About interests of a quiet taoist

a friendly ordinary human & philosophical nobody. interested in the meaningful, nature of pragmatic virtue & better environments.

Craft (Mind Moving) – unfinished work and under construction

Introduction:

There use to be in Anstey the men who fell the trees and barked them. After felling they’d go round sheering the sheep. And all took interest in their work by hand, they think to make their work look and last well. It will be a pity we shall see no more the craftmanship of our villages. If the world travels as fast as the last one we shall not hear the sky lark in the morning nor the nightingale in the eve.

Quote from family history (1960s’)

I can not help but regard the above quote with an appealing romantic undertone of what would be a good hard day’s work followed by a pleasant warm evening spent sleeping peacefully under a starry night sky. The idea of craftsmanship and nature is an inviting one and I am at a wonder loss that so much has been encroached upon by the industrialisation and mechanical processes of the so called modern age. The preoccupation with the technocratic and managerial processes of a looming fourth age is felt to arguably threaten and perhaps in some cases brought others amiss of truly communable craft, its work and the natural environment. The ideas of what constitutes craft is no doubt important and to be discussed but also the concern that craft which involves meaningful communication is devolving by infiltrated limits of restricted time, administrative print and short term consumer society values.

It fascinates me that an incongruity can exist between what we are told craft is or is not and what we believe we should or shouldn’t experience in association to it. Incongruity is felt to be a very usual human experience and not unreasonable to apply to a relevant understanding of modern things. And so the world thus can become confusing to us with representations of whether certain craftmanship is to be termed as simply good, clearly bad or of a lower order.

I am interested to re-evaluate and constitute an idea and concept of craft as denoted by one of its arguable requisites being communication and in so much as what it communicates, how it communicates and communication as a multifaceted craft within itself (this is by no means a finite list). It should be in no doubt I will make an unusual (perhaps to be considered exotic) attempt with what I consider notable worthy components of Taoism with relevance where appropriate to nature.

Some thoughts on Craft:

Craft usually denotes the idea and application of manmade skill(s) located and grounded in the physical world in order to make something. The hands can often be said to be associated with the means to create or convey a craft. It is through this means of the hands as primary tools of making stuff which direct, mould and textualise the shape of what is thus crafted. The central concept of interest is in an idea of craft being ‘the mind of man as skilfully witnessed in creating through the conveyance of the hands’.  In context of craft and in some thought of taking this one step further would be to consider if possible the body as a proximal secondary extension of the hands in relation (but also to a now associated altered view) to where the physical location of mind resides. To offer a relevant personal quote would be to say ‘the mind as hands in their movement allows the body to follow (to be shaped)’.

The hands take on a fascinating concept in this view of skill(s) and craft in so far as what they can do for the body and as a wonderful communicator of what initially begins in the mind’s eye or to otherwise say what the mind clearly visualises as a guide to what can be achieved physically. At a perhaps extreme and premature conclusion (before discussion) if it could be said the body in some way becomes integral as if hands themselves and as such integral to mind itself – ‘and so both body, hand and mind are all described as one overarching tool to convey skill in order to craft’.

This premature conclusion is an important step to note in that although it may bare fruitful work on understanding what craft might eventually consist of it also denotes the already apparent presuppositions of thought. Such presupposition if allowed to go unchecked might just represent the greater likelihood of constraining other useful views and promote a idea towards unnecessary conflict. In a sense the immaturity of an idea is a real risk if not also best, reasonably or properly understood in context of what craft is not and the potential to how craft might evolve.

It might be true to say craft may at some greater or lesser point involve aesthetics or art but however close its relationship it does not necessarily equate a definitive explanation as a craft. It might also be said it can not be conclusively defined as a measure of something but may intrinsically involve measurement or science in its construction. Craft might often be associated in working with sculpture or materials such as wood and metals but does not mean the boundaries of understanding are limitative to such typical examples. Whilst craft could be said to take time in learning and applying technique with skill it does not mean to say it can be achieved within constraints of time limits.

