Thursday, November 17, 2011

OWS occupy wood shop day 12,250 plus or minus...

I have been occupying my wood shop for over 35 years, and have great admiration for the Occupy Wall Street movement. My occupation is a lot more fun, but maybe no less important. But we seem to be on the same page. At some point, in American education, it was decided that all kids would go to college, none of us would need to work with our hands anymore, children would need not be trained in any form of creative art or craft, and the smartest of our children would go to Wall Street where their lack of training in anything practical would allow them to steer our nation's big corporations untouched by common human values as they lay false claim to our nation's wealth. The rest of us would be lulled to complaisance by a vast array of inexpensive imported goods. It is time to bring us all back in touch.

Thirty five years ago, I felt compelled to do something against the flow. I chose to become a craftsman. Malcolm Gladwell, Richard Sennet and others have claimed that there is a 10,000 hour rule on attaining mastery of something. I'm running at over 10,000 days at this point and still learn something new each day... the perfect opportunity for a lifelong learner. I've been lucky enough to get fairly good at a few things and one of those is making boxes.

So today I am making more boxes. One of these days I'll need to sell a few. That is often the hard part, since so few people anymore have a sense of the value of objects that do not have all the bells and whistles associated with the electronic gizmos that inhabit our lives and command our every attention. While humans once lived with objects that had direct provenance, that were made by members of their own family or tribe, or by their own hands, we now live lives filled with objects that are made with no real human concerns but those of a bonus for the CEO and profit for the investors. Where did it come from? Who cares? Who made it? Again who cares? What happens when we are tired of it or it breaks? It goes to the landfill, no sweat.

Ed Miller, from Alliance for Childhood sent this link showing one of the latest toys for girls. Children will no longer need to play as the toy will do all the playing for them. What can be better than a best friend who takes batteries, always says just the right things to maintain your self-esteem, and comes in bright colors? Funny, it has a brief lag time as it responds to your speech, kind of like the robo-dialer that calls your number in an attempt to connect you with an illegal telemarketer. You answer the phone. It seems no one is there at first. Hang up quickly before the marketer comes on or you'll need to get rude. The speech delay in this toy will help children to be more receptive to robo calls. They'll think their best friend made by Mattel is calling.

I thought about embedding this video for you, but chose a much better one instead.

I urge you to join me in occupying a wood shop of your own. Get in touch with your own creative spirit, and invite others to join you as well. There is something wonderful about being involved in making things of useful beauty and having the capacity to do so.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:17 AM

    Congratulations on a very significant anniversary! I hope to be back in my shop as soon as my toe heals enough to let me stand for long periods.