Responding to your tools

What is the way of the Lord? This is the question I attempted to type, but autocorrect took my typo and transformed the question into the following: What is the soy of the Lord? And this seems to me to be as interesting a question.

The happy mistakes of technology are those our minds are free enough to enjoy. Mostly, the mistakes of technology are transformed into annoyances by our impatience. We expect technology, perhaps rightly, to be our servant, our slave. But to treat something as a servant, especially an inanimate chunk of glass and plastic and aluminum, just because it deserves nothing more than charity, this is to deprive ourselves the opportunity of being charitable.

Charitable activity is not solely for the sake of object of that activity. It is for the sake of the subject, too. Now, that  is a paradox dangerous to muse on too closely. For the moment we think we can get something out of being charitable is the moment we stop being charitable. But if we can attempt to step outside ourselves for a moment (which, by the by, is a definition of charity better than any other I can think of: ek-stasis, ecstasy), we could see that the above principle is not only true, but given us by our Lord: he who wishes to save his life will lose it, and vice versa (to paraphrase).

So how I respond to the little announces [UPDATE, 7.2.2013—annoyances, that should be—heh. Happy accident.] birthed by inadequate technology (all technology is inadequate) will have a significant effect on my own operating system. If we come to view our technology with tyrannical impatience, we risk becoming that much more an impatient tyrant.

What has all this to do with art? Well, any tool of the artist is a form of technology. And knowledge and care of one’s tools is essential to mastering one’s art. And just as one can treat one’s technology, one’s tools, with a tyrannical impatience that injures (on some level, certainly) oneself, in the same way, the dedication and care and patience one employs with one’s tools could mold one into a more dedicated, caring, patient person.

You can think of this as something of a “zen thing,” if you like. (I do not.) I think it only further proof that since all art requires an artist, artistic activity always affects at least two objects: the art and the artist himself. Ars suus artifex est.

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