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Thursday, February 14, 2013

for the high school aged and those who are guiding them...

"A good diamond cutter has a different disposition than a good dog trainer. The one is careful, the other one commanding. Different types of work attract different human types, and we are lucky if we find work that is fitting. There is much talk of "diversity" in education, but not much of the kind we have in mind when we speak of the quality of the man or woman: the diversity of dispositions. We are preoccupied with demographic variables, on the one hand, and sorting into cognitive classes, on the other. Both collapse the human qualities into a narrows set of categories, the better to be represented on a checklist or a set of test scores. This simplification serves various institutional purposes. Fitting ourselves to them, we come to understand ourselves in light of the available metrics, and forget that institutional purposes are not our own. If the gatekeeper at some prestigious institution has opened a gate in front of us, we can't not walk through it. But as a young person surveys the various ways one could make a living, and how those ways might be part of a life well lived, the pertinent question for the individual may not be what IQ they have, but whether they are, for example, careful or commanding. If one is to find work that is fitting, one would do well to pause amid the general rush to the gates."

--Matthew Crawford, "Shop Class as Soul Craft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work"