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Peasant on the Field

America: somebody is selling something at the corner of a street. A passerby comes and finds out that hammers are the merchandise. What's your price He asks hoping for a deal. $1 a piece, the other answers with a Texas accent. How comes? The passerby is intrigued. It's the same price as in the store. Where have you got them from? From the store, the random salesman says. And is your profit null? The passerby is more and more confused. You don't know, mister, but this is a good thing, the salesman boasts, as I used to be in agriculture before.

The joke was circulating in the US a year ago and perhaps it's still in circulation and its roots are older than a year. It's a sad joke, more so for us as work in agriculture is equated to being poor. It's a line of work where one has to face unpredictable fluctuations on the market and in nature and the person who deals with it has no place to hide in spite of technology tending to protect us against the environment. To put it differently, life is hard and benefit is scarce.

Nevertheless, if many of us get the idea of turning to an agriculture that we can't influence in any way (no, I don't think that we can perform some plowing on the Internet), we all think periodically of how good staying in the country would be for us. I really cannot think of many people who would say no to the idea of keeping their computer on a terrace (if it rains) or of carrying their laptop in a particular meadow (if the weather is fine). I just made my point, didn't I?

My idea is not to analyze how much we would enjoy being in nature or to show that is a real possibility. Of course it is, technically speaking. But the issue is a possible (and probable, to a certain extent) alteration of the population's composition.

As long as we identify agriculture to a bucolic life we cannot but associate the latter to poverty. Certainly, there were a few exceptions among the rich people: those who could afford to maintain two houses. But even then the presence of the rich masters in their country houses occurred more and more rarely. Why was that? Because their business, jobs and relations in towns were more numerous. And today it's the same situation! But our physical presence begins to be unnecessary in towns.

Are we speaking of the future? Maybe. However, statistics would rather point to the present. The majority of rich countries' great cities have stopped their expansion. Some of them, as London, are in a process of diminishing their size. The population of the beautiful central districts is continuously decreasing and the free spaces usually belonged to the poor immigrants or to the retired people who no longer have the means to join the new fashion. The tycoons buy themselves islands and the well-off people buy houses in satellite towns.

The idea of a metropolitan city driven to its last consequences seems to be a failed experiment. It's a too complicated space to be efficiently administrated, it's too labyrinthine to be utterly dominated by any force of order and it's too crowded to be favourable to creativity. Ghettoes can't spring up in villages. The idea of crowd has lead to the overrating of the team, of the extrovert guy. Even now, if you want to get a job and you express clearly that you don't like to wag your tail for everybody, that you are not very talkative and you'd rather communicate in writing, that you have an excellent opinion of yourself and you feel embarrassed to pat on the shoulders with somebody you don't know very well, then you'd be certainly excluded from the interview list.

All these happen without anybody noticing that most part of human creation is the result of the introvert people's efforts (count, please) and that an extrovert character makes you fit for an immense waste of time (speaking out of experience)

Moreover, nobody takes into account that as we're not guilty of the colour of our skin the less guilty are we of our character's orientation be it result of our environment or genetic data. The recipe of success that contains the compulsory gesture of being friends with everybody is by definition a discrimination.

Once more at the turn of the centuries, the human race proves its capacity of self adjustment that made possible its endurance for millions of years. To put it differently, human civilization shows the flexibility that allowed its existence for just a few thousand years. Or maybe it looks that way to me, as I am an incurable optimist, for it gives us the possibility to breathe a fresher air, to cease listening to the hydrophore music at nights and to sit on the grass in front of a screen without reaching the stage of thinking regretfully how we should sell hammers.

Nora Vasilescu

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