Hobbiest and tinkerers have always been around in our society. Only recently, however, does there seem to be a mobilizing of people who want to do things themselves. Part of this dynamic is the entire home repair and home improvement market, but it’s more diverse than that. I started reading “Make: technology on your time” a few months ago. It is nothing short of inspirational. Whether it’s sampling your own DNA, building a stirling engine or (my favorite) building a Palm Pilot Notebook out of an actual book, this magazine shows its readers an incredible selection of diverse projects. Reading about these creative activities in turn spawns people to try creative ideas of their own.
While I haven’t been to a Maker Faire, it’s the same idea and it’s sponsored by the magazine. It’s people using objects around them in creative new ways and in ways that were not intended for the object’s use. It’s anti-consumerism while still using consumer products. Wired magazine coves this and the growing maker movement in detail.
Distilling this to the essence, to me, the maker philosophy is finding entertainment in creativity. Playing games, watching television or movies is consumptive entertainment. There’s nothing left when it’s over. It’s a nonproductive end in itself. I’m not saying that’s bad, but I feel that maker time is time better spent. Being a maker is somehow purifying. A maker is using his or her clicks of time on this planet to a creative end. Clearly, the end does not have to be something that is actually useful. But it is the act of creating that makes this special. Its not just amorphous entertainment that is consumed and then finished. There’s something left over at the end of the experience. There is an object or a method or a computer program or whatever. That object can be shown to others and this then spreads the creativity virally and other people are inspired to create.
The Maker philosophy inspires the best use of human time, in my mind. People, to me, seem to be at their finest when they are taking an idea and making it into reality.