Craft

Goods are necessary to sustain meaningful work.

1) We need the right goods to live right and be able to work well; and 2) we need other people to need the goods we produce, or the work lacks functional tension.

Neither means nor ends are dispensable.

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Since the industrial revolution we’ve treated means as an undesirable nuisance, which through the help of technology we can minimize. Less work was necessary, and that necessary work became worse work.

The dialogical process of making vanished. The circling process that makes work as absorbing as conversation — where the maker listens to and responds to his own work as he works on it — the feedback loop of craft — was snipped and straightened into the linear monotony of the assembly line.

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Knowledge workers work on assembly lines, called processes.

The same philosophy that produced and blessed assembly lines, produces and blesses processes. To this philosophy, efficiency is self-evidently good, numbers are more real than what we see, what we see is more real than what we feel, objectivity is truth, subjectivity distorts truth, ends justify means.

(Actually, this isn’t even a philosophy, it’s just “how things are”. Philosophy is what pretends things can be otherwise.)

Living by this reality, we set a specific, defined goal, then after follow a straight line as directly as possible to that goal. After the goal is defined and the line to the goal is planned out, we stop listening or looking: we execute.

If we hear or see something in the course of execution that suggests a change of course, what we hear is evidence of an error committed, and what we see is a mistake.

But through the eyes of craft, these errors and mistakes are twists and turns of a conversation.

Through the eyes of craft, the correction of a flaw, the improvisation in the face of the unexpected, the discovery of a blind-alley — these are the essence of development.

Through the eyes of craft, these meanderings, tackings, abortive explorations and failed hypotheses are the opposite of regrettable. They’re the pleasure of work.

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Marx was wrong to attribute alienation to not owning the means of production: alienation is loss of craft.

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Possessions and freedom only increase the odds you will be able to do what you were born to do (aka fulfill your destiny).

If you were given possession of the whole world and the freedom to do anything you wished, except for doing what you were born to do, you would feel empty and dead.

If all your possessions were taken away and were forced to do what you were born to do: you’d be happy.

The latter happens when fate thrusts exactly the right catastrophes on a person.

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