Article 006: Sailing against the wind

Here’s a thought! Power has made it possible to sail against the wind: man no longer respects the tide or the changing currents and thus doesn’t hesitate to zip past in his motors. Gone are that days of hope, surrender, tranquility and the peace of contentment. Constant is the plague of MORE! And BETTER! That drive us past appreciating what in essence are gifts.

My thoughts drift back to a Novel I read over the last academic year (Seasons of Migration to the North by Tayeb Saleh) where the principle character after understanding the essence of a contented life, sums it up by referring to an elderly man who was never overtaken by ambition, but rather grew old in the same surroundings that his forefathers inhabited, becoming as much a part of it as the tree that stood in his garden.

With the reality of modernity as it is, such migratory silence is considered almost primitive. We live out the phrase “the world is your oyster” (especially true in the case of Londoners).  More people cross the oceans daily than did over whole centuries in the recent past, and almost everyone I know has taken a flight. Distance, the space between our feet and our desires, is no longer insurmountable. What’s left is a very fast paced hyphen between birth  and death.

So here we stand:

Power denotes an advantage, advantage – a gain, a gain – a loss (energy is neither created no destroyed but merely transfered from one form to another), loss – a looser. To sail against the wind is to stand against nature itself. We have broken Her (natures) borders at our own cost: flying over and motoring through her spaces to conquer time, the one true gift we have. In the rush we’ve ignored the beggar in the underpass at baker street station, walked past the homeless man desperate to sell copies of The Big Issue, changed the channel when the Oxfam add came on, and on hearing things such as Third World Debt, turned off the Television – tomorrow is a few hours away and we have to work (until we drop apparently) to eat.

What if power really isn’t where it’s at? If the BP spill has anything worth saying it is this: this isn’t it! What we stand to loose as a consequence of our inconsolable ambitions and the subsequent plundering of nature, as well as each other, is the irreplaceable space for humanity to flourish.

The sky scrapers and paved streets, Cathedrals, Mosques, and temples beautiful as they are, are stone altars, built by us to hide the depravity that takes place underneath the fascinating canopy of of streetlights, in the darkness that lurks within our hearts. They conceal the despair of routine, the fear we harbor for change, and like anchors to the past, keep us lodged in the struggle to outwit the winds.

Do not let ambition stop you hearing the whispers in the breeze, or pride will float you past your heart!


2 Replies to “Article 006: Sailing against the wind”

  1. Interesting piece, though I have a different scope of the subject. Being a man of faith, I cant help but feel that every progressive step we take in technology is only made possible through ‘God’. Simply put he will not allow us to go where he doesn’t will. That being the case, to refuse to indulge in the offerings of science and technology is to deny God’s own blessing’s. we are only able to sail against the wind and to stand against nature because he’s opened up our eyes on how to.

    If you’re looking for a revolution to refrain from our take on technology then we might as well strip down to our bare minimums and return to the caves altogether because the flying and the sailing is but a spec in the technological forest. You would have to abandon the very medium you used to send this blog and go back to bio degradable smoke and fire. The house you currently live in is in defiance of nature (gravity)…and so on

    You also noted that,

    “this isn’t it! What we stand to loose as a consequence of our inconsolable ambitions and the subsequent plundering of nature, as well as each other, is the irreplaceable space for humanity to flourish.”

    I don’t think the objective of our existence has at any one point been to plunder nature/each other. We only seek to per-take of various experiences in the time that we have. You were right in stating that time is the one true gift that we have. And it too will be of no use in our immortal after life.

    I’m not advocating for unchecked steps in our quest as humans to explore the different spheres of this world and beyond. I’m just careful to not downplay the importance of science and technology in this our ambitious life.

    “Too much ambition can break a man, while too little will take him nowhere”

    1. I by no means bemoan the progress afforded humanity by advancements in science and technology. Motors have indeed allowed us to said against the wind. What I am pointing toward is the human consequence of speed – the bridge between space and time. It is indeed a blessing from God to have the potential to create and in a sense, govern creation. There accompanies that blessing a sense of responsibility toward not only creation but also ourselves. Stripping down to our bare minus is escaping our responsibility to use our potential ask Kings to serve.

      What this article is aimed at discussing, is the ease with which men can now sail against each other, away from each other, and – most crucially – over each other. There is no escaping the increased potential to plunder. It is unethical ambition that I complain about; and this has been present before the first axe was designed. You need only look at the financial statistics regarding the distribution of wealth, the extent of poverty, the potential for change, and the reality of non-change to understand humanity’s greed and selfishness.

      I sum my point in this: Be a king before the throne, A servant on it. Let your ambition be to serve.

      ps: Very deep thoughts there, there are some I am still mulling over. Great thanks for comment!

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