Why is Lego the most ingenious toy in the world?
This is a question in the book Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. And the answer is that:
- Each block is indivisible.
- Each block is solid, impermeable and un-cuttable.*
- They have different shapes and sizes.
- They have 'hooks' and 'barbs' so that they can be connected to form every conceivable figure. These connections can later be broken again so that new figures can be constructed from the same blocks.
- They are 'eternal' in that children of today can play with the same blocks that their parents did when they were young.
The reason that these features are so special is that these are all properties that the philosopher Democritus
ascribed to atoms
. They mimic atoms, the tiny invisible building blocks
of life, in that they are eternal
(because nothing can come from nothing
), but that they are not all the same. Which is why atoms can make everything from daisies to horses to fingernails, and why Lego can make everything from castles to spaceships to island shacks for pirates.
*The word 'atom' means 'un-cuttable'.