In his very readable book Makers, Chris Anderson lists three of the free benefits for 3D printing.* Whilst 3D printing is not scalable – each item costs the same – it does make it possible to offer variety, complexity, and flexibility without extra cost.
And so does friendship.
If that’s a crazy leap to make, let me backfill a little.
Last night my wife and I were out with a group of people whose friendship we value. Then, this morning, I read the John Donahue’s suggestion that ‘Friendship is a creative and subversive force. It claims that intimacy is the secret law of life and universe.’
Some of last night’s friends are working together on an initiative. Some might think this is a risky thing to do – what do you do if something goes wrong? Others may say it’s about completing the work: “I’m not here to make friends!”
Of course, we can’t be friends with everyone we meet – this cheapens what we mean by friends. Most of our “friends” on Facebook aren’t really friends. Yet, if we were to meet any of them, we could express friendship towards them.
One source suggests there are different kinds of friendship we can offer: building people up in their talents, being companions through the problems of life, mind-openers to new possibilities, navigators through challenges and circumstances, collaborators on projects, champions standing up for others, connectors joining people up in significant ways, and, energisers creating positive environments. There’s a lot of possibility in these friendships, and they all come free with variety, complexity, and flexibility.
Friendship is the sweet grace which liberates us to
approach, recognise and inhabit the adventure.
(*Anderson’s book argues for the new industrial revolution being with us because of new means of production make it possible for the designer of a “product” owns this through to production.)