Before the lure of internet took hold of my priorities, I was a potter – a good potter but a poor potter. While I had studied architecture in school, I ended up leaving with an art degree in ceramics. Not all ceramics majors think of themselves as potters, many, no most, think of themselves as artists or sculptors. But some of us are drawn to the ancient craft, the spinning wheel, the fire, the utility the things we make provide.
But these days it’s tough to earn a living doing something that takes so much time to do. So like so many, when the internet took-off I jumped on and found another way to apply my creative skills. I never lost that love for doing things the hard/right way – just got my priorities rearranged; societal pressures seem to have a knack of doing that.
I suspect you might know what I mean. So many of us get caught up on the treadmill that drives the current paradigm – our current way of life. It seems like if we don’t focus all our attention on acquisition – making money, making progress – we’ll fall behind and somehow fail.
In the video below we see a man finishing an axe. His name is Cody and he lives on a homestead in the woods of southern Washington. He once ran on the treadmill too, but today he lives simply and stays very busy with many projects like crafting this axe. Incidentally one of his other projects is a tiny timber frame cabin, which is probably patiently waiting for warmer weather.
But why make an axe!? You could go to the store right now and buy a Made in China axe for 30 bucks. Bringing an old axe head back to life and crafting a handle from a carefully sought & selected piece of hardwood would take so many hours, it would hardly be worth your time. All that time could be far better spent earning many times the cost of the axe too.
I’m probably preaching to the choir, but Cody’s video gave me an opportunity to reflect. It reminded me that maybe the biggest difference between our modern society and simpler times is in the values we hold highest.
Focusing on acquisition has brought us advances & riches but they’ve also come at quite a cost. I suspect many of us are drawn by the lure of tiny houses because they embody a value shift that resonates with us. A value shift where things like freedom, love, peace, and balance are held in higher regard than acquisition. Acquisition is still there, but it takes a back seat instead of center stage.
The revolutionary in me says that maybe this is the answer to many of our troubles and may explain why the powers-that-be are constantly working to control more. As masters of the current paradigm these people would naturally be obsessed with acquisition & control since these two things are required to be successful in the current paradigm.
The revolutionary in me also tells me to share ideas like this, in the hope that if enough of us see the danger that comes with holding acquisition above all other values, we might choose to hold other values higher ourselves – and demand it of the people we elect to govern our collective affairs.
A higher standard we need – not because it brings us more riches but because it brings us closer to each other, and the things that help us thrive.
I know I tend to read a lot into things so thanks for your patience while I wax poetic. I hope you enjoy the video.
For those looking for the back-story of this axe and why he’s going to give it away watch this video.