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Hobby Lobby, Pinterest and the Maker Movement – The New Theory of Everything?

Hobby Lobby just opened up in my town. Now the parking lot is always full. How come this stuff is so popular these days? Is it something to do with Pinterest? What has made Pinterest such a massive success anyway?

People like making stuff. It’s innate to humans. Even animals like making stuff too. We now know that animals such as chimps, crows and even elephants make tools so we shouldn’t be surprised that we humans like making things too. Useful things, decorative things, crazy things. I guess it gets the same dopamine channels revving that also get excited through activities like sex and eating sugar.

So now we have a Maker movement. It is often used to refer to 3-D printing but also covers the decorative arts epitomized by Hobby Lobby and Pinterest.

Makers particularly love 3-D printers. Now you can use them to print guns, cars and, latterly, human organs. But Makers aren’t only technology types; in their more humble and endearing embodiment they are also the customers of Hobby lobby and Pinterest.

The Maker movement goes back a long way. Archimedes famously proposed that if you gave him a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, he could move the world. Latterly Freeman Dyson proposed solving our terrestrial energy problems once and for all by constructing a so-called Dyson Sphere, a huge container around a star that would catch all its power. Solar power on steroids sort of.

The way things are going, it looks like everyone is set to be a Maker, unless they just prefer to buy it at Target. But there’s a lot of people who cock their snoot at having to be dependent on others, especially large impersonal corporations that put stuff in their products which aren’t good for you (antibiotics in meat anyone?).

In our social definitions of people, we have gone through a lot of terminology. Slaves, serfs, peasants, citizens, denizens. Now we have makers. My guess is that the Maker aspect of people is going to redefine how we view people including through society, religion, politics and so on.

That’s because we admire the idea of being a Maker. Makers are independent-minded, creative, practical and altruistic. They stand for self-reliance, for not relying on others, government or handouts. They do things their own way, and revel in the fact that they didn’t need a formal education to do it.

Maker certainly sounds better than citizen, voter or consumer. Hobby Lobby and Pinterest play to these aspirations. Is it an accident that the founder of Hobby lobby is a devout Christian?

The Maker movement also redefines what it is to be a leader. You didn’t go to Harvard, or get a GPA of 4.0. You probably didn’t graduate high school or university, but instead hitch-hiked to Myanmar and smoked weed for a while. Then you were a part-time bartender and musician. That was when you realized you were really an organic chemist in drag and you could build new chemicals that the professionals couldn’t using a kluged up 3-D printer. That’s when you decided to start a rocket company that would use its own method to get to mars, not those developed by NASA or the Russians.

But, as it so happens, the Maker movement is even bigger than that. I don’t think it’s an accident that religions talk about a Supreme Maker. But in the modern conception, this guy doesn’t have a beard and flowing robes. He’s someone – maybe an ultra-advanced civilization – fooling around with Dyson Spheres or terraforming galaxies, just for the hell of it, coz its isn’t taught at Galactic school.

Maybe the Supreme Maker is actually the ultimate in dispersed intelligence – every speck of matter, dark or light, is acts as a cosmic neuron, kind of like the Black Cloud of Fred Hoyle’s famous sci-fi novel, but on a multiversal scale. But the form of the Maker probably isn’t that important; it’s probably more that there is one.

But here’s the interesting thing. If you have a Hobby Lobby or a Pinterest, it implies a Maker. If you have specks of matter that can form bigger things that also implies a Maker too, a Supreme One is this case. Unless there’s someone even Supremer that we can’t see yet

Hobby Lobby and Pinterest are telling us something big. They are really telling us someone is capable of making really big things. Now we gotta figure out who that is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, 16 December 2017

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