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craftsmanship

Creative people are just high functioning schizophrenics

"Indignity is hard to avoid when our whole economy revolves around the creation and fulfillment of phony needs. It is an indignity to make anything less than an art out of your work." - Charles Eisenstein


"You work that you may keep pace with the Earth and the Soul of the Earth.

For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons,

And to step out of life's procession marching in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.

Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?

Always you have been told that work is a curse and labor a misfortune.

But I say to you that when you work you fulfill a part of Earth's furthest Dream,

Assigned to you when that Dream was Born,

And in keeping yourself with labor you are in Truth Loving Life,

And to compassion life through labor is to be intimate with life's inmost secret.

If you in pain call birth an affliction and support of the flesh a curse written upon your brow,

Then I answer that naught but the sweat of your brow shall wash away that which is written.

You have been told also life is darkness,

and in your weariness you echo what was said by the weary.

And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is desire to live,

And all desire to live is blind save when there is knowledge,

And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,

And all work is empty save when there is Compassion;

And when you work with Compassion you bind yourself to yourself, to one another, to God.

And what is it to work with Compassion?

It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart,

Even as if your Beloved were to wear that cloth.

It is to build a house with affection,

Even as if your Beloved were to dwell in that house.

It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the Harvest with Joy,

Even as if your Beloved were to eat the fruit.

It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,

And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.

Work is Compassion made Visible."

- Khalil Gibran, The Prophet



creative impulse

checked creative impulse

"Without the opportunity to learn through the hands, the world remains abstract and distant, and the passions for learning will not be engaged. A gifted young person who chooses to become a mechanic rather than to accumulate academic credentials is viewed as eccentric, if not self-destructive." - Matthew B. Crawford

"Surround yourself as much as possible by imperfect objects, especially handmade ones, not the abstract perfection of machine made articles. In the future life will abound with beautifully made objects, all of us will be craftspeople, expressing our full talents in our work rather than denying them for the sake of keeping a job. Part of this will be a dramatic revival of traditional handcrafts, as "natural resources" will have become so precious as to merit the best individual workmanship." - Charles Eisenstein

"I do muscular work because of have muscles; and if I don't use my muscles I shall become a bad tempered sitting-addict. Westerners are mostly sitting-addicts. From the tycoon to the typist, from the logical positivist to the positive thinker, Westerners spend nine tenths of their time on foam rubber. Spongy seats for spongy bottoms." - Vijaya, an Aldous Huxley's Island character

"Popular American thought on September 11, 2001 considered work which soiled the hands the job of illegal immigrants conferring upon craftsman a social status beneath that of a telemarketing sales position.

A rugged period for American workers has triggered in some a need to explore the simpler life of the artisan. At the core is an urgency to create objects of value and worth. Not everyone is going global. Not everyone is cutting corners.

By example we have Randy Merrel. What is important in life, as he sees it, are family and comfortable feet. In his Quonset hut workshop that smells of leather and wax. He leans over a table and wields a blade extracting mysterious patterns out of a chocolate colored hide of a water buffalo calf. His movements are exact and just quicker than the eye can follow. From this supple hide, Randy is creating a pair of custom fitted cowboy boots. In two or three weeks he will finish and present them to a customer who has waited a year on a back order list.

Maker and wearer share a breathtaking expectation. These boots will fit, endure and satisfy like no others. "People want objects that are real and personal. They come here from all over the country. And they all feel an urgency for hand crafted objects of value and worth which appears to be coming from way down in their souls. I don't see that America is ..." he pauses, "... well, America is not whole. "

What is going on is the resurgence of the American craftsman. At whatever pace, true artisans work at human scale. This is a source of contentment, a handhold against the vertigo of an ever escalating race of acqusition.

"People are retreating from whirlwinds – the whirlwinds of production demands and the whirlwinds of an unstable economy," said Barry Glassner, chair of sociology at USC. In his 1994 book "Career Crash," Barry Glassner followed dozens of Americans as they redirected their lives, either because they were laid off or could no longer bear the rat race. They were searching for what was supposed to be the American dream, economic stability and the emotional, creative rewards that come from feeling they were making use of their talents and contributing something they considered of worth .

