Some tools exist with a particular purpose that sets their tone. The most obvious here is a weapon, who’s sole purpose is destruction. One can argue the use of a weapon as either offensive or defensive, but there is more agreement that the result of the use of a weapon is the destruction of the target.
Meanwhile a shelter is a fashioned tool that first protects the inhabitants from nature. It is a allows for life. It is hard to change the fundamental purpose of a shelter. It can be simple or extravagant, functional or luxurious. But, once the shelter springs a leak it has failed at protecting its inhabitants from the rain.
There is a third set of tools that while having an initial intent in being designed now sit as neutral objects. Take the knife as an example. The knife is considered the most versatile survival tool. It’s initial purpose is to cut. There are now many kinds of knife blades designed to efficiently cut different kinds of objects, but the basic knife is simply meant to cut.
Here’s the thing. We all understand that a knife can also be a weapon. What decides whether a knife is a productive tool or a destructive tool is the intent of the user.
A knife resting on a table is a neutral object. Pick it up and the knife is under the rule of the hand holding it. The knife can be pressed into the service of preparing food for cooking, or it can be used for hunting. It can be used to make carvings, or set at the end of a rifle as a bayonet. The knife itself is simply designed to cut. What it cuts is up to us.