Monday, July 25, 2011

Law 7: Vision - To See Beyond

Making Monday

There is an episode of Red Dwarf (Camille) in which Lister, the space bum, tries to teach the android Kryten how to lie.

Kryten: It's no good, sir. I just can't lie. I'm programmed always to tell the truth.

Lister: Kryten, it's easy. Look, [holds up an apple] an orange, [holds up an orange] a melon, [holds up a banana]  a female aardvark.

Kryten: That's just so superb, sir. How do you do that? Especially calling a banana an aardvark. An aardvark isn't even a fruit. That's total genius.
While admittedly silly, it does illustrate our capacity to see beyond the actuality of a thing.

We constantly make distinctions between objectively identical things: an otherwise unremarkable ring, for example, might be a cherished heirloom because it belonged to someone significant.

Makers take this a step further by being able to look beyond the present reality of a set of raw materials and see what they could become.

The seventh Law of Making, the first of the final trilogy called the Laws of Transcendence, is, "True Makers See Beyond the Actual to the Potential."

Makers see what can't be seen both in terms of the end of bringing something new into existence and the means of making the impossible possible. They find equal satisfaction in doing something that common wisdom holds can't be done and in creating a new thing. For writing this means a liberal helping of new ideas mixed with a fresh look at old ones.

The downside of this kind of vision is that once you've gone beyond an average banana to the exquisite universe of potential and possibilities that include a female aardvark, you'll find it difficult to be satisfied with the ordinary world. And you'll find it's nearly impossible to accept a half-hearted, run-of-the-mill effort from yourself.

Image: Bill Longshaw /

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