Knowing Stuff

When you live this life you know stuff.

Stuff like when was the last time it rained.  And how much it rained.  And what phase the moon is in.  And what’s blooming now.  And what isn’t.  And other stuff like that.

In my old life that kind of information wasn’t relevant to my life.  If I knew it, it was just trivia to me.

It wasn’t that long ago that all humans knew that kind of stuff.  Now the vast majority of us just don’t need to know it.  In many ways we’re a lot smarter than we used to be.  But in some important ways we aren’t.

 

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25 comments on “Knowing Stuff

  1. Eumaeus says:

    There is knowing stuff. And there is ‘setting store by knowing stuff’. And I don’t know that I can explain the difference here. It has to do with both holding knowledge and letting it go at the same time. For that which holds the knowledge might come to believe that it is something that holds knowledge. And if you can understand this, then you know it is an illusion. We do not hold knowledge but we might delude ourselves into thinking we do, for a lifetime maybe. But we were wise when we were babies. In many ways we were a lot smarter then. But I’m not talking about farming anymore…

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    • Bill says:

      It is good to know stuff, I think. And it can be good to not know stuff. There is stuff that our species knows that we’d be better off not knowing. A wise man said, “Praise ignorance. For what man has not encountered he has not destroyed.”

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  2. Jeff says:

    I don’t expect you to agree with the metaphysics of the author of this article, but she has some really important ideas to share about the idea that you expressed in the last paragraph of your post. Yes, we’re “smarter that we used to be” – that’s why we have industrial agriculture, health “care” that doesn’t provide care but does generate profits, education that doesn’t educate, banks that work for the 1% instead of the small business and home-owner … the list is endless.

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    • Bill says:

      It seems to me that all things considered humanity is better off now than it has ever been. But it also seems to me that our gains are accompanied by great losses. I never paid much attention to the natural world in my other life, beyond hoping it wouldn’t rain if we were going to the beach. Now I have to be aware of what nature is doing. We are all dependent upon such things, even if we aren’t conscious of it.

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  3. Excellent, Bill. We the knowers of stuff.. Like tying the outer leaves around just-emergent cauliflower. Like a long-handled hoe in the hand and knowing you’re blessed. Like knowing that the real cost of something is the amount of life that it takes to get it.

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    • Bill says:

      That’s the kind of stuff I know now. There’s lots of stuff that I don’t know. Like what’s happening in the stock market, or in baseball. I don’t know what TV shows are popular now, but I do know it’s time to harvest the garlic.

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  4. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, we as a people of mankind can be smart, intelligent, and acquire all the knowledge there is to know but if we lack wisdom to use it, then ciaos will be the result. I have known friends that are brilliant but don’t really make wise decisions. My Dad is a great example of that. He hated school and attended school through the 8th grade only because his mother who was a school teacher made him. He would have quit sooner if he could have. He was a self made truck mechanic and successfully maintained a repair business for 25 years, retired at the age of 56 and lived a full life until 87. It was much more in that he just had the wisdom to know if some thing would work or not. He could build or repair things that most would just throw up their hands and say it was too hard. He was a living example of how wisdom could even trump education.

    I have nearly 67 years of stuff in my head and my excuse for senior moments is that it’s all filed away in my head and some times it takes awhile to find what I’m looking for. 🙂

    Have a great knowing stuff day.

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    • Bill says:

      My grandfather dropped out of school after the third grade, when his father went blind. He essentially became the head of household at that young age and he saved the family farm during the Great Depression. That man knew stuff. He used to say to me, jokingly but truthfully, “Bill, you have book sense, but you don’t have common sense.”

      Welcome back Dave. Hoping you had a great time away.

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    • Seeking Joyful Simplicity says:

      …as a people of mankind can be smart, intelligent, and acquire all the knowledge there is to know but if we lack wisdom to use it…

      Yes, that’s it isn’t? The difference between being intelligent and being wise. I pray for more wisdom in this world. Wisdom involves compassion and love, intelligence does not.

