First off, if you missed my guest post over at Bio Break, please go check it out. The topic he gave me was loads of fun and I had a blast writing it. Yes, he was mistaken as to my gender, please don’t hamstorm him about it. If you were all wondering though, I do have an about page and it does have a picture for proof.
I’m willing to bet that a majority of you reading this played with Legos as a child. If you did not I’m sure you had some sort of building block toy, something which you used to make something else.
Children are creative, miraculously so. A tragedy I have seen is a coworker who brought in her child’s paintings and instead of appreciating the simple chaotic beauty, she always asks “well, what is it?” It just is, and isn’t that enough?
But beauty doesn’t last, and neither do the things we make. From a sibling coming and destroying our carefully wrought lego landscape to the digital representation of hours of work disappearing into the ether when our favorite multiplayer game goes dark, we live in a world where the only constant is change.
I heard a story once about a tibetan monk who spent hours and days constructing a sand painting. Shortly after completion a child came and began dancing across it, destroying the intricate design in moments. Instead of being angry the monk simply smiled and remarked about the beauty and freedom of a child’s simple dance.
When gaming, particularly with games like World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, and Minecraft we develop a sense of ownership towards our creations and avatars. When we step back, however, it’s obvious that these constructions are only so many ones and zeros and cannot (I would go so far as to say should not) exist forever.
I’m noticing this strongly right now when playing Minecraft. It’s a game I prefer to play with friends. What is the fun of building something fun and interesting without having friends to share it with? However, this requires a server to either be hosted by a person on their machine or to pay for a professionally hosted server. Inevitably people get bored, other responsibilities crop up, things change.
I have built many things, spent many hours, on things that are potentially gone forever. I do not mourn their passing, however, because the joy was in the building and in the sharing with others. Projects were completed and I am compelled to move on. Like balloons released to the sky.
Right now I’m building a tower on a friend’s server. Everyone is building a tower. Eventually these will be pasted into a wall to make a castle built by everyone. It’s a lot of fun and should be beautiful when it’s done.
Will it still be beautiful when the proverbial child comes dancing through and we scatter to other projects in other places?
Yes, I truly believe that.