Archive for the ‘random impulses’ Category

I dedicate my respect of water  to my German „Oma“ (technically my great aunt, but I didn’t know the difference for well over a decade). I have a particularly keen sense of the value of water. Particularly HOT water. As a thrifty Swabian, my Oma made it very clear that those long, languorous, hot and steamy bubble baths were not an option in her tightly run household. A daily hot shower was not an option. And washing your hair every day was positively out of the question.

Luckily for me, the (cold) room she allowed us to stay in had a small sink. This sort of thing was a typical architectural oddity in Germany – and much of Europe – at the time. You see it in movies where the bed is lice-infested, wallpaper peeling off the walls and a filthy community toilet where the last guy on not only smokes but burps and farts his was down the hall. Swabians being particularly tidy, there were no lice, the wallpaper was doing okay and the cleanliness of the family toilet (downstairs and through a door that was sometimes locked) was okay. The water that came out of the faucet on the little sink was – never to be forgotten – ice ice cold.

Forget bungee jumping, snowboarding on wild slopes off the beaten path: wash your hair (upside down) in ice water http://pharmacieviagra.com/boutique/commander-cialis/. There’s nothing like it for a truly tingly head rush. This indescribable experience may, on the flip side, bring you numerous compliments on shiny hair. This was the case for me that summer.

Every bath I have taken since, every shower, every time I brush my teeth … I say prayers of thanks for this glorious stuff coming out of the faucet. For the physical property of it being hot – a heat I love making so high and tangy that I can get the full rush of the other extreme. My (only) heirloom from Oma.

What has compounded my respect of water as an adult is the bitter lack of it elsewhere. The breathtakingly respectless, wasteful use of water in my homeland. The three showers a day, gallon-filled toilet bowls, golf courses in Arizona, Las Vegas in its entireity and dozens of other things, the looming devastation of fracking not to be forgotten …

There it is: simple, humble adoration of something so beautiful, fragile, powerful, precious. That begins simply and humbly, like today, with tiny droplets forming on leaves and windowpanes.

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Looking forward to the end of a very trying day, I weave my way through the maze of empty ugly blue office chairs alternating with filled ugly blue office chairs with students slumped over keyboards, now happily pulling up Facebook since I’ve finished with them. Only one left to go. The student that has pissed me off all semester. The student that I like quite a lot. I love how he speaks perfect German and then seamlessly segways into something British-y or Colonial British. Maybe New Zealand. He mentions New Zealand a lot.

Clipboard and threatening-looking piece of red-marked paper in hand, I sit next to him and ask what I have asked all the others. “So … what’s your project going to be about?” This is the project they will receive a grade for. Without missing a beat he says, “My tattoo.” “Your tattoo?” I say, praying that what is now flashing through my mind is not apparent on my face. But then, it always is. There is nothing I have ever been able to do about that. I am now envisioning an image seen somewhere – time, place and context on the Internet completely, dutifully erased from memory – of a man’s completely tattooed penis. It had literally become a very colorful, quite beautiful, snake. From tip to base and front to back, the testicles, the surrounding thighs and, if I remember correctly, there was even a great amount of detail around the anus. I still shudder in horror at how sedated this man must have been (and for how many days) to have that worked performed. And a performance it was. Tattoo Art at its finest. Looking at my student, I see him fishing with his eyes for me to somehow go on. As if he really knows about the pictures flickering through my brain and how he wants to link them permanently to his own body’s artwork. “Right, well, I’m not sure if I want to know about your tattoo,” was my lame response, knowing full well that if there is going to be any editorial design being done, I’ll have to be knowing about, and looking at his tattoo at some point. This was the boy that had, in passing one day, asked me if I thought the product designers from Apple knew people would have clitoral associations when using the little ball on their “Mighty Mouse”. I tried to respond as dryly as I could, “I certainly hope they considered it. It’s evidently worked on you. I find it to be a positive thing, men thinking about clitorises…” stopping in my tracks right there. Slippery slope with this one. Luckily, I could escape from “what subject” to “which publication” and was able to escape further pain.

