Cut and Paste, The Curate’s Awakening, and The Nature of “Work”

Cut and Paste, The Curate’s Awakening, and The Nature of “Work”

“We are trying to make, not the Ten Commandments,

But humanitarianism work—and it is not working.”

The utilitarian energumen, with his emphasis on “outer working,” moves further and further toward a dehumanized society:

“The type of efficiency that our master commercialists pursue requires that a multitude of men should be deprived of their specifically human attributes,

And become mere cogs in some vast machine.

At the present rate even the grocer in a remote country town will soon not be left so much initiative as is needed to fix the price of a pound of butter.

Irving Babbitt On Being Creative (1932) 

Babbitt’s predictions could not appear more accurate as we face the technological mechanization of the minds of men for utilitarian purposes of so-called: 21st Century Workforce Development today.

Does the local grocer get to fix his own price of butter or schedule his own employees?

Or does a software program predetermine this?…and how is it “working?”

Do the State school board, the local school boards and the citizens really get to develop locally designed educational standards and aligned assessments?

Or do Federal intimidation, Corporate corruption, misaligned agendas, and unrealistic time schedules, serve to thwart principled local considerations and compel the “curates” to cut and paste mode?

Cut and paste is not new.

Builders, Bureaucrats and Orators have been doing this for centuries. Expedience and common sense demand looking for successful patterns when there is a “time certain”, a deadline or a Czar to appease.

But when “Cut and paste” becomes the modus operandi and unrealistic deadlines become the norm, mankind faces the very real dilemma that his “real work” has been supplanted by Central Planners sucking the life and purpose out of being human.

Who is the “curate” anyway?

George MacDonald (1824-1905) was the Scottish poet, novelist, preacher that C.S. Lewis regarded as his literary master.

In The Curate’s Awakening, MacDonald introduces a dear character, Thomas Wingfold. “Dear”, because initially he’s not got anything profound about him; no drive, no exquisite spark, no color, but he is open to searching for truth. And he is willing to be honest about himself. Dear, indeed. (and increasingly rare today.)

Wingfold is the new curate of the small parish church. Wingfold had chosen to be a curate, not because he knew God in any intimate way, but because he viewed being a reverend as “respectable”; and it would feed him.

Since he felt no personal inspiration, and was not an exceptional student, he intended to use his uncle’s old sermons, of which he had plenty; as the food for his small parish flock.

(If no inspiration, then Cut and Paste.)

But, since Cut and Paste is Not the true “work” of man, The Master has a way of getting men to their real “work.”

During a dinner conversation, a haughty attorney challenges Wingfold as to whether or not Wingfold even believes in Christianity. Wingfold is manifestly speechless with little apologetics or personal contributions to answer the challenge.

Plagiarism has a way of precipitating. While Wingfold’s conscience is pricked by the dinner challenge, soon after, a wise parishioner recognizes The Cut and Paste process.

Polwarth, an intimate friend of The Lord, takes Wingfold under his wings, and tenderly, and skillfully mentors him. In doing so, Polwarth, not only mentors Wingfold in his real “work,” but also cultivate food for the entire parish flock to be about their “work”.

What is the real “work” of mankind?

Is it merely outward labor of material and sensorial quantities?

Those quantities easily harvested by data mongers, analysts and Central Planners?

It used to be that any child could recite their catechism answers to this inquiry…but, as progress gravitates downward, there is little evidence that adults like Wingfold, believe what they recited years ago.

Actions continue to speak volumes regarding the inner workings of man. 

“The attempt to apply the utilitarian-sentimental conception of work and at the same time to eliminate competition has resulted in Russia (and socialist nations) a ruthless despotism, on the one hand, and in a degrading servitude, on the other.” 

“The humanitarians are guilty of participation in this error: …they conceive of work in terms of the natural law and of the outer world and not in terms of the inner life.” 

If those that push “workforce” development fail to recognize the true “work” of mankind, and if men and women fail to recognize this as well, we truly will be in the danger of producing “one of the most trifling brands of the human species that the world has yet seen.”

All because, yet again, we let Central Planners rewrite the dictionary and define the terms, conditions, and rules for compliance from cushy cubicles armed with databases and agendas of control.

It should be no surprise to continue the brain drain, lack of creativity and burgeoning fiscal and moral bankruptcy of our nation, while continuing to implement the same failed processes, procedures and programs.

Programs that compel compromises of Cut and Paste conformity under the guise of “humanitarianism and benevolence” from the paternal advertised planners of imperialistic utilitarianism. College and Career Ready Global Workforce.

Pray for an inspired Polwarth, a George MacDonald, or a C.S. Lewis to bring about a Curate’s Awakening in the hearts and minds of our misguided leaders on all levels today.

Pray for Godly citizens to find their own spines and Stand.

So that truly, American individuals can return to the “work” that is ordained for mankind; the “work” upon which our nation flourished in the past.

That of spiritual and intellectual growth.

A Virtuous and Educated people enjoying Liberty by being human under God.

“If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.”

1 Corinthians 3:12-13


….even inspired bloggers Cut and Paste to connect dots under demands of expediency…..


The Curate’s Awakening by George MacDonald

The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk

On Being Creative by Irving Babbitt







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