The boundaries of what is and what is not craft is an interesting place where ambiguity may allow understanding to pass on through to another view that might have otherwise constrained its potential and evolution. The boundaries represent traditional ideas of craft and limitative thought. The boundaries may also consist in the recognition of contrasts where one constitute of craft may not equate to another understanding of it.

The concept of Yin and Yang proves a useful concept in so far as envisaging how contrasted constitutes of craft may in fact paradoxically or coexist at the same time. Differing perceptions of craft may add to binary perspectives becoming more likely and so also creating misleading clarity between boundaries of what is right or wrong, or yes to one view and no to another. But this is where it can also gets interesting as aspects of skill involved within a craft may carry across to its opposite or a view of great contrast. Our views of what is craft can also change over periods of time, which aren’t simply linear limited and binary but in fact possess a fluidity that can alter traditional questions to what is craft?

What maybe yes and no questions to the constitutes of craft may in fact become questions of is this the right question or only perspective to consider right now?

The existence of alternate or opposite views to what is craft could in fact compliment the other in so much as offering a rich tapestry of not only one choice but to further the discussion and evolution of what it could be?

The question of how craft might become doesn’t necessarily lead to one evolution or the idea that opposite views will eventually compliment each other as an amalgamation. The idea of complimentary opposites may goes so far as to say they simply keep healthy conversation, thoughts and ideas moving forward.

Aspects of communication are many under terms of human speech, body language and what is observed or understood from the non-human (nature and the encompassing world). Within the craft of conveyance skills such as compassion, well rounded regard and humility (loosely understood as the three treasures) where accepted can all thought to be important in any attempt at real meaningful communication with others but also self. Yet even where such skills are proven important what informs their use and acts (alone or in conjunction with each other) through technique may possess distinctly different or contrasting properties of development and progressive learning. Such a craft where considered advanced in its raw honesty may posses an almost contradictive (Yin and Yang like) human frailty of thought and action, not necessarily to be resisted but humanely understood and at best overcome.

Unfinished free flow of ideas to explore:

* Nature (environment) and Mind as one * crafting natural and naturalistic structures as communication (ziran displayed as sponteniaty in keeping with the surroundings/ Kotodarma – the voice or sound and Wu Wei – the effortless flow) * hand as cues * nature as extension of cues and conveyance. Tao (plural information external(s) and internal(s) – Yin and Yang/contrasts. three treasured tree as intrinsic branches akin to many fingers. Water as a 1. mirror, 2. as stillness 3. as flow.

Froggy no Tail Chapter 3 (tao inspired)

Froggy optimistically wandered across the market square and pondered a while at each vendor as he past. Oranges, apples, twine and trinkets were all on display. A vendor spied Froggy and called across invitingly.

‘Hello young man, can I ask you for a little of your help?’ the vendor enquired. Froggy responded happily, ‘ what can I do for you?’. The vendor’s eyes twinkled almost as if the glinting of a sun rising once more.

The vendor explained he wanted Froggy to visit the Old Smithy Inn and speak to a certain Mr Snout in regard to the borrowing of a small amount of coin, and in return he would pay Froggy a worthy coin for his trouble. The vendor asked no more and no less, with Froggy considering it to be a simple task. Froggy agreed and without further hesitation made his way off to the inn

At the inn Froggy as he thought he might met the wise old Moley.. The inn stood solitary from the other surrounding town houses and arose like a twisted out of place pagoda and at least four levels high, At every level tiny lit lanterns shone brightly from each of its many small sunken round windows.

Moley sat at his usual drinking table and sighed as he spied Froggy at the entrance, then spoke to him loudly ‘Froggy before you ask the coins I gave you were enough to pay the vendor, as I hoped you would’. Froggy somewhat disappointed at Moley but not surprised seated himself next to him and thought to himself he had no intention on paying the vendor. Froggy would in his mind have to play a few shadowy slight of hand tricks on the vendor.

Moley smiled and looked knowingly at Froggy. Moley spoke with warning, ‘what you do next Froggy is up to you but don’t be surprised if all does not go to plan’. Froggy stayed al little while longer then bid his leave but as he did so he picked up a few polished stones outside of the entrance and then began to giggle…..

