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December 7th, 2019
One way to define ‘growing up’ is the ability to acquire and play with a level of toy.
As children we start off with blocks and balls, Lego and actions figures.
Then we move on to bikes and phones, video games, clothes and cars.
Some of us stop. We get hung up on the delicious distraction of one particular type of toy and it just suits our fancy. Sometimes this “toy” can become a passion, as when someone finds they enjoy writing, language becomes a sort of infinity toy that can continually produce novelty.
There exists, however, a subtle shift between some things that we might call toys of pure distraction and pleasure and others that border on another category.
That is tools. Language is our most powerful and versatile tool which can also be leveraged for fun. But some do not stop there. Tooling around on a computer like a kid might tinker with a toy can turn into a skill that can leverage a person’s effectiveness in ways that a toy of purely distraction quality can never do.
There’s an easy distinction that can be drawn between toys that are merely for distraction and those that can be tools. We need only ask: is the creation going in as consumption or is it coming out as a sort of gift to the world?
With a computer a person can waste time browsing endless websites, or the same person can build a useful app that can be used by millions.
The same versatility does not apply to videogames. Such games are more like browsing than they are an act of creation. And with this distinction of consuming or producing we can categorize absolutely everything we might purchase. Does it enable more consumption or does it enable more creation?
The distinction can even go a little deeper: is it possible to be passive or does it require us to be active?
Are you buying toys to distract yourself more fully?
or are you buying tools to leverage your dreams even more?
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