Monday, October 3, 2011

What to Make of Making?

We've devoted the last nine months to an exploration of each of the Laws of Making. Amid all that time, energy, and thought, we didn't find a single tip or technique. That's because each law captures a facet of the character and wisdom of the makers.

While I've striven to show how ideas like love, beauty, and truth, which most people treat as abstractions, have concrete and profound application for makers, we're still faced with the general question, "Well, making sounds nice, but does it really make a difference?"

It does in the ultimately most important sense--which is only apparent after the fact of a life (and so admittedly isn't very compelling in the here and now). You see, in the end the most important thing you can make is yourself.

We are, by nature, users. We begin our lives as selves whose only concern with the wider world is how it affects us. The squalling child knows only that when something makes them unhappy crying brings relief. As we grow, we learn to do more for ourselves. And sometimes that's all we learn.

By doing something for someone else, with no regard for our own benefit, we make ourselves into something more than a user. We escape the inevitable spiral into despair of a self-centered universe and embrace the hope that our efforts will make the world better.

The Laws of Making are the fundamental guards that keep us firmly grounded on a foundation of hope. They give our efforts meaning. Without Love, Beauty, and Truth, our work is a sham. Without Hope, Faith, and Charity, our endeavors are infected with cynicism and guile. Without Vision, Devotion, and Completion, we sell ourselves short.

What day-to-day difference do the Laws of Making make?

The difference between joy and drudgery.

Image: Bill Longshaw /

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