Week Three: Reflection about Can Matthew Crawford Deliver Us from distraction:
The very first thing I notice in this article is author’s use of autonomy. It is quite interesting for me to read about Matthew’s definition of autonomy because my ideas about the word “autonomy” still largely affected by Immanuel Kant’s theories in a way that autonomy is quite related to reason and rationality. In his book Critique of pure reason, Kant provides his definition of freedom that freedom is acting according to autonomy. The definition of autonomy is opposite of heteronomy. Heteronomy refers to acting according to natural or biological desires, such as hunger, thirst and etc. Therefore, autonomy means out of natural desires. According to Kant, real freedom is only achieved by act according to the “autonomy” personal disciplines, which based on pure reason and this pure reason is universal, shared by everyone. However, in this article autonomy often refers to individual work and personal activities.
Looking back to the content of this article, it provides critical perspectives for individualism and collectivism. The author talked about Matthew’s definitions of education, labor, apprenticeship and society, especially about how to position individuals in society to achieve the welfare of society. In last class, Lindsey and I talked about the purpose and labor and the role of artists in society. There is a very interesting quote in the article that: “Work was educational not in the sense that you got better at doing something for somebody else (your boss), but because through labor you grew to recognize yourself and other.” This recognition is very important because people can become more situated in community through work. Being situated in the community can help people have a better perception of the world and hence they will prepare for more participation in work.
The sense of collection and the sense of the full picture are very important for artists. “In his account of the development of artistic excellence, there is no creativity without belonging, without the embodies learning of being part of a conversation with a long, rich history.” This is making sense because there is no idea can only float in the air without related to the experience and environment. Artworks are coming from daily life and arts are reflection of people’s life. “Use the past to make the future” is my favorite quote to illustrate this point. The author use the example of organ makers to present how they are looking back hundreds of years while trying to envision how music will sound centuries into the future.
All in all, the whole article gives me a sense that the author is being critical to individualism. He emphasized more on the importance of the collective, the importance of community, society and etc. Being too focused on individual are causes of failures and dissatisfactions. This raises a quite big dilemma of society: how much should we take a look at individual and how much should we take a look at the collective. Which is more important: individual goodness versus the common welfare shared by the communities? Thinking about education, politics, economy, this dilemma exists everywhere in our daily life. People have to make careful decisions to put which one on the first priority. Conflicts sometimes may generate due to thoughtless decisions.