Geek As Citizen: To Play, Dream, and Experiment

As I previously explored, analyzing where we Geeks fit in as citizens, we’re passionate retainers of information that also apply that knowledge. We aren’t so much pure academics (though many of us are professional academics), nor are we just about doing things and being active. ┬áInstead we’re about the interplay of that knowledge and doing something with it. That’s what we’re inclined to do, frankly, and thus it is also something we can contribute as citizens.

We’re information and application bundled together. Actually considering the whole “passion” part it’s pretty hard to separate them anyway from geeks. Passion is often about getting your hands dirty.

There is however, a flip side to our role of “Applied Knowledge” that is also something we can do in society. Geeks also like to get wild and crazy with our applied knowledge, imagining and trying out all sorts of crazy stuff because it’s fun. In short, the flip side to or applied knowledge is toplay, to dream, to experiment and in short, to at times get stark raving bonkers in what we do.

If you’ve seen creative cosplay, Maker weirdness, crazy game mods, you’re probably nodding. Actually you’ve probably done something like this anyway, even if you’re not willing to admit it, use a pseudonym for your fan activities, or hope no one saw the photos from 2002. We geeks are experimenters.

That is actually a pretty valuable contribution to society and civilization. Society and civilization need people to dream, play, and experiment.  Indeed we need people to take risks, even ones that seem a little weird.

Yes, many of our creations will be personal, useless, of questionable value, or really outright stupid. That’s OK, that’s fine, because that’s part of doing experiments. If it was sure, then it wouldn’t be an experiment, it’d be manufacturing.

Out of all these experiments, in turn, come achievements. For every hundred people that go “what if?” there’s quite a few people that then go “eureka.” Yes there’s also a few people who go “what the hell was I thinking?” but hey that’s the price we pay. And we geeks take risks in our own way; you couldn’t easily stop us.

These risks may not be that big, it may just be an experiment with a costume, or a bit of code, or some writing. But in turn, those experiments may pay off, be they big or small – and at times the small experiments can pay off in massive ways. Ask the people that took a chance on “Star Wars” or “Minecraft” and so on.

In turn, as we are inclined to play, experiment, dream, conjure new ideas, we also get better at it. If you’ve ever kept pushing yourself – or just let go and gone creatively nuts – you know how it gets easier and easier over time. This ability to “get wild” with our imagination and make it real is its own skill set, one we hone over time.

We’re inclined to do this, we geeks. We’re willing to get nutty, weird, dreamy, and outright stupid. In turn, society can benefit – especially when we realize that is a benefit we can bring. Many is the time my own geekiness gave me the “experimental edge” to make crazy into successful (and had a few embarrassing moments, but hey, risks).

So when you ask what your place is in civil society, remember, my geeks, that we’re natural dreamers and imaginers who make the unexpected a reality. When we’re aware of this inclination, we can channel it to do a lot of good.

Just ask how many things you enjoy were someone going “hey, I have an idea . . .”

That’s you.

In closing I should note that I consider experimentation to be something everyone does to one extent or another in their lives and careers; it’s very human. It’s also necessary. I just feel that for the “Geek” in the larger it’s something we’re particularly inclined to do and should capitalize on it as part of citizenship.

– Steven “The Glad Scientist” Savage