The existential crises of this moment are revealing the gravity of our situation and our moral dilemma. While we have been busy building the modern world, we forgot to ask essential questions about truth, beauty, and good.
What is good?
Can we understand why, what, and how to invest our time, energy, and resources? What really matters in this life? Arriving at a universal set of values is at the core of the conflicts that we face as human beings.
Apple has built a brand that has dominated the list of the most valuable brands in the world. A brand is a symbol of trust that increases in value as people invest their time, energy, and resources in a particular social identity. A brand is a symbol of social identity, and people declare their personal identities through their affiliation to a collection of brands by curating a set of products that they integrate into their daily habits and lives. The dominance of Apple has convinced the world of the value of design. Steve Jobs and Jony Ive helped to create a culture of design.
We live in an age of the gold rush of design. I began my career when design was considered a niche industry. Now, we recognize that we are all designers, involved in building a social system that works for the 1%. We know that most people do not benefit from this system, but we continue to work to maintain the status quo. Why do we do this?
Human Experience Design
I have been presenting the mental models for human experience and metaphysical gravity that I have developed and have discovered that, if I walk people through the concepts to show how they are cyclical and exponential, and how certain inputs in values and aspirations will result in a scaling of those value systems in the form of technologies (tools), processes (habits), and social systems (communities), there appears to be a resonance with what they had been thinking but may have been unable to articulate.
This morning, while listening to Kate Raworth, I was thinking about IDEO and their Venn diagram for the design thinking model.
The problem with the model is its anthropocentrism, which has led to the anthropocene. If human activity is at the centre of the model, it is leaving so much of the world out of the equation for deciding how best to use our time, energy, and resources.
It assumes that good is the creativity and innovation to maintain limitless growth and consumption through the production of the material and energy requirements of the dominant economic system, which has become our status quo.
When we speak of assumptions and failures, we must realize by now that the major assumption about the value that we place on the technologies we have designed has led to the failure of multiple systems at once. The failure of the ability to think beyond the status quo has the leaders of our governance and economic systems working desperately to restart the economic engine as people are dying.
The white saviours and their followers, who tend to dominate the governance and economic systems, think the economy will save people when, in fact, it is the economy that is killing people. State capitalism is the problem. This is the fusion of the governance and economic functions of nations into a global authoritarian system (GAS) in the form of corporate monopolies. Corporations are the new monarchy.
GAS is killing us. The monarchy is killing us. We have rebuilt the pyramids in the form of corporate org charts.
Let’s reframe the model. The human-centred design model makes assumptions about what is good.
In other words, according to the model we are using for determining the value of a product design for the business market, we must find where the human needs, the business goals, and the technical constraints overlap, which will be the focal point of incremental change and innovation.
What is left out of this equation? That which is good for the planet and the living systems who are our biological neighbours does not factor into the equation at all. The unintended consequence of this oversight is a collapse of all our systems at the same time:
Our model of reality is too small to understand the complexity of the systems that we are building. It does not factor into the equation the stocks and flows, the feedback loops, and the delays that can lead to exponential effects of growth and collapse, as described by Kate Raworth.
Let’s return to the model. What if we enlarged the scope?
That is how scientists observe and measure the world. If we are applying the scientific method to the process of creativity, then we need to widen our view from our particular human scale to the universal scale.
Interestingly, this maps well to our conception of the physical world and our experience in the universe that is governed by a simple equation: E = mc2.
But it also maps well to our metaphysical experience.
To avoid explosion or implosion, expansion or collapse, there must be a balance of forces. It is the metaphysical gravity that maintains tension and compression. The tensegrity of the system maintains a resilience and equilibrium.
Therefore, can we suggest that balance is the mathematical metaphor for the good that we seek?
Time + Energy + Matter + Gravity is the three-dimensional tetrahedral model that expands our thinking from the flat two-dimensional triangular model of reality.
What is holding everything together? What makes this universe possible? Gravity.
Buckminster Fuller, beloved American architect, systems theorist, polymath, poet once wrote, “love is metaphysical gravity.”
— Ganga Devi Braun
The good life, redefined
A Model for Metaphysical Gravity
The Design Science Studio was asked to participate in the United Nations Leaders on Purpose 3rd Annual CEO Summit.
My contribution was in the form of a Miro board documenting my thinking about the kind of world I would like to participate in building.
How can we make the most of our time, energy, and resources? Join the creative, collaborative, self-organizing learning community to reimagine our social architecture.
“Love is metaphysical gravity.”
“Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science,” Einstein wrote to a little girl who asked him whether scientists pray, “becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man.”
“The second temple set the stage for the next design iteration: a global community connected through the technology of print technology to a common narrative of overcoming the coercive power of empire through faith, hope, and love.”
543.20 Gravity and Love
543.21 The scientific word for the integral of all the special case realizations of gravity is love.
543.22 Love is the integral of gravity and radiation. Energy as either radiation or matter is the summa frequency, local-in-Universe, aberrational palpitation of comprehensive gravity embracement. Energy manifests itself as the palpitating, gravity- tolerated, aberrational pulsings-through of the plurality of exact centers of pure principles. This plurality of principles, being inherently different one from the other, have ever- varying interdomain proximities that produce varying push-pulls of the plurality of generalized principles influencing the locally-tuned-in event, which proximity variations depend on which set of principles are most informationally relevant in comprehending both the local and cosmic significance of any given local experience event.