No I don’t mean on a bicycle but in real life. Oh sure you’ve heard about separating your rubbish, plastic here, paper there and so on. That’s just the start of it though.
One of the fundamental laws of Physics says that nothing can be destroyed or lost, ever. We can change it, swop it, recycle it, even burn it but nothing is ever gone, just changed.
Nature recycles itself constantly, from seed through plant to compost and then all over again. Same with our resources such as water, heat, energy, even light. We’re not short of water, we still have all the water we had a million years ago. We may be short of clean water because we use it and abuse it before we dump it back into the environment again where nature does its best to clean it up for us by filtering it or evaporating it and letting it rain back onto us.
Humans are a greedy lot, we use our resources without much thought for its survival, when done we mostly just dump it into landfills. Just imagine the look on the faces of anthropologists in the future, rummaging through our rubbish dumps trying to figure how we lived in the 21st century.
Will they even get close to understanding us, I doubt it. An even more important aspect of recycling is knowledge. If we don’t share our knowledge base with others it runs the risk of it disappearing or at least not being available to others who come after us.
We do this by writing it down, taking pictures of it, recording it or immortalising it electronically on disc or a stick. The old passing it down the ages verbally was a proud tradition but lacks accuracy and may be incorrectly interpreted and corrupted through time.
One of the most important methods of recycling our knowledge and skills is by example and this is what is under threat of extinction. Remember when a journeyman would impart his knowledge to an apprentice? This could take 5 years but often an intimate relationship would form and all aspects of the required skills would be implanted and indelibly entrenched into the brain of the youngster, where it could develop and improve and eventually be passed onto the next generation and thus repeat the cycle of recycling.
Yes, you might say, what is the point of all this? Well my concern is that this cycle is broken in the current system. Is there still such a thing as an apprenticeship? Do we still have dedicated journeyman, of all persuasions, to selflessly impart this valuable knowledge into a fertile brain? I don’t mean just the trades as such but all the important knowledge skills carefully honed over time to be made available to those that follow us.
I fear that there is a shift in trust and cooperation to allow this most important asset of humanity, knowledge and experience, to be preserved and carried through to the next generation.
I read about hundreds of crash-courses, promising to make you an instant expert in no time at all, in just about any field imaginable. Gone are the apprenticeships of long-standing. Instant acquisition of all skills is now required, without delay or experience.
This important missing component of passing on knowledge and skills from one human to another is a lost discipline. Much has to do with the one side not wanting to share because of fears of being ousted after doing so and from the other not trusting the information and not prepared to do the time needed to gain real experience in the chosen field.
It is a real pity that a large part of our collective expertise and experience will not be recycled and made available to future generations.