Old Skill and Wisdom

Some of you know I am writing a book about some of my previous experiences and the history that prevailed in the area. I can’t help but be in complete awe of the skill and fortitude of the men that mapped the Pacific Northwest. We easily take for granted the raw practical knowledge of the times. Here one map from the area circa 1901. These contours and elevations are still used today and extremely accurate. On foot. Unbelievable.

Today we have a lot of information, but knowledge is fleeting. How many alive today could produce a map like this? Really quite astonishing when you think about it.

I remember during the same generation that these maps were created, Ernest Shackleton took a lifeboat 800 miles across the Weddell Sea to rescue his men. He had a handful of sunny days and a sextant to measure the horizon and some charts, then crash-landed his boat on the wrong side of South Georgia island. The Weddell Sea is essentially the headwinds of the world and some of the most treacherous waters on the planet —Remarkable use of practical knowledge to say the least.

Mark Twain also is from the same time period, and though not a surveyor or explorer, possessed equally savvy smarts in history and knowledge of the ways of the world. He was every bit as skilled as Shackletons navigation or A.E. Murlin was at topography. He was raised in a time of fierce religious revival, but was smart enough to call BS on religion —and see what was obvious in front of him, instead of listening to salesman with a blank bill of goods and a promise. While reading “Letters from the Earth” it has occurred to me to trust your good senses and if you compare it to some form of practical knowledge, you’ll see it for what it is. Look around you, and don’t be afraid to see things as they really are. Twain didn’t buy into the delusion of faith, and neither am I.


Author: jimoeba

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

23 thoughts on “Old Skill and Wisdom”

  1. Amazingly, people in those times calculated the distance between sun and earth without any scientific instruments with near perfect accuracy.
    Like they say: hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men and weak men create hard times.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Well of course it’s why I keep my amateur radio gear fully charged up. When everything else fails that works. And I’m mostly on VHF/UHF radio – range is about 10-15 miles but realized I was using a repeater that’s 24 miles away from me the other day.

        And prior when I lived on the 4th floor of a building I could hit the W1BOS repeater in Boston from Providence. That’s 50 miles on 5W of RF power.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Yeah – in radio what matters is the gain on the antenna system you’re using and the effective radiated power. And a lot of repeaters are linked into networks so as long as there’s power of some sort they operate over a geographic region of about 200 miles.

            Liked by 2 people

        1. I have a secret weapon for the important stuff. But I’m sworn to secrecy. Yes though, you are right. I had a double comma sitting in the first paragraph of chapter 1 for two months. How do ya miss that? I have two checkers and a proofer now, but things still get missed.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. … whether she likes it or not.

              Aah … Mister Jim, not to cast aspersions on your literary prowess, of which you have oodles, but that approach is just the type of ”bedtime story” to ensure you get treated to folded arms and cold bottom!

              Liked by 2 people

    1. Are you familiar than with the US ex ex and Charles Wilkes? I read a great book a few years ago about that. Can’t recall the name of the book but it may have been just that. Fascinatingly accurate and one of my favorites subjects.


  2. Shackleton wrote: “Life to me is the greatest of all games. The danger lies in treating it as a trivial game, a game to be taken lightly, and a game in which the rules don’t matter much. The rules matter a great deal. The game has to be played fairly or it is no game at all. And even to win the game is not the chief end. The chief end is to win it honorably and splendidly.”

    We’d love to have you join us on our journey through the book of Proverbs!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pen, I am unable to find your blog. Like this one and then I can click your avitar somehow mines not working from
      Comments made. Thanks.


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