An old process

Monday, July 13, 2009

Each of us is born with various talents. One of life’s challenges is the development of the skills that allow each of us to both express the quality of our talents and to earn a living. The strength of our talents is a determining factor in how deeply and extensively we'll acquire our skill sets.
To be historically accurate, this writing is exclusively about men. Women were not allowed to pursue a a career in the Middle Ages. Women can do so now, and the world is a better place because they can, and do.
Back then there were several paths to learning. All involved young men working for someone who had mastered the skills required to bring something new into the world. In craft they’d serve an apprenticeship to develop the basic set of skills for his chosen craft, in the professional world, they would intern, while in the academic world they would serve a Baccalaureate. In religious life they were, and still are called novitiates. I’m not concerned with the professional, academic, nor religious models here.
In the world of craft, with the completion of an apprenticeship, a young man acquired the basic skills necessary to earn his living as a journeyman. Some say the origins of the word journeyman are in the description of skilled person who, not being the master of his own workshop, had to journey to find work. Others say the word's roots are in the French journèe… the period of one day, referring to the right for a man to charge a fee for his day’s labours. Either way, journeymen had earned the right to independently make their way in the world based on natural talent, and their developed skill set.
A journeyman with strong practical talents, and a passion to develop his skills, would ultimately create his masterpiece, proving to his peers he'd mastered the skills of his trade. This journeyman metamorphosed
into a master craftsmen, and went on to further the technical advancements of his trade.
The journeyman possessing both a mastery over his skills and the ability to express his self in ways unique to his talents, upon creating his masterpiece, became an artist.
Both the master craftsman and the artist could choose to practice their trade alone, though when they took on apprentices of their own they propelled the wheel forward for another revolution. RSD


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