Wednesday, January 16, 2008

value judgements...

I went to dinner with my friend tonight and had a rather long and interesting conversation. The thing that made it so interested was that the comments he made made me question what it was that I believed and what held value to me. The following comment will seem to some to be typical of the "liberal elite", but was uttered by a boy from central Texas who grew up where "ranching" was common:
The women's liberation movement made women more interesting because they could be more educated.
I, rightly or wrongly, took offense at the statement and pointed out that he had made quite a value judgement in that statement (multiple judgements actually).

I pointed out that plenty of non-educated people were very interesting and went on a rant from that point. I explained that my friend Alex's blog is often full of amazingly interesting things done by people who have knowledge I will never have...when to harvest, how to make maple syrup, where to hunt and what trees are good for what. I pointed out that, while the dinner we were having at the Olive Garden seemed, at first, to be opulent, it could never compare with the wild mushroom ravioli my Italian brother had made for us when I was in Italy. He and his father had gathered mushrooms from the forest outside Bologna to make it and, were it not for their knowledge, I would never have the benefit of such amazing flavors.

It pulled into focus (again) the dilemma that constantly faces me. Is the variation of food I can have in a single sitting at a Souplantation worth the trade off of not having fresh, ecologically friendly food from a local vendor? Is having an "education" worth losing all the knowledge of generations before? (My grandpa could tie knots and I can write a paper about Somalian War Lords in a sitting...who has more "knowledge"?)

But what about WalMart, he could I be against WalMart when so many American's benefit from its low prices. Touche! He has a point...aren't I being just as pretentious to think that the majority of Americans can afford to live as I try? Organics are expensive. Farmers markets are time consuming. Can the average american afford the time or money, while raising a family, to live the life that I was trying to? I doubt it. So, it seems, changes must be made...but what? And that, friends, is the question I ponder. And, when I discover an answer, the world should be waiting, because I wont be able to sit on it, but will be a harbinger of a new era...or, at least, will have to try.

In all, I think I came to the conclusion that, while unabashed love for all that is modern and a belief that college educated working class Americans are the pinacle of value is a view of the world I cannot take, there


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