history as evidence, inspiration and guide (ww II)

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Charles McFarlane, a Junior at the Rudolf Steiner school, is an avid scholar of 20th Century American social and military history. He recently sent us images he’s collected from his research that he thought would resonate with ‘the improvised life’. In an email he wrote:

“Necessity is often the mother of invention. This is no more apparent than in the situation of war. War is often said to be 90% boredom and 10% sheer terror. During the long stretches of boredom soldiers have often tried to improve their situations, to make their lives more bearable.

…In my study of historical photographs I am constantly on the look out for the odd and strange things in history that make you think “what was that person’s train of thought?” I think you can see that in the photos I sent you.”

Charles’ practice of imagining a person’s train of thought when they’re improvising is a great way to open your brain to possibilities, to mentally practice improvising. We are inspired by his images:

…a makeshift radio transmission station

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…a guitar made from a wooden box…
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…pin-up girl wallpaper…

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…makeshift shelter…(we are struck by the many improvised “homes”, including the one made out of a barrel, at top)

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…the simplest of beds

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Charles, who partakes in rigorously researched World War II reenactments, wrote this article about ways to duplicate foods soldiers would have scrounged at the time.

Charles’ source was an extensive collection of Life Magazine images available through Google.

Thanks a million Charles!

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