Barry Glassner sees a strong generational component to the revival of the artisan. "Unlike the generation prior, baby boomers and by that i mean those from middle and wealthy classes were raised to have 'meaningful' lives," said Barry Glassner. "And that remains a very strong expectation.

"More individuals are going back to work with their hands than ever before. There has been a growing renaissance in the crafts for quite a few years," said the much honored dean of America's craft movement, Sam Maloof. Sam has spent almost half a century building wooden furniture, in his small workshop in a citrus grove.

"The only category of labor which gives the workingman a title to all its fruits is that which he does as his own master," Pope Pius XI observed in 1930.

Ann Reiss, a craft soap maker, states "My husband says that all of the aging hippies who had our dreams in the 1960s and '70s are finally tired of being part of the big rush. Today our lifestyle is supported by our income, instead of our income having to stay up our with our lifestyle. A one individual business is really a life form."


Being a craftsman offers personal satisfaction, economic stability and emotional rewards. As a craftsman i feel an urgency to build objects of value and worth, objects aesthetically pleasing. As a craftsman i am dedicated to providing the highest quality product and to take the time to carefully execute each and every process . Being a craftsman is living a life style that includes care in all processes undertaken and which rewards the individual with a feeling of contentment in living a meaningful existence.

"Moments of elation are counterbalanced with failures, and these, too, are vivid, taking place right before your eyes. With stakes that are often high and immediate, the manual trades elicit heedful absorption in work. They are punctuated by moments of pleasure that take place against a darker backdrop: a keen awareness of catastrophe as an always-present possibility. The core experience is one of individual responsibility, supported by face-to-face interactions between tradesman and customer.

There is good reason to suppose that responsibility has to be installed in the foundation of your mental equipment - at the level of perception and habit. There is an ethic of paying attention that develops in the trades through hard experience. It inflects your perception of the world and your habitual responses to it. This is due to the immediate feedback you get from material objects and to the fact that the work is typically situated in face-to-face interactions between tradesman and customer.

Ultimately it is enlightened self-interest not a harangue about humility or public-spiritedness that will compel us to take a fresh look at the trades. The good life comes in a variety of forms. This variety has become difficult to see; our field of aspiration has narrowed into certain channels. But the current perplexity in the economy seems to be softening our gaze. Our peripheral vision is perhaps recovering, allowing us to consider the full range of lives worth choosing. For anyone who feels ill suited by disposition to spend his days sitting in an office, the question of what a good job looks like is now wide open." - Matthew B. Crawford

"It is impossible to do anything intelligently with something you know nothing about. Materials are most valuable for what they are in themselves - no one should want to change their nature or try to make them like something else. To know intimately the nature of wood, paper, glass, sheet metal, terra cotta, cement, steel, cast iron, wrought iron, concrete, is essential to knowing how to use the tools available to make use of those materials, sensibly or artfully." -Frank Lloyd Wright


The Image of God and Creativity


ceasar borgia

Gnosis - The Unknown Jesus

"0 God thank you for hiding the truth
from those who think themselves so wise,
and for revealing it to little children."


Palestinian Semite

Jesus the Carpenter

(Jesus the Tannaim / Tekton / Therapeutea)

The Hebrews of the era Jesus lived were innovators in comprehensive universal education. The majority, if not all, were taught to read and write. The philosopher Seneca remarked that the Hebrews were the only people who knew the reasons for their relgious faith, something which the apostle Peter continued to commend (1 Peter 3:15).

Jesus undoubtedly received a Hebrew education perhaps along these lines: at 10 years of age ready for the study of the Oral Torah, at 20 for pursuing a vocation, at 30 for entering one's full vigor". Jesus entered his ministry as a wandering Tannaim practicing the Oral Tradition at about 30 years of age.

Very little is said in the Bible about Jesus' life between the age twelve and the beginning of his public ministry when Jesus became almost two decades later.

The Bible does say what Jesus did in that time: "Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

"Where did this man get these things?" they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him." (Mark 6:1-3)

The Greek word describing Joseph's trade was "tekton" which included a master builder, master mason, master carpenter and one skilled in metal technology. Joseph was more than a simple carpenter in modern terms. Nazareth was probably too small to support any sort of fulltime tekton, so Joseph travelled to Sepphoris to find employment selling his craft.

