In Praise of Do-It-Yourself

Posted on May 20, 2020


Once upon a time, a philosopher praised idleness. Hard working people work hard. Lazy people avoid work. One way of avoiding work is to go creative. Creative individuals work less but earn more. They become famous and go to celebrity heaven. How do they get there? Say, inventing a steam engine or a 5D printer. Or singing as The Beatles. Or squeezing artificial intelligence into a mobile phone, so that everybody has everybody else at his or her or its fingertips.


Hackers want to be creative, without the professional drill of apprenticeship. Go hacking, young man, avoid corporate rat races. Wait for a chance. For instance for a pandemic pandemonium. Hard workers are laid off. Airport lounges, shopping centers and office spaces are empty. Farmaceutical companies are caught red-handed, exposed as hurdles. Hackers’ luck? Vaccine for free, courtesy boys from the hood?


Names like Underground Science Space, or Counter Culture Labs, or Open Insuline Project suggest an alternative for the idle and the creative. No more professional drills in bureaucratic mills (academic or military or corporate). Do-It-Yourself is the new name of the game. Grassroots. Hackers. A new Wild West of the flash crowd and crowd funding frontiers. Hackers can fly to Las Vegas for a Biohack the Planet conference and then go back to their garages with robots and viruses and Do-It-Yourself designer dreams.


Haarlem, May 20, 2020