Mozi was a carpenter philosopher. Or more accurately he was, in so much that we can tell, both a carpenter and a thinker. I think that is an interesting combination of activities. One that, frankly, I quite like. I like the idea that the skills of a craftsman and a philosopher go hand in hand. Perhaps in the studying or in the patient mastering of a craft one has time to think about life. Perhaps the honing of the skill on one’s hand goes along with the skill of honing one’s mind.
I’m not sure what the equivalent in the modern era would be- other than, obviously, a carpenter philosopher; those both still exist and are fairly commonplace. But for the modern age perhaps some sort of hightech skill- jet engine mechanic/philosopher sounds really fucking bad ass to be honest.
Continuing with our old friend Mozi, a good chunk of his time and subsequent body of work is dedicated to siege warfare. I find it wonderful, almost whimsical that one book would contain such desperate topics. Here’s how to live your life, and here’s how to build a fucking badass flaming bouder throwing catapult and a solid set of city walls. Perhaps I like this because it seems whimsical and weird- almost Monty Python-esque. It reminds me of when I was a kid, in the Catholic Church/pedophile sex dungeon that I went to on the regular they had an announcement at the end of mass: one particular day was St. Blaise’s feast day, and this chap was- come to find out- the patron said of throat ailments. As such they would have a- no kidding, throat blessing ceremony after mass. They had me at throat blessing ceremony, or actually they probably had me at “Patron Saint of Throat Ailments.” After the mass concluded and some hymns sung, an orderly line formed and we all went forward one at a time. The priest had two candles which he placed in an x, with one’s throat at the crux. Then a prayer which even the best Monty Python writers couldn’t come up with was said. I don’t remember the exact wording as I was trying my absolute best not to laugh but it was roughly invoking St. Blase’s blessing in general but particularly against “Ailments of the throat”. Of all the silly and surreal Catholic ceremonies I took part in, this was both the weirdest and best.
I think if the philosophy and siege how-to sections weren’t traditionally known to be two parts of the same book, people would find it ridiculous that they are together. I’ve always loved when books turn out like that, the sudden twist in plot, the more absurd the better. That and I am a huge fan of city walls, I would go so far to say that when I choose cities to live in, the presence of city walls is always a consideration, if not a strong one. Of course the more intact the walls, the better. What a shame that they aren’t really built anymore- or they aren’t built for the greater good, instead just to divide and hurt. But I guess no more barbarians at the gate, only racists to placate.
Potential titles for the modern day : The Dao of Exhausts manifolds / The Analects of high-bypass airflow ducts