Sand, windup razor, push mower, propane,
Seems like an odd collection, but all have something in common.
This is a sloppy idea, and it's partly parallel to the sequence of manual to autonomous that I discussed earlier.
For some technologies the sequence looks about the same, but the purpose here is different.
Sloppy idea: If you want to minimize dependence on the grid, or if you want to be PREPARED for situations when the grid doesn't work, you want PATIENT things. You want things that can WAIT in storage for an indefinite period without attention or recharging or refilling.
Most of our world has long since departed from the patient end. Look at the sequence in computing:
Paper and pencil --> Adding machine --> Basic in ROM --> Software on hard drive --> Cloud.
At each step the system loses patience and requires more and more attention from EXTERNAL and OFFICIAL services.
Plain mechanisms like the windup razor
and push mower are perfectly patient. There's nothing to leak or rot. They can wait for a century if properly stored.
Propane and bicycles are relatively
patient but good enough for most purposes. Propane lasts a LONG time. I bought several bottles in '97, used them occasionally, and still got a week of cooking and heating from them in 2015. A bicycle's tires will decay, but if you store it properly it will still be ready after 20 years.
Electricity and cars are NOT patient. Electricity can't be stored for more than a few months, and cars require constant refilling with gas. Electric cars are the worst of all worlds. Post-2000 cars depend increasingly on other Officially Approved services like OnStar, software updates via wi-fi, etc.
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We can apply this sequence to larger systems as well. Consider the problem of icy streets and sidewalks, which is on my mind just now. SAND is the patient solution and the ideal solution. You can spread it after the first snow, and it will just SIT THERE for months, absorbing sunlight and warming the ice, and providing direct traction at the same time. The EPA Terrorist Army has ordered the city to avoid SAND because SAND is effective and good. Goodness is illegal. So the city switched to a greasy de-icer liquid that requires frequent re-spraying and doesn't add any traction. Constant circulation of spray trucks, much more gas, much more pollution. But that's still not bad enough. Now the EPA requires an even LESS effective greasy de-icer because the first greasy de-icer contains a tiny fraction of some sinful chemical.
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How about culture? The patient solution is to follow the reference manual that was developed thousands of years ago. Natural Law is permanent and self-energizing because it grows from permanent structures and gene coding. Our own genes tell us most of what we need to know, and the BOOK, the record of previous disastrous experiments, tells us the rest. Natural Law includes SEX, FAMILY STRUCTURE, the need and function of WORK, provisions to punish CRIME, and the basic rules of ECONOMICS. When we follow Natural Law, our internal moral logic tells us what's needed. We rarely need to ask the authorities for advice or judgment.
Since 1200 AD we've been moving away from Natural Law. First we built academies and "courts" that created imaginary theologies and "rights", generally designed to serve the purposes and egos of the academicians and "judges". These theologies and "rights" require more attention every year because they COUNTERACT natural needs. More attention means more power for the academicians and priests and "judges". We must CONSULT them to get DECISIONS, because our genes and internal moral logic and our own experience
disagree with the official commands. Logic and common sense no longer work.
Now we're so "advanced" and "progressive" that we can't even MENTION the rules of Natural Law. All the permanent stuff .... gender, work, punishment, economics .... has been officially DISCONNECTED AND SILENCED. We are required to create facilities for "transgender" entities which DO NOT EXIST. We must report normal families to the police. We must allow the authorities to remove WORK from our lives. ("Globalization is inevitable.") We must accept the replacement of REAL VALUE by COUNTERFEIT.
Non-patient solutions are ADDICTIVE. They always require more and more attention and "service" from Officially Approved Sources.
You don't need to stick to the sandy end of the spectrum in every category; an interesting and active life requires some dependence on some grids. But you need to keep the patient stuff as backup for times when the grids fail. You need to be AWARE of the addictive nature of the grids, and you need to pull back when you've gone too far. We can see healthy pullback movements in high tech, where a considerable number of non-Luddites are saying NO to the Cloud. In government and economics, more and more people and nations are fighting the US/EU globalizers. In economics, some nations are starting to pull back
from fractional-reserve counterfeiting, reverting to Natural Law setups that worked beautifully for 800 years.
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Later: I was thinking about patient-to-fleeting sequences for various things. The most patient way of doing a thing is usually the most 'primitive'. The method provided by Nature or the first invention. Books before computer screens, painting before TV, disk records before MP3, candles before incandescent.
Patience is NOT a virtue in commercial terms. Inventors want to make a technology less self-sufficient, more ephemeral, more dependent on systems owned by the company that the inventor works for.
But there is ONE major exception. Freeze-dried food. Humans have been working on patient food for as long as we've been human. You could even argue that patient food is exactly what makes us unique. Salting, drying, vacuum-packing, fermenting: all can hold food reliably for a season, or a few years at most. Freeze-drying, the most recent invention in this area, can last 25 years reliably.
Labels: Carbon Cult, defensible spaces, Natural law = Sharia law, Patient things