Looking at technology as practice, indeed as formalised practice, has some quite interesting consequences.**
The spirit of playful competition is, as a social impulse, older than culture itself and pervades all life like a veritable ferment. […] We have to conclude, therefore, that civilisation is, in its earliest phases, played. It doesn’t not come from play like a babe detaching itself from the womb: it arises in and as play, and never leaves.^
I tend to think of technologies as being the things we make but they are, more largely, encompassing all we imagine and then practise.
We share our playfulness with many species but there are things that only humans have brought into being through their developed play.
I’d happened to begin today pondering the difference mercy, grace and justice make in our world, how they are technologies we use, the exploration of which allows us to grow and develop and and inhabit a larger life:
We complete our personality only as we fall into place and service in the vital movement of the society in which we live.^^
The more we engage our imaginations playfully and then make happen what we see in our minds, the more we grow:
After each episode of flow a person becomes more of a unique individual, less predictable, possessed of rarer skills.*^
Rather than thinking of mercy, grace and justice being jobs other people do, instead understanding them to be technologies we playfully live within, what might mercy mean for someone we met, or grace, or justice?
(*From Alex McManus‘ unpublished Blue Moments.)
(**From Ursula Franklin’s The Real World of Technology.)
(^From Johan Huizinga’s Homo Ludens.)
(^^From Eugene Peterson’s Run with the Horses.)
(*^From Mihály Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow.)