Alone at Sea, Maintenance is a matter of Life and Death

Why is it important to maintain things? ~ Anirudh

Stewart Brand's Twitter Header Photo

Here's the original article

I guess this is the textual equivalent of scribbling.

Alone at sea, maintenance is a matter of life and death -

Here's a bit inspired by this Article from Stewart Brand, the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog (of Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish) fame. He wrote an essay on the lives of three famous solo circumnavigators - people who set sail all on their own to circle the globe in some of the most trecherous parts of the ocean. There was also a lot of money to be made, so the motivation suffices.

I fail to remember their names, but there were three of them - let's call them the one who won, the one who cheated (and then lost), and the one who was simply having too much fun to win.

It's not everyday (or actually anyday) that you'll encounter another soul at sea with the exact bits your require for your boat, nor do you have the space and safe harbour to be able to make large, expensive changes to it. In the face of this problem, these circumnavigators would ideally take the most maintainable ships, and all the materials they needed to maintain said ship on, on their journey. It turns out that this choice is what separated our circumnavigators.

The one who lied - while a resourceful person, multiple variants of the ship's communication system wouldn't have fixed the broken hull or the torn sail. He lied about how far along he was, and ultimately, died.

The one who won - in every single instance of something breaking, the one who won enjoyed such maintenance as though an excited foodie at a buffer. He regularly did his best to keep the boat in shape, and optimized for it.

The one who was having too much fun to win - this man was more than ready to make incremental changes, but the important thing was that he also liked tinkering with and building. He was simply too in love with the peace of mind and the calmness - alone at sea, maintenance was a matter of a clean slate and routine worry.

What I'm trying to say is that at many points in life, you'll be alone, and more so, you already are! We as humans are in a constant war against overstimulation and the perils of modern day society. In such situations, simple acts of maintenance are the hardest, but also the most necessary. This is why I clean my car every morning, and this is why i clean my desk before i sit down to study or use my laptop. These small acts of preventative maintenance not only brush off the tipping point of you losing it over a dusty screen/windshields, but they also create a fresh work environment as soon as possible. It can make a fundamental difference.

Maintenance is a matter of life and death. Every. Single. Day.

Published on: 2023-04-10
Tags: musings WIP Collections: musings