As a sense-making method, Matthew B. Crawford wants you to know that serious craft and skilled manual work is hard to beat.
The New Atlantis article, Shop Class as Soulcraft, praises manual competance, the attribute of being physically attuned to the material world, and makes the case for skilled craft by linking it in part to my favorite subject, how we know:
Skilled manual labor entails a systematic encounter with the material world, precisely the kind of encounter that gives rise to natural science. From its earliest practice, craft knowledge has entailed knowledge of the “ways” of one’s materials—that is, knowledge of their nature, acquired through disciplined perception and a systematic approach to problems. And in fact, in areas of well-developed craft, technological developments [historically] preceded and gave rise to advances in scientific understanding, not vice versa.
The essay is equal parts political economy, social science, blue collar educational advice and a cognitive enterprise with body knowing and a deep appreciation for serious craft its core.