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23                                Craftsman-work

Whether a master or just a beginner, anyone who practices a craft gets pleasure from it. But as with other parts of our topic, there is a mix of effects to disentangle. Suppose I strike my chisel and dislodge a chip, and what comes off is pretty close to what I hoped would come off at that blow. Different feelings are: "I am pretty clever!" or "This piece is coming on well, close to finished", or "Just right!" The first two are complicated and are better called thoughts than feelings; but my idea is that the last is simple and immediate. Before any words form, Pop! off comes the chip, a good match with what was intended, and the brief spasm of pleasure is sparked --- all by a more pre-set quick-fire mechanism than is involved in forming thoughts.

        There is a parallel with sports and the "sweet spot". After you successfully connect with the ball and fly it away in that gratifying moment, there is the question of where it ends up: in the rough, in the net, in the hands of some skillful fielder --- or perhaps better than any of those, perhaps your stroke was a winner and triumph results. The point is that all that is separate, none of it has anything to do with the moment of connecting. It is at the moment of connecting that that thing in one's brain fires off, that fires off at so many other moments in our lives, that makes conversation a pleasure and in general produces the response, "Oh, I had a pretty good day, thanks."

 

 

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