maybe I'm wrong

Mental prompts. Every weekday.

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Destined to Suffer
Our mammalian ancestors survived through intense paranoia - a trait that’s been handed down, and persists in a world where it’s intensity is no longer warranted. Of course, there are many real threats for many humans on planet earth, and for others there are far fewer. It seems only humans (and possibly a few other animals) are capable of crafting environments where suffering no longer bound by our evolutionary response to our environment. Environments where suffering can be intentionally reduced.

As a species, it seems we’re extremely good at collectively building goals and achieving them, even when they’re distributed among enormous populations (Iowa has 3 million people in it. When’s the last time 3 million whales, birds, or chimps collaborating on anything?). Regardless if our goals are the right ones, our complex web of social systems and shared symbols have allowed us to thrive. 

And yet, this lingering paranoia remains…

This intense paranoia, which ensures that we are never content with the current state of affairs, fits nicely into economic models that require growth at all costs -  models which prioritize the self above all else.

Maybe it goes both ways. Maybe this same paranoia will save us from the path of destruction it has carved.
In the world of design, the outsiders focus on form and function. Does this house look beautiful? Does this coffee maker work well?

Of course, the source of both of these questions depends on a designer’s ability to empathize with that which consumes the work. The answer to both of those questions is ‘it depends who you are.’ This is why we find home runs like the iPhone so exciting - the ability to match form and function across an audience that otherwise wouldn’t agree on either seems magical. But is it?

Maybe form and function belongs to two distinct audiences. Maybe the people who care a lot about how their phone looks aren’t always the same people who care how it works. And (most importantly) maybe most people don’t belong to either audience - they just want what everybody else has.

So maybe the home runs aren’t really about mass appeal - they’re about finding the catalyst so that everybody else can hop in.
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