Embrace the clunk


Why you should occasionally take the stairs

Every since its fiery origins in an ancient cave, technology promised to make things easier. It would erase tedious steps from life’s processes. It would free you from the burden of collaboration, by enabling the one to do what used to require the many. It would save you, by making it harder (or impossible) to make mistakes. All it takes is removing a pesky human trait known as agency.

Seek not the seamless experience. Forget about finding the theory of everything. There is no system to rule them all. Life’s processes are clunky. So is the process of life itself. Embrace the clunk.

You think you want seamlessness, but You need a little friction. Yes, you could write the entire newsletter in one place, but it helps to scribble it out in a notebook, revise it in a text editor, and shift that blob online to revise it a third time. It’s not efficient, but that’s OK. To embrace the clunk is to enjoy the process, because the clunk is also called craft.

You don’t learn anything from one-click experiences.

The clunk is where learning happens and meaning is formed (Knowledge is not the same as information). Video games are all clunk: transport an ancient artifact from one castle to another, while fighting enemies along the way. You’d never just use the in-game FedEx. It’s never the most direct path from A to B and that’s the point. The clunk is the point of life.

Resist the temptation to turn every static staircase into an escalator of perpetual motion. Climbing steps is how you grow.