Sunday, April 13, 2014

Study Natural Law

I have had a regular trucking route from Romeoville, IL, to Appleton, WI for more than two years now, and although I can do the route in my sleep, I try to keep on the lookout for interesting sights along the way.

To the southbound traveler on Interstate 94, just a few miles north of the Illinois/Wisconsin border is a barn with the words "Study Natural Law" posted on its roof. I Googled the phrase and was introduced to the quirky, All-American story of Alfred Lawson, an early proponent of commercial air travel who supposedly invented the word "Airline" and developed his own cult-like following around a self-styled life philosophy, Lawsonomy.

Lawson was born in the United Kingdom in 1869 and moved to the United States before he was four. He played minor league baseball and even tried to start the first racially integrated professional baseball league, the Union Professional League, in 1908, but it folded after a month.

Instead of regurgitating Lawson's history from Wikipedia, here's a link to an informative article about the man and the University of Lawsonomy, which never quite saw fruition on that bit of land near the interstate in Racine, WI.

There is also an official web site dedicated to Lawsonomy which contains many of Lawson's writings, including his utopian novel, "Born Again." The site looks like it  hasn't been updated in a while. The Lawsonomy Students Reunion links to an event that happened in 2002. Check out that link here:

Explore the site and learn all about Zig Zag and Swirl, Equaverpoise, and Penetrability. I find it amazing that he supposedly drew large crowds at speaking engagements in the 1930s expounding this drivel.

An excerpt:

"Thus Zig-Zag-and-Swirl continues without direction or end. The Earth, man and germ alike are pushed, and pulled, and swirled about in Space in countless directions simultaneously and at varying and unthinkable speeds, changing positions each instant by distances of trillions of miles. And this is caused by Penetrability with its conflicting currents of different density moving along the lines of least resistance as an effect of Suction and Pressure of different proportions."

When I first Googled "Study Natural Law," I thought I would get some information about a farmer who supports Darwin's Theory of Evolution or maybe a Thoreau scholar. Instead, I was drawn into the wacky, quintessentially American story of Alfred William Lawson.

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