This freelance job I’ve been doing the past few nights has gotten me thinking about how we as a society have all but abolished the idea of learning under the watchful eye of a master.
There’s a part of me that wonders what it would be like to sit at the feet of someone who had been doing the same thing all their life and learn from their experiences.
Think about a craft like being a butcher. There aren’t very many butchers left. Butchers usuall have people who learn under them and get skills passed on to them via devotion and dedication. We see this less and less.
We are a society of manuals, training classes, and college degrees. Largely we are either taught by people who do not do the jobs they are training us for or we are trained as quickly as possible in the name of efficiency and not skill.
Sink or swim.
What happened to wisdom and experience?
We are a culture that innovates as soon as we learn. We are a culture that is driven to set our sights on the office above ours.
I’ve had jobs where I quickly got promoted, due to my ability to understand not only my job and excel at it, but show an understanding of the position above me. The desire to move ahead and make more and have more responsibility has a strong draw on me.
A draw that I’m not sure if I like. Yes, the short term effects of being praised and rewarded for doing a good job always have a positive effect on self esteem and stature. Though I have come to think that this only merely feeds the beast.
The best part about my former life of working at a church in youth ministry was (more or less) there was no ladder to climb. I had gotten to a point, where I had resigned myself to wanting to do the same job for decades to come. With the desire only to get better at what I did, and have the years of experience inform my understanding of who I was and what I do. These things were not driven by the desire to rank higher, but only by the desire to be better at what I do.
Too often we are taught by those who do not practice what they preach or we are taught in the name of efficiency and by the manual.
Are we losing a valuable tool in the way we learn? What will come of longevity and wisdom as we know them?
Will we cease to have people who have truly mastered a skill with decades of experience to back them up?
Over the last year I have often self taught myself how to do one thing or another. In most cases I become somewhat proficient in these areas, but there is always a nagging voice in the back of my head that casts an air of doubt that I am missing something. An intangible that only comes from the learning from someone who has a vast amount of experience in the thing I am attempting to engage in.
Social media, web television, the internet, viral marketing. All these things are less than 15 years old. That’s not a long time. I don’t think it would be too unfair to say no one has mastered these things. In addtion to that, they are all quickly changing/evolving mediums. In a way they create a cycle that will never allow anyone to become masters of them.
Where does this leave us? Are we bound to never feel the confidence that comes with intimately knowing something so deeply it permeates from every part of our being?
Are our relationships the same way?
Look at the slimming population who can say their marriages have lasted 40+ years. And in most cases those marriages are strong, devoted, intimate, and wise. The implications of these long standing relationships are clear. Today’s relationships in many ways pale in comparision to the value that has been gleamed from the idea and practice of longevity.
In many ways I feel like there needs to be more opprotunities for us as people and a society to learn from doing things over longer period of time. We have become an instant gratification society. Instant promotion, instant acheivement, instant food.
Time cannot be replicated.
Wine only ages with time. Really good food only gets that way when it is cooked over a long period of time. Our relationships only develop when we invest the time.
I’m tired of short term endeavors, I’m ready to find things to invest in. Things I believe in. To surround myself with people to learn from. People who have a widsom that is only nurtured by time. I don’t want answers and instructions.
I want what I cannot have now. I want the slow process of looking back and realizing that how I got here was a long and wonderful journey that I cherish deeply.