The historical city of Sepphoris is situated four miles from Nazareth. Sepphoris was the largest city in Judea outside Jerusalem. Herod the Great had made it his Galilean Capital. When Herod died in 3 BC his three sons were in Rome to confirm their inheritance. While they were absent a rebel leader named Judas attacked Sepphoris. The Roman legions soon crushed the rebellion, burning the city and enslaving the inhabitants.

When the sons returned from Rome, Herod Antipas determined to rebuild the city, and he initiated a great building program that lasted for 20 years until he moved to Tiberias in AD 26.

Jesus was about nine years old when the construction began, and obviously much labor from Nazareth was employed in the construction, including Joseph and his apprentice Jesus.

Archeological evidence from Sepphoris indicates that Greek was the common tongue.

Jesus' familiarity with Greek usages and Greek theater is evident.

The word hypocrite comes from a Greek word meaning 'one who acts in a play,' and was often used by Jesus.

In Sepphoris Jesus of Nazareth came into contact with Romans and Greeks. The experience of both Hebrew and Roman-Greek culture adds light to Jesus' ministry.

After Sepphoris Herod Antipas financed a major construction project at Tiberias around 19 AD, which could have provided employment for most of the tektons in Galilee, including Jesus. Jesus would have been paid very little, at most 2 sesterces per day.

When the construction at Tiberias was completed, the local job opportunities for tektons would have plummeted - Jesus and his co-workers would have been thrown upon their own limited resources.

At that time Jesus built or repaired boats by the Sea of Galilee and plows and yokes for farmers.

The majority of wandering rabbis had a trade to support their learning and teaching and there is no reason to doubt that carpentry may have been the trade that supported Jesus.

The Greek writer Justin says that "Jesus was considered to be the son of Joseph the carpenter; and Jesus appeared without comeliness, as the Scriptures declared; and Jesus was deemed a carpenter (for Jesus was in the habit of working as a carpenter when among men, making ploughs and yokes; by which Jesus taught the symbols of righteousness and an active life).

In Jesus' own hometown, neighbors and passers-by all identified Jesus, not as someone given to international travel and other flights of fancy, but as a carpenter.

Joseph, Jesus' father, was a tekton (Matthew 13:55), and Jesus followed the family trade growing up. Career-hopping was rarely practiced at that time; most sons, especially the firstborn, followed in their father's profession. Jesus was no different.

There was a saying among the Hebrew men in the nation of Israel:
"If you do not teach your son how to work, you teach him how to be a thief."

Joseph and Mary were hardly wealthy, and Nazareth was a small remote village. The family of at least 5 sons needed money to survive and construction is an honest trade .

Jesus' years as a carpenter was what made his neighbors remember him. If he'd taken years off to study in foreign lands, he wouldn't be recognized or remembered in such a way - their identification with him points out that Jesus was locally known.

Carpenters at this time were highly skilled as there were so few trees in Israel. Throughout the sermons of Jesus, there are many references to things that a carpenter or tekton would think about.

For example, Jesus spoke about the "narrow gate" that we have to go through. Jesus talked about building a house "upon solid rock" and not "upon the shifting sand", another concept that a good 1st century tekton would have known about.

In a beautiful passage, in Matthew 11:29, Jesus said that his "yoke" was easy. Using carpentry skills Jesus could make a yoke that was comfortable for the animals. In Matthew 21:33, Jesus talked about building a tower in a vineyard. In another place, Jesus told the parable of a king who was going to build a tower but did not count the cost. You can see the mind of a tekton working here. You have to know the expenses before you begin such a project. Jesus spoke about the "keystone" and Jesus spoke about a "city on a hill."

Jesus was a carpenter or tekton much longer than a preacher.

There are several things that are very significant about Jesus profession as being a carpenter or tekton. The fact that Jesus was a carpenter, for 15 to 20 years, emphasizes that the Creator and Sustainer respects all honorable work that we might do, even manual labor, as a carpenter or tekton would have been engaged in. Jesus wanted us to understand that as long as it is honest work that we are engaged in, then any work is respectable in the eyes of the Creator and Sustainer.


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