A Design for Life


I may, quite possibly, be gifted with the solution to all of mankind’s problems. I’m going to try and articulate this brilliant idea to you over the next few paragraphs but I’ll probably fail spectacularly and start talking about rodeo monkeys or something equally implausible.

So I was walking Monty (my dog) today and an intermittent train of thought reared it’s ugly head again. I have an incomplete idea on how to find the solution to any problem simply by looking at a solution to something else that runs on the same principle; (the theory is probably written in full somewhere by someone more brilliant than me but then I didn’t get picked on at school enough to spend my whole time in books). Anyway, an example of this theory can be appreciated if you have ever commuted in your life before. There will be a part (or parts) of your journey then are arse clenchingly frustrating. A set of poorly planned traffic lights, a hedge that gets in the way of your turn into a road – whatever. These problems are frustrating and, arguably, avoidable. Things need to be redesigned and made to work better -a solution needs to be found. The odd thing is that there is one transport network that is normally perfect and runs like clockwork all the time – the human body.

The human body is one of the most complicated networks of guts and tubes and gooey stuff to grace this planet – you may know someone that has one too! When operated efficiently (so not yours then) our bodies will carry us anywhere and help us achieve any feat. Blood will flow flawlessly through our veins, oxygen rushes into our lungs and shit comes right out your arse (which in itself is useable). It’s basically perfect – the perfect transport network that evolves and expands to meet our needs.

So why, if we know how the human body works so well do we not create systems or practices that make things more efficient using the ‘perfect’ human body as its basis? Surely if we know that the human body only works well when everything is given the space and resources it needs do we not apply the same principle to other things in our life. In the case of transport, cost is one of the main issues cited but it would be interesting to know how much more productive humans could be if they could get to work on time, all the time, or at all. The human body generally doesn’t crash – we crash it.

The same applies to space constraints – ultimately it would be far better to rip it all down and redesign. Elegant and efficient design creates happier and more productive minds. More production means more money yadda yadda yadda.

I can’t be bothered to go into too much more detail now – I’ve pretty much run out of alcohol and Monty is licking my knee with a worrying look in his eye. There is one issue however that has become eye gougingly obvious throughout this whole piece and that is my realisation that everything we create in this world is started with our minds. Our stupid, irrational minds. If there is a god he must be kicking himself for making us own such a powerful tool. It’s like giving a six year old boy a minigun. All of a sudden one of us gets giddy with excitment and, ‘whoops! There goes Nagasaki’.

Our minds are almost too powerful for their own good. We come up with genius ideas like the Tricorn centre or the M25 and then cry ourselves to sleep when they don’t work. Then we spend years over complicating things or giving up on them completely.

Perhaps then, when we try and figure out how to deal with the problems with the world, we should stop thinking too much about what could make it better and look at the perfection that is all around us and learn from what already works.


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