Well, first I must say I am 'just' a hobby and (occasionally)
competition faceter who is trying to gain more wire/wrapping and
other metalsmithing skills.
Next I must say I was tempted to dismiss your post as a (forgive the
term but I'm sure it's familiar) 'healy-feely' sermon. But on
reflection I suppose there is a little more to the few projects I've
worked on than just "it's all about the Benjamins".
I continue to be amazed by vast number of beautiful materials
produced by the earth.(regardless of intervention by one or more
deities or not). I have been fortunate on 2 occasions to at least see
photos of the actual miner that recovered some facet rough I cut. I
found it thrilling. I have cabbed and faceted material I collected
myself. I take personal enjoyment from both the pleasure my work gives
others and knowing there is a potential for some of it to please
several generations. I guess Freud said (and it seems obvious) that
everything that one does is to please oneself. Both Adolph Hitler and
Mother Teresa were making themselves happy first. Of course some of
those activities victimized millions or helped thousands. I like
paying my taxes more than worrying about not paying them. I'm pleasing
myself (maximizing personal happiness) when I admit a mistake. If I
can maximize the enjoyment others receive from my labors while
maximizing my own 'well being'(mental,financial,etc.) it seems to me
this is the 'optimum' balance. I don't know if it qualifies as some
kind of yin-yang or 'universal' balance. I'll let others debate that.
I do know that some people, and I don't know why, want to adorn
themselves. In some cases I'm sure they do so for 'conspicuous
consumption' reasons. But in other cases it's a little more like a
portable museum. Something which can spark a discussion, be used as a
teaching aid or bring on nostalgia for some part of the past. I don't
dwell on these issues but perhaps we shouldn't take them for granted.
I'm glad too that there ARE folks who can just crank out watch battery
replacements. We all need those types of jobs done. But if that person
wants my money (which is a tool representing stored labor-a brilliant
concept in itself) more than his battery and time, AND I want the
battery changed more than my money WE ARE BOTH MORE PLEASED AFTER THE
TRANSACTION THAN BEFORE. It's a voluntary way to maximize our personal
happiness cooperatively. BTW - it's the free market. Seems kinda dry
and cold when it's stated that way but when you think of folks trying
to get a watch fixed or send some lunch money to school with their kid
the next day it really makes you realize how totally amazing 'we' are
in the universe. I'm not really a religious person (backsliding
agnostic) but I realize the conundrum seems to be, 'if mankind is
an object of nature then everything he does must be natural, if not
then which religion is the correct one?' Since I lean more towards the
first part of the statement it seems to me it is 'perfectly natural'
for us to use as much of the material available to us for any purpose
we please and then move out among the stars where we belong.(if we
survive that long). If we are objects of nature why should we worry
any more about the last colony or some rare shrew in a gully than a
pair of beavers about to drown them out by building a 'natural' dam?
Yet worry about these things we do (some of us) so THAT must be
You have probably pleased as many clients with your approach to
'manipulating' stones and metal as someone who is completely
non-spiritual about the matter. I have never told a customer that I
took special steps to align my faceting machine in a certain way or
meditate over a stone. But of course my machine IS aligned how I work
best, and the rough IS studied and held and observed and often has a
cut design altered to fit it uniquely. Perhaps it's just semantics.
sorry for the length.
Carl 1 Lucky Texan