Arth: Mages are just another set of craftsmen, who utilize magic instead of wood or metal. The mages dislike this "common" view, as they see themselves as "students of the universe" and "Scholars of cosmic forces". Scholars study the world and learn magic theory, the way people on our world learned law or engineering.
The admusing part now is that there is a "Technical Revolution" going on. Mages took the idea that matter is nothing more than confined magical energy, so matter and material science follows mystic rules. By applying the mystic laws to matter, they have begun a number of new discovereies: the printing press (law of knowledge and law of reversal), optics, gears and clockworks (laws of likeness and as is above, so is below), and material sciences (new alloys and processes which are analogous to magical processes).