When we meet together, we are doing something that is at the foundation of the experience of being human. We are making social connections and building the relationships on which our communities build trust.
In this age of the nation states that are built on the infrastructure of corporations as the centre for human activity, people have abdicated their power to legal fictions designed by monarchies for wielding power over the labour forces of their empires.
Somehow, we have been deluded into believing that the democracies designed by 18th century aristocrats would be suitable forms of governance for enabling people to achieve some semblance of meaning, purpose, and autonomy in their work lives.
We speak of work-life balance, but we fail to recognize that we have largely outsourced control of our social, economic, and political lives to the market.
We want tools to help make our lives more manageable, profitable, efficient, convenient, and secure. However, once we have optimized our lives for maximum security, productivity, and satisfaction, will we be able to achieve the fulfillment that we seek?
The politicians of nation states, the public relations representatives of corporations, and the leaders of our religious institutions are confident that they have the answers for what will make people happy. Why do we trust these authorities, leaders, and influencers? Have they really delivered on the political, brand, and divine promises of a secure and prosperous nation, a materially satisfied life, a peaceful contentedness in moral and spiritual transcendence?
What if life is messy? What if life is in process? What if life does not deliver what we expected?
It is through the principles of design that we can come to understand that life has limitations, constraints, and frustrations.
We make tools to solve problems. However, we have created tools at such a scale that the tools we have created have become the problem.
By coming together to discuss our questions, concerns, frustrations, and problems, we can acknowledge that all is not well. But we do not need to dwell in the sort of media environment that we have created that focuses only on everything that has gone wrong.
Design is ultimately a creative approach to solving our problems by using the tools we have available to us to research ideas, better understand our problems, think about the possibilities, prototype possible solutions, test and validate whether the prototype is an appropriate and effective solution to the problem, and to build those concepts into reality.
What if the value of being human involved influence, agency, and capacity to explore how we can imagine, design, and build the kind of world that we want to live in?
I doubt that we would design what we now have. Let’s challenge the status quo by meeting together to engage in the conversations that we should have been having all along, if politicians, corporations, and religious institutions were not dominating and monopolization public discourse.
We can rediscover our common humanity by finding common ground in meeting basic human needs and engaging in the process of building a resilient society.