Believe it or not, we were raised by a bunch of cheerful people.(…)
In my day everyone sang. In most workplaces we sang; (…)
We were no stranger to a job well done, perfected and cultivated to the extreme. I saw, during my childhood, chairs caned with the same spirit, and with the same heart, with which those people had carved their very own cathedrals. (…)
Once upon a time workers were not servants. They worked. They cultivated honourable things, completely honourable, which suits them. The leg of a chair had to be well made. It was natural, it was intended. It was first place. It did not need to be well made for the money, or the quality proportional to what they earn.It did not need to be well made for the master, neither for the experts nor for the master’s clients. It had to be well made for no other reason other than for itself, for its very nature. (…)
And every part of the chair that could not be seen was worked with the same perfection as the parts that could be seen. According to the same principle as cathedrals. (….)
It wasn’t about being seen or not being seen. It was the work itself that had to be well done.
from “L’Argent”, an essay on money written in 1913