Tinkering is about seizing the moment: it is about ad-hoc learning, getting things done, innovation and novelty, all in a highly social, networked environment. Tinkering is a bit like jazz.
Today we tinker with things; tomorrow, we will tinker with the world.
The counterculture is one important influence on tinkering; so is computer hacking, with its casual contempt for established authority, deep respect for arcane technical skills, and refined love of imaginative jokes.
Consumption encourages you to just react; the more thoughtlessly the better. Tinkering forces you to reflect, to learn from your experience, to think about why something has worked or failed, and to consider the possibilities before you.