Archive for September 4th, 2006

For Labor Day

A fascinating discussion of the…well, I’m looking for a descriptive noun here and not coming up with anything that doesn’t have a condescending note…so let’s just say this is an article about skilled manual labor from The New Atlantis:

A decline in tool use would seem to betoken a shift in our mode of
inhabiting the world: more passive and more dependent. And indeed,
there are fewer occasions for the kind of spiritedness that is called
forth when we take things in hand for ourselves, whether to fix them or
to make them. What ordinary people once made, they buy; and what they
once fixed for themselves, they replace entirely or hire an expert to
repair, whose expert fix often involves installing a pre-made
replacement part.

So perhaps the time is ripe for reconsideration of an ideal that has
fallen out of favor: manual competence, and the stance it entails
toward the built, material world.


(Thanks for the tip to Chris Ryland.)

Maclin Horton

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