Friday, June 30, 2006

Sensory Impoverishment

This October, Jo and I will have been married for a decade. In all those years, we’ve never had a dishwasher: until one came with the house we’ve been renting since February. And to be honest, it was quite nice not to have to do the dishes (although it was Jo who wanted a dishwasher, it was me who washed most of the dishes over all that time).

But today, instead of loading used plates etc. into the dishwasher until it is full, I have washed up after breakfast and lunch by hand. I’m not sure why; but it was only in doing so – feeling the weight of the plates (a wedding present, as it happens) in my hand; the water running from the tap, the (environmentally friendly) detergent bubbles; the cloth – that I realised exactly what I had lost. With the dishwasher – and likewise the washing machine; and so much technology – we lose touch: literally, with the things around us, the artefacts of our lives, the world we live in; and metaphorically, with each other, with ourselves. Today the simple act of washing up was a small act of healing.

(Kester Brewin posted something recently on a similar theme, in regard to the surface-nature of the computer, and the resulting loss of depth.)


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6 comments:

  1. Congrats on the impending anniversary... as for the dishes... I understand what you are saying, but at the same time a phrase keeps banging itself against my frontal lobes... I will get no rest until I let go of it... here it comes... ready... 'Get a life!' ;-)

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  2. Hi Mark!
    I'm quite happy with my life! [Though I'd love to zip about on a scooter, like some people do! ;-) ]And I'm not anti-dishwashers, or anti-technology in general - how could I be? I'm a blogger!

    But [and having done the big, considered important, life] I like living in a way that attends to the small things...
    :-)

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  3. Indeed... and I'm with you on this... and far be it from me to deny the voracity of you healing... ;-) ...but, I have to say that I find the deep theological significance of putting in the dirty dishes, then mystreiously removing them clean and redeemed after but a short act of grace... deeply symbolic of the soteriological narrative... I often put the dishes in and think to myself 'this is just like Jesus descending into hades' and remove them at the end of the 'eco-cycle' with a loud shout of 'Hallelujah, that which was soiled is now made clean!"

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  4. Hmmm...I understand what you are saying, but at the same time a phrase keeps banging itself against my frontal lobes... I will get no rest until I let go of it... here it comes... ready... 'Get a life!' ;-)

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  5. Anonymous12:56 am

    Andrew,
    If you'd like to head back don under I would glady forego the sensory suds extravaganza that is washing my car so that you can indulge your new found fetish:)

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