Poverty is the chief scourge of society; and it is a familiar economic fact that where the useful arts are most flourishing poverty is least pressing, so that to abolish poverty it would seem to be only necessary to multiply and extend the arts. And if poverty is to be abolished; if there is ever to be an ideal civilization, the controlling motive of humanity must be changed from selfishness to altruism; and this change can come only through love of work. So long as work shall be regarded as a "curse" the paramount purpose of the individual will be to avoid it, and to compel others to submit to it. Hence the antagonisms that arise at every point of human contact. The sum of these antagonisms is what we call the struggle of life, which is merely the struggle of each to survive at the expense of his fellows, and is therefore barbaric.When a man or woman is involved in a creative project, the intercourse of hand, eye and mind can become so powerfully engaging that she or he steps from the shadow of economic concerns into the light of pure creative power. Charles Ham described a course for the creation of a vastly improved human culture. Imagine what New York City would be like if it were full of craftsmen. Those of us who are craftsmen have the responsibility to explain a few things to those who are hopelessly out of touch. If you like what you read here, don't be afraid to share it with others, or put what you find here to work in your own life and what you share with others will be from the foundation of your own experience.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
from Mind and Hand 1886
Charles H. Ham, Mind and Hand, Harper and Bros. 1886: