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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tinkers no more

I thought I'd pass this article, "Tinkers no more" along because, at least as I see it, "tinkering" is a fundamental component of prepping and self-reliance. 

Tinkering. You know, fixing things; messing around with things to figure out how they work especially when they don't work properly; taking things apart and putting them back together and not having left-over parts. Tinkering.

The article begins:

This is a topic which has weighed heavily on my mind since recently finishing “Shop Class as Soulcraft,” Matthew B. Crawford’s eye-opening philosophical treatise. The author holds a PhD in political philosophy and served as the head of a beltway think tank before winding up working as a motorcycle mechanic. While many would view such a career arc as a disastrous failure, Crawford took that path by intent and finds time to share revelations on what he regards as the “useful arts.”

He notes that many of today’s small metalwork and carpentry shops are equipped with machinery — ranging from lathes to band saws and beyond — which was purchased on the cheap at auctions held by public schools. Many of today’s younger readers will have no experience with this, but at one time nearly every public school offered shop classes as part of their standard curriculum. (At least for the boys. Girls took home economics.)

He goes on...

The trades, as they were called, increasingly became a target of derision. Comics of all stripes would refer to seemingly slow-witted children as being destined for “a job with their name on their shirt.” If the child was not headed toward a career in medicine, the legal professions, Wall Street, or advanced design engineering, they were somehow seen as second-class citizens. Similar disdain was heaped upon youths seeking a career in the military rather than advanced studies in the ivy-covered halls of academia.

A tremendous amount of mental gymnastics is required for people of this mindset when their toilet backs up and the plumber they summon to restore one of the fundamental requirements of civilization charges them fifty dollars per hour in labor.

And concludes:

Being a “handyman” is another description generally employed with scorn, much like the tinker of old. But a man who is handy will likely find work no matter where the Dow Jones closes tomorrow. The real world is full of things, and they impact our lives on every level. Treating them as if they are magical beasts beyond our comprehension represents losing something which our society once held precious.

Fun & provocative read. Hope you enjoy!


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