Duane

A Farmer Who Manifests the Greatness of Man

22 posts in this topic

Here's a news story that seems to be designed to make an Objectivist's heart glow: Better Cranberry Harvester Invented

It's not just about an invention; it's about a man, one who is not merely creative but is also independent, determined, unapologetically selfish, hard-working, and good humored.

Here's a teaser:

"I always approach just about everything with the idea that there's a better way to do it. You just need to find it," Brockman said. "I started cutting and welding and building. The first three machines didn't work at all."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really like this one:

"I am not a mad scientist. I just make things out of necessity to make my life easier. I always say if you want to find the best way to do something, get a lazy guy to do it. I guess I am lazy."

It reminds me of Heinlein:

"Hard work is not a virtue. Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's a news story that seems to be designed to make an Objectivist's heart glow: Better Cranberry Harvester Invented

And they say you cannot teach an old cranberry new tricks! :wacko:

Great story, Duane. Thanks for posting it. Dan Brockman seems like a great guy.

I would have loved to see a picture of his "ruby slipper" though. Did I miss it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I also just noticed that Mr. Brockman is making a show of a yellow band on his wrist in the picture. Wouldn't that be a Lance Armstrong band?

It would certainly be appropriate if it is.

And notice how the color of his shirt and the band match the colors on the "ruby slipper."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Duane, for posting this. (The story reminds me a little bit of Cyrus McCormick and his reaper, whom I read about when I was a child. In the field of invention, persistence definitely pays off.)

The look on his face says it all: he's obviously delighted with what he's built!

I hope Mr. Brockman makes a fortune on his invention. Perhaps he'll end up inventing machines to harvest other kinds of fruit and vegetables too. In the meantime, I'll look forward to being able to buy cheaper cranberries in the coming years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The look on his face says it all: he's obviously delighted with what he's built!

I hope Mr. Brockman makes a fortune on his invention.  Perhaps he'll end up inventing machines to harvest other kinds of fruit and vegetables too.  In the meantime, I'll look forward to being able to buy cheaper cranberries in the coming years.

Reading this post, the attached article and Jay's comments from above reminds me of when I lived in Maine (My wife was in the Navy and Stationed in Maine in the late 80's). In August of one summer a friend said "easy money" could be earned by picking blueberries for local farmers. I had never picked blueberries before and decided to finish up my summer by picking them for "easy money", HA!

This is very demanding work on the lower back. Blueberry vines grow along the ground and maybe a few inches above. One has to use a hand held rake like tool with a pouch in the back to catch the blueberries. At the end of the first day my whole body was aching. I had thought that I should not have already quit my other summer job, where I had worked as a construction laborer.

I would have been delighted to have had a "lazy" farmer like Mr. Brockman to work for. Hooray for the "lazy" farmer!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"I am not a mad scientist. I just make things out of necessity to make my life easier. I always say if you want to find the best way to do something, get a lazy guy to do it. I guess I am lazy."

It reminds me of Heinlein:

"Hard work is not a virtue. Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things."

That's a great story. But the self-deprecating humor couldn't be further from the truth. We all know that progress is made by the most energetic, mentally active, forward looking men who don't want to waste a minute of their time if they don't have to. It's not a lazy man at all who would spend 6 years and $30,000, rather he's a creative risk taker who probably couldn't sit still or stop creating even if he had the time. And I think hard work is a virtue because it has the value of keeping your mind and body in good working order and provides commensurate reward when successful.

Here is a quote I found recently from a speech by Nelson Mandela (I know, I know) written by Marianne Williamson reminding us that we should not deprecate ourselves and maybe why some do;

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? ... Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. ...And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? ... Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. ...And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Most religious people are caught in this contradiction from above. Also, I have many religious people as clients and the way I find that they brag is jokingly or through their painful situations (sacrifices). A religious person cannot, by his own standards, be proud of himself. How then do they get around this prideful gleam that they have? By regulating it to service, as mentioned above "....Your playing small doesn't serve the world." I find in most that as long as they think they are servicing other people it is okay to be proud. I have heard the quote from above so many times by religious people that I have an automatic response for it not. I first set straight that I am not here primarily to service anyone's life but my own. I am great because "Pride demands moral ambition". Man cannot conquer his goals by being meek and humble, especially to himself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's a great story.  But the self-deprecating humor couldn't be further from the truth.  We all know that progress is made by the most energetic, mentally active, forward looking men who don't want to waste a minute of their time if they don't have to.  It's not a lazy man at all who would spend 6 years and $30,000, rather he's a creative risk taker who probably couldn't sit still or stop creating even if he had the time.  And I think hard work is a virtue because it has the value of keeping your mind and body in good working order and provides commensurate reward when successful.

