Time is a limited resource. There are just 24 hours in a day. No more, no less. All mammals must consume the basic survival inputs — clean air, fresh water and food, resting and using clothing and shelter. Time must be spent gathering, preparing or producing the food and other inputs, in making them ready for consumption, and in cleaning up afterward. Whatever time is not spent on those activities is available for other things.
If you are not directly involved in making any of those inputs, someone else must do that. In order to compensate them for the time, effort and other resources they spent in the production of inputs and making them ready for your consumption, you must use some of your left over time to create an income — either as physical outputs or their monetary equivalent — to pay for the goods and services they provide. That enables you to compensate them. Otherwise, you are expecting or getting a gift from them.
You’ve heard of discretionary spending. It is buying things after you have taken care of the necessities. The same thing goes for time. Once you’ve utilized your time to take care of providing the basic inputs, you have the opportunity to allocate the balance of it to those other things you want to do most. But the available time is limited. Every hour you spend on anything, you are giving up the possibility of using it for something else. Typically you have a number of alternative ways to spend the next hour. Some are more important than others. Clearly, spending time on the basic necessities comes first. After that, then what? Continue reading “Thinking About How You Spend Your Time”→
Like all mammals, humans have fur. Some of us have more, others less. In addition to our fur we have created clothing to help protect us from the environment or to take advantage of it. Clothes have other functions as well. Like plumage it attracts members of the opposite, or the same, gender. It can be used to attract attention or to hide. Or used as an indication of the group we belong to and of status, rank or position in the hierarchy. The name or number on it can identify the person. It can be an indication of affluence. Clothing can also be part of our kit bag of tools, allowing us to do whatever job we undertake better. Importantly, it is a way to express who we are and our creativity.
Clothing is an art form as well as one of the basic inputs. Like the others it is dependent upon the materials that are available, on our ability manipulate them and the skills of the artisan. As the changes in it over time demonstrate, it also depends the environment, the current technology, the tools and available resources. Like all other art forms it is a product of the culture. And within that culture it depends on the imagination and creativity of the artist and, in this case, of the wearer as well. Whenever we see a piece of clothing or an image of it, a number of questions may come to mind such as: who created it, what is it made of, how does it fit into the environment, etc. In addition to covering us up or not and protecting us from the environment, clothing has many other functions:
It varies depending on environmental conditions.
It helps us stand out in a crowd or to hide.
It identifies us as a member of a team or group and as who we are.
Think of shelters and clothing as art. Some of them are really fine, museum quality art.
At that level each is a masterpiece of achievement. The artist –whomever he or she was –stepped up and used their creative imagination and fine skills to produce a functional and beautiful structure or fine piece of clothing. They accomplished that in spite of the fact that they were constrained by the technology and tools of the time and the materials and resources that they had at hand. Most of the materials were local, some were traded for. Each piece — each fine work of art — came into being as a result of their skill and their creativity using the materials they had available. Furthermore, each artist had a deep understanding and respect for the materials they used. Let’s look at some examples from that perspective.
Having seen them, ideally what would you like to know about each of them? The answer is simple. It would be the information provided for any piece on display at a museum. That includes:
The name of the community and culture it came from and
hopefully, the artist’s name.
Where it came from and
when it was made.
The materials used to make it
the intricacies of its construction and
the creative process — the way in which they got from the available materials to the finished product and
Rumor has it that as a species — Homo sapiens — we originated in Africa and migrated all over the globe. On a daily basis each of us requires some essential inputs like clean air, water, food, clothing, rest and shelter. See Viewing the Body as a Complex Machine. Shelter provides protection from the elements like heat and cold, the wind, rain, etc, and from daily and seasonal variation and their extremes. The nature of the protection required depended upon where we were living and on the materials that were available locally as well as the skills and tools of our ancestors. That is where our creativity as a species came into play. Using the resources that were available locally and their imagination, our ancestors created shelters to protect themselves from the elements. They were all different and beautiful. They included: Cave dwellings, Teepees, Adobes,Sod huts, Thatch houses, Igloos, andLog cabins. Many different structures evolved. Those are just some of them. Aren’t they beautiful, artistic and creative? For a better understanding about what we would like to know about each of these shelters as works of art see Seeing Some Shelters and Clothing as Fine Art and Fine Craft.Continue reading “Shelter”→
Let’s look at the body as a self-regulating machine to see how it functions to maintain body temperature. Its ability to do that is dependent upon the energy and other inputs required. They must be available. When the system is working the body is able to perform the tasks and produce the outputs required of it. As with all other mammals, a primary function – one necessary for survival – is maintaining its body temperature. For humans typically that is 98.6°F. Humans have developed a bodily system that enables it to maintain that temperature. They are able to do that in spite of considerable variation in the temperature in the external environment. Let us define what we will call the ideal external temperature. It is one that requires the body to expend the least amount of effort and energy to maintain its internal temperature. Let’s assume that it is 68°F. Any lower outside temperature requires more energy. As does any higher one to cool the body off. Continue reading “The Internal Adjustment System: A closer look”→