HippocratesThis aphorism is attributed to Hippocrates, a physician who was born about 460 BC. There is much to unpack from this series of two word statements.

“Life is short” Who can argue? Certainly no one under fifty years of age!

“Art long” The study and mastery of art or craftsmanship is a journey that will defy any efforts at short cuts. It seems that the more you learn, the more you realize there is so much more to learn.

“Opportunity fleeting” How often does it happen that the moment is gone, and you are standing there with your teeth in your mouth and concrete in your shoes, and wondering what just happened there?

“Experience deceptive” Subjective experience is a slippery critter, yet we hang onto them as if they were canon. Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman speaks about how we fasten ourselves to information that is only what we think we see. This syndrome he calls WYSIATI…what you see is all there is. We pick only the low hanging fruit of experience and sometimes it is useful, and sometimes not-so-much.

“Judgment difficult” We move through this life with a singular point of view that makes it very difficult to view things from an objective standpoint. As a craftsman, I try to find someone whom I trust who will give me a fair critique of my work. Successful craftsmen often have a healthy skepticism with regard to their own judgment.