Sunday, August 9, 2015

Rainy days

So, you remember about that rain I was talking bout a few days back?

Well, it rained, and rained and rained more. Then the earth broke next door, half of the outer wall of the property fell to the ground, and a few metal planks flew away from the roof. On the beach, several cars were taken by the sea, some restaurants were destroyed and my leather shoes got wet.

Worst storm in the last 30, maybe 50 years. Thank you car drivers of the last 100 years for making chile a bit more wet.

Good news is: I started the second course on japanese carpentry and same comment. "I never thought/think/knew something so sharp", "I thought the chisel was crap already"... So we talk a bit of the tools and sharpen the first half of the first day. Then lunch and a finger joint. We needed to work inside because of the rain/mud all over.

I was more relaxed this time, the two guys were older and I guess I got more experience and ended up lending them my dozuki the first day and they didn't break anything and were really good at following instructions. Somehow the age difference made them more respectful than last group... There was not much planing since we really didn't have space in the living room for 3 people working at the same time.

Anyway. The problem is the solution, ain't it? A bit of internet search, buyee, youtube videos, lots of talking. I'm learning lots man, I tell ya. About the human, about lives, people, work... about how special is this that we are doing. And I say we because I like Camus and because I see the course as an extension of what's happening with this talks online trying to reinvent the wheel, but a different wheel since we are not in 1800 anymore but in 2020 and nations are starting to crumble, following the collapse of oil and massive drop out off the conveyor belt. Well, maybe we are not there yet but I feel I'm off.

It's like it worked. It's been 4 months since I stopped working for RCPE and I managed to pull a course on japanese carpentry in the end of the world and teach already to 4 people to sharpen their own shit. Two other didn't make it because of the rain but come next week and there is already 5 other people booked for september and november. 800 views on my ad, 20 mails, and 10 people confirmed to take it. By next week I would have taught more clases per capita than dictum in germany. Just think of that for a minute. And note that this is the only place where you also learn to sharpen saws, japanese way. (Also think of this, you have never seen a sharp saw, either western or japanese and you see them and a 30somethings guy shows you how to sharpen them, and there is no big deal about it. Sharpening becomes natural, easy, second nature. They are not poisoned by blogs or forum sayin that it's difficult, impossible or black magic. For them it's just there, in your face, and if the guy next door can do it, there's no reason for me to not to.)

Victor asked me, while we were sharpening an azebiki outside, if I wanted to build japanese or chilean houses. I told him to look in front:

I like this, I said, imagine it well made, with proper joints, solid, durable, beautiful. The same poverty, but properly made. And that's enough.

I can see it almost, in the middle of those forest in the south of Chile, a well made fence, a beautifully planed tabled. A world made by the human and for the human. A sharp and well used saw waiting in a corner to be used. A work of art that's not art actually, cause there's no author and no gallery. A poem written by and for all, but written not in words but in things. The flavours of the evening, the smell of home wherever you are.

We've been sold into, and we have very wilfully bought, a model of development that only increased the inequalities already existing, destroys the world, and fucking kills and tortures people. I mean Pinochet was not a fucking joke and the reason of it was to impose a certain economic, existential, order in a country. I could pretty well fit there, get the job, TV and the big car. I've got the brains and titles for it, I would be even useful. But man that'd be horrible and boring, and I guess that wrong too.  
When I was living in Paris, one day I was listening to Mauricio Redoles, chilean poet and singer, and he says in a song called "ya no tengo" (I don't have anymore) something like "and finally I understood, that my own freedom was never going to be complete, without the freedom of the people." That day I decided to leave in Paris.

Permaculture teaches you that you need to find lever points. Points where the minimum effort yields the most results. I think I found one. Teaching 1000 people to sharpen properly will do so fucking much for them (pardon my french, too much red wine today), more than having internet in every corner or iphones for everyone. Because their world will get better, as simple as that. Once you know you can plane, you plane. And that's all.



  1. The first time that you posted that photo of the hillside, I was struck by the potential of the landscape. I have been numerous places where the housing was similar, and actually live in one right now. Mountain View Hawaii doesn't look very different. That you can see the potential, can see the tiered gardens and unique homes..... Instead of just seeing ramshackle houses and garbage littering the hillside..... That is the spirit and art. It can be done, and is not that hard, but it requires a decision. Do you live as a victim of circumstance, or do you choose to create your own path?

    As you are showing, the beginning is a simple one. Make something beautiful! It is a start, and you will have something that no one else has, no matter how much money they might have.

    I am proud to call you my friend.

  2. Eventually the way people perceive what is valuable will right itself from the inverted form it now takes. Can you call yourself poor if you have the tools? Can you call yourself poor if you have the skill? Can you call yourself poor if you can teach what you know?
    I remember having a conversation with a girl where I said, "You can't run an economy on altruism". So full of shit back then.

    1. I would have told you, "don't you know about linux?"

      There's one very important thing I need to teach to, and it's make them teach other people. The only way of reaching 3000 in my life time is an exponential growth, that means each one teach one.

  3. Oh, got together with the first guy locally interested in hand tool carpentry, a professor of economics at the local university.

    1. And another great irony......

      Working with the old hand-tools should have the greatest appeal for those with the least, because you can do so much with so little. For the most part though, this is the hobby of rich (relatively) old men. I guess you must have food and time for leisure..... Then you can indulge a hobby.

      I have always been notably poor, but that's my own fault. I could work a "normal" job **shudder**, but then I wouldn't have time to learn and do so many fun things. It is a trade off, but that's been my choice. When I hang out with other "poor" people, they are generally sitting around bitching about how unfair their lives are, how much everyone else has..... they have nothing. They often find the resources to buy a big TV, though. Go figure. They see me work and generally say, "Why do you do that so hard?! Get a machine to do it!". I often think that too, haha.

      The people that I find most interesting, are those that have well rounded interests. The laborer who loves to read and studies philosophy, the professor who wants to build and create something tangible, something more than intellectual property. Maybe by showing a bit of what is possible, you are going to get people thinking of what they "can" do, rather than what they "cannot".

      Great work, Sebastian.

    2. Here I also have "rich" people...engineers, new zelanders, professionals. I sent a mail yesterday to a friend of mine who's the mayor of a poor-ish part of santiago. Make free carpentry lessons for the "maestros" of the neighbourhood. I get payed thought.

      There's a quote of Wittgenstein I really love and was looking for for long time. Found the notebook where I wrote it down today:

      Tractatus 3.3421: And this happens as a rule in philosophy: the single thing proves over and over again to be unimportant, but the possibility of every single thing reveals something about the nature of the world.

      Somehow I find it very fitting.

  4. That is a very poignant picture; the landscape looks downtrodden, but with high amounts of potential.

    Those hills remind me of some of the views around the lakes in New York. They are beautiful houses, with custom-made staircases, and boat houses on the individual docks. Perhaps I can take some pictures in the future.

    There is a lot of philosophy in your blogs lately...I would enter my views, but they are more cynical and negative; I do not feel as if I have experienced enough of the world to give a proper opinion.

    Hopefully the rain will stop! Perhaps Jason can host a boat building workshop? I’ll bring my paddle!

    1. The potential is that they make their own shit. So they can change it and make better, make it good. When I see the apartments, made by corporations and designed by someone in china or netherlands, that's no way out.

      The rain stopped, 5 people working the whole morning to clean the mud, then in the afternoon repair the stone wall that fell. Man I'm tired.

  5. Thanks for this post. Makes me feel good, I'm getten' alota enthusiasm. I also like hearing about the power of the rain and the earth; about the real, and about philosophy, running through it all, even through the comments, wow, right-ON brothers! (stamping foot).