The Modifier

If there’s one trait which characterizes me, it’s that I modify things. I can’t help it. If I see something that I believe could be better, and modifying it to make it better seems to be within my abilities, I try.

When I was a kid this often meant I broke things and then felt ashamed.

Now I’m more likely to recognize when something is beyond my abilities– but not always. I still break things.

This trait is why my flashlights all have LED bulbs in them now. It’s why my vehicle has Fischer cup holders (not an affiliate link), why I made litter boxes for the cats, why I made myself a standing desk years ago, and why I can never seem to leave “well enough” alone.

Most of my former bosses seemed to appreciate this quality as I was good at solving problems with what I could scrounge up and modify.

But I don’t stop at physical things.

When the English language seems inadequate to a task, I coin a new word. “Archate” is not the first by any means, nor was it the last, but it is the one I most hope will eventually catch on.

The reason I coined “archate” is that I really like the Zero Aggression Principle as worded by L. Neil Smith, but I knew it could be better. It was essential, but not sufficient because it didn’t cover everything humans have no right to do– everything which violates the equal and identical rights of their fellow humans. Yes, some people try to define theft, fraud, etc. as “aggression”, but it’s a stretch.

The ZAP, in my opinion, needed modification so I searched dictionaries for a word which suited it better than “aggression” and found none.

So I coined a word and modified the ZAP to become the Zero Archation Principle. Did I break it or make it better? I can’t know the answer to that, but I can say with complete confidence that I don’t feel any shame over my modification this time.

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Kent McManigal

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