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“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”
― Voltaire

What a Tool

A Museum of Early American Tools (Americana) - Eric Sloane

I wasn't going to post any of my protest reviews over here, but events at my job recently brought this review back to mind:




Early American tools were very practical but limited in functionality. They were employed for a specific job, and didn't have many applications beyond that task. They were not "smart tools" with laser lights and computer chips that gave feedback on their use and enabled a more effective process. Rarely were they self-contained, able to carry all multiple pieces needed to adapt and change to the job at hand. A hatchet, for instance, was one-size fits all. Perhaps the job called for a more delicate piece of maneuvering. Unfortunately with the hatchet, whole swathes were removed instead of delicate, precise removal of the canker.

There's also the philosophical concepts behind 'tool;' the ideas of both singular purpose and able to act only through direction of a wielder.

This limited application no doubt accounts for the modern use of the phrase "he's a tool." It implies someone who does a task without thinking, with obedience but minus the critical process. Much like early American tools, it's actually a limited functionality model that does not adapt or plan. While early tools had their place, their inability to innovate or initiate limits their long-term effectiveness.