Wood and plastic

Consider wood and plastic.  Certainly plastic is here to stay, and it contributes immensely to the ease of our lives.  But in the majority of instances, something made of plastic lacks the attraction it would have if made of wood.  Organic, as we are, wood is something we know and trust and relate to with respect and admiration.  Plastic is dead, shiny but lifeless, cold, brittle.  Wood is the real thing, plastic a mere imitation.

So much of our world has become plastic, and the metaphor extends to the field of commerce where we have morphed organic realities into their plastic counterparts.  Investments with no real value, expectations with no foundation in experience, bailouts of the market economy by the government – which is supposedly outside the marketplace – suggesting that the market economy can’t adequately take care of our needs anymore. 

We have a hard time relating to all this plastic;  it’s just not in our nature.  We also have limited creative abilities, and limited courage, and can’t imagine how we could combat this well-entrenched plastic inundation.  My suggestion today is to consider the contrasts between wood and plastic, and henceforth, choose wood as much as possible.

Seek the human, the organic, the flexible, the choice that moves and lives.  Reject the lifeless, the contrived, the other choice that is cheap and easy but inhuman.  There’s a time and place for plastic, certainly, but we have overdone it and now need to restore our connection to authenticity.

The dictionary meanings of ‘authenticity’ begin with synonyms such as ‘authoritative’ and ‘trustworthy.’  It’s akin to a Greek word meaning ‘to accomplish,’ and a Sanskrit word that means ‘he gains.’  The definitions like ‘genuine’ and ‘bona fide’ come later in the dictionary entry.  So authentic first means reliable, and secondly it means real.  Interesting distinction. 

Shall we focus on authenticity for a while, and let the artificial lie?  Shall we align with our humanity and put aside cheap imitations, so that we can again locate sure footing?  More government loans and shifing tactics announced in today’s news suggest that few are ready to tighten their belts, prefering to go along with smoke and mirrors.  But for you and me, dear readers, the lure of authenticity looms large these days, and I believe we’ll do well at this point to seek the wooden alternative.

3 comments so far

  1. Steve Rosenbaum on

    Two of the advantages among many that plastic has over wood is weight and strength. Take weight. Think of all the fossil fuels that need to be burned to ship wood versus plastic. Not so good for the environment.

    Would you want these products make of wood? Cell phones, computers, cars

  2. maryhruth on

    Thanks for your response, Steve.

    I mean the wood/plastic reference to be metaphorical, not literal. The idea is that we will benefit from seeking the authentic, and being wary of those efforts that are founded on artificiality.

  3. dwanderingmind on

    well, one good thing about using organic materials is solid waste management – third world countries like us are swimming in the waste of non-biodegradable plastics (yes, we’re still using non-biodegradable plastics – we’re third world) clogging up alleys and washing up our shores. ghastly and unsightly.

    but i guess the greater problem lies in the lack of authenticity within the halls of our government.

    forgive the short rant. you used a metaphor that was too good to pass up.. =p

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