Friday, November 19, 2010

Lenghty AND brief

The following is not a brief post; however , in a concise, relatively few words it covers volumes.
The author is Troy Cauley, born in Comanche, Texas and a contributor to Who Owns America, sequel to I’ll take My Stand both written in the 1930s. This partial essay of Cauley’s appeared in So Good a Cause in 1993.

"...Technological progress in the past half century has been outstanding in the field of transportation. Let’s illustrate it. When I was a small boy in central Texas we lived about nine miles from the county seat, a town of three or four thousand people. In the fall we took a bale of cotton to town in a wagon. With a load of this sort, the team of horses walked about four miles an hour along the dirt road, thus taking over two hours for the trip.
A short time ago I flew from Texas to California in a 747 jet in about the same length of time. That looks like incredible progress. Let’s examine it more closely.
On the flight to California I saw virtually nothing of the country. From an elevation of 36,000 feet, all we saw were some weather-beaten clouds. Our seats were narrow and jammed together, but I visited with no one. Nobody showed any interest in me. I was in a crowd but it was a very lonely crowd.
On the trip to town with the bale of cotton we visited with fellow travelers along the way. We exchanged hearty greetings with neighbors as they sat on their porches. My brother and I had the whole back-end of the wagon in which to roll, tumble, and wrestle. We saw field-larks in the pastures and heard their cheerful calls. Bob-white quail thundered out of the bushes along the fencerows. Jackrabbits raced off for the cover of the post-oaks. The trip was a big success even before we got to town.
In a sense, of course, all of this is trivial. But in a broader sense, it is highly illustrative of a basic human fact: human nature is better adapted to a simple technology than to a highly complex one. People cannot live in a society of bread and circuses, especially when the bread has little or no nutritional value and the circuses consist mainly of endless hours of television depicting violence, vulgarity, and unclassified stupidity..."


  1. I never did the wagon--born too late for that unfortunately--but I can relate to the slower pace of travel. Never flew in a plane until I was in my late twenties, and, yes, what do you see? Nothing. But there were some very friendly and helpful plane mates in 1968. Times have changed. Life is too complex. I'd go back to the old ways. I really would. I might even be able to give up the computer!!

  2. It is interesting to me, that 2000 years ago there was no modern travel ---but for those who read the Gospels, it never seems that Christ was ever in a hurry. It just reads that way to me.

  3. I have never thought about that, but it's true. Christ walked wherever he went and talked to any and all along the way!!!

  4. Hi

    My first time on your blog - thanks to Ann!!

    Thanks for this post. Although I've made peace with the transformation of the everyday to incorporate hi-tech gadgetry, I still like to think that I take my time to enjoy the views outside my high-speed overground train and enjoy the sounds of birds singing above the traffic of London. Unfortunately I seem to be in a minority - most of my fellow commuters and Londoners prefer to listen to their ipods, talk on their mobile phones, rush around, head down eager to get from a to b in the fastest way possible!

    Take care

  5. Ann sent me here!

    Really thought-provoking post. Now, as someone who's driven across country I can say that it's preferable as you can really see where you're going & experience the gradual changes in the terrain.

  6. Interesting post...I enjoy the simple life. Often times when we travel by car we take the back roads, so much more enjoyable.
    Thanks for visiting me. Happy to meet a new blogger.


  7. Some wise words indeed. Yet, no matter how fast we're flying, I think all that's required is a simple human-ness: a connection with our fellow people. I think that can happen at 35,000 feet as well, even if it's not so simple or easy. :)