John Hawkins provides 6 Reasons It’s Always a Mistake to Think of Yourself as a Victim. And they are:
- It stops you from fixing your problems.
- It spurs you to create oppressors.
- It traps you in a cycle of failure.
Well, that's only three. You have to subscribe to his substack to see 4-6, apparently. But, really, do you need more than those three?
Virginia Postrel recycles a USA Today article she wrote in support of her latest book, The Fabric of Civilization. It is (sort of) Thanksgiving-related. It's about the recently-restored replica of the Mayflower, the Mayflower II. Specifically, its sails.
The sails look and feel authentic. But there’s a big difference between the 21st-century versions and the 17th-century originals. The modern fabric is a synthetic that behaves like traditional canvas but keeps its shape and resists sun damage. It will last significantly longer than the linen and hemp used in the Pilgrims’ day, and it took less time to make. Much, much less time.
“We can’t make cloth,” says sailmaker Dayle Tognoni Ward of Traditional Rigging. “That’s where we hold the line.” Exactly duplicating 17th-century cloth would be prohibitively expensive.
The original Mayflower’s sails were probably woven with around 30 threads to the inch in each direction. If, like the replica, they used 3,800 square feet of fabric, they would have taken nearly a million yards of yarn. Before the Industrial Revolution, just spinning that much yarn required about two years of work. That doesn’t include the laborious process of harvesting and preparing the plant fibers. Nor does it include weaving on looms powered entirely by the weavers’ muscles.
Ms. Postrel is as insightful today as she was when she edited Reason magazine (1989-2000):
If, as Arthur C. Clarke famously observed, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, the reverse is also true. Any sufficiently familiar technology is indistinguishable from nature. We no more imagine a world without cloth than one without sunlight or rain. Textiles are just there.
And they are another thing to be Thankful for.