I agree with what you have said here Sam. That is why I put "lazy" from my earlier post in quotes. There is very little chance of someone getting to the top of their profession, or any where else, by being a stumbling, fumbling, lazy person.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's a great story.  But the self-deprecating humor couldn't be further from the truth....

So true. Just remember that sometimes actions do speak louder than words, especially when all or most of the actions starkly contradict the words.

Look at the man: his confident smile, his fitness, the kind of business he works, and the pride evident in his wearing a (probable) Live Strong wristband and the fact that he dressed to match his invention. Read about his use of extra time to create a new tool for his work, his determination, and his unequivocal claim of selfish ends. Notice that he honored his invention with an endearing feminine name that apparently arises from his values and from its function. This story is simply flooded ( :) ) with all of the signs of a good man.

So he's probably not an Objectivist. He might even hold some funky ideas. No surprise there. But I personally wouldn't choose to focus on that fact for my purposes, which are: to see an example of greatness and to see it succeed. (Hurrah!)

And I think hard work is a virtue because it has the value of keeping your mind and body in good working order and provides commensurate reward when successful.

Hmmm. I'm not so sure that I follow you here. What do you mean by hard work? Do you mean physical labor? If so, why not do exercises instead? The history of human achievement reads like a textbook on how to do more work with less physical effort, especially since the industrial revolution—as evidenced by a certain berry farmer in Wisconsin. :D

In any case, this story is only that: a story. We know nothing more about the man without meeting him. Until then, I personally would treat his oblique sense of humor as insignificant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Man cannot conquer his goals by being meek and humble, especially to himself.

The way you put it reminds me of a phrase from science fiction that I love:

The meek shall inherit the earth.

The rest of us shall go to the stars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I really like this one:

"I am not a mad scientist. I just make things out of necessity to make my life easier. I always say if you want to find the best way to do something, get a lazy guy to do it. I guess I am lazy."

It reminds me of Heinlein:

"Hard work is not a virtue. Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things."

From all the quotes quoted in this post, I am reminded of two as follows :

1. A reasonable man adapts himself to the world, an unreasonable man attempts to adapt the world to himself...so all progress in this world depends upon the unreasonable...:)

2. To paraphrase Larry Wall, the writer of Perl (a computer language) : The three attributes of a good programmer are Laziness, Impatience and Hubris - laziness makes him write programs that he doesn't have to alter much to add changes, impatience makes him write programs that run faster, since he doesn't want to wait to see its results and hubris makes him write programs that are an admiration thing for anybody who reads it later :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We all know that progress is made by the most energetic, mentally active, forward looking men who don't want to waste a minute of their time if they don't have to.

I don't disagree, and I doubt that either the farmer or Heinlein would either. Both of the quotes were really talking about laziness as an unwillingness to do more physical labor than necessary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmmm. I'm not so sure that I follow you here. What do you mean by hard work? Do you mean physical labor? If so, why not do exercises instead? The history of human achievement reads like a textbook on how to do more work with less physical effort, especially since the industrial revolution—as evidenced by a certain berry farmer in Wisconsin.  :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don’t mean hard work as exclusive of achievement, I mean productive hard work. Why not both? And exercise just for the sake of good health is boring to me, unless I’m on the squash court but then it’s more about skill and competition. Not all achievement is made better by a machine and even if it was I would shun some machines to stay physical.

I like to work around my house building rooms, laying floors, building my deck, landscaping. The designing, creating and then physically putting it all together is good for me physically and mentally.

