Not everything you do has to have A Purpose.
You know about A Purpose. The one with capital letters. The one that’s so important. The one that we think we’re supposed to have since everyone else asks about it.
Whats the Purpose to your cosplay?
What’s the Purpose for playing video games?
What’s the Purpose for your Sherlock/MLP crossover fanfic*?
We’re expected to have A Purpose for everything it seems. People will ask about it and some of them will look down their noses if we don’t have A Purpose.
However the lack of A Purpose is sometimes the very point. A lack of A Purpose is in fact, A Purpose in the first place. Take this from a guy who’s spent years blogging about fandom, geekery, and careers, a lack of A Purpose can be important.
We don’t have to do everything for some big reason.
Maybe we do our geeky things for fun and recreation. Maybe they relax us. Sure it’s not A Purpose, but it’s damned important.
Maybe we do our geeky things to be social. Maybe we meet people, make friends, or just get laid. There’s something that may not be A Purporse but it’s human and it’s fun and it’s part of who we are.
Maybe we do our geeky things because they’re part of us. It’s just who we are and this is an expression of ourselves. That’s important, that’s critical, even if it doesn’t fit someone else’s definition of A Purpose.
Finally, maybe we’re just exploring. Something that doesn’t have A Purpose can turn out to become one in time, but first we have to dive into the crazy, put on that Homestuck costume, write that indie video game about gerbils, and just see what happens.
If we do everything with A Purpose then soon nothing will have A Purpose. We’ll be shoving things into categories that don’t fit them. We’ll be killing our ideas and mummifying them before they can live. We’ll try to live with A Purpose of yesterday and never find a new one.
So, and I say this as a total professional geek, indulge in your behavior with no purpose. Explore. Have fun. Get wild. It’s just as important as the great causes, and may actually yield new ones – you just won’t know until you get crazy.
Also, give people a break on their seemingly weird and stupid stuff. They don’t have to have A Purpose either – and they might surprise you in the end.
In the last few weeks I got to see a blinged out flying saucer, a human cosplay of a showgirl MLP character, and a home-made light-up TARDIS backpack. Any of those have A Purpose? Hell if I know.
They were just cool, or unusual, or gutsy. Good enough.
Who knows what will come from them? Whoever was doing them had fun.
Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach. He blogs on careers at http://www.fantopro.com/, nerd and geek culture at http://www.nerdcaliber.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at https://www.stevensavage.com/.