This post doesn’t quite fit into my “Back to the Basics” series, as it isn’t broad enough, but I wanted to comment on it nonetheless. Mustard Seed Associates, where I interned this summer, posted this video the other day:
First, let me make this clear: I am not an anarchist. I think that the government plays a valuable and important role. However, although I disagree with him on that point, I think that he has a lot of important and challenging points to make in this video, and I think it ties into my previous post on poverty as well.
One of the points I made about poverty is that it is intensely personal. As such is the case, it has to be solved in the messiness of personal interactions. So, while I don’t advocate abolishing the government, I think there is absolutely something to be said for living life without relying on it.
The reality of life is that no matter what issue we are addressing, no matter what policy or legislation or social movement we consider, when it really comes down to it, it is dealing with people. And people aren’t straightforward, easy to solve, or all the same. Principles are all well and good until they interact with conflicting stories; strategies are excellent until they actually must be applied to messy situations.
So, I’ve come to believe that I can’t save the world. I can’t really effect apt change unless I actually know the problem and the people it affects. For this reason (among others, which I may mention at another time) I am, in general, a proponent of localization. Because if I really want to change the world, I can’t actually begin by changing the whole world. What I can change, is how I live my life, how I interact with others, and the actions I take to solve the problems in my own local context.
Posted in Chris, Other, Politics | Tagged Localization, Mark Van Stenwyk, Politics | 1 Comment »
A photo with children and friends at an orphanage, taken on my trip to Costa Rica
One of my favorite stories to tell is from my time in Costa Rica. A sheltered high school kid, my first experience in a non-western culture was a 13 day mission trip to Costa Rica during Christmas Break of my junior year. Though I had been exposed to it in limited ways before, this trip was also my first full-fledged encounter with material insufficiency. Dirt floor houses, improper sanitation, overused water supplies, all were novelties to me. You could say that this trip was my enlightenment, my discovery of what true poverty looks like, and you’d be right. I found poverty during my trip to Costa Rica. But the poverty I found wasn’t Costa Rican; the poverty I found was American. Continue Reading »
Posted in Chris, Poverty, Religion | Tagged Back to the Basics, Costa Rica, poverty, St. Francis | 1 Comment »
August 29th, how long ago you were. That’s the last time I’ve posted anything here, and I’m not too happy about it. It seems this happens every year though. I post like crazy during the summer, and then as soon as school starts, I lose my ability to manage time and it takes me a few months to get things under control, before I can resume posting. Well, I’m here to announce that I have things under control again! (Hopefully, no guarantees.)
Introducing… a new series! I’ve been tossing around a number of post ideas for the past few weeks now, and it occurred to me that all of my inspirations had to do with my views on broader concepts in life. Therefore, my new series will be entitled, “Back to the Basics,” and it is meant to be an exploration of the definitions and functions we attribute to these various broader aspects of life. Specifically, I will hope to be putting words to some of my ideas and philosophies about some of the misconceptions that our society may have in these areas. Potential topics could include: Poverty, Economy, Health, the Environment, Work, Happiness, etc… I’m looking forward to it! Of course, as a disclaimer, I won’t be proclaiming to know everything about the world, or everything in it, but I do hope to provide an interesting take on some of these issues, one that you may or may not have heard before. Feel free to provide feedback, discussions, or expletive-laced verbal assaults on my personal character at any point along the way.
Posted in Chris, Economics, Other, Poverty, Society | Tagged Back to the Basics | 2 Comments »
Ok. I’ve never really gotten into Sigur Rós before, but wow… I think I will now. I’m just going to leave this here:
And here is the website of the film experiment they’re doing for the whole album, giving 12 filmmakers the same budget to each do a different song. I haven’t watched all of them, but I definitely will be doing so after seeing the one above.
*Disclaimer: some of the videos are kind of weird. So, you’ve been warned.
