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Neizvestnaya's avatar

Do you ever have moments of fear for when most of the people with "folk knowledge" die off and simple living things will fall from our conscious?

Asked by Neizvestnaya (22642points) July 15th, 2010

I’ve been doing laundry today and reading labels which I rarely bother with. It occured to me if I hadn’t had stories and/or experience then I’d never attempt to put down pillows into a wash machine, hang them in the sun to dry and then beat the hell out of them after to separate and plump the down again. The tag says to dry clean.

I know most of us haven’t ever cooked on a wood burning stove/oven, had to pump and decant water or store foods without refrigeration but what would we do without Home Depot and Cost Co?

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10 Answers

Likeradar's avatar

No, not at all.
The important things will continue to get passed down, and the bits of knowledge that are no longer useful won’t. Why is it a problem that most up us would have no idea how to store foods? I assure you, we’d figure it out if necessary. But it’s not, so we don’t bother passing that info down.

Kayak8's avatar

As a person with an abiding interest in folklore, and losing this knowledge is one of my greatest fears to tell you the truth. I am aware of a lot of “country knowledge” but not so much with city stuff. I can cook on a wood stove or open fire (better than on a gas or electric stove), I can cook bacon and eggs in a paper sack. I can hitch up a team of at least two horses and drive a wagon. I can drive a tractor and manipulate it to do useful things. I can back up a double tongue trailer and can hookup the PTO to an auger. I have the knowledge to build a log cabin but probably couldn’t do it by myself anymore. I know a number of folk medical treatments that always seem to work when pressed into service. I can use a wringer washer, etc.

I am always seeking out people who know things and getting them to teach me. I try to teach what I know to interested others. Some of this stuff shouldn’t die with the people who know the information.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Kayak8
Wow! I can a lot of those things too and was feeling wistful this morning to call my grama and thank her for her yearly repetitions of lessons and stories I used to think she repeated because she was “old”. :)

marinelife's avatar

No. I think that now that we have the Internet, all sorts of knowledge will be at hand much more easily.

tinyfaery's avatar

Why waste brain space with stuff you can look up on the internet in minutes? J/K, sorta.
We will never lose this knowledge entirely. So much is passed along in families. I can make tamales. Yes, I can look-up how to make them, but I will do it the way I was taught. Same thing really.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I was thinking in terms of how I would run my household if the internet wasn’t available anymore and I was rationed on basics such as electricity, plumbing, stuff like that and I got a little panicky knowing there are things I did know and have forgotten that could be useful.

llewis's avatar

Yes, things that are useful now (how to drive, how to use a computer, etc) could at some point become meaningless blather, while other things (how to grow food, how to care for farm animals, how to build a house, how to make a shirt or shoes or soap or…) could become life-or-death knowledge. We always assume life will go on the way it always has (at least as long as we can remember), but that’s not necessarily true.

I wouldn’t be self-sufficient if we lost electricity for more than a few days. Our well runs on electricity, our food is stored with electricity. We have gas for cooking, but without water we’d be in trouble. I garden, but I’m not good at it – I couldn’t feed us. I have no idea even how to raise chickens or goats.

Yes, losing that know-how is something that would be a real problem. I’m glad to know there are people like Kayak8 out there! How about coming over to my house for a visit sometime? :)

Coloma's avatar

I have done all of those things. My first home in the mountains back in the early 90’s was a Dutch Barn with woodheat only and no oven or range. It was on an agricultural permit and I cooked for two years with a crockpot, buffet range and bbq.

Really not a hardship except I missed baking cookies. lol

I have raised chickens, grew huge summer gardens, and while my homesteader fantasies have run their course, I still enjoy relatively simple living in a country environment but I am older now and can afford more luxuries. lol

Still I am an earthy type at heart and think that simple living is of great benefit to all.

I have cookbooks with 150 year old family recipes, remember and know a lot of home remedies and folksy trivia, grow my own tomatos in the summer. We can all be balanced between the old and the new, it’s easy!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

There have been times in history when a civilization collapsed and the infrastructure failed. Massive amounts of knowledge from that society were lost and still have not been recreated.

Despite the distributed nature of the Internet, if major environmental or geological events cast us back to an aged before electricity, modern sewage treatment, modern medical technology or so on like what happened in New Orleans after Katrina, but on a global scale, how will our knowledge be preserved and passed on?

When people pour out of cities that can no longer support them into the countryside, what will they know about day to day living. How will they preserve all the accumulated knowledge. Who will preserve our archives of knowledge so if and when we recover, our descendants will be able to access all we knew?

Kayak8's avatar

@llewis On my way . . . . could take a while on a tractor (or horse-drawn wagon) though . . .

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