So interesting. We tend to think of ourselves as more enlightened than those who came before us but this goes to show human wisdom and understanding can be found when you least expect it. And yes, farmers are cool, so close to life.
As well as this providing valuable insight into how ordinary people thought over 200 years ago, this triggered another thought, but not an original one.
Someone found Tomlinson's diary and read it. I have a diary, as well as other pieces I have written over the years They are all in digital form. Will they even exist in 200 years? There are so many more ways to lose digital information than there are ways to lose a physical object such as a book. If they are still in existence at that point in time, will anyone be able to read them? It's a major project, worthy of some articles I've read, just to read digital information from media recorded as recently as 35 years ago. Will it be practical, or even possible, after so many years? This is definitely not an original thought either, many are worried about this. But, other than the Internet Archive, are any groups trying to do anything about this? It would be nice for there to be an archive where documents of any sort could be submitted for archiving. It would be prohibitively expensive to do even close to exhaustively, and who would judge what documents were worthy of inclusion? In 1810, who would have thought that a farmer's diary would be an important document in 200 years, but here we are.
These are deep and challenging questions.
I will tell you my plan, which is something that I don't often share publicly.
I want to write one singular thing, a magnum opus, a novel, that will be my legacy. I want it to get big enough that I know that it will hang around for a while. My book. I'd like to see it on the shelf at a few random, small libraries, while travelling around as an old man. Then I'll be ready to die in peace.
I burn a lot of my journals, but I save a lot too. Same with letters. Basically, I keep the best of the best, and I keep culling. Sometimes I wonder if that's my entire life, just culling this one shoebox of stuff. One day, that too will get thrown on the fire, and then I can let go of everything. But, it's not time yet. And in the meantime - work. Readup. And, later, that novel. Gogogogo!
I'm not the least bit surprised that this gentleman was so woke. He was a reader, writer, and thinker. He kept a journal, and was clearly very mindful about how he was getting informed.
There's too much energy around this idea of the "lowly" farmer. People who work the land -- grow life, make food -- these are elevated individuals.
Based on the farmers that I've known, I must agree with you.