Zen and the Art of Swimming Pool Maintenance

by Pool Builders on 07-25-2007 in Articles

No this is not a book review...

One way to explain philosophy is to see it as a way of life. A simple swimming pool serves very well as an example of the art of and complications in life.

A swimming pool is of no use if you live in a relative cold climate, but offers many features when living in a warm one. A simple pool is not expensive and after the installation which includes filling it with water you are ready to enjoy the pool.

But after the first day of fun, the problems start: maintenance.

Pool maintenance exists of: filtering the water, measuring the chlorine and the ph level, changing these levels, cleaning the residues on the bottom of the pool. If you look at it like this it seems peanuts.

But the hard part lies in the fact that this maintenance is not a one-time-story. It requires continuous dedication.

And this is where things - in life - go often wrong. Dedication, commitment and attention, all things that are not always part of the core business in life.

Economic systems are often explained in terms of balance. The balance of payments, balance between demand and supply... And the equilibrium can be either stable or unstable. A swimming pool is a system that is prone to instability. One day without a filter can destabilize the system and in such a situation you need a lot of work to get it stable - and clean - again. The ph-level can't fluctuate too much because it makes that the chlorine will no longer function, algae will come up and thing go from bad to worse.

Saving you the details, the idea (philosophy) is that instead of a minor dedication on a daily bases you will have to spend hours and hours to get the pool maintained. In the worst case you have to start all over again.

And this is another problem. Society. A pool is not climate friendly. New modern techniques are able to replace the chlorine into salt and dialyze but not for the smaller pools yet. Refilling a pool because you were not able to maintain it, is climate-wise not done either. Nor is spending too much chlorine and other chemicals.

Prevention is the answer to this fragile system. Preventing the pool from getting dirty by entering it as clean as possible and preventing that you end up with a maintenance burden you can't escape resulting in a pool you will no longer use because it is polluted.

That's probably the best link to philosophy. We do not longer use the things around us because they are no longer new. We throw things away, because of our own lack of dedication and commitment.

But life is more than merely consumption, life is also an art. And art comes with dedication to the things you value: Whether it is a simple pool, a motor cycle or something (someone) of your own choice.

© 2007 Hans Bool

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