Craft Incorporates Values

Craft incorporates value.

All Craft does.

Crap Craft incorporates crap values.

This isn’t a bug. It’s a feature.

Behind any craft there is a drive to embody and express value.

For social creatures in a fluid universe this aspect is more crucial than any purported “practical” value. We “need” tools and implements, transport, storage vessels…. We don’t need THIS tool, this implement, etc. unless it articulates our values.

The failure of any particular Craft to express our values is a result of the failure of our values to integrate with our circumstances.

Technology makes this worse by stripping this responsibility from its technicians while amplifying the power of what they can do.

Further, when Technology becomes an article of faith, as expressed in the Belief in Progress, we are bombarded by a dogma that blinds us to our fundamental need to attune our existence to what-is. In effect, we are conditioned to ignore the violence – the incoherence – of our actions and expressions. So, as our powers to do harm increase, we are less and less capable of recognizing it. Seeing ourselves as hapless victims of a cruel world we force this shadow/projection outwards to justify the most cruel injustice, the most violent destruction – even as, precisely when, it is suicidal and ecocidal to do so.

Craft affords a practice where we have an opportunity – and life cannot offer anything more – to heed what will integrate us and pare away that which disintegrates, that which violates, that which is incoherent. It does this only if we take its parameters seriously. At the center is this responsibility to remain in dialogue with the meanings and values expressed by what we make.

To do this we need to open our selves to be aware of where and when violence and incoherence show themselves. Not just in gross criminal acts, but where they hide in plain sight in the realm we tend to dismiss as aesthetics.

This dismissal is disingenuous. Every died-in-the-wool pragmatist who insists they never look twice at a work of art unless it’s of a naked lady is moved by a “cool tool,” or that “sweet muscle car!”

What is he responding to?

A fetish for cold steel?

Well, maybe, but behind this is an unambiguous enthusiasm for the values these objects hold.

As Craftspeople we cannot remain willfully blind to this dynamic.

Every object incorporates meaning.

As people, as creatures expecting to have a living planet to call home, we cannot remain blind to the meanings and values hiding behind the things we make, the things we use.

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Published by Antonio Dias

My work is centered on attending to the intersection of perception and creativity. Complexity cannot be reduced to any given certainty. Learning is Central: Sharing our gifts, Working together, Teaching and learning in reciprocity. Entering into shared Inquiry, Maintaining these practices as a way of life. Let’s work together to build practices, strengthen dialogue, and discover and develop community. Let me know how we might work together.

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