Repairing vs. Recreating

I enjoyed this article because it really does force you to think about where things go after you throw them out and or return them. iPhones don’t just dissolve in landfills, ships don’t sail forever after you step off them, and people make mistakes. Our minds often work in the mentality of out of site to of mind. In reality the things we create do go to a final resting place, either to be rebuilt, taken apart or destroyed. All of this I agree with and Jackson does make a convincing argument for the significance of repair to human existence

The question I was left with was, at what point does repairing becoming recreating. I know that Jackson says that repairs lead to innovation and I agree that this is true, but at what point does a repair cause an object to lose its character as a singular entity and transform into something entirely new.

The definition of repair is “fix or mend (a thing suffering from damage or a fault).” Taping over holes in a hose with duct tape is a repair, stripped a boat for parts isn’t. That ship as an entity is gone, each piece now has its own role in the modern economy. I think back to when I use to play with legos. I would create the pre-designed structures and spaceships and I’d set them aside to play with later. My brothers and I would all then play with our various lego creations together. Meaning that our creations would inevitably break into hundreds of unrecognizable pieces. We were then left with a choice, recreate the broken ship from memory (no child keeps the box and or directions after a lego creation is built), or take the parts and create something totally new.

Whenever we would try to recreate the ship something would inevitably go awry. It would be a dilapidated, misshapen shadow of its once self. Yet this was ok. It had taken on a new form. We did not pretend it was the same spaceship because it wasn’t that one had broken and become this new thing. Sometimes that new thing was even better than the first, because I didn’t try to repair it, instead I decided to recreate it.

Jackson recognized the importance of restructuring broken systems and objects, but he believes that these actions still fit under the umbrella of repair. I just feel his definition was a little too broad and by making everything seem like a repair of whatever similar invention came before it Jackson unintentionally undermines the importance of mistakes in the process of human creativity.

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