Monday, 20 February 2012

At the moment I am reading...

The Craftsman by Richard Sennett. I haven't got very far yet in this book, but there are already a few quotes from this book I can identify with.

Firstly, relating to the perfectionist that I can be:

"The craftsman's desire for quality poses a motivational danger: the obsession with getting things perfectly right may deform the work itself. We are more likely to fail as craftsmen, I argue, due to our inability to organize obsession than because of our lack of ability. The Enlightenment believed that everyone possesses the ability to do good work of some kind, that there is an intelligent craftsman in most of us; that faith still makes sense."

Secondly, I thought these were very relevant quotes for modern material society:

"History has drawn fault lines dividing practice and theory, technique and expression, craftsman and artist, maker and user; modern society suffers from this historical inheritance. But the past life of craft and craftsmen also suggests ways of using tools, organizing bodily movements, thinking about materials that remain alternative, viable proposals about how to conduct life with skill."

"The emotional rewards craftsmanship holds out for attaining skill are twofold: people are anchored in tangible reality, and they can take pride in their work. But society has stood in the way of these rewards in the past and continues to do so today. At different moments in Western history practical activity has been demeaned, divorced from supposedly higher pursuits. Technical skill has been removed from imagination, tangible reality doubted by religion, pride in one's work treated as a luxury. If the craftsman is special because he or she is an engaged human being, still the craftsman's aspirations and trials hold up a mirror to these larger issues past and present."

Finally, I like his definition of a craftsman: someone who is "dedicated to good work for its own sake". 

And I've only got to page 20... More to follow!

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