Thought for the day….
Have we as man gone forward or backward in the past 200hundred years?
A number of stimuli have given rise to this thought over thepast few days.
I caught a bit of investigative journalism that CBC did onsustainable forestry and a crowd call the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (aquestionable organization if ever I saw one). Sure they plant new forests wherethey clear-cut the old. But they only plant pine. No hardwood. And then theyspray with herbicides to kill off the shrubs and bushes while the trees grow. Theycall this sustainable forestry. So bye, bye hardwoods. Never mind the longhorned Asian Ash beetle.
Then I watched Dances with Wolves for about the 10thtime and it got me to thinking how we as man nearly wiped out the AmericanBison, Beaver and in Africa have been steadily chipping away at Rhino,Elephants and loads of other species. This got me thinking about aboriginalpeoples all over the world who managed to live for hundreds of years in harmonywith their surroundings only harvesting what they needed.
Then I received a newsletter from a favorite woodworker writerand it had an article about the quality of service of a company that stillmakes hand tools in North America and it gotme to thinking why is this not common place in our values today.
Then I have been slowly going through a book of Gaudi's work, sentto me by a friend in Spainand it was the final push that got me thinking have we gone forward orbackward.
I have been fortunate to see many historic sites all aroundthe world. Given that most are physical sites architecture becomes thedominating element.
When one considers most of this architecture it all datesback to a time when people were governed/ruled by monarchy or nobility. Whetherthis be in Egypt, China, Paris or Spain or any other country with substantive historical treasures.
It had me comparing our modern democratic ways and thinkingof the modern architecture.
Today we find it in ourselves to fund the development of warmachines with very short life cycle, that cost enormous sums of money yet leavelittle behind. Yet when it comes to architecture we require an event of globalsignificance like the Olympics to coalesce around and build something of morelasting architectural significance.
Sure one can say the only reason the rulers of the past hadthese “monuments” created was for personal self benefit in some way or another.
However the commitment to artistic design, craftsmanship andthe resources it took left us with many inspirational treasures all around the world.
Now we build a building, make a product, consume resources withwhat appears to be little care or values associated with any of it.
Is it that hard for us to get our minds around some artisticdecoration/theme to a building?
Has it become too much effort to make a product and stand byit with good service?
Are we going to consume ever last bit of our environment?
When are woodworkers going to do justice to those that havegone before.
We make Shaker reproductions or copy a Federal piece or makean 18th Century cabinet of some sort.
But few venture into curves and carvings by comparison tothe numbers of us that exist.
There is nothing preventing our venturing into a new designor artistic form for furniture yet there seems little to have emerged in moderntimes that could be considered on a par to what the masters of the past leftbehind.
Are we doomed to be nothing more than “copiers” or imitatorsof the past. ?
Have we become victims of “fit for purpose” and “valueengineering”.
We have superb tools by comparison to the masters of old.Yet produce nothing that rivals their creative and artistic effort.
So I ask have we or are we going backward or forward.?
Where do our values lie?
Is it not time we came up with something original of our agesomething more than engineered hardwood flooring. J