Acquisition and Craft
By Barnaby Wills
If you want to enter a debate or a dialogue just for the sake of forwarding what has been said (and written) then you will find that before you have come to putting your thoughts and studies together ready to unveil to your audience, you have come to something more profound. It is in this lack of vanity that you start out with that beckons you to something higher. At that point when you are arriving at something, you must intend more for your work and set yourself aims that are more consistent to that original voice of inspiration. You can sing the song but do you know what it means? You can sing the song of life but where do you go from here? What can be misplaced and overlooked can be our ability to give people a fresh sophisticated livelihood that raises up the individuals involved. A livelihood can be something very simple for us to envisage but difficult for us to put into practice, and it can be very complicated for us to envisage and simple once we have envisaged it to put it into practice. However having looked at the issue of a new means to a living, the livelihood that the religious people must take must be one that helps worship and supports his or her families well being. Just as people of different faiths and different groups may consider when developing career pathways for themselves. The social situation that is authorised taking sources from a sound Islamic heritage (as I point towards a useful example) is the one that serves people’s foundational needs as well as helping people excel in various trades and professions. The social nexus from Islamic history was kept together by a network of guilds, traders, craftspeople, and scholars under the influence and guide of a teacher of instruction and his particular chain of command. The rest of the people in society benefit from the natural organisms functioning in a balanced way, helping and assisting the office. The people of the arts can be supported by teachers, organisations, charitable groups, funding bodies and private institutions. To be the producers will take you to the market. To be the producers will lead you to trading with a new social perspective. We must be making alliances with various artist groups, organisations, markets and educational authorities.
The rise of technology has made many social incisions and influenced the way many people think, people react to what they hear and see and the natural processes of learning have been put to one side. We find that taking time over study and practical mastery produces great things but most importantly people develop true sincerity and concern for their fellow man. Some artists work ethic overrides their opportunism which can blossom into something extraordinary.
Ibn Khaldun, says (in a section on knowledge and society in his Prolegomena)
‘He who has acquired a skill in a craft will rarely excel in another skill. An example of this is provided by tailors. For once a man has mastered a skill in tailoring, so that it sinks deep in him, he will not excel thereafter in carpentry or in building, unless the first skill has not yet sunk deep and coloured his mind.’ (Ibn Khaldun, translated and introduced by Franz Rosenthal. 2005. First Princetown Classic Edition)
Ibn Khaldun here is teaching us that skills are acquired to the core of the person, and in this way they can’t over crowd and complicate the person. The painter is completely immersed in his craft to the point where it becomes second nature to paint and if he tries to master something that takes a number of years to acquire he will find it extraordinarily difficult. The artists nature is to focus on the process, finding tranquillity in his or her work. However this is very different to what we learn in life and what we do in our everyday lives. This is a traditional thing to be perfecting ones skill but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t put an emphasis on other things. What becomes clear is that we must restore certain organisms of society with the things in front of us. The full restoration of the Craft Guild system can be put into practice with the tools and expertise that we already have at our disposal. This is how things generate momentum from where there is more of a universal understanding of the problems (within society) and the solutions that can come from anywhere. There is never a problem without a solution like there is never an illness without a cure.