Posted in Chris, Music | Tagged Film, Music, Nature, Sigur Ros | Leave a Comment »
This post is an essay I did for a sociology class, Intro to the Sociology of Development/Developing Nations, based upon watching the following video:
Progress is a funny thing. We all seek after it. We want to progress in our studies, make progress on our projects, and progress as a society. New inventions or advances come along, and they are paraded around as progress, but I’m not sure we really know what progress is. As shown in the film, everyone has a different view of progress. For one man, it applies only to his life, as he seeks to go through school, buy a car, and build a house, for another it is the development of a nuclear bomb. Still others, however, say that we haven’t progressed; we have much more work to do. Conversely, some say that we have taken steps back; our technology has made us less human; it has disconnected us from each other or heightened our inequalities. It seems though that regardless of individual views, everyone in the film does share one commonality: a common view of what the world sees as progress. Continue Reading »
Posted in Chris, Society | Tagged 7 billion others, development, progress, Society, Sociology | 2 Comments »
As I’ve briefly mentioned in earlier posts, one of the coolest things I learned this summer was that you don’t need to knead to make bread. In fact, no-knead bread is not only less work, but it also tastes better. (Ok, so I haven’t proven this scientifically, but I have had several people tell me it was the best homemade bread they’ve ever had. So don’t take my word for it, take the word of a few other people you’ve probably never met!) Let me get this point across to you: this bread is extremely easy to make. Apart from dropping it on the ground and stomping on it, setting it on fire, or, you know, adding dirt instead of flour, I’m fairly certain that you can’t screw this bread up. I’ve added too much water, put in too much yeast, let it rise too long, didn’t let it rise enough, and even added weird ingredients (hot sauce is excellent), and it’s still turned out just fine. Are you ready for the recipe?
What you need:
3.5 Cups Flour (Bread flour preferred, but not necessary.)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Yeast (Active Dry, Instant, I’ve done it with both)
1 3/4 Cups Water (Approximate, see rule of thumb below) Continue Reading »
Posted in Chris, Other | Tagged Baking, Bread, Cooking, Easy, Kneading, No Knead | 4 Comments »
You can look at this tree on a screen, but can you smell it, feel it, or climb it? Now you want to climb it, don’t you? …Sorry about that.
After putting up my last post over a week ago, I turned off my laptop, literally unplugging it for one week’s time. This time ended at the stroke of midnight last Friday night (technically Saturday, I suppose), and I would be lying to you if I said that turning it back on wasn’t the first thing I did. I would also be lying to you, however, if I told you that I didn’t enjoy the time in between those two events.
That week, in truth, included some of the best days I’ve had this summer. I still had a few tasks in the week that required a computer, so I did use the office computer or the computers at the library a few times, but all in all it was a fairly computer-free week. I found that, suddenly, I had a lot more free time that I didn’t know what to do with. I also got more inventive in doing the work that I did have to do. During the week I was able to experience: visiting a park I had wanted to see all summer long, reading a number of books I hadn’t finished, spending some great times hanging out with housemates, playing music instead of listening to it, and enjoying a great film and discussion with a group I had discovered on Couchsurfing the week before.
The film was called “Play Again” and it couldn’t possibly have been more fitting for the experiment I was doing. The premise was this: take ten kids who spend an average of 15 hours a day in front of screens: computers, cell phones, televisions, gaming systems, etc., and put them in a wilderness camp for a week. With the help of a few adult supervisors, they would spend the camp week sleeping in tents in the woods learning a variety of wilderness skills. By interviewing the early-teens throughout the process, the filmmakers were able to give us honest impressions of each child’s reactions. While the responses were varied among the campers, there was at least one common thread: it was a radically new experience for all; in many ways it blew their minds, exploded their worldviews. Learning wilderness skills like making a fire, building a bow, and using herbs to soothe mosquito bites not only gave them a greater perspective on the roots of the modern world, but it also gave them the opportunities to form relationships. Continue Reading »
Posted in Chris, Experiments, Other, Society | Tagged Experiments, Nature, Needs, Play Again, Society, Technology | 2 Comments »