Revel in Being a Master of Integration


I found this pic of a small piece of cloth I once painted, and got a craving for painting some abstracts.

Blue Painted Cloth

This is how it works for me: I follow my cravings, and use the appropriate skills I already have, or experiment with new ones, in order to satisfy them. I do not consider it a problem to have a large menu of skills and techniques at my disposal. It just takes a while to work my way through practicing them all. There are people who employ the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none,” and believe they must concentrate on one thing, and one thing only,  lest they “spread themselves too thin.”  That’s like saying you can only love one person properly, instead of realizing that love is big enough to embrace the world.

Wikipedia has an excellent take on the phrase:

The earliest recorded versions of the phrase do not contain the second part [master of none]. Indeed they are broadly positive in tone. Such a Jack of all trades may be a master of integration, as such an individual knows enough from many learned trades and skills to be able to bring their disciplines together in a practical manner. This person is a generalist rather than a specialist. A person who is exceptional in many disciplines is known as a polymath or a “Renaissance man”; a typical example is Leonardo da Vinci. The phrase became increasingly cynical in connotation during the 20th century.

Let’s throw away the cynicism, shall we, and enjoy every skill we have a hankering to put our hand to. I revel in being a master of integration. It is thrilling to combine a whole set of skills in a single piece, and have that heady sense of everything coming together. The whole is then, indeed, greater than the sum of its parts (Aristotle).

About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
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10 Responses to Revel in Being a Master of Integration

  1. Sherri B. says:

    This is beautiful…both your art piece and your thoughts! This is exactly how I feel about my new found love for photography and photo editing. It’s as if all the creative things I’ve dabbled in for the last 30 years are finally coming together in one place. It’s a wonderful thing. :)

  2. Deb Sims says:

    Another way to look at it is if I am master of none then I still have lots to learn and that’s always exciting!

  3. annie! says:

    I am a jack of all trades…and so is hubby…and we love what we can and DO, do. :)

  4. Carol Boyer says:

    Dear Carol-
    Great idea! Keep using and developing the skills we have all the while growing when and where we can.
    Keep Creating.

  5. Pingback: Chasing Perfection | Carol Wiebe Wonders Out Loud

  6. I love your painted cloth piece, and the airy look of both batik and watercolor. You also wrote about something that is really important in our “specialized” world. Being willing to be a “renaissance” person, and realizing that the whole is greater than the sum. Our specialties place us at risk of becoming polarized, if we’re not willing to broaden toward balance.

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