The story went thus:—There were two friends, one of these two friends was money borrower, he had no other work than to borrow and he was feeding on any money that he was borrowing. One day, he borrowed £1 from his friend. After a year his friend who lent him the money, asked him to refund the £1 to him, but the borrower said that he would not pay the £1 and said that he had never paid any debit since he was borrowing money and since he was born. When his friend who lent him the £1 heard so from him, he said nothing, but went back to his house quietly. One day, the lender heard information that there was a debit-collector who was bold enough to collect debits from anybody whatsoever. Then he (lender) went to the debit-collector and told him that somebody owed him £1 since a year, but he refused to pay it back; after the debit-collector heard so, then both of them went to the house of the borrower. When he had showed the house of the borrower to the collector, he went back to his home.
When the debit-collector asked for the £1 which he (borrower) had borrowed from his friend since a year, the debitor (borrower) replied that he never paid any of his debits since he was born, then the debit-collector said that he never failed to collect debits from any debitor since he had begun the work. The collector said furthermore that to collect debits about was his profession and he was living on it. But after the debitor heard so from the collector, he also said that his profession was to owe debits and he was living only on debits. In conclusion, both of them started to fight but, as they were fighting fiercely, a man who was passing that way at that time saw them and he came nearer; he stood behind them looking at them, because he was very interested in this fight and he did not part them. But when these two fellows had fought fiercely for one hour, the debitor who owed the £1 pulled out a jack-knife from his pocket and stabbed himself at the belly, so he fell down and died there. But when the debit-collector saw that the debitor died, he thought within himself that he had never failed to collect any debit from any debitor in this world since he had started the work and he (collector) said that if he could not collect the £1 from him (debitor) in this world, he (collector) would collect it in heaven. So he (collector) also pulled out a jack-knife from his pocket and stabbed himself as well, and he fell down and died there.
As the man who stood by and looking at them was very, very interested in that fight, he said that he wanted to see the end of the fight, so he jumped up and fell down at the same spot and died there as well so as to witness the end of the fight in heaven.
The Palm-Wine Drinkard. Amos Tutuola. Faber & Faber. 2014.
Ele ergue-se e sobre o rosto pálido, beijando-lhe os olhos cerrados, pensou: ela julga pedir e não sabe quanto dá, fugiu para mim do seu isolamento e não pressente o meu. Só agora a via, aquela ao lado de quem estivera sentado toda a tarde, cego; e viu que tinha mãos e dedos compridos e esguios, lindos ombros, um rosto cheio de medo destinal, de cega ânsia infantil e um saber quase receoso dos deliciosos caminhos e artes da ternura.
«Ele e o Outro» («Klein und Wagner»). Hermann Hesse. Guimarães & C.ª Editores. 1979.
Video with footage from the movie “Man with a Movie Camera”, Dziga Vertov (1929).
The Amish, for listeners that don’t know, are a group of religiously bent people, heritage out of Northern Europe, who are seen as being anti-technological but actually are just behind. They’re just later than us. And the canonical vision of the Amish are a community who don’t have electricity, who do things without much technology. But in fact, the story is a little bit more complicated than that. They’re changing all the time. They’re in the process of always evaluating the technologies. And it’s that process that I found most interesting. I was really very, very curious about how the Amish decided what they were going to use and what they weren’t.
And they’re not that much different than most of us, because most of us are at the point where we can’t use all technologies. There’s just too many. So we make decisions. And from the outside, our decisions look kind of crazy, irrational. OK, so I have state-of-the-art internet, but we don’t have TV. It’s like someone said — that doesn’t make any sense. [laughs] No, it doesn’t make any sense. And the Amish will have — they’ll have no cars and no bicycles, but they’ll have skateboards. They don’t have zippers, but they have disposable diapers. You kind of look, and you say, “What’s the strategy? What’s the theory there?”
Well, the theory is, very simply, that unlike most Americans — we’re individualistic, so we decide individually what we’re going to do or not going to do. We’re gonna use email, but we’re not gonna use Facebook. But the Amish are different in this way, in that they decide collectively.
And here’s what the criteria that the Amish use implicitly, to decide whether they’re going to adopt a technology. And the criteria are basically two things. One is, will this technology strengthen my family, increase my family? So the Amish, their ideal is to have every meal with their children until they leave. They want to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day with their children. And then the second one is very similar, which is, does it strengthen the community? How much time does it bring them and keep them in the community? So the reason why they have horses instead of cars is because the horse can only go 15 miles away, so they have to go shopping, go to church, go to visit, all within 15 miles. That forces them to pay attention, to support their local neighborhood, their community. And so when they’re looking at new technology — like, they say, LEDs or whatever — does it help them do that, or does it not? So they’re not rejecting technology. They’re saying: We want technology that serves our purposes.
And the way that they do this is also interesting, is — they don’t think about the technologies. They have Amish early adopters. And these are guys, usually, in any community, who are eager to try new things. And they have to get permission from the bishop. And so the bishop will say, “OK, Ivan, yeah, you can have a cellphone in your truck for work.” And so, for the next year, they watch — his community watches Ivan to see how that affects his family, his community, his work, and if they don’t think that it’s a positive, then he has to give it up. So it’s a community decision.
Kevin Kelly, “On Being with Krista Tippett (podcast)”