Resist or Exist?

I have continued to think about the point I was attempting to make in my previous post and today my good friend Jen helped me name it further. Basically, the question I’m considering in design is: Does it resist change or does it exist with change? The pro-camping weather-immersion example I relayed is because when people go camping they deliberately immerse themselves in an environment that is structured with fewer barriers to uncontrollable elements than the one they will return to, where the environment is designed to actually resist those same uncontrollable elements. Magnificent insights can be gained by existing in, with, and of something, rather than viewing something and determining what degree of barrier is necessary to remain distinct from it. This isn’t just a physical phenomenon with weather or dirt, this same concept applies to identity, thoughts, and creativity, and has profound effects upon compassion, intelligence, and skills when practiced. The challenges of the world, the wicked problems, would be halved if we collectively had more compassion, intelligence, and skills from which to address them.

One of the ways designers are facilitating that process is by designing, at every level, to intentionally stimulate existing with rather than resisting. To do this, designers have to be able to perceive the actual desired experience that someone they respect might want from the interaction, and then design that way even though it’s for people they don’t know. In other words they need to respect strangers and assume that these strangers also want a world that is more respectful. They also must cull the actual significance of the experience so that users are not wasting energy on unnecessary obstacles and can get right to it. In other words the need to design for the type of user who is so busy establishing global peace treaties that there’s no time to waste on gimmicks or sales traps. Designers must establish systems that allow themselves to need less credit for their personal efforts, to be rewarded instead for the benefits of collective participation and cooperation, and then be able to immerse these models within society. In other words, designers need to stop culturally training destructive, competitive behaviors and instead start facilitating rehabilitation and interdependence.

All of this will happen through acceptance of our current condition and existence. None of this will happen through pushing away our current condition of resistance. We must stop designing from resistance to the world around us and start designing for existence in the world around us.