I’m a designer that mainly works with digital materials, and while the pleasure of tinkering with a machine is something that I get quite a lot in software, to tinker in hardware and software (especially Meccano) is a rarer thing.
It seems to activate a way of thinking with the eye, the mind and the hand that is entirely natural, and the playful problem-solving instincts of childhood come rushing back.
Kevin Kelly writes in an essay about Artificial Intelligence that problem-solving is not just an abstract process of the mind, but something that happens in the world, and brands those who don’t believe this as indulging in ‘thinkism’.
The intelligence of the hand, and the eye, and the body, working with material things in the world, instead of abstract symbols in a computer you might call ‘Do-ism’.
Russell wrote something lovely for it:
Technology is not the enemy. Inattention and waste are the enemy. If you don’t notice your footprints you won’t clean them up. So remember to take notes and use whatever tools can to keep you paying attention.
As for the machine…
It’ll get finished this year, honest…