Sunday, May 23, 2010

On the Edge of Chaos

I saw this advert about a month ago, and it got me thinking. It doesn't matter much if you don't understand German, the visuals speak for themselves:

It's an advert for craftsmanship (Handwerk). The song lyrics are roughly saying: imagine how life would be without them. (The long list in the end is a list of professions.) To me it shows so nicely how incredibly complex our life has become, and how much that we take for granted is only a very recent achievement in the history of mankind.


  1. Thank you, Bee, that was wonderful. I don't speak German (I should because the only language I do speak, English, is Germanic), but like you wrote, some things transcend language, eh?

    "Complex", Bee, or "complicated"? Life is too complicated. Complexity is what it is. Too bad the two words have the same antonym: simple, because they are 2 different things, yes?

  2. First thought of mine: Most of the disappearing things in the spot are made by massproduction, there is very little craftmanship involved.

  3. Johannes Gutenberg's first output should have been Zeitschrift von Playboy. The Bible had a limited audience. Art as thought, craft as reduction to practice, then... merchandizing!

  4. Nice! Thanks for sharing!

    Even mass produced parts can be made well or poorly. Presumably there is human input into producing the template for the mass produced parts.

  5. Hello Steven,
    look at this page :

    This page is very informative
    because it shows all the latin words
    derived from plica "fold", even without
    understanding the German translations.
    Maybe You find some similar page in English.
    This one :
    if You kex in "complexi", shows
    when (passiv) "x" substitutes
    What does that say?
    Both meanings used today a not
    "original" latin, but nevertheless
    within the "gist" of complicare.
    So, what ever one wants to express by this words, You have to define
    them in Your text first.

  6. Yes, and where would science be? Like the photographer, the scientist has long sought to keep (her) hand out of the picture, the very hand that is required for making the many exotic devices science uses to give nature pause and turn a particular face to frame. They are likely the culmination of exacting, custom Handwerk, and sadly, no Nobel prizes for the folks in shop aprons.

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  8. Hi Bee,

    It’s been often said by some, that the last person to know everything was da Vinci and yet I think it’s clear it goes back much further than this. I would contend because of the nature of our species, as to being what we are, defines by being able to learn and discover, that ever since there was more than one of us that there were things not known by all. In part we remedied this by being able to preserve our knowledge and thoughts for posterity, first in verbal fashion by way of tradition, legend and myth and later through writing extended now by electronic means.

    However, what was called the dark ages, was not so much a result of us loosing the ability to preserve and pass on what was known, yet rather us no longer believing, as to care, what we had learned being critical to maintain us finding as both useful and enlightening to learn more. This is what I find as the most important reason for maintaining we be defined as to what we are from a standpoint of quality. So for me it is this aspect of craftsmanship I identify most strongly with, as to fear it ever being lost again.



  9. I had the priviledge of listening to Matt Ridley talk about the importance of trade in technology. No single person these days knows how to make all of anything...he gave the example of a computer mouse. We depend on, as he puts it, ideas in the ideasphere having sex with each other, and trading my mined graphite for your blue ink to eventually, upon many further trades, create pencils and paper for everyone.
    If we stopped trading, we, like the folks in the commercial, would devolve to a much earlier "technology"...that we could make ourselves.


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