Monday, January 10, 2011

Law 1: Love is Passion

Making Monday

Love is the foundation of true making.

Asked to define love, many people might start with romantic love. (And the facetious might point out that the relationship between love and making is obvious if you add, "out" after making.) The more thoughtful who go in that direction might arrive at the notion of passion, though more in the sense of "a strong affection or enthusiasm for an object" than "ardent affection."

The problem with the romantic analogy is that relationships that are fundamentally about passions, drives, and basic instincts, tend to be short-lived, burning brightly in the night of desire till only ashes remain in the harsh light of day. Mercurial artists who fling a dollop of paint on a canvas and call it art notwithstanding, making is about more than a one-night stand.

That said, there is a degree of the irrational, compulsive, and inexpressible, so well characterized by romantic love, in the love of makers. Making is purposeful--an expression of intent--but if you press for motives, at a deep level the answer to the question, "Why do you make?" is, "Because."

In contrast, the user knows exactly why they make: they've carefully calculated what they expect to get through their efforts.

In writing circles we often say that writing is our passion; that you must write for love (because you're likely to be disappointed if you write for money); that you must write because you have no other choice. Those ideas are a reasonable approximation of the passion that is part of the love of the maker.

Image: Bill Longshaw /

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