We love knowledge in the West. Like, love it.
But what about skill?
On Tuesday evening I was hanging out with a bunch of friends when one of the people I was with drew a very important distinction between knowledge and skill. He said (and I'm paraphrasing here):
"People in North America tend to idealize knowledge and forget about skill. For a long time I was ashamed to tell people I'm a carpenter until I realized that I didn't need to be ashamed of something I am skilled at. Not a lot of people are skilled at things these days."
This friend's insights blew me away. It's such a clear and important distinction and yet I see how some many people in our culture admire the most knowledgeable over the most skilled. I mean, sure, there's definitely been a reappearance of interest in things like craftmanship and so forth as of late, but I wonder if we're still missing the important of skill in our culture — to the detriment of what we could accomplished if we starting appreciating the power of both?
Me? I love filling my head with knowledge. I love sitting around reading interesting books all day that challenge my brain and top it up with many bits of juicy wisdom.
But what about skill? I guess I spend a lot of time developing the craft of writing and musicianship in life, but my friend's comment has got me wondering if I need to think more about developing my skill in these and other disciplines I love.
And what about you — which one do you idealize and how might you build up your strengths in the area you're currently neglecting?