Herr Bischoff

Leaf Blowers as an Existential Parable

It’s the time of leaf blowers again.

As if pointless and annoying noise surrounding us wasn’t already abundant enough, countless people begin their struggle of order versus nature like clockwork. Fallen leaves appear to assault the sensibilities of order-loving individuals. The lawn must be freed from unsightly debris.

While exposed to a cacophony of blowing noises today, a thought occurred: this is a perfect parable for the human struggle against nature instead of living with it. Of being out of touch with it — and ourselves. Of attempting to control it and growing hubris. It’s a pointless struggle. A struggle of an idiot who considers itself clever.

Once you’ve gathered the leaves up, more will fall. Instead of leaving them in place, we tried to optimize the process and gave up halfway through. We replaced accepting nature with raking. We replaced raking with noise and pollution. The result is useless labor.

It also occurred to me that for the longest time, these blowers were not in use where I live. They became widespread in use just a couple of years ago. They are a quintessentially US-American invention, it exits for convenience and just because it can. The infectious culture of a country which has perfected consumerism and distilled it down to an art form will eventually permeate anything and everything, unless we consciously decide to question our priorities.

Sometimes I wish I could stop my brain.