I could have left it alone, but he’s my Nr. 1 rebel, so I asked him why he boycotted the last assignment. A shrug not being an answer, I proceed to tell him that he has pissed me off. That he was rude and had no respect. From the get-go. And that I agree with Apple on yet another count, that the rebels are actually more often than not the good guys, the creative souls, the geniuses that motor innovation and create beauty. But doing nothing and just rebelling gave you just as much potential to be regarded as an asshole as it does a genius. Until there is something done. Or performed. Or discussed. So until he did something, his behavior dictated that I must regard him as an asshole. I really like this student. He brings out the best in me. Bullseye.

Today I run away from the school as if the sky were falling. The last day with a group of older students that some uninspired teacher before me had turned totally sour on design. For all practical purposes, i.e. making them realize the true and marketable added-value of beauty, they were lost. Three students out of 14 gave it a good, honest, genuine go, but for the rest I was a petulant and hysterical babysitter howling something indiscernible about aesthetics. The speed and acridness of their retorts took my breath away. The balls of social media-izing while I offered all my deepest design secrets and passions was humbling to say the least, to put it in the mildest words without flagellating myself. As I pull away from the building, all I can think is, “don’t they realize that it isn’t about speed? That, more and more, it can only be about the ability to go s-l-o-w?” I am envisioning the technique that I do, where my breath guides small movements, tai-chi-like but much more fluid and beautiful storecialis.net. I move space and space moves with me – the slower you can pull it off, the more beautiful the dance. Or the fact that advancing adulthood has actually brought an upexpected prize, one I don’t expect them to understand or even try: finding the control and will and the partner with which to take lovemaking to the slowest possible pace. Will they ever be able to recognize the exquisite bliss in that? “Sticks and stones can break my bones but chains and whips excite me…” This particular boy was just repeating a popular song during that last class, but he was repeating it rather breathlessly while taking in the beautiful blonde girl next to him, avidly atching for her reaction. Chains and whips. Is that what it’s coming to? Sitting there, passing time, I bit on my tongue. Don’t say one word about S&M. Don’t say one thing about the state of “sexual education” (for the most part bad porn) in the world. And stop thinking about what Chris Hedges wrote! But I truly cannot stop thinking about what Chris Hedges wrote and never will be able to, ever again, for that matter, when I think of porn. And S&M making it into mainstream music is simply nauseating. Sure, Madonna played with a bit of spanky, but no one really took her seriously. Or, more aptly, no one wanted to really do the things Madonna did. They were always so obviously not her, so obviously staged and calculated that we just enjoyed the show and went home. The chicks singing these things now are different. Certainly hungrier, more desperate, much closer to a slimy truth than Madonna most likely ever saw. My stomach is fully turned imagining this clean-cut soccer-player-physiqued boy actually finding arousal when the blonde girl comes in with her cheap domina apparel, clumsily cracking a whip. And to make matters worse, imagining that these kids may truly be tomorrow’s public relations managers on the side of business that gives me work – that pulls me down deep. Work that is becoming increasingly difficult to do because they choke the elemental conditions a designer needs to do successful work. They choke creativity because they know nothing about beauty. Because they are working so bound and magnetized by tightroped sets of rules, never doing more than they must, and doing it all very, very fast.

They know nothing about beauty because they don’t want to listen, learn … or … go slowly. At anything.

Whips. And chains. Excite them.

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The calamities of the past weeks, large and small, are forcing a slow-down. Multi-tasking, while not to be purged from daily life in 2011, is more automatized. We are less involved in everything because of the cloud of impermanence wafting around our eyes and ears even while we surf through kinky internet lingerie departments while sitting in the dementia ward in a po-dunk facility for the elder. Bless her blind and aging heart, she sings Ave Maria while we give silent thumbs up (or down) on latex and leather. We do this knowing that, had things been different for her, she might have had some of these articles stored in her closets, too. We do this knowing full well that some day, our next-of-kin will be pulling all sorts of toys from our drawers while our bacterial decomposing sets in.

