Shut Up and Make More Stuff

In Japanese society to be considered a cultured adult, you need to have an art. Not just painting or sculpture, but a whole range of skills from Judo to flower arrangements. (Googling failed to yield a proper source to cite, so we're going to have to leave this one at "it was in a book I read." I spent a couple of days searching for it online, but am drawing the line at digging around in my basement for a book to prove a one-off point.)

We live in an embarrassment of choice for entertainment. Hell, we're sharing dozens of jokes created by random people a day in the form of memes shared on social media. All of this should be empowering all of us to create more things, share the, and realize what a crazy time we live in. Instead, we're all being head fucked into using the greatest communication the world has ever seen to follow celebrities' every stray thought.

This is because we're trained again and again that the only art worth paying attention to comes from professionals. Neil Gaiman is a really great fucking writer, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check out your friend's short story or screenplay. Not so you can bash them on the head for a Frank Herbert-like mysterious great work before a long slide of mediocrity. No, you should do it to encourage them to make stuff.

It isn't just painting, writing, or other traditional "arts." Solder together some tangle of weird wire that does nothing but take an afternoon of concentration. Code a rudimentary game that makes you think about things as a system for a week. Create a mosaic of Stewie from Family Guy with your backyard flowers.

Making stuff isn't just about expressing yourself to the outside world. It's a unique process to understand the inside of your head. I wrote better when I started writing code at work. I began to understand the way that I developed ideas, evolving from a basic kernel and adding more and more detail. This lead to me changing the way I wrote blog posts. I started rewriting drafts in their entirety before sending them on to the editor.

Understanding what you can create, and empowering yourself to do it can free you from the banality of passive consumption. You can see how much "essential" entertainment and information is just noise taking up your time.

Is this preachy overwrought bullshit? Probably, but that's what I make here.

Photo Credit - Sarah Nichols via Flickr

Mike M

Mike M

I have written various kind of reviews for years. I currently write for Make Use Of. I used to write for Digital Entertainment News, Macgasm, and the Examiner. My day job is as an IT monkey. Follow me on Twitter.