Saturday, January 10, 2009

mindfulness of crafted objects

We have become cogs in a machine whirring beyond our consciousness and control, but, what if we wanted to live our lives more fully conscious and awakened to mystery and wonder at the interconnections we have with each other? What would be the nature of the objects that framed that experience? When we picked up a cup to drink, would it be one made through caring investment of human attention, or thoughtlessly and mindlessly cranked out by a machine in a foreign land and delivered through a complex and environmentally destructive mechanism to the local Target Store?

Is consciousness something that just happens to us haphazard and regardless, or are there choices we make that affect the depth and quality of our experience?

In the US, this rule seems to apply to crafts: the less useful the object, the greater its value... as though crafts, like art are to be placed on shelves and on walls and seen but not felt. And yet it is through the touch and use of an object that its full depth becomes known. In today's world, the deep feelings and sensitivities of the craft maker are kept at arms length.

My readers in the US might be interested in visiting the Wharton Esherick Museum where you can find what life was like when all the objects in one's life were made by someone known and those objects were selected for the care and love they express.

If we were interested in a more mindful and qualitative existence that engaged our neighbors and friends in greater creativity and the growth of their human potentials, our choices would be very different from those we've made now.

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