While I earn money teaching about identity, I keep re-positioning my own. Are we striving for more purpose? Purity? Peace? What is the underlying motive of so many people willing to surrender by risking everything. What a beautiful, blissful strength that gesture alone represents: letting go of all of it where to buy viagra over the counter. Come what may, ce sera sera

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Crossing the border, or series of borders, into wakefulness, I am full-body awe this morning. I can feel it get lighter outside because the my body feels ever so gently lifted my the light, the feathers of intensity becoming more intense, one filament at a time, moment by moment. While preoccupied with the light on the outside from inside my closed eyelids, I become acutely aware that my toes are moving, playfully caressing the sheet and the bed underneath it. It’s an innocent movement and a moment of wonder: that is the end of my landscape, right there at the skin of my littlest toe, and it is having so much fun exploring where it is at the moment, I dare not move the rest of me for fear of interrupting. Then one of those inevitable early morning itches appears on my scalp as if to emphatically establish the fact that other regions are actively participating in these manifold changes and rustlings. My fingers find the spot, caress it with a nail-less scratch and surf softly through various layers of helter-skelter hair, establishing the dimension on the other side of the landscape. It appears so unfathomably huge at the moment, the distance between the two points, most of the mountainous terrain between those points still not quite present. I am, after all, not yet awake, so I am not quite there yet go on. Pieces are still being transferred, atom by atom, into this bed, onto familiar places and at familiar distances. At some point, the skeleton will arrive and I’ll be good to go from horizontal to vertical. I am completely transfixed by the beauty of this in-between state and how the I that is building me again this morning can be anywhere. Is anywhere, as I move my exertion to determining if I am alone in bed and, discovering this is not the case, how advanced the state of the other body-building-awakening-process is going. I have often been touched and blessed by a morning-only synchronicity I truly adore, turning over to open blinking eyes into also-blinking eyes. I know this won’t be the case today, but my rapture of the varied states coasts on. I don’t need to “do” anything but be and indeed there is so much to watch and wonder that being here, right now, is sublime joy.

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They say that realizing something is half the battle. You know, “realizing” you have an alcohol/nicotine/heroine/viagra problem… etc. etc. etc. Then you can go from there, “do something about it.”

Were it only so easy. On any given day, I have at least one realization. On particular days, realizations abound. I actually consider those the good days. The realization, for example, that age is wonderful. That beauty is everywhere, even, perhaps even especially, in the aging process. That’s easy to say in autumn, when all the leaves are blazing triumphantly: “Hey! Did it! Withstood the heat, the rain, the birds, the acrid smog! All of it, dudes, check it out!! Look at me now!!” (Those, of course, being the red leaves. The milder schades, such as yellow are simply softly saying: “Yes, I’ve had a good life. On to becoming humus.”)

Various members of my closer and extended group of family and friends are approaching their personal path to transition. Right now. As I write this. The exact moment is, thankfully, still a mystery we push away and off into the distance. Yet it approaches like the winter you can feel coughing itself up, introducing its arrival in the wind. It’s obviously darker out there these days. And colder acheter viagra en ligne. In the case of my loved ones, there are obvious changes. Without exception, this appears to include getting thinner, frail, translucent, and … sleepy.

There is an element of grace to all of those qualities. They are forced to listen, finally really listen, to internal processes. Forced to go within, even if it means finding where the source of pain is. Modern medicine removes that pain, of course, and we would be appalled if they didn’t. Thankfully, there are other chances to go within, and they do increase with age.

I have been told, over and over and over again the last five or six years that I need to “love myself”, work on my “self worth”, accept “who I am” (the focus here appears to involve body image) … I am a prime example of “self hate” … and on and on. These assessments has come from completely different directions, completely different sources who do not know each other, some who even don’t really “know” me, and others who really, really do (my uncle).

