Monday, October 18, 2010

Laws of Making 1: Love is the Foundation of True Making

Making Monday

At first glance, the Laws of Making may not sound terribly pragmatic. You're likely more interested in concrete, actionable ideas than the abstractions I presented last week, so I'm going to undertake a weekly series of posts, one per law, to explore the deep pragmatism hidden there in.

Love may seem like a nebulous, overly emotional place to start. If so, it's because of the degree to which the idea of love has been reduced to something emotional. Care, regard, and devotion are dimensions of love that that get much less airplay than the dimensions of love associated with romance. For example, the way in which one loves one's country involves a different mix of emotions, at different levels of intensity, than the way in which one loves one's lover.

The love of a parent for a child is closer to the love that is the foundation of true making than the kinds of love that arise in other human relationships.

If you love a child you attend to them, care for them, forgive their short comings, and acknowledge their independent existence by helping them grow into their own person.

Making something non-trivial--something worthwhile--requires time and attention, patience, and selflessness.

The first pragmatic observation is that it's much easier to do what is required if you not only love what you're doing but also love the thing you're making.

The second pragmatic observation is that in the course of making something, the thing being made will inevitably disappoint. If you love the work, you can forgive it and move on.

The third pragmatic observation is that there comes a time in every non-trivial project when you confront the question, "Is it about me, or about the work?" Users invariably answer that it's about them, and often come to hate the work because it's not giving them everything they expected. Makers answer that it's about the work, do what must be done to finish, and produce a thing with integrity.

True making, founded on love, gives the maker both peace and joy.

 Image: Bill Longshaw /

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