The Magician.

ComicGrid4

When a young magician completes his studies, his is endowed with a sense of duty to create good. So he sets off into the world of people, and as it happens there are people with problems everywhere you go

He happens upon a group of people looking for food. Luckily, a magician is great a figuring out what the problem is immediately. Emily Pilloton warns, “you cannot design solutions for people who need them unless you fundamentally understand the problems,” but confident in his untested solution, he creates for them field and introduces the group to agriculture. 

What’s happened here can be summarized by Victor Margolin

  • We have a desire to help
  • Our experiences are framed in a value structure unique to our country
  • We try to drive change in a geographic area
  • We inadvertently or explicitly export our value structure

When the magician returns, he realizes that for some reason his solution didn’t stick. Maybe the people just didn’t “get it”. Luckily, he has a solution. As Bernays claims, all it takes is one small, powerful group to sway the larger public in its attitude towards ideas. And after all, this for their own good.

So he creates two influential leaders to guide them. Bernays says that anyone may try to convince others and to assume leadership on behalf of his own thesis. It is the power of the group to sway the larger public in its attitude towards ideas.  This is exactly what the two helpers do.

The first Helper teaches the people Margolin’s expansion model. He shows them that markets drive the world and the path towards happiness is the consumption of goods.

The second Helper believes in Margolin’s equilibrium model and teaches them that the world is a set of ecological checks and balances.

Allowing themselves to be influenced by these two flashy leaders, the people have what John Dewey would call, “miseducative experiences”. They learn a way to live, they learn a way to think about themselves, they learn what they should value, but they don’t learn to think for themselves. 

When the designer comes back, he sees collision and chaos.

Some of the people, influenced by the expansion model hustle get more and more things. They begin to identify with the these objects. A women is no longer a woman, but known as an estate owner after amassing an enormous field.

She’s fallen into an experience that Vitta would summarize by saying: “The individual is overwhelmingly surrounded by goods, constrained to use them only as a way to portray themselves to others”.

Other people, living under the equilibrium model are subject to their goods being taken. They starve and don’t know how to help themselves

The young designer is distressed to see his design cause such chaos and sadness.  His original solution created unintended consequences, just as Hobbes states: “When you improve something, you change it in ways you couldn’t have expected”. 

He falls into the pit of despair, and the people don’t know what to do. They have had a series of miseducative experiences through the teachings of the “Helpers”.

That is until…

His next idea!

Realizing that he never understood what these people needed in the first place, he decides to flip the script. The magician gives all the people their own wands. Then instead of leaving, as he was so apt to do in the past, he decides to stay. Taking Emily Pilloton’s advice he grows roots and strives to depth over breadth, and scattershot methods of “saving the world”.
The young designer, no longer the master and manipulator of the people, spends his days alongside them learning. They teach him how they live, and he develops deep relationships.