Meta-Makers

I asked a friend last summer if she wanted to read my blog.  She asked in return how often I posted. When I rather apologetically replied that it wasn’t very often, maybe twice a month, she seemed totally relieved and said that would be ok then! It made me laugh out loud because I knew exactly what she meant and didn’t take any offense that she seemed so happy not to have to read much of my writing!! We’re all so busy in our speed of light world that it can be hard to add one more thing to the daily to-do. Finding time to read blogs, let alone write them is a nutty idea. Needless to say, she’s been my blog’s BIGGEST fan for the past several months as I have found no time to write.

Finding the time to make things. Nutty. The other day, my husband was sharing with me a new service where you can order product photos to be create for you in a completely automated way. You place the order on-line. Mail in your “whoziwhatsit” and when the package arrives, a robot unpacks it, takes photos of it and automatically sends them to you digitally. It was striking to me because cameras already seem like a step away from human involvement to me. Even though I love and study film for a living, I have always been aware that a whole world of illustrators and artists were affected by the invention of a camera wielded by a photographer. With such a service as this, not even a live photographer needed.

And it occurred to me that we don’t make much anymore except the machines that will make everything else. We’ve become really good at making things that make things for us. Meta-making? Which is one way humans are set apart from other animals. We use meta-cognition (we can think about our thinking), we have meta-language (we can talk about our talking) AND we are meta-makers…we can make things that make things.  I don’t just mean the use of tools, we’ve done that forever, I mean tools that then take us out of the process entirely. And I’m not bemoaning this! Life is much better because of it. Automation holds much promise for helping the world to be a better place for more and more people.

Still, me, the non-Luddite, urges find time to make things with your own hands.  End products from your own hands.  It’s not lost on me that I’m making this plea via a machine that makes connections with people for me.  But if it weren’t for this machine, I never would have met Laverne Waddington (Laverne’s blog) in person and learned such amazing weaving from her hands.  She was here last Spring and I was completely obsessed with band weaving for quite awhile (I’m putty…).  She returned last week and once again, little tiny bands are all I want to do…why must it coincide with semester end grading?  It’s not right…hey…where’s that machine that grades student essays for me?! Get on it meta-makers.

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