Friday, July 25, 2008

Joe Barry sent me the following quote from a book he is reading, Mr. Gatling's Terrible Marvel by Julia Keller
...It was still a handcrafted world. There was an artisan quality to the population as well as the economic base: People, like things, were unique and distinctive, created one at a time, knowable as discrete entities. That would change, of course. As the population soared throughout the nineteenth century, and as products increasingly were made on assembly lines in factories, rather than by hand in barns and backyards, people and things became ubiquitous. They could be dealt with only in the aggregate. The land of the second chance would give way to a country of interchangeable parts, interchangeable people.
I happen to live in a small community that could be considered to have "an artisan quality." We have more artists and craftspeople than bankers, lawyers, insurance agents combined. Many of our professionals combine careers in the normal world with avocations in the arts. So what Ms. Keller describes can still be if we exercise our wisdom in the use of our time and resources. If we were to spend less money and time attempting to discover our identities in the acquisition of objects and spent time and money instead in the making of things expressing creativity, care, beauty and love, we would not only transform ourselves as creators rather than consumers, we would transform our society as well.

Mr Gatling (Gadding) is known for his having made guns with his creative energies. What had first been made and patented as a seed planter was re-engineered during the American Civil War to fire bullets and kill. What an interesting relationship we have with technologies: The tale of hammering swords into plowshares and then the reverse.

Someone yesterday told me that in the course of developing our current culture: "Intelligence overwhelmed wisdom, knowledge overwhelmed intelligence, and information overwhelmed knowledge." The journey back to wisdom will require the hands.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:41 AM

    It's good to know that whether we make music, wood items or food, the spirit of working with our hands is still alive.