|Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration
||[Jan. 11th, 2007|06:31 am]
Oh, Mr. Edison, you make it sound so easy!|
Do you know how much work goes in to making the simplest of things? How much design and effort goes in to a wheel or a gear, let alone the plastic in your dashboard or the circuit in a wrist watch? So many trivial things we take for granted.
Sure, we all tell ourselves that we understand, but until we go through this process, we cannot respect it.
Those who have, take for granted. Those who don't, want to smack the haves silly. Those who "DIY" pride themselves on rediscovering that which people have been doing for thousands of years and what most people do around the world.
Our fascination is not of our own ingenuity but the ingenuity of our predecessors. No act of invention is without supporting inspiration from someone else. Our desire is to add just one more brick to the tower pile of genius.
I wonder how old the concept of "DIY" is. At some point in the past, doing things ourselves became nostalgic. I suspect that, some time after or during the "industrial age," people began longing for the opportunity to optionally return to the "good'ol'days" where nobody did things for us.
As time passes, humans get further and further away from this point, we recognize less and less the hard work that goes in to things.
Now, this process is no longer taught in schools. Gone are the metal shops, wood shops, even home ec. is falling into obsolescence. We are left to buy our "solutions to modern problems" (mimes masturbation.)
Why is devolving becoming more and more attractive? But how, exactly, do we do that?
I am working (intern) at Techshop. They call it a "Mental Health Club" or a "Health Club for Geeks" but it is an open workshop/machine-shop for paid members. Membership is $100 a month, and that grants training in and access to the machines Techshop has acquired. Mills, lathes, laser cutter, rapid prototyper (3D printer, prints 3d models in ABS plastic,) plasma cutter, welding equipment, sheet metal equipment, plastic equipment, etc, etc.
I jumped on not just because, what a terrific opportunity to play with fun stuff, but also because I feel this is what society lacks. DIY is nothing without a means. Techshop IS that means.
Well, months have passed, and I have learned an amazing number of things I would never have expected to learn at Techshop; how to "do dry wall," handling insulation in an industrial complex, running power...welding and machining of course...machine maintainance... oh yeah, and how to respect the work of everyone else...begun to at least.
It's like an onion. It's got layers. Every layer removed, exponentially more respect.
So many of the tools are daunting. Even the most simple machine is a huge, mysterious beast of flesh ripping power. As you walk up to it, it grows more powerful and sinister...scary.
But as you use it...as you make sense of it...as you tame these magnificent beasts...they shrink...the mystery disappears...your perspective augments and the devices go from unwieldy behemoths to extensions of your own fingers...
Keep coming back, smaller and smaller and smaller...until one day, the tools disappear and you are making with your mind.