Before I start this I want to warn all left-brainers out there to bypass this one. If you choose to read it and it does not sit well with you, then show me respect by leaving this be. It will be difficult enough to express this in words but I am going to try. Brevity shall be lost here….
According to scientists all matter is inter-connected. Now I am not one of the theoretical types who can spout figures and facts and dates. I blunder along experiencing beauty and mystery and trying to garnish my life with the beauty I find along the way. But this led my thinking to the case of tools having a soul. Understand that when I say “tools”, I mean anything mankind uses to manipulate his environment around him.
So a tool is born at the hands of whoever manufactered it. It has a purpose and it knows it. It also is aware of the spirit in which it was made. It is aware of its level of quality, the materials used in it not wasted. As this tool proceeds in life at the hands of one craftsman and then the next, it carries with it a memory of work done and a comforting calmness, ever growing and like some people, its beauty becomes more apparent as it gets older. It has proved itself and knows its value, has been loved once, twice, perhaps many times by some good craftsmen and even those who perhaps did not understand the possibility of it having a soul, knew that when they worked with it, it did more than others of its ilk. My “favourite” this or that.
Earth giving us what we need, perhaps looks on, or is at least aware of this. For then the reason changes. For example: A chisel is made whose virtual sole function is to make someone a profit. It has an inferior steel with a painted wooden handle proclaiming its quality and professionalism and such gibberish. I imagine this chisel to know this. To start its journey thus, knowing it is going to be discarded. It started from the same basic raw materials as other quality chisels did, but the fork in the road came with the decision of profit over shavings. We made the call. We support this. Profit not being the evil, merely crossing the border between theft and profit.
Sharing the extended version of this with my wife, her comment was : “What about snake serum?” The woman still has the ability to floor me. I was dreamily thinking of deep patinas on centuries old handles. I love it. It stopped me short and we chatted about it. I don’t know the facts and figures but estimate that at least 95% of serum is water. As a tool the serum has one purpose for one time only. To save a life. Magnificent! How would it build a history of dignity and purpose? Of course! As with all things it reverts to its original and continues with or without us. For me this was an epiphany. Water held the memory of all man and all life.
I shared this with a few dear friends and each embellished and added a few thoughts to the picture. To them and the craftsmen who are aware that the project is not the only purpose, thanks for your provocation. It is akin to discovering that the journey is the destination.
I felt the need to get this down in writing. It has many imperfections and I would like to be able to edit it later and add to it and hone it as it clarifies and develops.