Midweek Sermon: Less is more.

How long, exactly, has it been since we’ve decided that we don’t really give a crap about anything but getting more stuff? But that’s not right is it? I don’t think there was ever an actual decision–not as such. It’s hard to achieve precision in anything so murky as our present predicament, but what is a least finally certain is that it’s all bound together in the same mix, all boiled from the same soup, as it were. Our obsession with greed, with having more (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more) is part and parcel of our belief in Capitalism (with a capital “C”–like Socialism, or Satanism, or Cannibalism, or what-have-you-ism) as the way of things. IT IS BLOODY WELL NOT. It is not a human thing, or a natural thing, or (even–and this is interesting) an economic thing. It is a twisted, (and now) dying thing.

I have slowly come to the conclusion over the last few years that Capitalism should be the enemy of all right thinking fishermen and women out there. It doesn’t matter if you spin or fly, if you only catch-and-release (“by Jove”), or whack em on the head for a living. If the motive is strictly profit, we lose … and the fish lose. And, (here’s the thing) it is always the short term interest, the near sighted investor that presides over the destruction of any “resource”. The fisherman who thinks he could supply the town instead of the neighborhood and ends up fishing himself out of business is just as guilty as the fish supplier who thinks they should supply the international market instead of the city.

There is a word for unchecked growth: cancer.

I know only 5 (maybe 6) human souls actually check this blog … and only 3 of those actually read it … but if we all share the same righteous indignation with another half-dozen, and they do the same. Well, we’d all still be at it for the rest of our lives, but at least we could say we tried. I mean, frankly, at this point there isn’t much hope. We have taken the wrong path. We have chosen poorly. We must push our stone to the top of the hill every … single … day. (And, we could only hope for such a lenient penance.)

So, all you in the business take note (if you read my blog, which you don’t, so never mind): your primary responsibility is to your benefactor … and she is Mother Nature. Never, ever, assume that catching fish is the main goal here. It is not.

What is the goal of golf? To play the game, right? Ok, ok, to win, but that is merely the result of having played the game well. Playing the game is really the main thing, and that is where the majority of the fun and entertainment is, right? If the goal were merely to win golf would only be one round long.

It is the same with fishing. The goal is just to go fishing, to fish. Catching a fish is merely the result of fishing well, and not everyone does that, right? Of course, there are days when someone who can’t actually play golf very well still wins, which is lucky for them and a lot of fun. It’s the same way with fishing.

In fact, I’d argue that on some days catching just one fish is better than losing track … and, if they’re honest, I’d bet a lot of the folks I’ve fished with would say the same. Fishing is not (or should not) be a quantitative experience, but rather, a qualitative one. That’s what bothers us about the countless grip-n-grin “hero” shots on the average fish porn blog. That’s what upsets us when some SOB kills a great fish just for the sake of some obscure record. (Catching The Biggest is, for those “anglers” the ultimate form of having more.)

Turn your back on more. Forget about the biggest or the most. Cherish the one that got away. Remember the slow days that were still great days of fishing. Take those fish porn blogs off your favorites list. Boycott the grip-n-grin mags. Remove those links on your own blogs to the same. Let’s embrace the quiet message, the paradox that less is more, that the first shall be last, that the poor shall inherit the earth, that we must lose our (selfish, greedy) selves to find our selves… and if you get there, can you help me find my way?

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  • Jon Conner

    I was just commenting to my wife, minutes before reading your piece how people have got into the habit of acquisition and continue it long after getting more than they will ever need. I guess it’s a symptom of having more money than you really need,(just another link in the continuum). If people would become passionate about something stimulating and interesting,(i.e. fishing), the earth might have a chance, too bad our favorite sport, shopping, is so easy, any pursuit with so little challenge will never give anyone satisfaction. And so it goes…….

  • natew

    Capitalism used in conjunction with human decency and a respect for the earth is not so terrible. The problem is these two things, RESPECT & DECENCY are are not attributes of the modern entrepreneurial spirit. D.Trump and other dickwads of like have always existed. Now they have prime time television shows.
    I don’t know what the answer is my friend. All we can do is place well cast pebbles hoping their ripples reach far shores. Procure yours in a way that allows you to sleep at night and allows you and yours to live comfortably in these high cost times.
    Humans are greedy and self-serving from birth. Some are educated not to act so at the cost of our planet and others, most are not. This is the greater problem.

  • Reply

    Unfettered capitalism is sure a destructive force. However, if no one worked to make and sell stuff, folks wouldn’t have homes or food or clothes or fly rods. Capitalism is messy and has lots of faults, but it is often times better than the alternative. Some form of more social capitalism might be better, but the profit motive also creates a lot of wonderful things that enrich our lives… they also make lots of things that destroy us… it is the Yin and the Yang. In the end, it is how you live your life that matters. You can be a beautiful person or an ugly person in the same circumstances. That’s my $.02.

    Be well.

  • sensitive soul

    I was just thinking today about how complex this world has become. Driving home this afternoon I thought about how foreign a car would look to someone born centuries ago. How creative and amazing the human mind is, that it could make something so completely unnatural out of things found on this planet.

    I agree that materialism and greed are overwhelming in this society.

    I wonder if your assessment of capitalism is true. I have thought capitalism was more an honest way to trade the product of your mind and body’s work. Where the lines blur is what makes this topic interesting.

    I found a few years back that I need very little in the way of things, and if it weren’t for other people in my life, I would have gotten rid of nearly everything I own. Simplicity is freedom. Life and love, they are complex. Money is ugly. Fish, well they are fish! 🙂 They don’t care about any of that.

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