A few weeks before my son turned five, we were sitting at home, I enjoying some technical stuff on my laptop, he playing with his toys. You know when your kid is very silent, either something bad is happening, or, in rare cases, he’s up to something not so bad at all.

The cause of silence turned out to be the following representation of his favorite topic nowadays: dinosaurs.

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It reminded me of the days I had so much playing with similar material (though of definitely lower quality): Observing the physical universe around you, making generalizations, creating abstractions, forming concepts in your mind, then using those to create something physical, using your hands, guided by your brain. The joy, the pleasure, the satisfaction that follows it. Shaping a piece of elastic material, with not many constraints other than imposed by the molecular structure of it coupled with the one of your brain.

One can also create a lot of things, simply by thinking and using minimal amount physical movement: think literature, mathematics, computer programs, musical compositions. But creating something with your hands, spending more energy, using your body more; does that lead to a different kind of pleasure? If so, why?

Those are only some of the questions that can be tackled scientifically or philosophically. But for now, I think I’ll simply prefer to get my hands on a piece of play dough, and then get my hands dirty, guided by mind and brain.