Froggy merrily arrived back at the market square and confidently approached the vendor. Froggy placed two coins into the vendor’s hand and exclaimed ‘Mr Snout has been very generous indeed’. The vendor thanked him and only took the one coin.

The vendor bade Froggy to stay a moment longer and fumbled for something from his long pocketed coat. The vendor produced an item and quickly handed it to Froggy, which being a small figurine in the shape of a frog! Froggy was curious and astonished and was less sure how to regard it and react.  Froggy felt somewhat embarrassed and asked confused, ‘what is this?’

The vendor kindly advised it was a good luck charm and it would bring him much fortune if he made a wish and threw it into a drinking well. Froggy enquired further to its meaning. The vendor answered simply ‘frogs are pleasant animals of the world and are good guides during the darker hours’.

tao story tales

Froggy No Tale: Coins, Stones and Shiny Stone Figurines

Froggy merrily arrived back at the market square and confidently approached the vendor. Froggy placed two coins into the vendor’s hand and exclaimed ‘Mr Snout has been very generous indeed’. The vendor thanked him and only took the one coin.

The vendor bade Froggy to stay a moment longer and fumbled for something from his long pocketed coat. The vendor produced an item and quickly handed it to Froggy, which being a small figurine in the shape of a frog! Froggy was curious and astonished and was less sure how to regard it and react.  Froggy felt somewhat embarrassed and asked confused, ‘what is this?’

The  vendor kindly advised it was a good luck charm and it would bring him much fortune if he made a wish and threw it into a drinking well. Froggy enquired further to its meaning. The vendor answered simply ‘frogs are pleasant animals of the world and are good guides during the darker hours’.

environment as architecture (part 6: unwanted violence)

the idea that detrimental environments can contribute towards violent events or situations between human beings is nothing new. although it is argued in a pantheist sense (not religious) that the environment or architecture can potentially consists of elements that can be on a par or akin to adverse behaviour of persons. whilst the environment does not exist consciously in the same way as a sentient human it does possess qualities, form and properties that are viewed as shaping the world around it.

in this context the understanding goes further in describing adverse environments and architecture as not only potentially consisting of workloads or demands but pathogens or prodromals (that which came before), almost as if containing hostile pre-symptoms and that which causes eventual toxicity towards persons. the use of terms such as pathogens and prodromals is purposeful not only in describing what came before adverse events and situations but how the nature of the environment or architecture got to be the way that it is.  by understanding how environment and architecture come in to being is to identify both strength and weakness, which is perhaps the information needed to help us avoid or traverse likely adverse situations and places.

in earnest there may even be a deficit in defining human like aspects towards adverse environments or surroundings, when we could argue behaviour is no different to object properties, form and qualities. this is in no way to demean what it is to be human but to question how factors of violence may go beyond traditional dualistic notions of what is to be considered  importantly human and what is non-human. whilst Taoism can be full of contrasting thoughts, perceptions of dualism, physicalism, ideas and thinking it arguably can also help identify ways of crossing divides to universally understand or hint at new directions to how the world around us might just work better.

tao story tales

Froggy No Tale: Old Smithy Inn (Coins & Stones)

At the inn Froggy as he thought he might met the wise old Moley.. The inn stood solitary from the other surrounding town houses and arose like a twisted out of place pagoda and at least four levels high, At every level tiny lit lanterns shone brightly from each of its many small sunken round windows.

Moley sat at his usual drinking table and sighed as he spied Froggy at the entrance, then spoke to him loudly ‘Froggy before you ask the coins I gave you were enough to pay the vendor, as I hoped you would’. Froggy somewhat disappointed at Moley but not surprised seated himself next to him and thought to himself he had no intention on paying the vendor. Froggy would in his mind have to play a few shadowy slight of hand tricks on the vendor.

Moley smiled and looked knowingly at Froggy. Moley spoke with warning, ‘what you do next Froggy is up to you but don’t be surprised if all does not go to plan’. Froggy stayed al little while longer then bid his leave but as he did so he picked up a few polished stones outside of the entrance and then began to giggle…..

