Monday, June 29, 2009

surgeon, carpenter, plumber?

This week, Mike Rose's Blog explores the procedures used by a surgeon doing a laparoscopic gallbladder operation and draws comparisons with a plumber or carpenter at work. This blog post is excerpted from his book Mind at Work. His point:
We as a society have developed a popular vocabulary of work that leads us to make easy but substantial distinctions between work of body and brain, of white collar and blue—these days expressed as the new knowledge work versus old-style industry and service work.

While these distinctions surely have meaning in terms of status and income, they may be less definitive than we think and may blind us to commonalities in the way different kinds of work actually get done at the level of immediate, day-to-day practice. We gain, I believe, a richer appreciation of competent performance, a broader sense of it, by observing, for example, the sequencing and pacing of tasks in a range of both blue-collar and white occupational contexts, or the strategic combining of the senses in service of both the tradesperson's and the surgeon's diagnosis.
My own point, with which I believe Mike Rose would agree:
We engage the world and its wonders, sensing and creating primarily through the agency of our hands. We abandon our children to education in boredom and intellectual escapism by failing to engage their hands in learning and making.
We each are diminished intellectually, emotionally and culturally when our hands are left untrained and ill prepared for engagement in physical reality. But there are simple remedies. Cook, plant, sew, make, make music, nurture, care for others through the conscious engagement of the hands.

The photo above shows this morning's process on making tables. I used a dado blade in the table saw to begin shaping the end stretchers for the table tops.

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