Kurt Hahn, the visionary German expatriate educator and founder of Outward Bound, once enumerated the seven forces of decline that affect the modern world as follows: the decay of fitness, care, skill, initiative, self-discipline, imagination, and compassion. These all were functions of experience. Knowledge, community, and engagement with nature were threatened by 20th-century pedagogy, technology, and ideology --which, in the name of civilization, shielded or removed us from the true fores of life and the lessons contained therein. Hahn saw this decline as the path to "spiritual death."
There is also a great editorial by Senior editor Tom Jackson. "Something gained by looking back" is about thrift and self-reliance, those qualities upon which lives, communities, and nations are constructed. These are qualities very much alive in the boat building community, and it is through thrift and self-reliance that skill evolves.
Joe Youcha, a boat builder I've mentioned before, has a new blog devoted to "community boat building." The important thing to remember is that the process isn't just building boats, it is building lives and building community. In the words of Otto Salomon, "the value of the child's work isn't in the object made, but in the child."