Thinking through Making?

We assume that we make all things through thinking. None other than it is Aristotle, who taught us hylomorphism, where we are taught that we make things through thinking. This means things are first thought in the mind and then are brought to actuality. Let us ask the opposite of this usual position that we have accepted without much thinking. Can we think through making? We hold that we make through thinking, and we truly do. Are we also thinking that through making? If so, we may have answers to several of our problems such as climate change and the like, which are the result of making through thinking.

Making through thinking also affects our theory and practice. Theory is privileged and thought to guide practice and applications. Can our practice throw up theories? We are at home with making through thinking and hence affirm that it is thought that gives rise to things. This assumption also colours our thinking about creativity. Something to be accepted as creative has to arise from an idea that was never thought before. Creativity is, therefore, an innovation. This is reading creativity backwards. Can we read creativity forward? English anthropologist Tim Ingold thinks we can do. We can join the process of making and read creativity forward. This forward thinking is inductive while our usual backward creativity is making through thinking and is deductive.

We think through making by following a process of improvisation. To improvise is to think through making. Thinking through making is like making the road as we walk. This also means we are always on the way. Thinking through making lets everything remain in the making and is therfore, not a finished product. This is a forward thinking of creativity. It is the way of nature. Evolution was a forward creativity. It was an intelligent trail and error mode of learning that pushed its progressive stages. Therefore, creativity in the process of thinking through making does not lie in the innovation but stays in improvisation. Improvisation, thus, comes from the processes rather than a novelty.

Thinking through making requires deep awareness of the ongoing flows involved in the process of making. A simple example of the classroom may illumine us. A PowerPoint is closed and is a backwards creativity. It is an epitome of fixated closed thinking. Consider our grand old blackboard. It is an epitome of possibilities of improvisation. It is, therefore, an instrument of learning through forward creativity. Smart boards today open more possibilities for improvisation. We can see how forward creativity is is already introduced through activity based learning or through problem solving and even through playing games in our school. Thinking through making is indeed another very important way of bringing about change and creativity.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao