November 16, 2008

The Quality of Time, Timeless Quality

Category: Quotes — Biella @ 7:56 pm

I love collecting quotes but I file most of them away in some file on my computer or distribute them in class. I thought I might start sharing some of my favorite passages/quotes. This one, which I read 3 years ago, reminded me of the craft-like spirit in Debian and Free Software in general. I like how the author brings together the themes of labor, time, quality, mistakes, intimacy and tools all in one swoop.

I refuse to be in such a hurry that I squeeze the aesthetic value out of everything just to gain a few minutes of time—time which will then just be filled with more rushing and more mass-produced, soulless junk. In the drive to achieve instant gratification, we have spent a century trying to shorten the learning curve and eliminate the chance of error in every human activity. There is much good in this, but something has been lost in the process. The Galoots are the guardians of that which was almost lost: the challenge of trying to master a skill that can never be fully mastered, the creative freedom that comes from intimacy with a medium as complex as wood, the sense of self-sufficiency that comes with knowing that you can make a useful object with tools so simple that you can make the tools too, and the peaceful mediation of trying to bring eye, hand, and wood together into harmony through finesse and understanding rather than brute force.

Quoted from Hohn (2005), The Romance with Rust, a Harper’s article on tool collectors. A Galoot “is a person with a deep passion for old hand tools, their ways, workings, and their history.”


  1. Hey Biella —

    That’s a great one. Thanks.

    Comment by Greg Lastowka — November 17, 2008 @ 5:12 am

  2. Nice one.

    I hope you’ll be sharing more quotes from your collection. :-)

    Comment by Andreas — November 17, 2008 @ 7:16 am

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