The Great Reskilling

January 28, 2015 at 10:53 am Leave a comment

To grow, gather, preserve and cook; to repair, reuse, recycle and mend. Going back to making (and making do) heralds a return to higher levels of purpose and thus wellbeing. Andrew Simms and Ruth Potts report.

Erich Fromm wrote, in To Have or to Be: “Everything one owned was [once] cherished, taken care of, and used to the very limits of its utility. Buying was ‘keep-it’ buying.” To extend the life of an object, the owner would know how to polish, adjust, oil and repair it. With the advent of disposability, built-in obsolescence, the introduction of constant upgrades (very similar to obsolescence) and mass advertising, the market learned to earn more money by persuading people to throw things away. It came between the individual and the household and the human bonding and satisfaction that came from being able to make, gift, share and repair everyday items, and objects both beautiful and useful, as William Morris would have it.

“The laborer with a sense of craft becomes engaged in the work in and for itself; the satisfactions of working are their own reward; the details of daily labor are connected in the worker’s mind to the end product; the worker can control his or her own actions at work; skill develops within the work process; work is connected to the freedom to experiment; finally, family, community and politics are measured by the standards of inner satisfaction, coherence and experiment in craft labor.”

Passing on knowledge directly evokes the relationship between the skilled and the apprentice, teacher and student: what Crawford calls “a kind of philosophic friendship, the sort that is natural between teacher and student: a community of those who desire to know”. Lifelong learning – the natural complement to a society relying more on mutual aid – also has multiple benefits: enhancing an individual’s self-esteem, encouraging the development of social networks and a more active life.

Read the full article posted on Resurgence.

 

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Entry filed under: Art/Crafts, Community, How-To.

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