Yeah, but Can You Do Anything with This?

A few years ago I wrote an article for American Vision that linked God’s Sovereignty with my playing of a video game (Taking Dominion Starting with Guitar Hero). Sadly, with the change of website publishing platforms over the years, the comments never made the transition. I received a lot of flak and encouragement from my tale. Most of the criticism came from taking a few sarcastic remarks a little too seriously. Others from those who didn’t make it past the first few paragraphs.

My wife suggested I resurrect that article for Godfather Politics. Not sure how to fit it into GP’s political theme I have decided to continue with a companion piece. If you haven’t read the original article, I suggest you do that now before continuing. You will be giving a great ministry a welcome influx of traffic and you will get a little more understanding of my background.

The basis for what I currently do is found in the infamous question asked by every father who every lived when watching their child doing what appears to be a waste of time. That question presents itself in various forms. For my father it was always asked as:

Yeah, but can you do anything with this?

Always mindful of this question, I chose to steer away from trying to justify my habit of playing Guitar Hero and confirm what my father had always assumed. “It’s a good time waster.” I’m sure I was much more eloquent than this, but that is exactly what I meant. It was relaxing and took my mind off of “important” things. We all need a time to unwind.

With the internet age, time wasters are what is driving the world economy. Most of these time wasters tend to come about organically, some were in development for years or decades (smartphones and tablet PCs for example) but the technology didn’t exist to make them a reality. I will state right now that I am a pretty wicked Angry Birds player. Those pigs don’t stand a chance against my screen swiping skills!

What most of us forget is that the internet is a highly unregulated economy. It is governed by old copyright, trademark, and grey area patent laws. Beyond that, it may be described by some as the Wild West. Most businesses know what they are in for when they enter the internet realm in search of new revenue. The old stalwarts of media like newspapers, magazines, Hollywood, music producers and the like have attempted to disrupt the natural flow of this economy with disastrous results. Instead of embracing what is, they sought to fight it and have been on an uphill battle to regain their heights of those media stalwarts with various success.

The internet has made the “yeah, but can you do anything with this?” turn into, “when are you going to start making money with this?” It is the Industrial Revolution all over again on verge of being interrupted by politicians who only care about keeping their jobs. It is the closest thing we have to pure Capitalism where private individuals and business can interact with little regulation.

Those with ideas and ambition move quickly into the almost zero cost world of the internet. Business moats have become shallow are narrow to the point where anyone with any type of business idea is able to market products and fill orders within hours and almost no capital. The really smart ones are able to start with no money down. Sure it’s risky, but the rewards are massive.

My own “Yeah, but can you do anything with this” has translated into an ever-evolving and growing web of responsibility that I could never have imagined in college, let alone high school. It would take pages to explain how this happened, but it all started with a simple video game. Without knowing it, I was learning valuable life skills in an organic way. It is what we do with those skills that matters most. We can choose to relegate them to our couch or we can apply them to our lives and make something of them.

The phrase should no longer be “Yeah, but what are you going to do with this?,” but “When are you going to make something of this?” We can do great things with even the smallest amount of knowledge. Knowledge is not power. It is a tool. What we do with that knowledge is what we will be remembered for.