Quote on apprenticeship

William Coperthwaite in front of a Yurt
For many, the knowledge of a Jesus, a Lao-tzu, a Buddha or a Gandhi is complete and unassailable. But we do them and their vision a disservice when we follow them rather than using what they have taught to build upon as we strive toward our goal of a better society.
When we merely follow another, we take a potentially creative mind out of service--our own. We tie up a natural resource, just as much as when we put away money in the mattress.
We don't need more disciples, we need more apprentices, the difference being that an apprentice serves as a follower only temporarily and is expected to go on and work independently. Wise apprentices recognize that the masters are always a part of them, that within them is a partnership of apprentice and master artisan, including all the other masters that came before.
Good apprentices know that they are in the process of becoming masters and that as responsible artisans they must seek to improve upon knowledge entrusted to them and go further.
As apprentices we are not better than those who went before. We are a part, an extension of our predecessors, the newest buds on an ancient, living tree. If we do not reach up to the sun and down into the soil for nourishment to help the tree grow, we have not been faithful to the trust invested in us.
It is always easier to take the words of a Jesus, a Gandhi, a Marx, or a Confucius as constituting Holy Writ. This involves less reading, less study, less thought, less conflict, and less independent searching, but it also means less growth toward maturity.

~ William Coperthwaite

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