A lot intelligent people swear off humanity, because people make a lot of stupid decisions, are easily misled by unscrupulous “leaders” like cattle to the slaughter, eat fast food, and watch stupid television programs and movies. The problem with such a perspective is that it does not take into account that when you are looking at a large mass of humanity, you are not looking at “people” per se: you are looking at the cumulative effects of social/economic/political systems. Humanity reflects the decisions that have been made in how their daily lives flow and in what direction they move. If they are unemployed, violent, and lazy, that is a sign of poor social systems, of bad decisions made by those interests which determine in which direction money moves, in what manner a city is planned, etc.
In other words, “problems” such as homelessness, poverty, and crime are systemic problems of design. Problems such as destruction of the environment, high percentages of needless waste in every sector of industry, and general unhappiness in career choices, are problems that can be solved through better design.
If intelligent people sat down at the drawing board and thought through plans before acting upon them, we could largely eliminate the vast amounts of waste that we each currently create every single day. We could eliminate global warming, pollution of groundwater, and destruction of topsoils. Yes, we could even eliminate world hunger. These are not the perennial problems of human nature, never to be solved. Slaves, illegal immigrant labor, third world underpaid underage workers, and suicidal smalltime farmers do not need to exist in order to support global economies. Homeless people do not have to wander through alleyways muttering to themselves and plundering dumpsters. Women and children and men of all colors and types and sizes do not have to be made to feel inadequate, ugly, and useless. Teenagers do not have to plot out acts of heartless rage. SUVs do not have to tear thoughtlessly through mile wide suburban streets.
We do not have to be addicted to hydrocarbons to lead fulfilling lives. We do not need myriads of multi-colored plastic packaged useless products screaming for our attention in the supermarkets.
In a well designed system, such as Nature’s, there is nothing wasted. What is one creature’s waste is another creature’s food. Everything is recycled, rebirthed, renewed.
American culture has been birthed on action, progress, manifest destiny. Without consideration of the later effects of our actions, we have moved forward to trample dreams, cultures, peoples, histories. 50,000 species of plants and animals become extinct every year, largely as a direct result of our and other industrial nations actions, our appetites, our businesses, our politics. We are indeed the world’s number one superpower, meaning that we are the world’s largest bully, the world’s largest devourer of natural resources, the world’s largest creater of waste. No, don’t point your finger at China. Don’t point your finger at India. Those nations take the exponential industrial growth of the United States as a beacon and guide, rather than as a warning.
Inaction, time devoted to thought, to attention, to observation is essential to action made with integrity. Without this space of critical focus, actions made will necessarily be destructive, flailing, meaningless. Our culture doesn’t live anywhere near “the moment.” We exist either in some state of longing for a golden age that never existed, or we exist in doldrum half-awake states of TV-movie entertainment suckling. To truly exist in the here and now is to go beyond partisanship, beyond political ideologies, beyond economic theories. It is to look at things as they most truly are, beyond yourself, within yourself, as a part of yourself as a part of a team as a part of a community as a part of the global network. Collaboratively, working as a team of designers, each special interest working with every other specialized interest, we can redesign, retrofit, and renew all aspects of social, economic, and political systems to more accurately reflect mental, spiritual, and biological reality.