craft

“We live in a world, [Richard] Sennett argues, that singles out comparatively few for recognition, yet where we are endlessly assessed and judged. His solution is perhaps surprising: ‘The best protection I’m able to imagine against the evils of invidious comparison’, he writes, is

craftwork, and the reason for this is simple. Comparisons, ratings, and testings are deflected from other people into the self; one sets the critical standard internally. Craftwork certainly does not banish invidious comparisons to the work of others; it does refocus a person’s energies, however, on getting the act right in itself, for oneself. The craftsman can sustain his or her self-respect in an unequal world.”

(Tanya Harrod, “Why craft still matters”, p. 14 in the 26 October 2007 edition of the Times Literary Supplement.)

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