Thursday, January 20, 2005


I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of an “ownership society”. I’m not sure that any of us can really “own” anything.


The way I see things, you can only claim ownership of something if you created it. All of it, from the beginning, right down to the building blocks. But, none of us can claim to have completely created anything. It’s like a giant pyramid. What we do depends on what has all ready been done. I’m not even sure if the universe can claim to own itself. After all where did the building blocks come from?


You may ask what brought on this little philosophical burble. A lot of things actually. I used to knit and crochet-a lot. Hell, it beats Valium or Prozac and you have something to show for it at the end. Then I discovered computers in the mid-nineties and the handwork slowed down, got glacial actually. Anyway, I started up again this winter and got to thinking. There are all the things that came before that makes it possible for me to sit down to my knit one purl two’ing. Somewhere, sometime some bright person figured out that you could twist strands of sheep or goat hair and get thread. Somebody worked out that you could take pieces of wood or metal and work that thread back and forth and get cloth. Somebody else worked out how to use plants to color their work. What I’m trying to say is that what I’m doing with my double pointed, flexible size 6’s and 8’s is built on all the thinking, imagining and doing of hundred’s of generations. Yeah, in the end I’m making the sweater, but I’m not sure that I can sayit’s all MINE. It's for mom actually, but that's another story.


I got this great little book on the so-called fishermen knits. They’re patterned sweaters used by the farmers and seaman from northern Britain, Scotland and Ireland. I’m familiar with the Aran Islands patterns but didn’t know there were so many others. The author chased down dozens of motifs from little fishing villages and the Channel Islands. You see, none of these were written down. They were passed down from mother to daughter, aunt to niece over the generations. She wanted to get them down before the women who knew them were gone. (I’ll probably be mentioning these a lot as time goes by. I’m totally in love.)


I’m not sure I’m making a lot of sense here. It’s just that everything we do depends on what came before and what hundreds of other people are doing now. I get such a kick out of people who say “I don’t have kids, why should I pay to educate someone else’s kids?” Well, buddy, unless you’re planning on taking out your own appendix when the time comes you’d better hope that somebody else’s kid studied surgery


lisaram1955 said...

Interesting circular entry.  It's very absorbing, sometimes, to think of how things we take for granted came to be.  Bakery...who figured out what yeast would do?  Who built the first piano?  Violin?  Think of satin and velvet, and, well just about anything.  We think out technological advances are so great.  Somebody back there in the past had at least as much ingenuity as we do.  Lisa  :-]  

bosoxblue6993w said...

Someone, somewhere determined that you could yank a cow's udder and drink whatever comes out.