Why do we Think in Terms of Power?

Why do we Think in Terms of Power? – Oct. 16, 2019

Why do we think in terms of power
when we seek change
More power
more
power
but isn’t change facilitated
through efficient action
so why then
everywhere I look
do I find the struggle for power
power over a relationship
more powerful products
lawsuits
control
isn’t change
supposed to make things better
eventually easier
I think power should not then be the goal
instead we should seek
efficiency
so that change can be made
more easily
with less work
to overcome
struggle
Because that which is altered
is characterized by how it is changed
control is born from power
solutions are born from efficient action


Note: I was vacuuming in my apartment today. I find cleaning to be an enjoyable, theraputic activity. Especially vacuuming. The loud wirring of the machine drowns out the sounds which would otherwise distract me. I get excited when the vacuum head passes over the carpet- bristles spinning, pummeling the carpet so as to shake free the dust, dirt, sand, and anything else that might be embedded in its fibers and the sound of dense particles strike against the plastic housing before being whisked away into the bag.

Today it made me think back to those infomercials on television. The ones that air late at night and last for half on an hour, sometimes longer. Even the brief ones, with their condensed messages seem to convince the viewer that the newer, more powerful product is best. It’s exactly what you need to change that dirty, grimy carpet into a clean- like new surface. More power. Anything else just isn’t good enough. Everything seemed to be about more power. A more powerful motor. A stronger detergent, or cleaning agent. I always found the use of the word “agent” interesting. In a post Cold War time it carries a certain weight.

So many things in America, I suppose the whole world round, seem to be about achieving more power. Power seemed to be what made gaining control of a situation easier, so that you could change things to your liking with greater ease. That all sounds correct, doesn’t it?

However, as I was in the process of handling a machine I guess my mind was thinking about existence differently. I was thinking about the mechanics of it all. In physics power seems to be simply but one factor. Yes, it is essential to solving a problem, but increasing power often has consequences. So what else can be used to bring about a solution to a physical problem other than a mere increase in force? The efficiency in which that force is applied and therefore how the energy of that force is transfered through the situation.

Isn’t that a better thing to focus on? In society I witness such a focus on power. People seem to create situations simply to bring about a power struggle so that there can be a victor and a loser, with the victor determining how things will be changed. Control is the prize. Power, the sought after tool. Yet the victor/loser dynamic often creates an unstable result. People become defensive. They lose trust or become dense, or brittle in their defeat. Systems (or solutions) which seem to focus on efficiency often result in a better balance of power. There is a more consistent transfer of power between components.

Maybe this is what is meant in Taoism- where there is such reverence seen in water, in a ruler whose hand is unknown, in the willingness to relinquish control, and in the notion that only the grasping hand can lose hold of something.


End Note: These days I think in short, sequential bursts. This might be what explains the style or format (if you can call it that) of my poetry. It might be that I have always thought that way. I’m not sure. The poem above may not even be a poem. It could be a sentence or sentences that carry on too long, eschewing grammar and punctuation. I’m not sure I know what makes something a poem. I think my “poems” are mere how my brain takes notes of its own thoughts. All I know is that I can more quickly make record of a thought in the poetic format you see above, than were I to try and write paragrahs. Those only seem to come later.

An Autumn Thought: Would There be More Pumpkins Without People?

Autumn is just beginning here in New Jersey, and I had this strange thought come to me while I was standing outside my apartment. Would there be more pumpkins in the world if there were less people? I’m sure many of us have seen those programs on television where scientists use digital special effects to show us what the world would look like if people suddenly disappeared. The rate at which nature– all the plants and animals would reclaim the land is astonishing. 

So with that in mind, as I looked out to this squash plant that’s growing I thought, “damn wouldn’t there be a helluva lot of pumpkins!” I mean, have you ever seen how many seeds are produced by a single pumpkin? If you’ve ever carved one then I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of future pumpkins inside each of those oddly shaped orange squash. 

Squash take up a lot of space while they’re growing. The plants can become massive and take over a garden with their sprawling, crawling vines and large leaves. In fact the plant growing outside my apartment seems to get larger every year. Not only that, but it shows up in a different spot each time, too! I’m not sure where it’s going, but it seems like it has a mind to travel.

Anyway, these are my thoughts. I don’t know how they come to me, but they do. Sometimes you think of important things when you’re idle, like grocery items, or remembering to phone a loved one. Not me. Apparently I think of a planet where pumpkins, squashes, and gourds spread out across the land for miles. 

That’s all. Have a pleasant day– and look out for traveling squash!

My Time at the Nursery: An Ongoing Project

After college I worked as a commercial photographer photographing architecture primarily in New York city. If I’m honest, there was not much success, and I suppose I didn’t chase the idea of success with much enthusiasm. I began to feel as though I had lost a personal connection to my craft.  The funny thing is… I hadn’t ever used the camera, or rather the medium of photography with any intention of communicating or investigating anything personal about my life. Yes, I would take personal ideas or concepts and attempt to illustrate them photographically, but it was never what you would call “personal” work.

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Starting this past spring I picked up a job at a local plant nursery, called Mazur Nursery which is still operated by the same family that started it back in 1932. It took quite a while for me to decide to start bringing my camera to work with me. Partly because working at a nursery always keeps you busy. There is always something that needs to be done. Secondly, I did not want to have a distraction while at work, because I believe that if you have a job to do, you should focus and do it as well as you can. However, I came to understand that I was benefiting from this non-photographic job, this manual labor work, and that it was helping me personally to appreciate life and all the small things it can offer (birds singing throughout the day, bugs that were always around, the nursery cats that keep the mice away and lounge around all day, and of course the flowers).

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I realized that what I had was an opportunity to document a personal experience, a small yet important moment in my life, and that the best way to do that was through a medium I understood- Photography.

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