farmer, or fisherman?

February 18, 2008


Are you a farmer, or a fisherman*?

I asked myself that one day.  What is the difference?

A farmer creates something of great value, a crop, out of seemingly nothing – small seeds, and dirt.  The crop can feed not only the farmer and his family, but other people and their families as well.  And it can go even further than that – seeds from the farmer’s crop can be given to other people, so that they too can become farmers.

So, a farmer creates things of value, and passes them on to others, while giving back to the earth.  Much like an artist, or a writer.

A fisherman is different.  He takes something that already exists.  He does not have to cultivate and care for it.  He merely takes it.  Now, he may pass on some of the fish to other people.  But, unlike growing a new crop from the seeds, you cannot do this with fish.

A fisherman takes things of value, and may pass them on to others.  But he does not give back to the sea.  Much like a consumer.

So I started writing.

I used to fish, but I am learning how to grow crops.  These words are the seeds, that will grow.  Welcome to my farm.

Are you a farmer, or a fisherman?

(*apologies to any women out there – of all the women I know, all are creators, and pass things on, rather than consumers)


9 Responses to “farmer, or fisherman?”

  1. Wow, Brett. Great point. I’ll be pondering this for a while. 🙂

  2. I am, by default and location, a farmer. Of sorts. I fish as well. I enjoy both – farming for the sun and the rain and the pleasure of working hard with the enjoyment of the harvest… and the fishing, for the excitement and the challenge, and the sometimes lazy days snoozing in the boat.


  3. brettlegree Says:

    Thanks for the comments, guys. I was inspired to write this by a couple of my co-workers who were complaining one day about having to pay taxes for the school system, when they do not have children.

    It made me think about how (on a metaphysical level) I consume information, without creating any in return. So it inspired me to write this, and other words. It also made me think about my role as an actual consumer of goods.

    James – once I clear out that lot at your place, and start farming it, you’ll have more time to fish. Perhaps we can arrange a trade agreement, since I am not good at “real-life” fishing at all…

    There may also be some Quebec liquor involved in the trade agreement 😉

  4. ellen Says:

    I suppose I am both. I like fishing and farming, and I see how they relate to the creative process. You take, and then you give back, in one continuous cycle. Yeah, and I often fail early, and fail often. I keep going. What else is there to do?

  5. brettlegree Says:

    Hi Ellen,

    Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. You are right, you do need to fish (for some variety, it might get a bit boring just growing your own “food” all the time).

    Hmm. What else is there to do? You are right, you have to keep going. The alternative, is to look back in 50 or so years and say, “gee, I wish I had tried and failed.”

    So, we keep going. Thanks again for your words.

  6. Deep, dude. The vegans might say the fisherman is also a murderer. (Totally aware that adds nothing to the conversation, I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I am not, for the record, a vegan. In fact, I just finished off a plate of pancakes with maple syrup, steak, and shrimp.)

    Really, I have nothing intelligent to say, I just know you comment on my blog all the time and I figured I should at least show up and say something. Great concept, though. Worth considering.

  7. brettlegree Says:

    Hi Naomi,

    Actually, your comment is sort of interesting, if you think about it, and very relevant (since the murderer takes in the very worst way, without giving anything back).

    I’m now reminded about an article I read a few days ago which talked about how humans have fished so much, that we are basically fishing down the food chain. We fished all the large fish, then the medium fish, and most of the small fish.

    So, with nothing to control the creatures further down the chain, parts of the ocean are reverting to primordial life forms – jellyfish and so forth.

    So what are we doing now? Harvesting great quantities of jellyfish.

    You & I don’t see it (yet) but vast numbers of jellyfish are going to market in Asia.

    What after that? I think your children, and my children, will be eating plankton and krill when they are adults.

    If the fishermen don’t murder the entire planet first.

    Thanks again for stopping by. BTW, I really enjoy hanging out at “your place” as you might have guessed by the 8 million comments I have left.

    I’m working hard here in the background to change this little free site into something more (remembering back to that post you made about “free” vs “pro”) – not only does the design look a bit “free”, but the features here are not so good.

    No subscribe to comments etc. – but that will all be changing soon.

    I will have much more to say, and I hope that you will feel welcome to return again, from time to time.

    PS – dinner at your house sounds pretty good! Of course, I’m writing this at 4:20 am so it would also make a perfect breakfast for me…

  8. Terry Finley Says:

    Thank you for your kind remarks on my blog.

  9. brettlegree Says:

    Terry – you are welcome – and likewise, thank you for your kind words here. I hope that you will feel free to come back to visit often.

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