So you’re standing in the kitchen looking at a tin of baked beans, and you’re thinking: whoop-di-doo, it’s a can of baked beans. Right?
But then you get to thinking about some of the things that needed to happen in order for that can of baked beans to be right there in front of you at that moment:
- the can needed to be designed by someone
- the can needed to be shaped into that shape by a machine
- that machine had to be designed and built by various people
- the best metal to use in the can, and the coating was the result of however many hours of scientific research
- the natural resources to make both can and canning machine had to be mined from the depths of the earth
- the mining machines had to be designed and built by various people
- the metal deposits had to be discovered by someone and sold to a company that could extract it
- the label is made from paper that was milled from a tree that was cut down
- the tools for both cutting down the tree and milling the paper had to be designed and built and operated by various people
- the tree once cut had to be loaded onto a truck which was designed and built by various people, and driven by someone cross country, using gas that was extracted from the earth by a company that was set up to do such a thing by someone who was knowledgeable and rich enough, to employ the right people and buy the right tools which had to be designed and built by various people, and the gas itself had to be driven or shipped or flown by transport designed and built by various people
- the label had to be printed using machines designed and built and operated by varioius people, using dyes sourced from…
- the label was designed by various people based on the marketing research of various other people
- the font used on it was designed by someone
- the picture of the beans was taken by somebody trained in food art, using equipment designed and built based on a process invented by etc…
- the beans inside were grown from seeds planted, tended, and harvested by a farmer using knowledge based on thousands of years’ experience, using equipment that…etc
- same thing with all the other natural ingredients in the can
- all the unnatural ingredients had to be invented and pass muster with the scientific community as fit for human consumption
- somebody invented the exact recipe to be followed to make this particular brand of beans
- the product then needed to be branded and marketed
- the product had to bought by buyers who compared the product with other simlar products for quality and value
- the product had to be transported across the country (or countries) in order to get stocked in various shops, built buy various people, based on plans made by various architects in conjunction with various city planners and community partners, lit by electricity provided by…etc
- the can had to be priced and barcoded and entered into the shop’s inventory system, then stocked on shelves in a particular way as to attract the attention of shoppers
- the can had to be checked out of the store when you buy it, based on a computer system designed and built and maintatined by etc…
- all of the education that any of the people involved in any of these processes above had to be dispensed by teachers who themselves had to go through the education system, using information gleaned from literature that had been written by way of billions of hours of study of researchers past
- all of the correspondance that had to be carried out for any of the above business partnerships to function had to be successfully delivered by the postal/email system which in themselves rely on a myriad of other things that I can’t even be bothered to follow into their rabbitholes at the moment…
- and that’s before we even begin to get into how all of these people manage to communicate in any kind of common language at all..
And that’s just SOME of the things.
There’s an entire bloody universe in that can of beans if you look deeply enough. If you truly consider each thing that you encounter and how it has come to be in your presence (or all the things that have led to YOU having come to be in ITS presence at that point in time) then you will just be mind-blown in awe at how amazingly connected and interdependent everything in the universe is. Something as simple as a can of beans has come to be only because of a huge web of historically and culturally connected individual events and because your brain likes to think linearly you cannot possibly follow all those strands of web back to their origins and extrapolate their future destinations at the same time without it imploding. Your brain can’t do that and still allow you to function on a social level. But that doesn’t change the fact that all those strands in the web are there. It all happened somewhere on the perimeters of your conscious perception of the present moment.
So what do we, as humans do? We think: “Right, can of beans. How boring. What can I do with them to create something better/different?
i.e. we just take for granted how it came to be, in order to think about what it could potentially be, thus extending the web ever outwards. We simplify and “big picture” the entire process in order to take it to the next level, to grow, to evolve, which is great, but by doing that we completely forget to appreciate what already is and has been.
What is the lesson to take from all this?
That there’s practically an entire universe inside EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL THING OR PERSON?
That as we grow ever outwards into greater and greater complexity as individuals and as a society and as a civilization and as a species we lose appreciation of where we came from, feel a disconnection from the source, and that leads to greater boredom, lesser spiritual awareness but greater creativity?
I don’t know. That’s all I’ve got at present. Thoughts?