Hammocks were probably the archetype of technology that I thought of when I posted the call for entries… lazy tech and tech for the lazies. They are so simply and yet so wonderful. Just hang a piece of cloth between two things and rest. Nonetheless, they are a sience in themselves and have a rich history. It’s well worth to go through the according Wikipedia article.
Hammocks fit very well into Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction. In this brief essay, she positions the recipient device against the weapon and their importance in our own myth-storytelling. She says, that the recipient device was so much more important than the weapon in terms of cultural development.
The first cultural device was probably a recipient…. Many theorizers feel that the earliest cultural inventions must have been a container to hold gathered products and some kind of sling or net carrier. - Elizabeth Fisher, Women’s Creation (McGraw-Hill, 1975)
This fact is not mirrored in how we tell our own history, which is usually a history of war, fighting and heroes. Which brings me back to why I wanted to have this issue’s particular subject. It’s importance what stories we tell stories with (Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble, 2016). Here are two excerpts that catch the essence of hammocks very well.
“Old Mother.” That is what denizens of the Amazon call their hammocks: As in our first unremembered memories, mae velha enfolds us in comforting arms, besides protecting us from scorpions, mists, and serpents that meander along the ground. The hammock accompanies us like a bed never could through our whole existence. Born in the jungle by the shore of a river, the newborn sleeps his first sleep in the hammock as his grandfather will sleep his last. Then as is our ancient custom, we bury the dead lying down in their own hammock. We are born, we live, we love, we die in the hammock, and then our friends carry us to the boneyard in mae velha to rest up till Judgement Day. - Source: Hammock Variations
There is a rightness in hammocks, rightness with calm and balance. There is a natural melding, needless of any artificial effort. I lay in my hammock, allowing the rightness and harmony to claim my soul. The rolling sound of waves, the chirps of birds, the muted conversations of other vacationers, all combine into a complete existence, and the rightness of being here, the significance of now. This is not escapism, this is acceptance. - Paul Howard Clark, Source: The Rightness of Hammocks
How to build a hammock in 5 Minutes
There are many ways of creating hammocks. I found an easy one on instructables.com. Have a go at it and rest well.
Thoughts in a hammock
Crane, Walter. “Thoughts in a Hammock.” The English Illustrated Magazine. 2 (1884): 82-87. Hathi Trust version of a copy in the Pennsylvania State University Library. Web. 8 January 2021.