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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Good Steel Does Not Fear the Furnace

In fact good steel seeks the furnace, anvil, and hammer.

I saw a sign while driving the freeway "a good anvil does not fear the hammer." It seemed to me that those are two tools used to form metal - they work together. Perhaps the analogy could apply to an educator and their education system, but it ignores their primary purpose.

The furnace, anvil, and hammer are all tools used to create a specific function from a promising lump of steel.

Once the steel is formed there are still choices to be made, of plowshare into swords or swords back into plowshares comes to mind.

extreme heat removes impurities and enhances ductility and malleability of the subject steel, repeated bending, pressing, pounding and re-heating shapes a tool to a specific purpose. A final baptismal quench serves to set the tools structure and hardness for the specific task.

Like most analogies this one will break down if pushed too far, and my knowledge of metal working is rudimentary at best. But I will make a pass at creating a useful guideline based on the old saw "when the student is ready - the teacher will appear."

When the steel is glowing red - the hammer and anvil will appear.

Good steel looks past the process to its final form. In the hands of a fine artist or an excellent smith a wonderful result is assured.

Select your smith well, rediscover the pleasures of self-directed learning.

Submission to well selected education will yield results - we have nothing to fear from the furnace.

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