[lips not synced with words…] “You are not worthy of my Kung Fu!”
Oh how true this is at times. But what does Kung Fu really mean? Well in Chinese, Kung Fu is a term whose original meaning indicated a person’s expertise in some skill or craft. The term Kung Fu literally means effort over time. So if you have “good” Kung Fu in say… cooking, then you have excelled in that art due to your dedication and effort over a long span of time. Really now all of this is academic. I’m including a link at the bottom of this post to the wikipedia article on this. So why am I blogging on this topic? Well, I’m glad you asked. Errr I’m glad “I” asked. So here it is: What is the state of Kung Fu in our country?
In times past a man or woman would apply him or herself to some craft or skill as a means to provide for a family and home. A farmer would have to be a successful farmer in order to yield the necessary crops to not only feed his or her family, but would also need to generate a surplus in order to sell or trade for items he or she could not produce. A craftsman who made furniture couldn’t eat the furniture, so in order to have the funds to purchase needed items quality furniture was necessary. How did these people do this? Well, apprenticeship programs and such as that, but the root of it all was Kung Fu: a focused dedication and attention to the skill in question coupled with long practice. These examples I gave are pretty general really, but what about more modern examples? I can only imagine the time and dedication it took for a graphic designer or typesetter to layout a fabulous spread. The monks who copied ancient texts had to be very focused, no mistakes allowed surely their Kung Fu was strong. But in the computer age do we have the same thing? If Kung Fu is an equation so to speak, the components are effort (K) and time (F). So one’s expertise (E) was:
E = K*F
So if not a lot of time is spent in a skill can one’s Kung Fu be strong? In my life, I have been a web programmer for about fifteen years now. I feel that in my particular little niche I have some pretty strong Kung Fu. But in this digital/technical age, an expert can crop up in six months. Accelerated training programs, even in accredited colleges, are churning out graduates left and right. So what does it mean? What is the state of our Kung Fu? Now, tagging right along with this are tools that take effort away from us. Here’s a case in point: how many times have you watched painfully as the teeny bopper tried to actually count out change? Excruciating isn’t it? We all suffer from something I used to call “calculator brain”, where you were adding numbers on a calculator, suddenly your brain could not even process n + 10.
So now this begs the question. Is all the technology that we have developed to reduce our effort, and the time it takes to do things really good for us? Or should we eschew some things? Well, don’t look at me! That may be for our children to decide.
As you were.
Extra credit reading: