Bacon From Acorns is now LifeCraft.

“Those bygone workmen did not serve, they worked. They had an absolute honor, which is honor proper. A chair rung had to be well made. That was an understood thing. That was the first thing. It wasn’t that the chair rung had to be well made for the salary or on account of the salary. It wasn’t that it was well made for the boss, nor for connoisseurs, nor for the boss’s clients. It had to be well made itself, in itself, for itself, in its very self. A tradition coming, springing from deep within the race, a history, an absolute, an honor, demanded that this chair rung be well made. Every part of the chair which could not be seen was just as perfectly made as the parts which could be seen. This was the selfsame principle of cathedrals.”
Charles Peguy, Basic Verities: The Honor of Work

It is easy to be discouraged. It seems Peguy was. He recalled the peasants he knew in his youth, in late-mid-nineteenth century France. He sensed a pervasive change in the new century.

“This atrocious economic strangulation which year by year tightens its grip on us did not exist. One earned nothing. One spent nothing. And everybody lived.”

Changes in the social-economic-political landscape are indeed significant factors in human life. They must be reckoned with. In Peguy’s estimation it will be much harder for the common man to develop and exhibit the work ethic that had characterized the French peasant. He makes a strong case for his concern. One hundred years ago.

But I for one wish first of all to revel in his description of a workman. We can set aside the precise accuracy of his historical assertion, and his judgment regarding what has crushed such workmanship. Before considering what might be done to cultivate such characters again—a consideration well worth making, we might for starters simply gaze in wonder…at the image he has painted with his words, of a workman.

Charles Peguy (1873-1914) was a French poet and essayist. He died in battle in World War I.

Image: I thank Pexels free images.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:
Trees vs. the News

Trees vs. the News

“Trees were the temples of the gods, and, following old established ritual, country places even now dedicate an outstandingly tall tree to a god.” Pliny the Elder, Natural History What we find in the news and social media tends to frame much of what we think about...

read more
Grateful for the Time: A Retrospect on My Lockdown

Grateful for the Time: A Retrospect on My Lockdown

“…and this will be realized in their living together…” Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics For many of us the external constraint to remain at home has come to an end. A retrospective glance is perhaps in order. For a moment I am going to abstract from the surrounding...

read more
A Father, and Choosing a Spouse

A Father, and Choosing a Spouse

“Reason my son Should choose himself a wife, but as good reason The father, all whose joy is nothing else But fair posterity, should hold some counsel In such a business.” Shakespeare, A Winter’s Tale [Polixenes, King of Bohemia, to his son.] How does one choose a...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest