... above all, political discussion is stunned by a delusion about science. This term has come to mean an institutional enterprise rather than a personal activity, the solving of puzzles rather than the unpredictably creative activity of individual people. Science is now used to label a spectral production agency which turns out better knowledge just as medicine produces better health. The damage done by this misunderstanding about the nature of knowledge is even more fundamental than the damage done to the conceptions of health, education, or mobility by their identification with institutional outputs. False expectations of better health corrupt society, but they do so in only one particular sense. They foster a declining concern with healthful environments, healthy life styles, and competence in the personal care of one's neighbor. Deceptions about health are circumstantial. The institutionalization of knowledge leads to a more general and degrading delusion. It makes people dependent on having their knowledge produced for them. It leads to a paralysis of the moral and political imagination.When education is no longer hands-on, students have little to grasp. When the hands-on exploration of materials through crafts, and further extensions of hands-on learning through scientific experimentation are removed from schooling, we construct a disconnect between the layman and the scientist, allowing political forces to manipulate public opinion to conform to evil machinations. Very sadly, what we see in the political community these days is the result of an educational intent expressed in the design of our institutions: Use schooling to shape students to become blind consumers who can be manipulated to do as told by a ruling class that cares little or nothing for the planet nor for the health of its creatures.
Ivan Illich, despite being a self-avowed socialist had a pretty clear view of what has been happening in America and world culture in the post Reagan anti-intellectual political climate. What he did not suggest was a craftsman's understanding of the role that the hands can play in putting society back on the right path. Make, fix, create, heal and grow.
In the photo at left, you can see the walnut pegs for the Greene and Greene styled cabinets as they are turning black from the ebonizing solution. The are cut to length, sanded, and ready for installation in the doors of the finished cabinets.