Monday, June 1, 2009

Design is Life Awakening to Its Possibilities

Design expresses the process of life becoming consciousness of itself. Usually, we don't think of it this way. Instead, we imagine designed objects, like buildings, computers and shoes, being the work of an individual designer shaping raw materials into a form that serves our needs. "Does this _______ make me happy?" is the central question regarding everything from coffee cups to cities. While this has its practical value, it mainly has the effect of reducing the life force within us to a judge who divides the world into things that are satisfying and things that are not. The mind constantly works to stay satisfied, but suffers from almost continual dissatisfaction.  Cue up Mick singing "I Can't Get No Satisfaction."

Maybe design isn't mainly about satisfying our personal preferences. Perhaps creating buildings, roads, bicycles and eyeglasses is a process of life working through us to discover its possibilities. I'm not talking about life as some Wizard of Oz character standing behind a curtain pulling levers and pushing buttons to make things happen. I'm talking about it as a spaciousness within which flows of energy move into matter, shaping and reshaping it for nor reason but to explore possibilities. It does this endlessly through countless beings, substances, patterns, randomness and who knows what else.

From this perspective, we are released from the tyranny of "getting it right" and are free to choose kitchen sinks, doorknobs, and roof shingles as acts of play. The size and arrangements of rooms can become a reflection of how the life force within you actually wants to inhabit the world, not how your mind believes it should dwell here.

Instead of judging various the buildings in your neighborhood according to whether or not they conform to rules of right and wrong design, take a few minutes to experience them as waves in the ocean existence. Imagine them as a momentary picture of life energy rising and falling, shifting into forms that will eventually move into other forms. Watch how the sunlight explores the possibilities of color and shadow as it travels across the exterior walls. See how the plants change the scene at different times of the year. See the life force within you experiencing the life force around you as waves of energy discovering its possibilities through matter. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tony, like you're idea of non-judgmental experiencing of life as waves of energy.Very cool. I very much believe in that myself.