As will become readily apparent as I continue to write the Joe Natural’s blog, I do quite a bit of reading. Being possessed of more then my fair share of ADD I find myself reading and/or re-reading 6 books simultaneously (I blame this in part on my Kindle, which clearly enables such behavior). Now I am trying to keep in mind that Nicole has asked me at least say something about Joe Natural’s in my blog and I am going to try my best. But for a minute I would like to digress back to my reading.
I am reading Yvon Chouinard’s (of Patagonia) “Let my People Go Surfing” (the education of a reluctant businessman), a biography on Jack O’neill (of wetsuit fame), Eco Barons (particularly the chapters dealing with Doug Tompkins (of North Face and Esprit fame) and Roxanne Quimby (who started and grew Burt’s Bees).. What strikes me as I read about the various extremely successful people (on my Kindle oddly – that comment will make sense a bit later) is the path they have taken in their lives. The complete and polar opposite of how successful people of today’s era are.
These were people with little or no formal education. Chouinard began as a self taught blacksmith in Maine. Quimby lived in the woods of Maine for over a decade without running water or electricity. Doug Tompkins climbed mountains. Last but certainly not least, Jack O’Neill, tried corporate job after corporate job until he followed his passion for the sea. These were people possessed of a self confidence to pursue the path less traveled. They were true adventurers in the real and physical sense. These were seemingly ordinary people doing what they were doing not for financial gain, but for the pure joy it provided them. These were people of little or no means who subsisted by the dint of their resourcefulness and resiliency. Their lives were lived and continue to be lived on their own terms.
What is strikingly coincidental, well maybe its not coincidental, is that each one of these people in addition to building large, successful business enterprises has, through their efforts and labors communed with nature and in each and every instance they have formed a indomitable bond with our earth and their role in its care. Their efforts to preserve our environment and the quality of our life upon it has become so intertwined with their businesses it is impossible to differentiate what their mission is – business or deep ecology. And with this understanding, one gains clarity that they are not and need not be mutually exclusive.
Today we have Zuckerberg, or Bezos, Sergey and Larry. Certainly successful in monetary terms beyond comprehension, but sadly, their success and that of their ensuing peers seem to be steeped in the caverns of a computer lab. Their mountains, woods and seas are virtual. Their battles are intellectual. Their endeavors…..cerebral.
Now I am not diminishing their accomplishments (heck I do all of this reading on that infernal Kindle – who thought it was a good idea for an OCD – ADD person to be able to download books all day long anyway??). But they are certainly of different stock then their predecessors.. Something important has been lost. Read about the folks I first spoke about and you tell me: Who would you rather be stranded in a remote, forbidden area with – a can-do, resourceful mountain climber or a somewhat physically limited person with an IQ score off the charts??? For me the choice is hands down…
Now I will say, there is actually one person, iconic really, who in my opinion was the bridge between these eras…. Steve Jobs. He talked his talk and walked his walk. He sought out his truths and lived them. He was unique in being of the real world and the electronic world. Possibly the last of the Mohicans. Can one say that??? With all the p/c stuff who knows anymore…
Oh shoot… Nicole nothing about Joe Natural’s… But I have to go back to the farm and start planting our seedlings so we have early tomatoes and cukes and squash and lettuces!!!!! Gotta run……..