Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"19th Century Wisdom in a 21st Century World"

Posted by Tony Rollo on June 19, 2010 (from

An essay on the Wise VS Fool

by Tony Rollo

Never in history has the individual been given the ability to fulfill any need or desire with little effort and in many cases, instantly. Our modern life that is full of and reliant on the toys of technology is a wonder of human achievement.

We can have any question answered immediately. We can bathe with instant hot water whenever we want. We can obtain food at any time. With the touch of a switch we can light and power our world. We have the ability to speak to anyone at anytime, anywhere in the world.

Technology is a wonderful thing to have, when it works.

In the classic story of the Swiss Family Robinson, people suddenly found themselves marooned on a desolate island following a storm that defeated the safety of their sailing ship. They were thrust from their modern world of reliance on technology into the wild, natural world due to an unforeseen storm that deprived their arrival to the destination they sought. The family had no other choice but to salvage what they could and set out to survive in the wild.

The marooned family soon discovered just how wild the world is and how precious tools can be. On one journey to safety from the wild, the more scientific brother lost his compass and lamented that they would never find their way. Fortunately, the older brother knew how to read nature and saw the way to safety.

They survived by understanding the natural world that surrounded them. They lived to understand the component in human nature that never realizes how good something is until it is gone.

Life is full of risk already. But when we depend too much on the false security that modern society and technology lulls us into, a simple storm in life will turn to disaster.

In one generation, we have lost the ability for self-reliance. We do not grow anything or can repair what we wear out. We stare at television screens by night and work in cubicles by day. We rely on chemical drugs in order to sleep and cope with the stress imposed by the modern ways we have embraced.

Are we the fool that follows the fool or are we the student of the wise?

No longer do we have the capacity to understand the basics of growing food. This generation depends on what it can buy rather than make. We throw away what many in other parts of the world would consider treasure.

We define our status by the toys we own and the vehicles we drive. Neighbors are no longer our friends but competitors. We make no eye contact or real conversation. We fear not only strangers but also acquaintances.

No longer do we know what something actually costs but what the monthly payments are. We slave at jobs we do not like and live from paycheck to paycheck. We build credit by being in debt rather than building wealth by real worth and value.

We no longer teach our children but give them over to strangers to raise. We are no longer husbands and wives but roommates and "life partners". Then we are shocked to learn our own children have become strangers to us.

We no longer have faith in God or our fellow man. We look to televised "experts" and to governments to give us meaning and order in life. We look for truth in the falsehoods of well spoken politicians and salesmen rather than within our own hearts and minds.

We no longer read but only hear and see what we can tune into. We do not know history and the mistakes of the past. We restrict ourselves to only what fills our own immediate selfishness.

Then comes the inevitable storms of life. We are shocked when reality shows its face. Insurances from the falsehoods of modern society leave us devastated. We become the leading tragic story on news broadcasts. The false promises of hope are dashed upon the rocks of reality.

But this is not the fate for the wise.

The wise have made their own shelters from the storms of life. Those inevitable tragedies are merely a momentary interruption to the prepared. The wise come together and not only survive, but flourish after adversity.

The wise know how to build, grow and learn. They put people first and things last. They recognize reality and the dangers that life can bring. They seek to heal and uplift others.

The wise know their history. They wisely build upon events of the past.

The wise learn from and avoid the repetition of past mistakes. The wise use modern tools, new materials and facilities as an augmentation of past techniques rather than a replacement for proven ways.

The wise plan and construct their lives. They gather and save. They can maintain what they have and repair the worn out. They teach wisdom and skills to their children and nurture them. They are admired and called blessed.

The self-reliant are the wise. They are lovers of wisdom and are self-sustaining. They are the true free people who understand Liberty and responsibility. They know what it is to be truly rich in this world. The wise are producers, not merely consumers.

The wise do not merely survive, but live. They live to share their wisdom, life and faith with others who hunger and thirst for knowledge.

- Tony Rollo 09/09/09

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