E-letter: Generations

This is Holy Week across Christendom. It is fascinating in a way how a ages-old tradition such as Christianity can be promoted with ideological zealotry, persecuted with fanatic fervor and dismissed as a quaint folkway, all at the same time.

I am not about to start preaching, but factual things fascinate me. Take The Bible, for example. Whether one leans toward The Bible as the word of God, the babblings of the misguided or idle scribblings, it is a simple fact that The Bible stands as one of the oldest of all written communications on earth. It is a further fact that the contents deal with society, history, economics and law.

Kerry Knudsen

Kerry Knudsen

As such, a casual observer would think that everybody would be interested in it, if only for its age, its complexity coming from Bronze-Age nomads and its stories.

Take the story of The Tower and City of Babel, for example. This is in the first book of The Bible, that being Genesis. A quick plot line is that a bunch of people decided to get together and build a giant city with a defining tower. It was to be the engineering marvel of its time. I can’t tell you its time. I am just a storyteller, not a historian. It may have been before or after the pyramids of Egypt or the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. I have no clue. Let’s say 10,000 years.

However, assuming we are looking at this as a myth or folktale, it was decided to upset the building of the tower, and to do this, the people had their language confused. The idea was that if everybody spoke the same language, nothing would be impossible for them.

As noted, I’m not going into reasoning, here. It’s a story. But as a word guy, I find it fascinating that 10,000 years ago somebody wrote a story, and that story recognized the power of unified speech and unified action, and it recognized how confusing speech leads to confused and ineffective action.

Cool, eh? It’s as if a tribe of Bronze Age nomads predicted in advance the effect of Political Correctness on morals and society. You confuse the language; you derail progress. Also, to the degree the language is confused, progress is derailed in a direct ratio.

To bring this idea into the moment, what would happen if you were using a software program for a major installation – let’s say a casino, just to be PC – and suddenly everybody using that program could not tell whether the plans were in metric or imperial units? Modern English or Celtic runes? Or what if all the words were there, but 20 percent of the statements were false?

You can go through the whole book that way. For example, it says in Proverbs that a man that spares the rod spoils the child. (Actually, it says “loves not his child,” but let’s stay current.) Forget about whether you agree or disagree about discipline. The fascinating thing is that 7,000 years ago a human being wrote down a list of wise ideas, among them being that discipline helps children. It’s almost as if there was a teachers’ union at the time that was demanding that children be coddled into emotional incapacity and their parents jailed for frowning, so somebody decided to memorialize it in print so subsequent generations would not fall into the same error.

Anyway, it’s Holy Week. ISIS has declared war against Christians and has blown up 44 Coptic Christians in Egypt. Trump is staring down a heathen despot enamoured of gassing children and his chubby, manic mini-me on the Korean Peninsula. Communication has ground to a full stop, and nobody is making progress.

For myself, I am throwing myself full-bore into an article of faith which holds that rabbits lay muddy-coloured, hard-boiled chicken eggs. Two of my grandchildren will show up on Sunday and dutifully adopt the same article of faith and wander around the property discovering clever places rabbits abandon eggs once they have laid them.

I took a photo last week of the mink across the river. They are there every year, although if you think about it mink don’t live that long. It is subsequent generations.Mink

Each year, in about two weeks, the mink will start moving their pups one at a time from the deadfall 100 meters downstream to the deadfall right across from our place. I don’t see them every year, but when I do it’s a treat.

They move the pups so they can teach them to fish. There is a rock in the river with an eddy behind, and each year the parent mink take the pup mink and teach them there are brown trout in the eddy.

It wasn’t always brown trout. Before the browns it was brook trout and Atlantic salmon, and it wasn’t the same rock, but it was that rock’s predecessors. For the last 10,000 years, the mink have been moving their pups, the trout have been behind the rock and the mink pups have been taught.

This never changes. The trout never learn and the mink never forget.

Thanks for reading these periodic notes over the years. I hope our magazines help in areas of your business you can’t monitor by yourself. And thanks for the many supportive notes and comments. You can’t imagine how good it makes our small group of specialists feel to know their work is recognized. Without question, I am working with the most accomplished group of professionals today that I have ever worked with, and that makes the labour worthwhile.

Have a great remaining Holy Week, and have a happy Easter.

P.S. If you put those eggs in a glass jar 1/3 full of water and shake them, the shells will get pulverized, a bit of water will get under the skin and you can slip the egg-salad part out from the shell with no problem.

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  1. amit gupta says:

    i love reading your writings! you should have considered children’s books.. or anything descriptive and metaphoric

  2. love reading your stuff; I see children’s book or anything requiring beautiful descriptions

  3. Luciana Bordignon says:

    Kerry, I am not impressed with you going on and on and on your religious rhetoric.
    What does that have to do with tile.
    I am a Christian and I find it inappropriate that you use your position to reach and uninterested audience.

    • Kerry Knudsen says:

      Hi, Luciana,

      Thanks for the note. It hits at some of the most important communication issues of our time.

      Many years ago, I was asked to write editorials for the magazines I worked for. At that time, there was huge commercial pressure to publish nothing that certain advertisers would not like. The result in the broader press was to revert to absolute pabulum and the end result has been a sea of magazines that publish nothing but restructured news releases and portraits of advertiser “leads.” This, in my view, has led to the death of magazines as a preferred medium.

      My editorials are not “what I did on my summer vacation,” or why I think such-and-such an article on page 18 is a must-see. I write them more as a “letter home” to our readers – people that sell, design and install occupied-space products across Canada.

      As with any family, not everybody sees, votes, spends or entertains in the same way. Yet our surveys, which we take very seriously, indicate the letters home are very popular.

      Certainly, some people don’t agree with one letter or another. And why not? I don’t, myself. I have been writing these letters for 40 years (GADS!!!) and currently am writing more than five a month for different audiences. Sometimes I wonder, myself, why I don’t just shut up.

      However, society is lacking in credible, identifiable, accountable information. Our magazines are of a dying breed of publishing that actually pays for top writers, and we demand industry-consciousness. We provide original editorial content on labour, safety, economics, design, law, import/export, environment, business and a dozen other areas. Importantly, we respect and support our advertisers by keeping a clear distinction between what is editorial and what is commercial. This is in keeping with the publishing standards we post and follow on our websites.

      In one area, my letters, I talk about what is interesting to me at the time. It is a diversion. If you can imagine you and I having a conversation by the river, we might talk about kids, politics, religion, business, media or just about anything. Therefore, I deliberately avoid focusing on one single sector of our industry. My letters are a break from work. Some find them funny, some find them educational, some find them touching and some find them irritating.

      Naturally, I would like to avoid irritating people. However, that is simply not possible. Let’s say you go to your church and look around. Is everybody there of the same political persuasion as you? I doubt it. Let’s say you are at Thanksgiving dinner. Does the whole family vote, the same, go to the same movies and enjoy the same sports? Again, it’s not likely.

      I have to confess, there are times at family gatherings I would like to tell one individual or another to shut up, but I usually don’t. I can’t say whether it’s because I respect freedom of opinion and freedom of expression, or if it’s because I think it would be poor manners. On the other hand, I sometimes do tell people my opinions are not in agreement, and they seem to feel free to tell me the same. Failing that, Thanksgiving would devolve, as has publishing, into nothing more entertaining than the sounds of people eating mashed potatoes.

      I would be very happy to publish your own thoughts on political correctness, ancient history, religion, politics or mink. It seems to me you have opinions that are different from mine, and I opened the conversation so you are welcome to weigh in.

      In the interim, ISIS is promoting Holy Week in its own way, and I wish them all a swift trip to hell.

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