Photo by Pille Kirsi on Pexels.com

environment as architecture (part 5: unwanted violence)

in understanding the wider context of influencing environments in terms of architecture, both natural, man-made or shaped and described as person observable in preference to pertaining form and properties will give useful conceptualisation towards causations of violence beyond the individual. in its own right the environment as architecture can both be a positive, negative and seemingly indifferent influence on how human violence might play out. arguably how the individual can also choose to exist in their surroundings or with existing architecture will inherently shape how persons interact with each other.

however existing long enough within the wrong environment(s) will likely negatively effect how individuals interact with each other and so where able to yet not to significantly improve the surrounding architecture would become baffling. through this understanding the importance of the individual becomes essentially associated with the equal importance of being peacefully harmonious with environments defined as beneficial. relevantly Items of architecture (pertaining form and property) might by incident have prescribed manmade workloads/demands and use, which is either positive, negative, distractive or indifferent to the person involved with them..

a workload/demand is simply one example of an items property, which can by its task frustrate or alleviate and even weaponise (by its form) an action considered to prevent, minimise or promote violence. an example of an item’s workload (or task associated with use) are extensive written commands typed on sizable documents – arguably the priority associated with the words may distract, tire and frustrate. in some sense a relevant factor contributing towards violence could also in part be a byproduct of an item of architecture or the environment as architecture.

the – in-between – quiet – spaces -haiku –

little morning chimes, ‘are so beautiful to me’. dark curtains open.

ambient noise and bird twitter,both inside and out. a hum drum day with quiet views.

blossom glide silent, gentle scented breeze caress. sky grey shapes travel.

i keep in dry space, freedom quiet peace places. gentle water comes

birds chirp not ticked time.- listen close in the spaces, spring breeze felt not passed.

the grey place awake, armour between in from out. in wood spaces rest.

dark tick of cold days, clouds hover, water moving. silent eve, warm light.

huff puff huff puff snow, slowly falls watching it so. sun water drop goes.

wind; drink tea silent, kindness an imperative. still; all comes to pass.

make a brew of tea, you didn’t take the honey. cough, sneeze, a-haik-oo!

humpty dumpty sat, on a wall he did fall off.  it was eggs-plosive.

you looking at me, hello, this and that, goodbye. toodle-loo see you.

these are none moments, i sit writing silly thoughts. memorable wall words.

green hedge rows, road slows each way flows, nobody knows. blue sky, clouds billow.

tao story tales

Froggy no Tail: vendors & lenders

Froggy optimistically wandered across the market square and pondered a while at each vendor as he past. Oranges, apples, twine and trinkets were all on display. A vendor spied Froggy and called across invitingly.

‘Hello young man, can I ask you for a little of your help?’ the vendor enquired. Froggy responded happily, ‘ what can I do for you?’. The vendor’s eyes twinkled almost as if the glinting of a sun rising once more.

The vendor explained he wanted Froggy to visit the Old Smithy Inn and speak to a certain Mr Snout in regard to the borrowing of a small amount of coin, and in return he would pay Froggy a worthy coin for his trouble. The vendor asked no more and no less, with Froggy considering it to be a simple task. Froggy agreed and without further hesitation made his way off to the inn.

Froggy no Tail Chapter 2 (tao inspired)

As Froggy sat next to the cart driver he noticed there was something different about him. On closer inspection the cart driver was wearing a small round pair of dark spectacles and his hands holding the donkey’s reign were more akin to claws. ‘Moley is that you?’ enquired Froggy.

Moley stared back and chuckled a little as he spoke, ‘indeed, indeed’. ‘It is an odd thing Froggy as we enter the human world our forms change to fit and become more in keeping with it’ Moley answered in anticipation of any question to come. Froggy reflected on Moley’s words and thoughtfully worded out loud ‘the world’s eye looks on and when viewed or influenced through the dominant mind of man selects it most pleasing material form, although the truth of it remains the same’.

