A man who is a member of a brotherhood living in a monastery and devoted to a discipline prescribed by his order; from the Greek monos, meaning single or alone.
Sometime around the year 270, a twenty year old Christian boy named Anthony, who had been raised in Egypt, gave away all his possessions and went to live in the desert. He essentially lived in solitude in the desert for the rest of his life where he prayed and supported himself by manual labor. And so began Christian monasticism, the solitary and ascetic form of life practiced by monks, and indeed the word monk comes from the Greek monos meaning single or alone.
Unfortunately, living the life of a hermit made it difficult to attract others to the monastic life, and also led to psychological problems. Eventually, in the fourth century, one of the hermits, or monks, had the idea to group his followers into a community with rules and guidelines and obedience to a spiritual father, or “abbot,” creating the first monastery.
As the movement grew, the monks roamed Europe, founding monasteries and preaching to the pagans, splintering into a variety of sects and forms, each with their own special rituals. But they all generally held in common a solitary religious lifestyle of discipline and hard work. It was also not uncommon for towns to grow from the nucleus of the monastery, with monks serving the community by making wine, raising sheep, and so on. But the most important of these roles was as the keepers of knowledge. Knights learned to fight, tradesmen apprenticed with master craftsman, and monks learned to read and write. The solitary life of the monk was ideal for learning to read and write, and they devoted long hours to the creation of manuscripts, virtual works of art that were treasured as such.
Knowledge, and reading and writing, became a source of wealth and power. At the simplest level monks could sell manuscripts for money, or charge others to transcribe stories, but there was great prestige in knowing something others did not, so there was somewhat of an incentive to keep this special knowledge from the masses.
We have our monks in the CAD world, the monks of 3D.
Time for a reformation, and a printing press.
By the way, monks were into marketing too, it seems. Check out this link from Seth Godin’s blog:
Gotta love those 17th Century Monks!