The Artisan

It is the nature of the Artisan to express himself through the invention, creation, manufacture, repair, and manipulation of things. These can be artistic masterpieces, technological crafts, or mechanical devices. Virtually everything made by man which you see and use is the work of Artisans. The car you drive, the house you live in, the television you watch, the telephone you talk on, the clothes you wear, the furniture and appliances in your home and the decorations also, (the computer I am writing with!) — these are things that Artisans have invented, designed, drawn plans for, and built.

Artisans are impelled to make things. They get restless if they do not create something tangible. It is their nature to produce physical objects. They generate an idea, and from within themselves, they spew it out into material reality. They take the raw material in their hands and fashion it into things of beauty or function. Gadgets and gizmos are their stock in trade.

Artisans Are Multi-Faceted

Artisans are interested in how things work. As children, they often take things apart to see what is inside — “What makes it tick?” — then they put it back together again. They are good at this and have high “mechanical aptitudes.”  But Artisans are so multi-faceted that they can’t be boxed into a single field of expertise. They can be excellent artists, inventors, musicians, actors, writers, surgeons, architects, interior decorators, landscapers, or essentially any occupation that generates something new, different, and unique. They also excel at occupations that involve fixing or manipulating things that already exist, such as draftsmen, machinists, assemblers, mechanics, home builders, construction workers, painters, automakers, manufacturers, repairmen, technicians, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, cabinetmakers, and so on. 

In prehistoric times, Artisans were involved in such ancient arts as pottery-molding, basket weaving, weapons- and tool-making, cave painting, and hut-building. In historical times, an Artisan has typically made his livelihood in such occupations as blacksmith, craftsman, and tradesman — a member of a guild who passed his skills on to apprentices. There were numerous other cottage industries, and there was always use for a scribe when not everyone was literate. Whenever and wherever there is something that needs to be made, there is an Artisan — ready, willing, and able to make it. And whatever occupation an Artisan finds himself in, he will always apply a high degree of skill and expertise to it. Artisans are technicians in whatever they do.

Even if the Artisan does not have an engineering or technical job, he is likely to express his creative inclination in his hobby. People who have a workshop in their home are most likely to be Artisans. They read magazines of applied science like Mechanics Illustrated or Popular Science. These are the handymen of the world who know how to fix everything around the house from a leaky faucet to an electrical switch. They like to work on the car too. Artisans love tools and are likely to have a lot of them around. My father, an Artisan, can hardly resist a sale on tools, even if he doesn’t need them. Artisans are good with their hands in using these tools. In fact, metaphorically speaking, Artisans are the hands of the body of mankind. They like to manipulate whatever is within hand’s reach.

Artisans are very concerned with how one thing relates to another thing. They see the physical world as parts, working together. Indeed, they tend to view the entire universe as a giant machine. Physicists, as a general rule, are Artisans, seeking to understand how the machinery of the universe works. They analyze matter — take it apart piece by piece, molecule by molecule, atom by atom, subatomic particle by subatomic particle. They want to see how it all fits together, and how the parts relate to each other.

In the highest manifestation of their nature, the Positive Pole of +Creation, Artisans are inventors and artists. According to Michael, virtually all the engineering discoveries and artistic masterpieces down through history have been the work of Artisans. A list of some of these famous Artisans will demonstrate this. Botticelli, Paul Gaugin, Vincent Van Gogh, Jean Ingres, and Michelangelo were artist Artisans. Thomas Edison and Buckminster Fuller were inventor Artisans. Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton were physicist Artisans. B.F. Skinner also happens to be an Artisan, but he applied his technical skill to human engineering. He invented the theory of psychology called Behaviorism, which proposes a mechanistic model of human consciousness and function.

