In a study of 3,655 figures produced between 1975 and 2010, Dr Christoph Bartneck, a robot expert at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, said the manufacturer appeared to be moving towards more conflict-based themes in its toys.At first, this seemsÂ laughable. Our smiling Lego men have turned to angry Lego men? Probably doesn’t mean much. But consider some of the commentary that Bartneck provided as he reflected on the study:
It is our impression that the themes have been increasingly based on conflicts. Often a good force is struggling with a bad one. The facial expressions are not directly matched to good and evil. Even the good characters suffer in their struggle and the villains can have a smug expression. In any case, the variety of faces has increased considerably.It boils down to one word: conflict. Now let me argue something that may seem surprising. I think this is a good thing. I think it’s good that children grow up to learn that conflict is real, that there is good and there is evil, and that we all make decisions every day that take us down one road or another. While this is an interesting commentary for a kids’ toy, it’s an important lesson for adults. Conflict is what makes a good story. Conflict is what elicits passion, anger, sadness, love, and a host of other emotions. And conflict is often what God uses to grow us into the people He designed us to be. But conflict is not something we choose. In fact, we usually avoid it at all costs. Conflict is unpredictable and often takes us places we don’t want to go. We usually like the other side of a conflict but we rarely enjoy the journey through it. Conflict doesn’t happen in your pajamas on the couch. But I submit that meaningful life happens in the conflict. It happens when we take risks, when we step out of our comfort zones, when we embrace the unknown. So kudos to Lego for bringing us closer to reality through the facial expressions of little yellow men. The goal for each of us is to live without fear of conflict. To spend our days on what truly matters. To invest ourselves in the lives of others (and all of the messiness that comes with that). No doubt you are dealing with a few areas of conflict in your life as you read this. How will you respond? On a somewhat related tangent, make sure you check out The Brick Testament to see Bible passages illustrated using quite a few angry Lego men. Not entirely accurate but completely entertaining.
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