It’s hard physical work to hit a golf ball correctly, though not just physical work and harder still to be a champion. Brain surgery is hard demanding physical work though not just physical work. Do you think the Sistine Chapel would have been better had Michelangelo hired it out or used a photocopier? ;D

Seriously, I love hardware stores and am always looking for the better tool to build with but, I will always be hands on. I like the feeling I get from hard, sweaty, aching productive work and strenuous, skillful, competitive play—it keeps my mind and body as one.

In any case, this story is only that: a story. We know nothing more about the man without meeting him. Until then, I personally would treat his oblique sense of humor as insignificant.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree. I judge a man more by what he does than what he says, especially when there is a contradiction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don’t mean hard work as exclusive of achievement, I mean productive hard work.... I like to work around my house building rooms, laying floors, building my deck, landscaping.  The designing, creating and then physically putting it all together is good for me physically and mentally.

Now I see. I thought that you meant that a man's key productive work should have a physically challenging element. I'm a writer, so that doesn't really work for me. I have to add a daily walk and a trip to the gym (even though I don't really enjoy the gym, either) in order to stay fit. But now I see that you meant, not just one's occupation, but also yard and other house work, strenuous play, etc.

My own extracurricular activities include backpacking, kayaking, and cross-country skiing, while at home I especially enjoy working with stone in the garden.

I like the feeling I get from hard, sweaty, aching productive work and strenuous, skillful, competitive play—it keeps my mind and body as one.

I could not agree more. I especially love that feeling that comes at the end of a day of hard, physical work, that moment when you lie down in your bed, saying "Ahhh" as you pull the covers up over your tired body, closing your eyes, and feeling the tension in your muscles slipping away. One's mind feels so good, too: calm, content, relishing your accomplishments, ready for rest. You can't get that feeling except through sweat and toil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I could not agree more. I especially love that feeling that comes at the end of a day of hard, physical work, that moment when you lie down in your bed, saying "Ahhh" as you pull the covers up over your tired body, closing your eyes, and feeling the tension in your muscles slipping away. One's mind feels so good, too: calm, content, relishing your accomplishments, ready for rest. You can't get that feeling except through sweat and toil.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I find everything feels better after a physically and mentally challenging day. Food tastes better, that hot shower washing away all the dirt and sweat and tention, the massage after the hot shower (well not everytime), simply sitting down is a wonderful feeling. Also as you say, the satisfaction of accomplishment.

But to reiterate, I think working hard at whatever you do even if it is just concentration is virtuous and should be sought, though optional. I think it pushes one to become better or at least stronger so that one can accomplish more, even writing, no?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dirt and sweat and tention,

Spell checker didn't catch this, but I meant "tension" of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think working hard at whatever you do even if it is just concentration is virtuous and should be sought...even writing, no?

Yes, absolutely. I can't imagine approaching my life's work any other way. Come to think of it, I can't imagine approaching any activity any other way, whether it's cooking a meal or cleaning out the garage, writing a personal letter or writing a technical treatise. A really good life, I think—the best kind of life—takes a lot of drive, even if the form of that drive is sometimes just mental concentration.

It is curious that some people have that drive yet don't seem to know where it comes from. Oftentimes I think it comes from having a high sense of self-pride, which operates as a kind of implicit standard on everything a good man does so that it never even crosses his mind to do less than he is capable of doing.

This is not to say that a good man should always be in tension. It is good to do some things for absolutely no utilitarian purpose whatsoever and without even trying to think. But then I suppose I'm talking to the choir here, aren't I, Sam? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't disagree, and I doubt that either the farmer or Heinlein would either. Both of the quotes were really talking about laziness as an unwillingness to do more physical labor than necessary.

I don't know for sure, but I think that the "slipper" inventor was speaking in bromides showing that prerequisite "virtue" of today--humility. I hate to see this and yet I do all the time; people accepting awards, people talking about one or another great achievement giving credit to everybody but themselves or for themselves but for the wrong reasons. That's what struck me in this good story and why I wanted to point out the contradiction.

I don't think "laziness" or an unwillingness to do more physical labor than necessary is the motivating factor at all. I think that what these innovators have in mind is the desire to make work more productive or faster and better not so that they can relax or not work as hard but so that they can accomplish more whatever that might be. His innovation will allow him to do 3 times as much as he could before but I don't think he will work less he'll just produce more and, I bet, be thinking of better and faster improvements on his design.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites