Monday, November 8, 2010

Laws of Making 4: True Making is an Expression of Hope

Making Monday

The first Law of Living is that True Making is an Expression of Hope.

I've touched before on hope and despair. It's a deep topic and one to which I can hardly do justice. Here's the key distinction:
A life built on a foundation of hope is open to the idea of a greater good. A life founded on despair admits no greater good than self.
The universe, if we understand the second law of thermodynamics correctly, will ultimately run down; everything tends to decay and dissolution.

Some confront that truth and despair. Makers, perhaps because they simply can't help themselves, create structure, order, pattern, and rhythm--not because they deny the ultimate end, but because they defy it even if only for a moment.

Defiance captures only a portion of the true maker because the sustained urge to create isn't motivated by hubris. True making transcends self. It's about communing with something greater by adding significance to the universe.

Making is fundamentally the process of transforming something. Intentional transformation adds significance to the thing transformed and sets it apart from the other, untransformed things. Consider two rocks, one of which has something carved in it: they're both rocks, but the one with the carving conveys significance because it was altered intentionally.

If that's a bit too abstract, consider this exchange between a grandfather and grand son:
"When you go to the beach, who’s building sand castles?” asked the grandfather.
The grandson shrugged. “Some kids?”
“Right. Why do you think adults rarely build sand castles?”
“They’re too busy?”
“Not the ones sunning themselves. I think it’s because they know the tide will wash them away. Now, why do you like to build sand castles?”
“I don’t know. I just think it’s fun. I never thought about the tide.”
“Nor should you. Building a sand castle is a small act of hope—not because you wish it would last, but because it’s worthwhile, or fun, right now. And when the tide does come to wash it away—and it always will—it simply means that you can build a better one.”

Image: Bill Longshaw /