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  5. jubilare says:

    “In many ways we’re a lot smarter than we used to be. But in some important ways we aren’t.”

    Aye, though I would replace “many” with “some.” Humanity, and humans, seem to shed knowledge as they gain it. I’ve often thought about, and regretted, how little I, and to a greater extent many others I know, are disconnected with the natural world around us. I Don’t know what phase the moon is in, and I barely know any stars because, where I live, hardly any of them are visible. Until the first time I went out west I thought “the milky way” was just “all the stars,” because I had never seen the thing.

    I’m more tuned into plant cycles and seasons, but only because I’m interested and therefore pay attention. But I know people who don’t think about things like “if I put down pesticides in my yard I will kill fireflies as well as cockroaches.” That particular problem seems to be getting better, but there is definitely a disconnect, a lack of understanding that one action in an ecosystem has ramifications throughout the whole. That’s something I learned most clearly from the people I know who farm.

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    • Bill says:

      It seems to me that the loss of our awareness of the interconnectedness of all things may be our greatest loss. The things that used to be of paramount importance in our lives for thousands of years are now seemingly irrelevant. They’re still important of course, it’s just that they seem irrelevant to our lives, disconnected as we are from the natural world that sustains us.

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      • jubilare says:

        I think it is a huge loss. It’s hard to snap people out of their blindness to it, though, because for some reason, many people seem to find nature boring… which mystifies me.

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  6. associatedluke says:

    There was a BuzzFeed list (those things are all over facebook and such) that was titled “Things that Your Grandparents Knew that You Don’t.” The old ways are being recaptured in new and wonderful ways. And on forums like this, we’re seeing more engagement and championing of these ways. Keep it up. I’ll keep reading and learning.

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    • Bill says:

      These days people who know how to grow some food are seen as somewhat eccentric, possessing special knowledge most don’t have. But no more than a generation or two ago almost all of us had that knowledge. And when I look around this farm and see the things that were built by the people who lived here with materials they gathered from the farm, I realize they would be astonished at our ignorance. We know a lot of things our grandparents didn’t know, but they surely knew a lot of things we don’t know now.

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  7. Ann Wood says:

    Amen to that one!

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  8. EllaDee says:

    It’s the sort of stuff you get satisfaction from. It’s not designer or store bought that requires accessorising, recharging or updating. But even if lost, forsaken, or worse you never had it, knowledge is forgiving – you can find it again and build on it, learn more and make a life of it. Even living in the city we note the weather, the moon cycles, the nuances of the seasons and their produce, and the time of day by the sun.

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    • Bill says:

      It’s great that y’all stay aware of those things. During my city life I paid no attention to those things, unless they were potential inconveniences to my (rare) leisure time.

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  9. shoreacres says:

    Once upon a time, a new varnish worker became obsessed with weather. She watched The Weather Channel sixteen times a day. She watched newscasts. She followed the Weather Underground. She watched radars – every sort there was. She had to know what was going to happen, because her business depended on it.

    After about ten years, she realized she was a far better short-term forecaster than the meteorologists. She could smell rain coming. She could feel the humidity rise. She knew that, when a front was coming, as soon as the wind stopped blowing she had just enough time to tidy up and head for home.

    She learned to read the clouds and watch the water, and all was well. She had learned what she needed to know.

    The End.

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    • Bill says:

      Smiling.

      And suppose a teacher came along today, and to make a point said something like, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is.”

      The folks to whom he was speaking would likely respond, “Huh?”

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  10. I agree Bill. For a whole bunch of reasons– both things we have control over and things we don’t, we have been separated from nature. And we all lose because of that.

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  11. avwalters says:

    I love that, knowing stuff, stuff. I’ve relocated and my sense of it is a little dislocated. I’ll try to be the observant type, so that next year I’ll be able to add to my base, and know stuff again.

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