Work of the Hand Is Not Exclusive of the Mind
Marc’s post on education and “dirty jobs” — the entire recent discussion about college and the necessity thereof — brings to mind this passage from Walter Rose’s wonderful book The Village Carpenter, which reflects on Rose’s family business as the era of the automobile and the machine came on strong:
These words are not to the old who, like myself, have passed the years of prime, but to the youth, whose years of promise lie before him. He seeks to acquire a personal knowledge of the craft, the ability to achieve as others have done and still do. Is he prepared to pay the price, in time and study of the principles of the craft, and the details of its execution? In my father’s day seven years of apprenticeship was not thought too long to obtain this knowledge. When I was a youth the term had become reduced to four or five years. To-day there is a general disinclination for any apprenticeship at all, and a sad misconception as to the amount that has to be learned. But all the quickening processes of science have failed to train the human mind at a more rapid pace, and those who have studied woodcraft for half a century find themselves still learning and quite unable to pack all their knowledge into a nutshell for the convenience of a beginner. The training is not that of the university; it is, however, quite as exacting in its own way and so merits equal recognition and respect, and it is encouraging to note that this idea is slowly gaining ground.
Slowly,indeed. The Village Carpenter was originally published in 1937.