The Tao for Engineers
Taoism is an old Chinese philosophy about masterful skill at large.
I enjoy reading the Stephen Mitchell's English translation of the ages old Chinese classic Tao-Te-Ching.
On this page I have applied its verses to engineering work. I hope that you enjoy the point of view here...
From Tao-Te-Ching chapter 9.:
Going to extremes in the detailed demands of the work
makes you lose touch with the ground for the work so that
you will ruin your chances of success in your work.
Following rules at the cost of everything else
makes you so exhausted that you will fail to follow them.
Chasing after money and control
strangles the persons doing the work and so the work fails.
Following slave like the wishes of your bosses
makes you lose touch with your own understanding
and so ruins you as a worker.
Do your very best freely
and let go of the scrap about social position in the eyes of the average minds.
That is the only road to lasting success and to the serenity brought by it.
From Tao-Te-Ching chapter 11.:
We follow rules to get things done
but it is our free time which brings strength to what we do.
We use pictures to think with
but it is the enjoyable atmospheres which show us the road to success.
We build machines
but it is their worth to life itself that makes them worth anything.
We count things by benefit
but it is the felt things in our nature that are the most proven to be the most beneficial.
From Tao-Te-Ching chapter 12.:
Learned structures make us stuck to old habits, like idiots.
Ununderstood advices make us lose touch with our own understanding.
Point scores make us unable to follow our full understanding in guiding our actions.
Trying to make things look like fine thoughts makes us unrealistical. If we would just let go of thinking and relax, our perception abilities would be freed and we would think much clearer and quicker.
Aiming for some predecided goal makes you lie to yourself. Much better would be to just admit what one knows, for how certain and what one has no idea about.
You reach masterful skill by using your whole capacity in natural ways that have been optimized by the evolution. So your instinctual sense of what ought to be, for example about way of living and consequently about way of working, can be your most valuable guide to proper objectivity. The master takes perceptions as they are, claiming no more and no less that what one sincerely has observed. The master does not mix expectations or social position to one’s perceptions about the reality.