Metaphors Lost

Yesterday I passed a flat-bed on Interstate 540. It carried wind mill blade on it’s back, a slow S-curved spine, an eighteen-wheel scoliosis patient. The blade was bound for the commercial wind farms in central Kansas. Perhaps it was a replacement blade or maybe it was destined for a new windmill. Either way, it lay prone, like a skinny beached whale or a misshapen obelisk.

We go to great lengths to harness the wind. We build blades that require industrial cranes and flat-bed trailers for transport. We mount them on the tops of all of those penciline structures in the heartland and pray that the wind does what it’s always done. And the electricity produced gives us the illusion of control.

There was a documentary on genetically engineered food. It spoke of how our produce is altered, how industry crossbreeds corn and tomato DNA with the DNA of a flounder. Flounder’s antifreeze genes provide for a longer growing season, you see. From time to time, the pollen of these mutant flora blow across the kilometers, fertilizing an unsuspecting farmers’ heirloom crops. A Canadian lawyer shared stories of how industry magnates have sued these farmers, have argued “the wind blew my intellectual property into your crops.” And what’s more, the courts have allowed the magnates to recover damages from the organic farmers.

We manipulate the wind, manipulate genetic codes. We direct the wind. We direct our own genetic codes.  And then, when our illusions evaporate within the unknown variables, we create more illusions of control, litigating the effects of the wind.  

In all our attempts, we are undercutting the metaphors of old, undoing a rabbi’s natural instruction.

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

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4 Responses to Metaphors Lost

  1. we once sat in traffic in the middle of nowhere illinois as two blade-laden flatbeds tried to maneuver into a cornfield. they are a strange beauty when put together, but it does seem forced, artificial, and as we watched them dig huge ruts in food-growing soil, it felt wrong. what whisper of the spirit am i working hard to misdirect for my own power today? thanks for these thoughts.

  2. Matt S says:

    Artificial trees, artificial intelligence, artificial everything!

    We have surrounded ourselves with the artificial, and I fear we become what surrounds us.

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