Think Do Build

I’ve long noticed that I switch from thinking about things, to building things, to doing things. And the things that are the focus of this thinking, building, and doing also change over time. Sometimes all of this shifting around makes me anxious - am I really getting anywhere? At the same time, I have an intuition that yes: this is all adding up to something.

Recently I came across Aristotle’s division of human activity into theoria, praxis, and poiesis. These are intimidating words, because they’re Greek, but they translate to

  • Theory
  • Action
  • Creation

Another rendering might be: Think, Do, Build

This is super simple, but it was very helpful for me to see this division laid out. Because while I am all over the place in some ways, I can always identify which of these three I am oriented toward. That orientation certainly shifts by the day, week, or month, but it is always pretty clear.

For example, I have been building a first version of the data collection for Totality these last couple weeks. That’s where my mind has gone when I have any flexibility, and it’s what I work on before bed. But I’ve felt this itch to put that work on a more solid conceptual footing - to pop my head up, and make sure that I’m heading in the right direction. This requires thinking.

So that’s the primary conceit of this blog - that everything I’m doing fits nicely into one of these three bins, that they’re all (potentially) worthwhile, and that there may be value in describing all three kinds of activities.

Theoria Praxis Poiesis
Theory Action Creation
Think Do Build
Thinking Doing Making