Have a monozukuri day

With only slight exaggeration I would say that we are not; we continually constitute ourselves anew and differently at the intersection of all this influences that reach into the sphere of our being.*
Rainer Maria Rilke

The sense of wonder can also help you to recognise and appreciate the mystery of your own life.**
John O’Donohue

Monozukuri is Japanese for “thing making” – tinkering.

Gunpei Yokoi was a tinkerer. I’ve just been reading about how Nintendo’s designer enabled the card game manufacturer become a leading games producer, not by leading the technology but with lateral thinking and withered technology, that is, using ideas from other areas of life and dated technology.

When the Game Boy was released,^ one of Yokoi’s colleagues glumly told him that a competitor was also launching a handheld device. Yokoi asked whether it had a colour screen and, when confirmed, replied “Then we’re fine.”^^ Yokoi knew that who the Game Boy lacked human imagination would fill in. He was right.

This got me thinking about how we each get to tinker with our lives every day. We are infinite beings, inasmuch as there’s always another way to invent ourselves. It doesn’t matter if we think everyone else has left us behind with some shinier, trendier, teched-up lifestyle. That there’s more past than future means we have a wellspring of “withered technology.” With imagination, we can bring something innovative and generous and satisfying into being.

*From Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters on Life;
**From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes;
^Yokoi noticed someone playing on his calculator in order to pass the time on a train journey home and wondered if a game could be made small enough for a businessman to play with it on his journey home;
^^Gunpei Yokoi, quoted in David Epstein’s Range.

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