Sharing is Caring
First of all, a big “Thank You!” to those of you who’ve written to let me know I’m not a lone sufferer of Legophobia and shared your personal brick stories of terror and bravery.
Second of all, an even bigger “THANK YOU!” to those of you who complained that I had made up a condition to justify my prejudice against what is probably one of the most beloved childhood toys in human history. After all, the only appropriate answer when one is given feedback is, of course, “Thank You”.
According to Urban Dictionary, Legophobia is “the irrational fear of playing with a Lego set”. Urban Dictionary goes on to assert that the fear is due to “a person’s negative school experience when trying to visualise three-dimensional solids”. This definition has been given a definitive 210 thumbs up from 210 Urban Dictionary readers.
Ways of Seeing
I can’t remember when my aversion to Lego developed, but I remember struggling with the VRML module on my Masters in Computer Science course. These days I still find it hard to visualise in 3D but that’s because I naturally visualise in 2D images and words. As a writer, my preference for words and 2D to date has been more than sufficient in enabling my imagination to express itself.
What’s more, I’ve managed to lead an extraordinarily playful life in spite of my limited physical depth perception. With hindsight, I believe this is partly because of my acute level of critical self-reflection. You lose some, you win some.
The Same Fear by Another Name
A further Google search reveals that a synonym for Legophobia is Lateriphobia (from Latin Lateri meaning “brick”), a term coined by Kaleb Palmer in 2015.
According to Kaleb, Lateriphobia is a condition you are either born with or develop as a result of “difficult or terrifying experiences” with Lego such as “accidentally deconstructing it then fixing it”.
Kaleb continues, “In extreme cases, Lateriphobia can cause hysteria. Sufferers may feel like the Legos are trying to harm them and do what they can to either destroy or escape the Legos”.
I have no doubt many of us will have observed repeatedly such reactions from toddlers attempting to play with Lego, to young children transitioning from Duplo to Lego as well as older children and adults.
Lateriphobia as a Lifelong Companion
Based on my observations and firsthand experience, I assert all human beings are susceptible to Lateriphobia throughout our lives. What’s more, Lateriphobia could be used to describe the universal human condition that is our aversion to learning: because learning causes discomfort, can be difficult, requires work as well as reveals our deficiencies and incompetencies.
How can play help you with Lateriphobia?