A Technique can be written down and replicated from directions, a Craft cannot.

A Technique can be written down and replicated from directions, a Craft cannot.

Unless we can learn to appreciate the difference we continue to do damage to ourselves and destroying our world.

Technique is limited and destructive because it sets something in motion according to a plan and puts power behind it to force some particular change on what is around it. There is a series of intentions and “corrections” applied to the process. These are supposed to refine the intention and direct the outcome, but they much more often create cascades of unintended consequences and a state of confusion that leads us to apply even more powerful techniques in ever-broader domains to supposedly clean up the mess! This cannot work, It does not work. It is the result of a delusional state proliferating outward as it applies more and more effort for a worsening series of results.

Craft is something else again! It utilizes techniques, but it is not just a compilation of techniques. Just as we’ve fetishized technique, we’ve caricatured Craft. Craft isn’t what we tend to think it is. It’s probably the case that few people alive today even have an inkling of what Craft can be when it is a vibrant part of a living culture. Craft is not a series of techniques, but is an approach to connecting action with meaning. This is something else entirely! It can adjust itself incrementally as a practitioner confronts a changing set of circumstances. The results are not limited to what was put down in the plan.

Professionalism and the proliferation of institutionalizing learning as a distinct activity separate, and somehow superior to doing, has eroded our ability to even imagine what Craft is about, let alone to practice it. This process of turning Craft into a curriculum has reduced it to a shoddy and old-fashioned imitation of technology which seems so fresh and vibrant by comparison. This is a false comparison, like many of the other parallel false comparisons that influence how we persist in doubling down on worse choices after bad.

To begin we do need to let go this mistaken conflation that technique and technology is the umbrella over all that is possible for human activity in relating to the material world. It isn’t, not even close!

2 Replies to “A Technique can be written down and replicated from directions, a Craft cannot.”

  1. There was a long time in which a man Was what he did. This required him to have an elevated conciousnes of the work he did and why he did it. He strove to first of all to meet the approval of his master, as he likely was going to serve a long apprenticeship through trial and harsh judgement before he could be named for the craft he was going to master. Through the power of guilds he gained status only through exemplary work and conduct. A shame to him or his work was a shame to his master and his guild. His whole being and identity and his place in the social order was at stake. His access to a better life depended on high personal standards.

    The sense of Craft stems from this. As stated, craft is not just technique. It is being your work and your work being the best possible representation of what you are. The work of a craftsman lives because the craftsman gave it life, and the craftsman lives because his work gives him life.

    Craft takes a lifetime, and craft endures only through constant nourishment.As soon as it all boils down to an occupation or job it is lost, The meaning of work is diminished, and the work loses it’s value.

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