By Stephen L. Hall
Some time in the recent past, one of the neighborhood vermin asked me if I was going to plant a garden this year. I informed her no, I really did not have time to plant and take care of a garden this year. Further, it was already late in the season, too late to start any plants from seeds as one should do with their own garden.
However, some street urchins have those puppy-dog eyes with goofy glasses. Further, certain blog administrators, one FreedomReconnection, tells me things like, “Plant those little kiddies a garden.” That particular one is fond of green peppers while her sister is fond of eggplant. They also like cucumbers.
I hate children. I hate eggplant. I hate cucumbers. I do like green peppers.
FreedomReconnection will be pleased to learn that certain neighborhood yard-apes now have a garden, with a number of eggplant plants, and a variety of bell peppers, two different kinds of cucumber, even some tomatoes, Roma, and a couple zucchini.
The patch of land in which said garden now resides used to have a house on it which was torn down. Okay, I was one of the ones who helped tear down that house. In order to level the yard in that lot, we spread out several loads of sand, and it took some time and effort to get grass growing on it decently.
I am not certain how well the garden will do in that location. The sand provides excellent drainage and relatively looser soil than the typical clay based loam common to the region which would be perfect if I was planting a vining plant like grapes, or even blackberries or raspberries. However the sand has very little in the way of nutrients. I will endeavor to supplement the nutrients for the plants as the summer progresses.
Due to getting a late start in the season, I was obligated to purchase already started plants, at a higher cost than I would have otherwise liked. This should, however, assist the plants in getting a better start and firmer rooting.
Did I mention that I am not fond of children?
Anyway, the task undertaken for the better part of this last week has started me thinking about certain concepts of the civilizing impact of social interactions.
I despise social interactions. I make a much better hermit and recluse.
However, it is in these social interaction where we see the seeds of civilization itself. It has been said that the nuclear family is the basic model from which is built the entirety of the structure of society itself, through the development of the extended family, to clanships and finally nation states.
Watching, or rather listening, to a recent youtube.com screed from Stefan Molyneux on his normal anti-coercion as the basis of a civilized civilization thought stream, which always has some salient points mixed with some foolishness, I became resolved that it is not in the devised systems of state which builds civilization, but gardens.
Not gardens per se, but the concepts in such undertakings one does for another. What reward is there in preparing a garden which I will share with family and with neighbors filled with foods that I do not particularly like because others do?
I do not and will not live my life for the benefit of others, but I, and I am certain most others, do take a certain pleasure in seeing other people learn and grow. There is a pleasure in work itself. The benefit of the garden is not in the plants, or the sharing, or in the work, but rather in the total product, the endeavor itself.
The very idea that one can begin, see through, and complete a project, has a satisfaction, and the example set for others, however slight impacts their perception of the world itself. The idea itself of the garden as a project is a motivation to not sit on the couch and play video games all summer. Perhaps one might be inclined to attribute it to the fact that having lost weight recently, I happened to have more energy and needed somewhere to direct it.
Interactions of people are projects, endeavors, and undertakings, and it is upon such endeavors that civilizations are built. It is not the family, but the family is just another undertaking, a lifelong project of the individual. The projects motivate us and moves us forward propelling us through life in hundreds of different ways.
Our projects give us purpose. Purpose is the moving force of humanity. Relationships by and betwixt humanity exist to further our purpose, to accomplish our projects. Emotional bonds grow from shared projects; friends, family, schools, churches, cities, and nations grow as new projects upon projects to aid and assist those with whom we seek to share endeavors.
In a very real and abstract sense, the old saying that life is a journey not a destination really does ring true in the pursuit of all of our little projects. Your project may be as simple as changing the brakes on your car or preparing breakfast, or it can be as complex as building a fortune five hundred company or resolving peace between nations.
It is merely our perception that the projects are abstractly different. On a fundamental level, the project is the reason, the motivation, the impetus of civilization itself. It matters not the type of project, the seriousness of the project, or the scope of the project, but it does matter greatly that you have a project to pursue.
To bring this back to a political and societal focus, what are the Antifa, Feminist, BlackLivesMatter, Planned Parenthood, Moms Demand Action, and Code Pink movements but the projects of leftists to give their lives direction and meaning.
A healthy person engages in projects to motivate themself, but it becomes unhealthy when that project becomes paramount to the person pursuing that project.
My garden is a project, it is not my identity. It represents my efforts, and is my property to dispose of as I please. It instills in me a reason to tend it, a protectiveness to keep others from taking the product of my labours, an understanding of my relationship to the very reality around me.
But if my project were my identity, if so much of me was invested in a project that I considered it more important than myself, then might any criticism or disparagement of my project be a personal attack against me?
The garden reminds me that I am not what I do, or what I seek to accomplish, but if my project were less real, less rational, less objective, might I become lost in that project? I watch the shallowness and vitriol of the leftists pursuing “justice” blindly and unthinkingly and wonder what it is that motivates them with such hatred and extreme passion.
Perhaps it is as simple as they need a hobby, perhaps a garden. I don’t mean to be flippant, though I admit the temptation. What I mean is that these people that I watch lack a perspective on objective reality, are void of the everyday contacts and relationships which are built up between people pursuing mundane endeavors.
Can you imagine the typical SJW going fishing, or taking a boat out for a sail, or building a campfire, or fixing their car, or preparing a meal for their children? To the mind that I see in them, these tasks are grudging, tedious, arduous trials of life, not social interactions. A thousand friends on facebook, but not one that they would ever actually ask to share in a project.
As I say that, I realize that there are those within those groups who must perform the daily drudgery of existence. Those people with whom you have worked who complain about how hard everything is and how much easier life would be if they simply won the lottery. Everything they do seems to be a misery, not a pleasure.
I will enjoy the work of my garden; I will enjoy whatever tasks fall before me in my daily routine and what springs up out of the routine; I will enjoy the projects of life, the journey through life.
The little urchins from down the street have their garden, and I hope they learn the value of having a project, of working towards a goal even if they only watch and ask me about it from time to time. Vanessa will have her eggplant and Marissa will have her bell peppers, and others will share in produce I could not care less about.
The street urchins have won this round, they got their garden.
I have often said that there is one thing, and only one thing, necessary in life. That is, to make it to the end.