As they rode New Town slowly came into view, with its small wood timber houses, delicate tiled roofs and many snug tight streets. Some buildings were a little larger although mainly in the centre of the town and looked grander in stone work. The stone work from such a far distance (still an hour’s donkey ride) looked to be well structured, full of delicate crafted swirls and sudden jutting out precipices.

They rode slowly and gently into the hustle and bustle of New Town market square. The vendors busily tended their wares with little time to gaze upon yet another cart. Moley smiled kindly at Froggy ‘this is where you get off and explore a little’.

Froggy hopped of the cart and bowed politely. Moley threw a couple of coins to Froggy and he caught them with ease. As Moley bid his leave he slanted his head sideways towards Froggy and called out ‘when you’re ready I will be by the Old Smithy Inn’.

Froggy took one brave foot forward and then another, if one was to observe closer it was almost as if he had slightly slipped on a playful shadow. The sun began to dip below the tall stone buildings and although not quite a sunset the shadows of the buildings casted longer against the grey pebbled ground. Froggy thought to himself which way to go and so simply carried on forwards till he made up his mind.

As maybe said if you adamantly continue to walk in a straight line forwards and long enough you will meet someone doing just the same thing.  As Froggy went on his way a shrill cracked little voice come from his left, ‘coming through, make way, coming through’.  Quickly peering toward the sound of the voice he saw a small hunchbacked lady cloaked almost completely accept for her crinkled face with its snoat like nose and tiny twinkling eyes.

Froggy knew what he thought he saw but something was making his sight as clear as mud. ‘Good day’ Froggy retorted kindly whilst dodging quickly out of her oncoming pace.  Froggy’s left shadow couldn’t resist and stuck a long shadow of a leg out towards her, like some limbo contest nobody had knowingly entered.  But the oddest thing occurred and the lady simply leaned heavily back, went under the leg and flipped back up again.

Left shadow yelled out ‘I knew it, she isn’t normal, not least in the human sense’.  Froggy’s middle and right shadow began to giggle for they knew left shadow didn’t know this until left shadow acted to see what would happen.  All at once Froggy’s sight came into focus and he spoke to her quite frankly ‘what manner of sprite are you?’.

The not so lady stopped in her tracks and took a long hard look at Froggy and spoke once more, ‘look here Frog face and listen well’. ‘I survive well in the human world’ she continued to state.  Throughout this moment nobody in the everyday world had noticed the unusual event of an over playful shadow and a contortioned sprite.

‘And…?’ said Froggy in rapid response. ‘And bide well by what I say, people in general don’t see what you wish they could see and our kind get by on the most part by understanding this’ said the snouty, twinkle eyed crinkled sprite.  Froggy’s Middle shadow whispered from the back of him, ‘she mostly likely has a point but that doesn’t  mean we cant use it to a strictly right intent to advantage’.

The spikey cloak backed not so lady laughed and responded further ‘ I heard that naughty shadow and by this heed know your friend Moley learnt his lesson well’. ‘Don’t say I didn’t warn you Frog sprite’ she said whilst wagging a claw like finger at him.  Froggy’s right shadow now spoke ‘that hedgehog is right Froggy, lets keep it respectful here’.

macro photography of green frog

Photo by Lexo Salazar on Pexels.com

tao story tales

Froggy no Tail: new town square

They rode slowly and gently into the hustle and bustle of New Town market square. The vendors busily tended their wares with little time to gaze upon yet another cart. Moley smiled kindly at Froggy ‘this is where you get off and explore a little’.

Froggy hopped of the cart and bowed politely. Moley threw a couple of coins to Froggy and he caught them with ease. As Moley bid his leave he slanted his head sideways towards Froggy and called out ‘when you’re ready I will be by the Old Smithy Inn’.

Froggy took one brave foot forward and then another, if one was to observe closer it was almost as if he had slightly slipped on a playful shadow. The sun began to dip below the tall stone buildings and although not quite a sunset the shadows of the buildings casted longer against the grey pebbled ground. Froggy thought to himself which way to go and so simply carried on forwards till he made up his mind.

brown frog surrounded by green floating pants on water

Photo by Richard Fletcher on Pexels.com