Peter Vido passed away on Saturday, June 23rd: http://scytheconnection.com/updates/
I described – in a limited word count – the ways in which Peter gathered and shared his knowledge in the foreword to The Big Book of the Scythe. Even then – in the contribution he asked me to pen – he attempted to edit out/tone down my references to him as an expert and his expertise. Everyone with anything invested in the scythe scene, however, knows that despite his determination to be an ongoing student, he certainly deserved the title of ‘expert’. Every new conversation with him made me marvel afresh at the extent of his knowledge about the industry.
The sense of loss of knowledge I felt on learning that Peter had passed was similar to the feeling evoked when I learnt that the Gulf War resulted in the destruction of libraries and museums which housed a wealth of information about cultural developments such as Mathematics. I cannot imagine anyone ever making the investment that would be required to reclaim his knowledge, ever again.
I never met Peter, but spent enough time in conversation to learn that he was both careful and considered as well as humorous, mischievous, and generous – with his time and his resources.
The remarkable thing about his expertise is that it was developed from a love of the tool and a simple determination to share the knowledge and experience of using one – not fiscal considerations, or because he was an academic with an ax(e) to grind or a profile to build. He did run an on-again-off-again business which profited from the sale of the tool, but the amount of time and effort poured into the research and evangelism so grossly outweighed the commercial gains as to make it irrelevant. He asked me if I’d care to join him on an overseas trip promoting the tool, and while I ‘couldn’t possibly see my way clear’ to sink the time, money, and energy into such a project, he and his family did, more than a couple of times. He genuinely believed the tool could make a difference to people’s lives – and perhaps even add some light to an otherwise bleak-looking future – and that was his motivation for the incredible lengths he went to. In that regard, I don’t think I know another man like him.
I know Peter would likely have me flayed for even potentially creating suspicion that he or his family ever sought payment for anything beyond what price they themselves put on a scythe, but I’ll put it out there again: Alexander, Peter’s brother, has a ‘Donate’ button on his website, to raise funds to promote the scythe as appropriate technology in other countries (you can read about their past efforts too). If you feel that’s an appropriate way to pay your respects, or to say ‘thanks’ for the role Peter had in putting the tools in your hands, or the resources at your fingertips, go for it. But don’t tell them I sent you.