"A razor's-edge experience"

“A razor’s-edge experience”

After the age of forty, every man is responsible for his own face.”

“In the logic of high technology, the fundamental premise is our incapacity. We are tired, fuzzy (in mind and face), and in need of a simple, safe, efficient solution. Gillette’s army of engineers go to work, and place in our hand “the best a man can get.” But there is another kind of logic—call it the logic of the blade. The double-edged razor blade, of course, is technology too, of quite an advanced kind. But the blade does not exist to underwrite our fuzzy, lazy, half-asleep lives. It requires something of us—discipline, skill, patience. The fundamental premise of the blade is that we can learn to handle fearsome things in delicate ways.”

Andy Crouch wants Christians to change culture, and he explains what he means in his new book Culture Making: Recovering our Creative Calling (some of his ideas are summarized in this article).  Crouch has written dozens of other articles which are available on his website. 

This article on shaving
is worth reading more than once.  In it Crouch reexamines the perceived
convenience afforded in the latest technologies from the shaving
industry and, in the end, settles on something much more “old
fashioned.”  Along the way he draws conclusions about the nature of
human experience(“the home requires, in its own way, as much valor and
steadfastness from both husband and wife as the battlefield") and
redemption (“Our final redemption will be, I think, a razor’s-edge
experience…” in which the master barber provides the final, “terribly
close” shave that sends us “glistening and new” to the feast).

As Crouch explains, the so-called “safety razor” looks anything but
safe.  It is clearly capable of doing a great deal of damage.  So, it
demands our attention and care.  “No one in his right mind can stay
half-asleep when he picks up a double-edged razor.” 

The same sort of intrinsic quality (demanding our care and attention
without the need for anyone to tell us so) comes up in this Tom Vanderbilt post
about driving in Spain.  The danger of the road spoke for itself,
rendering repeated warnings (virtually non-existent) pointless; and yet,
supposedly safe roads full of warning and protections so often prove
unable to elicit the same level of care.