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Using our hands as hands

I loved this series of two short documentaries showing how a John Neeman axe and then chisel is made:

The video description also has a great quote from Gandhi:

It is a tragedy of the first magnitude that millions of people have ceased to use their hands as hands. Nature has bestowed upon us this great gift which is our hands. If the craze for machinery methods continues, it is highly likely that a time will come when we shall be so incapacitated and weak that we shall begin to curse ourselves for having forgotten the use of the living machines given to us by God.

Now I want to go carve axe handles. And apprentice with a blacksmith.

Why I give stuff away

Pretty much everything on here — ebooks, charts, software, you name it — is free, licensed under the Creative Commons. Why?

Mainly, I have a full-time job and make more than enough to take good care of my family. This isn’t my livelihood.

And that’s a good thing — I’m not a business person at all, and adding money to the mix usually just makes things feel icky to me. I’d much, much, much rather give my work away as a gift, no strings attached, hoping to make the world a better place. Having people use and enjoy my stuff is a greater reward than the money ever could have been.

I think I’m this way for two reasons: first, I used Linux for eight years and was heavily immersed in the open source culture. Second, I promised the Lord that I’d help build the kingdom using my time and talents, and giving stuff away is one of the ways I feel I’m keeping that promise.

When I give my work away for free, it’s accessible to everyone, including those who couldn’t afford it if I did sell it. And if even just one person benefits from my work somehow, that’s good enough for me.

Let me make it clear that I don’t think it’s wrong for other people to sell their work. Everything I’ve said here applies to me and me alone as far as I’m concerned. Others can (and should) sell their work. I can’t.

Mozart on work

Great quote from Mozart:

People err who think my art comes easily to me. I assure you, dear friend, nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not industriously studied through many times.

From Twyla Tharp’s excellent book The Creative Habit (p. 8), which I highly recommend along with Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.