Sunday, January 21, 2018

on the way home

I am on my way home from Rochester, New York to northwest Arkansas through Charlotte, N.C. after an evening presentation and day long box making class with the Rochester Woodworker’s Society.  I was too busy the whole time to remember to take photos. My message is simple. The hands are instruments of mind. Through them the mind explores the universe. For the things further than arms length, we use the hands to develop instruments to solidify our mental reach. The hands are also instruments through which the mind creates that which it conceives and through which we learn to serve others and through which we create beauty.

One might also state with complete accuracy that the mind is the instrument of the hands. As described by author Frank Wilson, the hands and mind co-evolved at the same time an in intimate, inseparable relationship to each other as the system through which we navigate and manage our existence in relation to the world.

There are some particular problems when it comes to our perceptions. Thought gives the impression of itself as being isolated in the head, in the brain, in the mind.That’s the physiology of consciousness. It is an illusion. The hands must recede from the domination of consciousness in order to do their best work at their most efficient level. That level of seamless integration hand and mind allows musicians to perform fingering of the strings on the violin or guitar at a mesmerizing sensitivity and pace. That same seamless integration of hand, eye and mind, can allow a woodworker to cut a precise dovetail or other kind of joint with accuracy that can surprise even himself.

But if we continue to fail to understand the relationship between hand and mind, we’ve failed to grasp our most important educational resources and will have failed to give our children the humanity they deserve.

Members of the RWS asked what the first step must be to restore education as it must become. We must each arrive home to the understanding of the essential relationship of hand and mind. From that point, we will find the way forward.

Make, fix and create.

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