The first is deciding what topic I want to write about and the second is finding some example that I think most of you will relate to that will help clarify whatever it is I’ve decided to say.
Interestingly, though, the solution to that second problem often highlights something that is just as important as my original point, and sometimes it can be a real eye-opener.
That’s how it went again this week after I decided to do something with a passage I came across in a book about the Australian Aborigines.
It talks about their difficulty understanding western values.
In Mutant Message from Down Under, Marlo Morgan tells about her experiences walking through the Outback with an ancient people who probably have a great deal in common with many traditional African tribes.
She says they don’t understand western business practices because to them a business is not a real thing;
it is just an agreement that can be changed, so they can’t see why the main purpose of business should simply be to stay in business regardless of how that affects the people or products involved.
I write a business column, but that makes a lot of sense to me.
The American author also says the native people of Australia who still exist the traditional way all seem to agree that automobiles are a very convenient way to get from one place to another… but still they do not wish to own them.
The reason for that being they think they are more trouble than they are worth.
The reasoning there is that in order to pay for one, people often become slaves to their jobs, which is something they don’t wish to do and something most members of the western world accept as normal.
Anyway, when I switched on my computer to write about these ideas I thought my fairly restrained lifestyle would allow me to side with the Aborigines and to preach a bit about the evils of getting too attached to our gadgets, machines and electronic toys.
All I needed was an example to help connect the African and Australian native experiences.
The thing is, when the computer turned on, it did so very, very slowly and it resisted doing anything else for a long, long time. It just didn’t want to work.
This was a very big problem for me; I mean, hey, I need my computer.
I use it to write and send my articles to The Voice.
The last thing I needed was a third problem to solve when I hadn’t even solved the second one yet.
But then it hit me, this was the example I needed.
Unfortunately, instead of connecting the two cultures, what it did was connect me directly to the rest of the technology dependent world.
You are reading this so I obviously solved the computer thing, but I have to admit that my bill-paying, electronic lifestyle means I start the week with a lot more than just two problems.