…and talking about technology and ‘technical’ people, it always gets my goat to hear people restricting those terms, out of a combination of total ignorance and foolish vanity, to engineers. A carpenter, a potter, a chef or a shawl weaver is quite as much a technical person as any engineer is – the fact that he might not have gone to engineering school, and that his work may not in the current milieu command so good an income and ‘status’ as an engineer’s has everything to do with the way society chooses to value different things, and nothing at all to do with the level and intricacy of the skill involved (I have said before that Salman Khan does nothing at all, in the eyes of any sensible man, that makes him intrinsically worth 5000 times more than a computer code writer and 50,000 times a commando guarding our borders: it merely shows that we are an uncivilized society). Indeed, in more civilized countries even drivers and domestic help command such salaries that only millionaires can afford them, leave alone low-level techies.
Also, ‘technique’ is limited to machinery only by the very stupid. As any language teacher knows, prosody is a highly technical skill. There is very sophisticated technique involved in music and dance (leaving aside the chimp varieties, that is). To grasp the technique of painting or writing might take a lifetime: as the hugely successful novelist John le Carré famously said in his seventies, ‘I think I am beginning to understand how to write’ (Matter of fact: in all my thirty odd years of teaching, I have dealt with literally thousands who were good at math and physics, and I can count on my fingers how many of them could ever write even a decent letter).
So let my readers in future use these words more circumspectly.