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The Impulses

We live in the world of consumerism. We can consume many products and services which were not available to our parents and grandparents. We got much. But we lost something also.

I would like to share with you one story. I found this story in the book The Gutenberg Galaxy by Marshall McLuhan.

It happened in ancient China. A wise man was traveling. He saw an old man who was working in his garden. This old man took water from the well and brought to the garden. And then again and again and again. He did it slowly. A wise man observed it and then said: "You can build a simple mechanism that can help you deliver water to the garden. You should not waste your time and energy." A wise man tried to explain the work of this mechanism. But an old man interrupted him and became red in the face. He was full of anger and said: "My teacher taught me that a person who uses machines in his work works like machine. A person who works like machine grows heart like machine. A person with heart like machine loses his simplicity. The man who has lost his simplicity is unable to hear the impulses of his own soul. It is not that I do not know of such mechanism. I am ashamed to use it."

So what we can learn from this story? This is an ancient story about first simple mechanisms. A Chinese wise man couldn't imagine how much mechanisms and technologies we have now. The story teaches us that there is something more important than technologies. There is something more important than to work fast. You probably disagree with the Chinese old man. But let me share my experience. Let me show you some evidence.

I met with my friends one evening at the café. We were eating, drinking, and talking. A discussion about new mobile devices and programs for phones was started. What kind of programs are helpful or useless? The sharpest dispute was between a guy and a girl. As the last argument a girl grabbed guy's arm and started to shake him in a terrible way saying "You are silly boy. I will teach you to discuss. Don't argue with me!" "Take it easy on my sweater, okay? You can stretch it," said a guy trying to get free. As if mocking him, a girl said "You mean this old sweater? Has your mom knitted it for you? I am sure you fear she will scold you." A guy answered: "Not my mom, but my beloved one knitted it for me." It was simple answer but reaction was not simple. It was a moment of silence after his words. Everyone looked at his old simple grey wool sweater. He was envied by all guys in our company. We all wanted this sweater. All girls were jealous of his sweater. Everyone in our company forgot about mobile phones discussion.

You probably have heard about Chekhov's gun. This dramatic principle means: "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there."

After a few months of the meeting in a café I got a handmade jacket. It was knitted by my close female friend. She was in a café that evening also. A jacket was not perfect. In fact it was bad-looking initially because it was first sweater knitted by my female friend. My mother is skilled in knitting. So I asked mom to repair it a little (but let it be my secret). I am grateful for this gift because this thing is made with the impulse of the soul.

What if this jacket was not handmade but factory-made product? At least it was not the subject of this story. What's more, I am a lawyer. I am accustomed to using evidences. We cannot smell or touch the soul. The impulses of the soul cannot be measured. They are not physical. But you can see and touch my jacket as real evidence of the impulses of the soul.