Saturday, 20 February 2010

Shake things up

After hearing yet another story about another cultural practice that is dying off because the younger generations aren't picking it up (for any number of reasons), I got to thinking that it might be time to change things up. If it's important that a particular practice continues to be carried out, then why not open it up to everyone. Advertise for folks to come and learn and give them the opportunity to develop a skill, be employed and be a part of something. Seems to me that a lack of involvement, of things to get involved in, of cooperation and contribution are part of what ails the western world. Take the fishermen on Lake Puravesi in Finland. Ice fishing is part of their culture. There used to be 50 teams of fishermen in the 1950s and today there are just 3 regular teams of 2-3 men. Fishermen have apijas (a-pie-yas) or personal fishing areas on the lake which they know well and will fish according to their acquired knowledge of it. Some places they fish only once a season, some they fish every day. They believe that a good fisherman dreams up the fish the night before he goes out. It's a beautiful way to think of the world. One fisherman is quoted as saying "We are the last" and not in a celebratory manner. For whatever reason(s), their children are not going to carry on this tradition. There are many able bodied people in the world who are looking for something to do and who do not want to be employed in a fluorescently lit box, dreaming one day of a big enough promotion to get a desk near a window. Can there be some sort of networking or internship community which people join to share culture, to find work, to take up and carry on a tradition? Seems like a good idea to me. I don't want to go sit behind a desk for the next 40 years of my life. I'd much rather go learn how to farm organically or build houses or memorize epic poetry. I'd much rather be a part of something and do something than sacrifice my time for a paycheck. It seems there must be a way to change how things are done. Anyone fancy moving to Finland and learning how to ice fish? (If it weren't for the cold, I'd volunteer.)

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