do the thinking and ultimately shoulder the blame when something goes wrong. "I cant believe this stupid machine is out of order  now where am I going to get money!" instead of "oh, man, I should have stopped at the bank on my way home!".

Cant stop progress, cant stop progress, I can hear the mantra now. Im not suggesting we stop progress and return to the dark ages. I am only saying I see the handwriting on the wall and I am making choices for myself based on what I see and know about human nature, most particularly my own. This includes not embracing every innovation just because it purports to make my life easier and more convenient. I ask questions now. Will this modern convenience contribute to making my brain turn to mush? And yes, Im a maverick, perhaps dangerous even, to hold fast to independence and self-reliance. But I trust the old axiom about being true to one's self.

And what I know about myself is that I feel the most secure and less at the mercy of the misjudgment of others when I think independently regardless how far outside the box that puts me.

-- April (, September 16, 1999



I loved this!

-- Brian (, September 16, 1999.

People have fallen for cultural communism,especially in the big city.A person does thier one trick and pays other people to do everything else.nothing new is ever learned except what they learn on television or a trip to the local anyone

-- Eric michael (, September 16, 1999.

Excellent, April. Huzzar!!

--from one creative maverick to another

-- Donna (, September 16, 1999.

I loved it too....i could almost smell the humid salty air. that was cool. I'll tell you this, you're reminded daily, when you're out of the box. people think you're weird.

these are the same people that will search the world over for the remote control, while they're 3 inches from the controls on the tv itsself

-- Super (, September 16, 1999.

Good job April!

Gratitude is a wunnerful thing! (So's blue sky, a fragrant breeze and hot cuppa java).

Uh, Super... when you're outside the box... the people still on the inside... look like the weird ones.


Diane, another maverick

-- Diane J. Squire (, September 16, 1999.

In keeping with the spirit of this thread, here's a bit from an Indiana newspaper. It was printed sometime early in 1998, but I've lost the exact date. It is posted here "For Educational Purposes".

It's titled, Common Sense, R.I.P., and it was written by Lori Borgman of the Indianapolis Star and News.

"Three yards of black fabric enshroud my computer terminal. I am mourning the passing of an old friend by the name of Common Sense.

His obituary reads as follows:

Common Sense, aka C.S., lived a long life but died from heart failure at the brink of the millennium. No one really knows how old he was, his birth records were long ago entangled in miles and miles of bureaucratic red tape.

Known affectionately to close friends as Horse Sense and Sound Thinking, he selflessly devoted himself to a life of service in homes, schools, hospitals and offices, helping folks get jobs done without a lof of fanfare, whooping and hollering. Rules and regulations and petty, frivolous lawsuits held no power over C.S.

A most reliable sage, he was credited with cultivating the ability to know when to come in out of the rain, the discovery that the early bird gets the worm and how to take the bitter with the sweet. C.S. also developed sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn), reliable parenting strategies (the adult is in charge, not the kid) and prudent dietary plans (offset eggs and bacon with a little fiber and orange juice).

A veteran of the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, the Technological Revolution and the Smoking Crusades, C.S. survived sundry cultural and educational trends including disco, the men's movement, body piercing, whole language and new math.

C.S.'s health began declining in the late 1960s when he became infected with the If-It-Feels-Good, Do-It virus. In the following decades his waning strength proved no match for the ravages of overbearing federal and state rules and regulations and an oppressive tax code. C.S. was sapped of strength and the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, criminals received better treatment than victims and judges stuck their noses in everything from Boy Scouts to professional baseball and golf.

His deterioration accelerated as schools implemented zero-tolerance policies. Reports of 6-year-old boys charged with sexual harassment for kissing classmates, a teen suspended for taking a swig of Scope mouthwash after lunch, girls suspended for possessing Midol and an honor student expelled for having a table knife in her school lunch were more than his heart could endure.

As the end neared, doctors say C.S. drifted in and out of logic but was kept informed of developments regarding regulations of low-flow toilets, mandatory air bags and a government plan to ban inhalers from 14 million asthmatics due to a trace of a pollutant that may be harmful to the environment. Finally, upon word that a North Carolina town council was attempting to restrict front porch furniture to lawn chairs and settees that are aesthetically attractive, C.S. breathed his last.

