Blog From my library

Are you a crafts(wo)man?

I’m reading Richard Sennet’s The Craftsman. I’m intrigued by the idea he explores, “The desire to do a job well for its own sake-as a template for living.” It hasn’t been easy reading, very heavy in philosophy with frequent meanderings through personal experience but I’m determined to get into the meatier bits of the book. So far, I’ve especially enjoyed the following passage:

All craftsmanship is founded on skill developed to a high degree. By one commonly used measure, about ten thousand hours of experience are required to produce a master carpenter or musician. Various studies show that as skill progresses, it becomes more problem attuned…whereas people with primitive levels of skill struggle more exclusively on getting things to work. At its higher reaches, technique is no longer a mechanical activity; people can feel fully and think deeply (about) what they are doing once they do it well….

The emotional rewards craftsmanship holds out for attaining skill are twofold: people are anchored in tangible reality, and they can take pride in their work. But society has stood in the way of these rewards in past and continues to do so today. At different moments in Western history practical activity has been demeaned , divorced from supposedly higher pursuits. Technical skill has been removed from imagination, tangible reality doubted by religion, pride in one’s work treated as a luxury. If the craftsman is special because he or she is an engaged human being, still the craftsman’s aspitations anf trials hold up a mirror to these larger issues past and present.

Soon after copying this into my notebook, I came across a status update from Mr. Habib saying:

‘takes 10 000 hours to achieve mastery in a field,based on studies of masters in their field.’ Malcom Gladwell on @radio702′

And this morning while chatting to another friend about something altogether different, we somehow got to a point where my friend said, “It just takes willpower (spread over 10 000 hours) to create an original through craft.”

It’s a freaky set of co-incidences that prove all the world is a text. And the process of meaning of one text is shaped directly, or indirectly, by a number of other diverse texts.

3 replies on “Are you a crafts(wo)man?”

>I have this on my amazon wishlist.

The way you describe it,"very heavy in philosophy with frequent meanderings through personal experience"

reminds me of a book I've read : 'Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'

Which is about a guy travelling across the US with his son talking about how he lost his mind and had a mental breakdown in the past and also talking about his philosophy of quality.

It's a tough read, but very rewarding.

>what a profound way to end a thoughtful post… it is a text, indeed… as life is 🙂

im ever fascinated by your writings lady editor 🙂 ur yet another diverse text for readers to indulge in! 🙂

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