Think about the world in which we live. Surrounded by glowing rectangles, we’ve become the idiot society. And by idiot I mean we’ve slunk into isolation, content to meddle on our screens, download apps, and sit on our couches. We buy things and then throw them away. We forget, long ago in a faraway land, our purchases used to come with a set of “fix it” instructions.
Not so anymore. We sit. We buy. We discard.
Matthew Crawford wrote a New York Times best seller titled Shop Class as Soulcraft. He suggests, in our land of superslick intuitive computer interfaces, we’ve drifted away from the agency required to fix or build. Meaning: we don’t work on our cars anymore or much of anything for that matter. As we’ve drifted away from agency, we’ve drifted toward an autonomous existence in a world devoid of psychic friction.Meaning: we’ve outsourced our brains and mechanical prowess for a life of ease.
When I futz around on my twelve-year-old Land Rover—affectionately called “Ye Ole Rover”—I tend toward discipline, detail, and perseverance. I can’t swipe an app. I must turn the wrench. I must unlearn the gospel of ease and intuitive interface interaction and relearn what it means to work on something with my hands—to build, sew, seed, prune, saw, stitch, and bleed.
I’m no mechanic, but that’s not the point.
Tim's authored four books, including the children's book Shine So Bright and the critically acclaimed Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society. He studied beauty in the works of C.S. Lewis for his PhD under Alister McGrath. When he's not scratching poetry, or chasing the scholar's craft, you can find him carving up the trails of the nearest national forest on his Salsa El Mariachi 29er.
He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and three pixie-daughters, and two acres of Great Horned Owls.