Thought shapes the environment which shapes thought

There’s an idea. It then gets developed into a concept. The concept will then often be developed into a physical product or into a system or program. In both cases an idea is developed into reality. What I wondered about recently is the affect that a physical product or system has on ones’ mind. The fact that we have four way intersections, rectangular TV sets or circular dinner plates almost everywhere around the globe – points to how incredibly uniform and standardized so many products used in modern society are. The design, the shape, the functionality of most products worldwide are essentially the same. This may be due to globalization, but what interests me is not the standardized nature of these products, but the impact that these shapes or designs have on our thinking. For example, the roads we drive on, the way that traffic lights work, the way that all appliances work – do we realize that these things which make up our artificial world determine the way we interact with one another and the way in which we think? Do we ever stop to consider whether these things have a positive or negative impact on the way we live?  What if we subconsciously reject some of these designs or systems, but have no way of expressing our discontent? When we use so many products on a daily basis, do we consider that it was a small group of people who may have designed or developed what we use every day. I’m not going for a conspiracy theory here. I don’t think many products or systems are designed to control people, although some certainly are, i just think that many products or systems are designed with budgets, deadlines and profit in mind, with inadequate energy focused on the actual purpose or function of that product or system in the long-term. What if the design is nowhere near as useful or environmentally friendly as it can be, or even as it should be? I think this is the way that fossil fuel powered vehicles will be viewed in the coming decades.

If we compare our man-made world to nature –  it is constantly changing –  the seasons, the colours, the smells, the climate. And seeing as though humans are part of nature, I believe we belong to this dynamic and transient aspect of nature. Perhaps we need to be more proactive in expressing our frustrations with certain systems or products which we use on a daily basis and which influence our quality of life.

So I think it’s fascinating to realize what aspects of our man-made world affect the way we move, interact with one another and carry out our daily lives. At least if we are conscious of these affects, we can possibly make decisions to improve our experiences – for example taking different routes when driving places, driving at different times to avoid traffic, buying things that we really are attracted to and which suit us, instead of things which are trendy or to which we are addicted, exploring the options. I think it is this awareness which leads to creativity in the form of new and exciting products, important social movements, greater environmental protection or more holistic health care. Recognizing the affect that the artificial environment has on us and what we can do to improve it is key if we are to create a sustainable, high-tech world with less inequality and suffering.