Oh Me Oh My

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Let There Be Purpose

I am always deeply envious of creators. I am forever in awe of people who using raw material and the sheer power of their minds, can make something that did not exist before. Chefs, fashion designers (who actually make their own clothes), construction workers, mechanical engineers, artists, etc... I think being back in school has made me realize that the old rule from my undergrad of "if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit" still applies in my Masters. I think most people I know who pursued a more academic route will agree. Though I can't say I haven't learned anything in my years of schooling, I can't say i might not have learned all that stuff on my own either. I know the more practical skills can also be self-taught, but learning from a master of their craft definitely reflects on the student.

One cold and rainy day during a class break, I was hanging out in a stairwell munching on a coffee crisp and looking through to a neighbouring building. Inside were students hard at work assembing things. There were slats of lumber and metal, welding machines and a number of things I couldn't name, and as I sat there I wondered what it must be like to make something out of nothing. I think it's an amazing skill to understand how things can be brought together to make something whole. You can't bullshit making something. If your dress is falling apart at the seems, your bookshelf has rusty nails protruding and the microscope your looking through is magnifying pocket lint instead of a virus, people will know.

In academia I often compare it to a giant game of "The Emperor's New Clothes". Everyone is spouting the closest thing to valid that they can come up with and droves of other people nod and wait for their turn to speak, hoping no one will notice their naked. The good news, no one ever will, because everyone is too busy worrying that everyone else will notice THEY are naked. So in the end you have a lot of naked smart people eating spoonfuls of bullshit, contented they got away with it one more time.

That's not to say there is no place for academics and inteligent discourse, I'm just saying there must be a certain satisfaction in making something tangible; not an essay that gets top marks and then is relgated to the back of some drawer, but something people witness. Something people taste or touch or marvel at, something you did in a certain way that makes it different than everyone else. Sometimes I look at people who can do that and I think it's pretty damn awesome.


At 2:17 p.m., Blogger Darek/Darciu/Dariusz said...

Dear Jamie,

This your blog, please update me.


Your Blog


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