Perhaps not anthropomorphizing, but is perl the old guy here, or the garage? Looking at it this way, I see it more as the garage, where yes, you can still get into trouble by sliding a board across the planer with your hand and slicing your hand (similar perhaps to hand-rolling something instead of using an available module), or getting into a table saw (regex?) or tangled in hoses and/or wires (data structures?). Yes, sometimes you see one of those shiny new tools (like objects, for example) laying in the toolbox (because it might sometime be useful, although it might be a little battered before it makes itself comfortably at home). And, if you poke around and explore enough, sometimes you find something in the toolroom to make your current project easier (or just to play with because it seems cool).
If you follow that thread along, then in a way you could look at the Monastery similar to a relaxed high-school shop class, where you have students of varying grades (levels? experiences?) asking questions or showing some of their latest creations or helping another with a particular tool they can use fairly well, the occasional class clown or troll, a few who want to know if you can make them something without trying because they forgot to do their homework for next period and want to borrow yours, and very patient, sometimes over-worked teachers who stay with it for the love of teaching and the subject, who (gently or thru percussive therapy) try to get it through our (sometimes thick) heads that safety and having fun it don't have to be mutually exclusive.
Appologies for the sleep-deprived ramblings, but that's what I thought of when I saw dws's reply.
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