Saturday, May 23, 2009

Telling it like it is

Matthew B. Crawford has a essay in tomorrow's NYT Magazine (no link available yet).
The blurb reads "After acquiring a Ph.D. and an information age resume, I opened a motor-cycle repair shop. And that's where I learned to think". The title of the essay is "The Case for Working With Your Hands".

As it happened, in the spring, I landed a job as executive director of a policy organization in Washington. This felt like a coup. But certain perversities became apparent as I settled into the job. It sometimes required me to reason backward, from desired conclusion to suitable premise. The organization had taken certain position, and there were some facts it was more fond of than others. As its figurehead, I was making arguments I didn't fully buy myself. Further, my boss seemed intent on retraining me according to a certain cognitive style — that of the corporate world, from which he had recently come. This style demanded that I project an image of rationality, but not indulge too much in actual reasoning. As I sat in my K Street office, Fred's life as an independent tradesman gave me an image that I kept coming back to: someone who really knows what he is doing, losing himself in work that is genuinely useful and has a certain integrity to it. He also seemed to be having a lot of fun.