Thus I live in the world rather as a Spectator of mankind, than as one of the species, by which means I have made myself a speculative statesman, soldier, merchant, and artisan, without ever meddling with any practical part of life.
I fully agree with you about the significance and educational value of as well as history and philosophy of science. So many people today - and even professional - seem to me like someone who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is - in my opinion - the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth.
Fourthly, the way of the artisan. The way of the carpenter is to become proficient in the use of his tools, first to lay his plans with true measure and then perform his work according to plan. Thus he passes through life.
Anyone who has undergone home repair lately knows that your everyday artisan uses language so loosely and makes false promises so glibly as to make your politicians, even the presidential candidate, seem like a model of accuracy and rectitude. 'Be there Wednesday at nine,' the workman will tell you. It is a lie. He is humoring you. He says it to silence you, the way you tell a child you will take it to Disneyland if it will stop crying.
Manner and morals have improved, improved wages and world travel during the war have had effect, and the farm labourer now is an intelligent, self respecting workman, on a level at least with the town artisan. The village rustic of the past no longer exists outside of the comic papers.
You can gain experience, if you are careful to avoid empty redundancy. Do not fall into the error of the artisan who boasts of twenty years experience in craft while in fact he has had only one year of experience–twenty times. And never resent the advantage of experience your elders have. Recall that they have paid for this experience in the coin of life, and have emptied a purse that cannot be refilled.
[ Computing ] is just a fabulous place for that, because it's a place where you don't have to be a Ph.D. or anything else. It's a place where you can still be an artisan. People are willing to pay you if you're any good at all, and you have plenty of time for screwing around.