The Problem of Power Tools

*This is rather a special post here on aferalspirit, because it marks the first of a new genre that I will be writing on, in the permaculture section. These theories, ideas, plans, and praxis are usually hard earned knowledge from observable failures leading to victories, or perhaps fleeting thoughts I have while farming, or the reaped information from my studies on permanent agrarian culture.

Sometimes I question the real superiority or benefits of using power tools in the construction or on the farm. I have a problem with power tools because they negate the mechanical skill necessive for using them, they minimize the range of muscular ability needed for proper form, reducing all movements predominately to pushing, pulling, and clicking with the right or left index finger. I have always been a believe in genetic memory and ancestral skill, in using hand tools in a wide range of ways, with an instinctive or intuitive ability to make them effective to your work. I have picked up many a tool that I have not used before, and just seemed to ‘remember’ how, as if accesing an old store of learned skill from the past. Sure, power tools get the work done much quicker, but they are also a lot more dangerous, leave less room for natural error, are heavy, reliant on weather and temperature to function, are expensive to replace, and diminish the sense of integrity, and understanding of how a job is done with one’s own physical ability. Don’t get me wrong here, some small tools operating on electricity open up a world of new prospects for working with modifiable materials, but the work should be involving as much as it is efficient, and beautiful. Sometimes the best ways, are the ways of yore!

shaving the pines, for tipi building

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