11 Apr 2000 maphew   » (Apprentice)

The Great Certification Name Debate

To my mind, a Guru is more accomplished than than a Master. Most anybody can master their craft given a suitable number of years and hours of practice or devotion. Very few have the wherewithal to become a Guru no matter how much they try. Think Allah, Christ, Buddha, Gloosecap, Confucius, etc. You are not likely to meet or work with a Guru, but your great great grandparent/child may.

A [some term I've not identified yet, use Wizard for now] floats somewhere between Master and Guru, and maybe even above and below both levels of accomplishment. Shakespeare, Leonardo, Miyamoto Musashi, Darwin, Newton. There are more Wizards than Gurus and it's conceivable that you could know and work with one.

They are a very great number of Masters and in all likelihood you will become one if you stay in the same place for enough years (a decade or two). You are pretty much guaranteed the opportunity to work with and befriend masters.

Adept is the most suitable alternative term to the emotionally charged Journeyman and the different meaning Journeyer. In most trades, it takes four to seven years of five days a week, both school and practical work experience, to become an Adept. Adepts are probably a better souce of practical day to day learning than masters because they are easy to find and the gap between their understanding and yours is not so great.

Initiate may be a more suitable term than Apprentice and Novice which are even more emotionally laden with subtext than Journeyman but for entirely different reasons.* An Initiate intends to become an Adept or a Master eventually.

Observer should be Dilettante. Or perhaps Dilettante should be it's own category, yes, that's the way I see it. A Dilettante is somebody who plays around with the craft but has no (serious) intentions of ever becoming truly adept or masterful. An Observer is curious and hangs about just to take in the atmosphere and get a feel for the goings on.

* Nobody wants to be inexperienced or ignorant or uninformed. That is unfortunate. It is -precisely- in the areas where we are foolish and ignorant that we have the most potential for growth and power. An electrician friend (a journeyman btw, 3 yrs school, 10 years experience) put it nicely:

"I look for the places where I feel the most stupid and that's where I hang out. It's there that I really learn things."
This friend is becoming quite accomplished in a variety of areas and is a true physical hacker. If it's made out of metal, wires or wood he can adapt (note the similarity to adept) and form it to fit his needs. If he can't find it, he builds it. Trucks, cars, houses, tools. They are all putty in a constant state of transformation in his hands.

Anyway, the point is, the whole reason for this diary entry is, being a babe in the woods is not something to be ashamed of or a state to get rid of as quickly as possible. It is a place to play in and fully explore. 'Be ye as a child' and all that. The secondary point is, it takes time and hard work to become really skillful at a craft. There is no shame in not having that skill yet.


Look for where you are stupid and hang around in it.

for the record, a Dilettante.

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