John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

On Doing

Human beings are doers. When we're not busy doing something, we're busy thinking about doing something -- which is, in its own way, doing something. When we sleep, we dream of things we may yet do. When we wake up, we exercise so our bodies can do even more.

We're designed for doing. We're not trees; we can move from one place to another. Our memories allow us to travel back in time. Our intelligence anticipates things we may do someday. Our imagination can take up places we'll likely never go.

Look at the planet. You name it, humans have changed it, processed it, painted it, preserved it, moved it, or done something to it -- even if all we did was name it. We love to do stuff to the world.

Moss Hart was a director of plays in New York City. He also owned a country home where he would visit on weekends, constantly making his gardener put a few trees over there, a fountain right here, and a small hill just across from it. Playwright George Kaufman once visited and remarked, "It's just like God would do it if He only had the money."

From 30,000 feet we probably look like someone has kicked over our ant hill, all of us rushing here and there doing this and that. It's enough to make you wonder why. What is the purpose of all this doing? Why aren't we like rocks who don't do much of anything? Why do we have both the desire and ability to do so much?

Obviously, there are some things we must do to stay alive (eat, drink, breathe, sleep, procreate, etc.). But even after all of our needs are met, we keep on doing.

Why?

Here's what I think: Our doing allows for more learning.