When thinking about design and all it comes to encompass, I cannot help but think of words written by Nelson and Stolterman, “man did not discover fire- he designed it”. This quote, like good design is simple yet precise and to the point; a great use of writing which is in and of itself a form of design.
As we grow and evolve we seek better explanations and rationale to what was, is and will be. We build on our knowledge, studying the past, trying to make sense of it in regards to our present. As much of a failed and feeble attempt as it is, we reason and plan for the future. It is in our very nature as humans to evolve, adapt and reflect. It is due to evolution and consequential reflection that we seek to reconfigure and rename that which is already in existence and practice. Time and time again we come to reflect on ‘design’ and doing so results in a subsequent restructuring, repurposing and redefining of its form, function and meaning.
The beauty of our imagination is its ability to spread like wildflowers towards extraordinary unrestricted realms which can extend far beyond reality. As designers we inhabit two worlds; we are here but we are also there- in the abstract, in the maybe-perhaps, in never-never land. We tend to drift, to wander within thoughts into possibilities and other-worlds as we envision future scenarios, even if said scenarios are beyond reach, beyond human capability. In this way designers are pioneers of uninhabited realities, stretching the boundaries of truth by working within the delta of what is and what could be. Although we freely envision all that could be, when it comes to the execution of our ideas, thought is not enough; concepts need to be articulated in order to become temporal. The art of design succeeds by way of evolving our visions tangibly given the limited constraints of our current reality.
On Technology & Empathy
Some scholars believe that the driving force behind our evolution is in fact not solely survival and reproduction, but also the need to connect. They believe our species is continuously seeking to broaden and deepen mutual connections in order to transcend ourselves. Author Edith Cobbs explained it beautifully when she wrote:
“The need to extend the self in time and space- the need to create in order to live, to breathe, and to be – precedes, indeed, of necessity exceeds, the need for self- reproduction as a personal survival function “ ( as quoted in Rifkin, 2009; 40).
We achieve transcendence through technology, which is an extension of our human minds; an embodiment for our ideas. With the emergence of language, our most influential technology, our minds were finally freed from limitations (Kelly, 2010; 37,44). Language enabled the extension of human social networks and complex social environments. A new school of neurocognitive scientist now believe language developed as an outlet for empathetic expression (Rifkin, 2009; 96) which then gave way to other technologies, further enhancing our empathetic extensions.
On Systems Thinking
“Being A Moleskin”
I am many things in a 5" x 8.25” frame. On the outside I am black oil coated cardboard with rounded corners. On the inside I am a stack of 192 cream colored- acid free papers bound together with thread. I have a sown in bookmark and an expandable pocket at one of my inner end, an elastic band is glued into my binding. Don’t let my looks fool you, there may be a lot out there who look just like me but I am 100 percent unique, one of a kind. I am one simply complex thing.
Oh to be a thing in the world! I am the indefinite pause. Vast and plentiful. Full of possibilities, nothing but a blank slate until I am everything but. I hold it all; dreams, ideas, secrets... notes... really I don’t know... I have no idea because I can’t make out half of what’s in me but I know what’s in me is of value. I have to believe it. I choose to believe it. I must hold some sort of meaning within my pages.