Self Image

Artisans have a certain self-image problem. They don’t want attention on themselves. If they care to be acknowledged or remembered at all, it is that they want to be considered for their work’s sake. In effect, they say, “Here, look at this thing, not at me. See what I made. I am not of any consequence, except to the extent that I have created this thing of beauty and usefulness.” They live to make something tangible and permanent which will outlive themselves. Artisans are therefore somewhat shy. They do not like to attract attention to themselves by being before an audience, for instance. It is uncomfortable for them to talk about themselves, but they will talk about their work, their creations.  This shyness also means they tend to be aloof and detached from other people and from the environment. They tend to feel like strangers and aliens in the world.

This objectivity and mental detachment of Artisans has its advantages and disadvantages. Their ability to view themselves as an object of criticism allows them to receive criticism from others without taking it too personally and getting upset. On the other hand, because of their sense of separation and indifference, in their worst expression Artisans can be unperturbed by the thoughts and feelings of other people as they concentrate their mental energy on the creation or manipulation of inanimate matter. Here is the manifestation of the “techno-nerd”. It is not that they are unaware of what others think (because they are outwardly focused), but since they see themselves as detached from others, and as rather insignificant parts of a huge mechanistic universe, it doesn’t matter what others think about them. This is in contrast to Sages, who are very much concerned to have their audience appreciate them. Artisans are concerned with the substance rather than the image of life.  This outward focus of attention upon the physical world also means that Artisans are often unaware of their own inner workings. They may very well be out of touch with themselves.

The Artisan’s Natural Over-leaves

Like a person with the Goal of Discrimination, the Artisan can be rather picky and critical at times, especially about his own work. He seeks to create something unique, that no one else has made. He throws away things that do not express his identity purely or with integrity. As a consequence, Artisans tend to specialize -to come to know more and more about less and less — rather than generalize. Like a person in the Caution Mode, an Artisan is meticulous in his work and careful in his behavior. He is interested in the details of things. Like a person with the Self-destruction Feature, an Artisan is usually aware of his flaws, and why invest anything in something as defective as himself? He often neglects himself as a work of art because his focus of awareness is on the outer world. The Artisan sees himself as a very little cog in a giant machine. His attention is focused on the external universe — and look how big the universe is, and how small he is compared to it. So he thinks of himself as expendable. He derives his fulfillment from making a significant change in the big universe, or adding something new to it, even if he has to spend himself to do it. If he expresses himself Positively, he can be picky about looking clean and neat. If Negatively, he will be nerdish. Artisans usually dislike spending money on themselves. They do not often indulge their personal desires. Such expenditure can only be justified if it also involves a contribution to the universe. Like a Skeptic, an Artisan is prone to think that “this (physical universe) is all there is” — he is prone to believe only what he sees with his own eyes, holds in his own hands. You have to prove it to him with tangible evidence, scientific instrumentation, and impeccable logic. Like a person in the Intellectual Center, an Artisan is primarily mental in nature. He thinks about things a lot, and everything has to make sense to him in a rational, reasonable way.

Few Artisans are pillars of strength, and even though they often like to be of help to others, they do not like to be leaned on. The problem here seems to be that Artisans are themselves somewhat fragmented. They are brittle and easily broken, in a manner of speaking, therefore unable to hold others together. Of the Roles, Artisans have the hardest time “getting their act together”. Consequently, they may not have what it takes to assist others in integration. Their probable lack of attention to finding out what methods are suitable for their own well-being contributes to the flaw that they may not have the solution to the problems of others either. Sometimes this is what a person needs in the way of help.

Artisans view the world as their model. This means several things. It means that an Artisan sees the universe as the ultimate pattern after which he should shape his own created objects. Often an Artisan will copy something in his arts or engineering that he sees in nature. It also means that the Artisan views the universe as an object which it is his job to mold, form, and fashion into a work of beauty or function. This is certainly something that Artisans do. In another sense, it means that Artisans see themselves as creations of the universe, rather than creators of themselves. Sages, on the other hand, are partial to the idea that they create their own reality, both internal and external, by their imaginations. I believe all the above are true statements about Artisans.