Thursday, October 29, 2009

Scandal on the High Seas: Part i, Preface

Even in the course of writing on this blog, or, as has too often been the case, not writing on the blog, a question has haunted my mind. It is a question that is inspired by the servant examples of my dear friends over at "Trying to Live in the Here and Now" and "Not all who Wander are Lost": why conserve? I am a neophyte in this field, and despite having given it some thought, it is not a question I relish attempting to answer, especially publically, at this time. However, the the next few articles I intend to publish deal with a subject which I will call "Nautical Conservation", to which adressing this question is critical.

Nautical Conservation, as I have titled it, concerns the preservation of entire watercraft; a specialized, time consuming, and exprensive process, so expensive, in fact, that it rivals, and sometimes surpasses, the expense of architectural conservation. It is these features that are so problematic: the world is a troubled place, and many who live have real physical needs. It would seem, therefore, that such effort, even if incapable of relieving the world's troubles, should be put forth to lighten them, and allowing that is not crucial be allowed to pass away, even if to be forgotten.

However, perhaps that such trivial things exist enrichen life, and underscore and promote concern for the troubled; to grotesquely misuse Plato's analogy of the Cave, seeing something beautiful in this world inspires the desire to rush back into the cave, and say to those still in the dark, "Come, look, and see that which I have seen." Allowing something to be lost will forever change that which is seen, and although the joy of sight may find an alternative object, that which was can never be fully reclaimed.

This argument is likely full of problems, nor has it even scratched the surface of the case for conservation. However, I hope it will serve to encourage further thought and debate on the subject. The cases I intend to review over the next few entries will furthermore include specific reasons of their particular importance, and given individual attention. As allways, comments and criticisim are welcome.


Proudfoot said...

A very good post. And provocative too. I fully believe conservation to be quite respectable when it comes to the earth, people, and any other items of beauty. Boats included; Soviet architechture, not so much. I will look forward to ii.

Ray Yaegle said...

Sometimes I think "Meh, conservation..." and then someone reminds me that it's basically a nuanced version of archaeology and I'm back on-board (pun intended) again.

Lucy said...

Beauty is Truth; Truth, Beauty? I agree with you that the moral allocation of resources is a challenging question. But remember that Shangri-La, the creation of that visionary James Hilton, is a place of conservation as well as health and peace. And that many groups which have set out to oppress others have begun by taking away beauty.

ALSO, in the grand scheme of things, I think there are a lot of things the world should/could stop doing in order to end poverty/hunger/etc, and NOT stop doing conservation.

Michael Anderson said...

Good work, Michael. I have spent a lot of time thinking over the fact that there is world poverty while at the same time we're saving for our retirement, have multiple computers, two cars, etc. Ultimately, I have no real answer, so I hide my thoughts in shame. I also know, though, that (generally) our passions are a gift from God, and the world is at its best when we are all doing what we love. So, to avoid sounding like a section of Aquinas' Summa, I'll leave you to make your own conclusion.