Ever since I turned 19 or so, I’ve been fascinated with the idea that being an adult allows me to be more of a kid than I ever was before. It really started with this xkcd comic, but the idea grew in my mind, and eventually the artistic side of my personality got a hold of it. Over time, that idea has turned into an artistic fascination with merging the world of children’s entertainment (crayons, colored pencils, kids’ toys,) with the adult world of art and science (research, installation art, fine art.) What I find really interesting is juxtaposition that emerges by combining the two worlds: drawing a beautiful piece of art with crayons or markers, using a child’s toy as a tool for research into human-machine interaction or as the platform for a piece of installation art. And while it might seem weird, I like the idea that I can do things now that I only dreamed of as a kid. I mean, I get payed to program robots to learn; I would have gone nuts over that as a kid, and I don’t ever want to lose that excitement at doing something cool.
The most important philosophical reason that I want to explore the mixture of these two worlds, however, is that I think we grow up too much and too fast. In a world where we really don’t have that much to worry about, we spend a lot of time worrying about things that our ancestors would have shrugged off. All that time we could be spending enjoying life is wasted on taxes or getting a better CV or impressing the boss. And those things are important, but you can’t do them all the time. It’s easy to get so caught up in what you’re going that you don’t realize how insignificant the consequences of taking a day or two off really are.
So that being said, I challenge you to take the day off from being an adult, and try being a kid for a day – shirk responsibility, go fly a kite, draw something with the most imprecise implement you can find, buy a huge box of crayons, eat desert first, build a potato canon – whatever it takes to get you to feeling that young fascination and enjoyment of the world again. Sometimes the simple things are more interesting than the complex ones.
Note: You may have guessed that this post relates to the recent eBay purchase I talked about in Twitter. You would be correct. I’ll explain, hopefully, in my next post. I’m building a lot of suspense around something that doesn’t really deserve it, but I don’t want to share my purchase until I can explain it properly.