But I was also reminded of a Paolo Soleri idea which appeared in his journals during the 1960s. It is one of the embossed logos on the letterhead that he and Colly had made to celebrate a then-newly established Cosanti Foundation, the mission and purpose of which was to manage development of his atelier as a 501-C3 educational enterprise.
"Neo-monasticism" as one of the "departments" of Cosanti was not a mandate for abstinence for religion's sake. Abstinence was not expected or required of participants in the workshop program. But it did, referentially (perhaps even reverently), invoke a type of traditional monastic eschewing of worldly goods.
That was because Paolo Soleri was very much *not in favor* of Stuff. *Stuff,* Paolo was convinced, gets in the way of living a meaningful life.
A poetic as well as a practical concern, is that "stuff" thing. At worst, it is a symptom with clout in the DSM. Too much *stuff* gets to look like hoarding fairly quickly. That can earn you a psychiatric diagnosis, along with a shot at appearing on a de-cluttering TV show (if you go in for that sort of thing), as well as having to figure out how to manage your anxiety.
Wordsworth, among other poets, pretty well got it nailed when he said "Getting and Spending, We Lay Waste Our Powers" but it is also evident in statements made by people like Jesus, along the lines of how hard it is for rich folks to get into heaven; how it's easier to thread a camel through the eye of a needle. (How does the 1% deal with a paradox like that, eh?)
But anyway, there I was, thinking about Erin's clever reformulation of how to manage *stuff* at Arcosanti (for info about that, see her Kickstart link at the top of this entry) and now here I am, in the Mountain Valley Rehabilitation Hospital in Prescott Valley, AZ, getting a close range view of an entirely different manifestation of *Stuff* - because I am preoccupied with relearning how to walk after having broken my femur.
How I managed this was: although I thought I was on my way from Arcosanti to the recycling depot in Sedona, I slipped while getting into the pickup truck in which we were going to transport the recyclable stuff. Clambering into a pickup is an innocuous trick I have successfully performed hundreds if not thousands of times prior to last Thursday, when I was not successful.
Failing to perform that trick successfully, I do not recommend. There is nothing pleasant about breaking bones; breaking the largest one is not superior in any way to breaking a small one.
That said, if you do it, may the people around you be as quick on the draw as the gang of Arconauts who managed to engineer my conveyance from beside the truck parked at Arcosanti's recycling 'slab' to a nearby Prescott hospital. Thanks to heaven for them, every one...
What I was starting to say, though, is that the repair job I am getting to observe at close range is a whole other level, completely new-to-me dimension of *stuff* - including the fact that it includes sporting a pound of stainless steel (presumably for the rest of my life) bolted to the broken bone to reinforce it.
Moreover, the array of paraphernalia institutionally employed by the rehab team to abet relearning personal basics like walking, dressing, washing, toileting, etc., is nothing short of astounding. An almost fiendishly efficient and clever velcro-fastening bracing device holds my surgically repaired limb immobile. My wheelchair has an attachment to support that immobilized limb so I don't have to hold up a leg that is two pounds heavier than it was when last I saw it bared.
Moreover, to return to the *stuff* thing: if where I am is typical, it appears that the rehabilitation world is an institutional one based to a major extent on "disposable." Virtually everything the place has available for patient use which can be thrown away (natty blue plastic-y paper "scrubs" that do as clothes, no-slip socks, sample sizes of toothpaste etc.), does get thrown away.
Didn't use your tiny packet of oyster crackers? In the garbage with it. Didn't use the sealed vial of tartar sauce tossed on your tray with your lunch? Trash. Composting? Not that I can see. Recycling bins? Not visible.
What to make of this?
Apart from gratitude that the place exists because I am incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity to recover, I don't know. I can believe, though, that it is offering an extraordinary opportunity to raise my disability consciousness.
I didn't know that I needed so much more consciousness-raising, but just as a friend quipped that he "didn't know recycling was a contact sport" - I didn't know recycling might be a lesson in disability awareness.