Pony Thought of the Day: Toys and Idols

I’m sitting staring at my Lyra, trying to figure out today’s Pony Thought of the Day, and so I find myself thinking about why the toy is where it is.

Lyra lives on my desk, between my monitors, and it is under her watchful, judgmental gaze that I do my work. Having her watch me makes me less distractable, or at least I think it does, and that amounts to the same thing in the end.

In this sense she functions very much like one use of an idol or household god. I think sometimes part of the price we pay for having monotheistic religions dominate in our culture is that we’ve lost this notion of making your own watchers, rituals, and superstitions, but play can sometimes restore this loss.

Which isn’t to say that I think Lyra is somehow real or that some sort of divine energy inhabits the little lump of green plastic on my desk or anything like that. It’s entirely something I’ve constructed; Lyra’s “watchful gaze” exists only in my imagination. Her effect on my productivity is pure placebo.

But so what?

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