Andrew Magrath (biggrumpy) wrote,
Andrew Magrath

An Essay on Lego

One does not “play with Legos.” Not if you are doing it right, at least. I despise that phrase, “playing with Legos.” Perhaps some do play with them, I do not. I build with Legos. “Building” and “playing” are so fundamentally different when it comes to Legos. You may “play” with your finished creation, but the act of creation constitutes “building.”

Building with Legos is to extend your will upon the rabble. To take an entropic state of bricks and color and bring them meaning, bring them context, bring them shape. It is a euphoric thing to change a pile of blocks into something all together more meaningful. The joy of creation is profound and deep. I do not mean following the manual, that is “play,” real building takes place with a dream or an echo. The finished form exists just on the periphery of the senses. Your creation is there in an ethereal sense, to build brings it form. Sometimes I know exactly what I will build, other times I blindly connect block to block searching for the shadow of a muse among the plastic.

To look upon a creation of Lego is to look upon a state of flux. For that instant it exists, but in another it could be a pile again. In another: a great castle filled with spires and bridges, in another: a car sleek and fast, in another: a space craft imposing and worthy of the space between stars. And so it goes until each brick has merged with every other brick. That which is built with Legos is in a transient state, even the most sturdily built castles spins the mind forward. The walls disappear and are re-contextualized. To gaze at any Lego creation you cannot help but unbuild it in the mind’s eye. These structures are only as basic as their components, only as limited as your mind. The bricks will go until your mind is spent and ideas gone, but when the creator’s supply of imagination has been replenished, the Legos will be waiting.

Legos are not the “infinite toy,” as I have so often proclaimed. They simply are the infinite. They are an ebb and flow of build to unbuild, disorder to order, creation to creation, dream to dream.

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