Services will be at Wispering Pines Cemetery. C.S. was preceded in death by his wife, Discretion; one daughter, Responsibility; and one son, Reason. He is survived by two stepbrothers, Half-Wit and Dim-Wit.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Institute for Rational Thought.

Farewell, Common Sense. May you rest in peace. Hopefully, in a casket the state of North Carolina deems aesthetically attractive."

-- Hardliner (, September 16, 1999.


Both fun and interesting to read. Thanks.

-- Anita (, September 16, 1999.

There are STILL some people who believe in self-sufficiency. But you don't usually find them in the cities. Rather, they live in the country or are sailing around the world (possibly single-handed). They tend not to have large bunches of friends...because they say what they mean. They may live in places where life seems harsh and where danger is a daily companion. They do things that others would call impossible. And, yes, they think. Box? What box?

-- Mad Monk (, September 16, 1999.

To April and Lori borgman,two of the best articles I've ever read. I get the feeling society headed for collapse with or without the help of y2k......thanks hardliner for the post

-- Eric michael (, September 16, 1999.

Whoo! thanks, guys, I was sort of thinking out loud, you know. I didn't really expect someone to actually read it. LOL

Loved the obit from Lori. Does my heart good to find out there is still a pulse of genuinely honest, original thought out there. And besides, after I proofed this beast, I realized I had my column that's due. Believe I'll put my feet up and have another cup 'o coffee. Join Me?

-- April (, September 16, 1999.

I don't know how to think independently. I obey the orders of the cult leaders, Yourdon and North. I've thrown out my 31 years of programming experience. I just follow the latest leader-of-the-day.

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (, September 16, 1999.

Sysman, No doubt you threw out those years with great style and grace. * grinning largely*

-- April (, September 17, 1999.

I peak in for a moment, lo & behold I read an old post from Runway Cat!!! Where fore art thou Runway Cat?

So many great threads from the "distant past" - last Fall through much of the Winter. I know some of you frenzied forum fellows have bookmarked outstanding threads from the bygone days. Do us a favor & start a nostalgia thread. Please!

-- Bingo1 (, September 17, 1999.

A magnificent posting...beautiful will be worthy of being spared come the revolution!

-- The Squirrel King (Just Nuts@In a.Tree), September 17, 1999.

Thanks for posting that. You are a gem!

Back in the 1950's on the west coast there was a great concern about the Chinese launching attacks against us and even 'invading' us. Very 50's paranoia (how would this be possible logistically?). But it was the Korean conflict and we were afraid of our fear.

My mother was concerned that no one knew how to grow food anymore and if we had to get to the hills we would all starve to death. So she began to teach us how to grow a garden. We did the standard vegitables and even potatoes, later. After a while we stopped doing that. But the lessons lingered in the deep of the soul.

That was 45 years ago. And the lessons seem to have been there in dormancy awaiting their moment to sprout. Today I think like that mom. I think 'Will we know how to plant, to reap'? Or have we lost our way in a world of ever increasingly fractionated 'labor rationalization'. Possibly if the process would have continued for 100 more years people would have known nothing but how to turn only one knob, put only one check in a certain box, know nothing except how to call for help.

April, it seems to me that you are a part of that question which lingers after these revolutions. Many, many have asked that question, been a part of it. "Do you want to go there?" And you are part of the answer as well.

-- ..- (dit@dot.dash), September 17, 1999.

April, good stuff! I particularly relate to the ATM card mention--we too refused to accept a card, but mostly because of the rash of armed robberies, carjackings and kidnapping/murders that occurred when they were first introduced in New Orleans. Later, when people were hooked, charges were introduced and they were gradually increased. I don't know what the transaction charge is now--$1? $2? Iv'e long wondered why banks charge so much for ATM use when the overhead for paying tellers and maintaining buildings must be much higher. I guess because people would spend a lot of time complaining to a real, live person.

-- Old Git (, September 17, 1999.

ditdot, just now reading your post, about learning to garden, and thoughts about all people have forgotten reminded me of H.G.Wells' "The Time Machine". About the Eloi who had become over generations of dependency food for the Morlocks. Then flashed what to me, as a teen seeing/reading the story for the first time, the scariest part of the story,....when the Morlocks sounded the "all clear" sirens, like those used in WWII England - the Eloi marched lock-step out to be slaughtered, hypnotized. Herbert George returns finally with books and devotion to help the Eloi remember all that had been forgotten.

When my sister and I talk about the uncertain times to come we always speak with hope because of all we had been taught about self-sufficiency from our rancher/farmer/inventor/tinkerer/doer parents.

Hmmm,...seems like a day to send off an email to my dad to thank him again. I wonder sometimes what it will be like to be one of those Herbert George types mentoring anyone who has forgotten.

(shaking my head of the fog)...early morning solitude waxing me poetic.

--She in the sheet upon the hilltop.

-- Donna (, September 17, 1999.

Thanks, squirrel for the vote of confidence. I know in my heart there exists many Renaissance men and women who have lived all their lives in a learning curve, who are never satisfied with being a common denominator. They wouldn't know how to specialize if they had to. Their resumes are patched quilts; sewn together by hand, one challenge, failure, and success at a time. Interesting that individuals of this ilk usually get labeled early on in their lives - "needs to find a focus", "no direction", jack-of-all-trades-master-of- none". ( I hear some of you nodding your heads) and the most common, "no ambition" as if wearing a suit and nursing high blood pressure and an ulcer is the pinnacle of achievement.

In my fifty-two years I have had the pleasure and honor to even meet some of them, never passing up the oportunity to glean whatever I could from their experiences. My recent eighteen month stint having a shop in an artist's colony gave me the opportunity to dwell in a virtual nest of self-made men and women. One fellow is a genuinely talented portrait artist. Peel back the layers of tempora and oil paint and you'll find an engineer who had enough of the corporate zoo and just dropped out. Peeling a little further, you'll see an accomplished musician. If you really undress him, you'll also see that he writes poetry that hurts it is so tender. He is a capable carpenter and he has an herb garden that he designed and tends. With a keen artist's eye, he can coax jaw-drop photographs out of his 35 mm camera. He willingly teaches everything he knows - all you have to do is ask him. To my way of thinking these sorts will be the heros of the coming years. And for all the variety and diversity in their backgrounds the one thin thread that strings them together is nothing more than attitude. Apparently,people who understand about being well-rounded and self-reliant also seem to also understand that attitude is the only thing that we own that can't be taken from us. It's not a trite truism that looks good embroidered and framed on the wall either. It often is the life ring that saves us. Sink or swim. Feel sorry for yourself or reach out and touch another who is worse off than you. We're gonna need heros like that.

-- April (, September 17, 1999.

BTW, Donna - Time Machine made a mark on me. I recall it vividly and I watched the humans acting like cattle and wondered if this could really happen. Apparently this wasn't all fiction! LOL

-- April (, September 17, 1999.

April,...what a wonderful place to be. I try not to but sheesh, I'm envious of a home and work-love in an artist colony. I am a musician and teacher by schooling, but one of those jack-of-all types. I write, do watercolor and mixed media collage stuff...and sometimes, oh heck, who am I kidding,...a lot I frown about the state of my "career" and finanaces...I couldn't and wouldn't fit in most 'mainstream' workplaces, so here I am, a music gig here, a canvas there, a part time job mentoring teens, etc., etc,....I digress. My sweetie, Dwight, and I seek always to know people like you, and the man you described above,...and I would add others here at Yourdon's place; people of insight, vision, sensitivity, and courage.

I'm blathering. I'll stop.

--She in the sheet, always coming home.

-- Donna (, September 17, 1999.

Donna, I had to chuckle because your brief self-portrait reveals much.

The potters and oil painters, fiber artist, stained-glass crafters, the blacksmith and the sculpturers that make up the artist's colony where I had my little shop all,without exception, have resumes that make them largely unemployable in the mainstream. None will ever know wealth (unless someone wins the lottery). But these are some of the richest people I have ever met. They are what they do and they love it. No, not love that's not the right word...they are impassionedabout what they do. I hated to have to close my shop and leave Main Street but I'm still in contact with all of them. When I have a chance to drop in I still enjoy discussions peppered with spirituality, intelligence, philosophy and great good humor. I worry that these little galleries and studios might not be able to hang on next year, for lack of discretionary dollars to support them. But I'm not worried about the people - they can survive -because they are diverse and creative and they aren't particularly owned by their material things. Attitude.

-- April (, September 17, 1999.

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