There are two things I can do with this: see it as having ultimately (finally) culminated in one grand realization (a) or see that they are all completely bonkers and I am perfectly okay the way I am (b). The catch here is that at this point in my cognitive progress, it appears they are all telling me to do/become (b). That THAT will mean I am healed and I’ll be walking around like Lady GaGa, a smokin’ trail behind me and my over-obvious self-worth. I happen to have experience with the fact that “self” is way more complicated than it looks and I am in the full realization that I am a finely tuned, highly sensitive antennae picking up signals… if I move too fast, they’re gone. I’m not completely sure that has always been understood. It is obviously not one of those social skills that is a necessary prerequisite for material gain.

When in that rip tide, you have more choices than you think: 1) swim back and die exhausted. 2) Stop, go with the tide, then swim incrementally to either side to get out of it at a diagonal angle to be able to swim back to shore. And the third? Forget the shore. Forget “going” anywhere. Stop swimming and ride the tide. To whereever it may take you. Give it up to grace.

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Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity, they say.

They USED to say. I think it’s time to re-think all four expressions. Fighting and fucking have been lumped into one strange space as have peace and virginity (failing that, at least a chaste style of living - those that claim to be celibate are only claiming to live outside of wedlock, which is a pretty big part of society these days, not only clergy and “holy” men and women…).

In my quest for the perfect peace logo - which I remain convinced must include a circle of some sort, in some manner - I have waded from one “fight” to the next. Looking back, I realize that I have fought many personal and professional “wars” in an effort to attain a semblance of peace in my life.

The Wiki-Warrior definition (I love using Wikipedia as a starting point, right or wrong, it fixes a spot in the fog):
The first literal use refers to “someone engaged or experienced in warfare.” The second figurative use refers to “a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.”

Or as in love, relationships, business, child-raising, gardening…

… or being human.

At another meeting of great men thinking great thoughts for the betterment of mankind (not a drop of cynicism here, I assure you it was so), I postulated that peace and the striving for such a luminous state could be more appropriately expressed with the capacity to explore, develop and “withstand” ecstasy. To “stand with ecstasy” is not an easy feat. It takes willpower, dedication, practice, committment prednisolone en ligne. All of which are attributes found in any classic “warrior”. The fact that life moves with twists and turns and is unpredictable makes it all the more important to exercise flexibility. Flexibility of thought but also of action that is fueled by the underlying birthright and intuitive striving for … ecstasy. Jefferson was cautious and called it “the pursuit of happiness”, but language has become more matter-of-fact, perhaps raw, uncovered, outright. And with perhaps just a touch of… impatience.

The report on the logo, for all involved up to this point:

The group of men are carving out the legalities and a name has been established: “Bell Amani”. Although the official deadline for logos has long passed, I welcome anyone who feels motivated to still contribute a logo to the process. At some point, there will be an exhibition involving all entries with the details (assuming permission has been granted) of all involved. The first 470+ kilo bell will be transported to Vienna soon, positioned around the unfolding of this event: http://www.afrika-tage.at/

Stay tuned for more, if sporadic, information.

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UPDATE:  Thank you for those that sent in early entries for the first presentation that took place yesterday, April 6th, in Munich. That helps us all to get a feel for what it could be – I will post the results of these first steps soon, either here or at another location. Stay tuned! And keep those entries coming!

Pretty much everyone I know (and many people I don’t) seem to agree that, generally speaking, peace is a nice “add-on” to have. “We’re good” when it’s there and – if we can remain alive – we somehow manage to bumble through when it isn’t.

This is the current “branding status” for peace:

120px-peace_symbolsvg
120px-peace_dovesvg
bandiera_della_pace
120px-origami-crane
85px-peace-sign

The symbol with the lines was originally developed by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The dove (with an olive branch in his beak) is an ancient symbol. The “V” sign with two upheld fingers is actually signalling victory and thus - peace. The flag comes from Italy: peace, pace, paz, pax (and in another context shalom and salaam) … all in the same spirit and this time with rainbow colors. Then there is the little origami bird from Japan with its own fascinating history …

… but the symbol I find most fascinating of all is this one:

150px-pax_culturasvg

Having appeared (without the circle) on Stone Age amulets, this one goes back a ways. With the circle, it became the logo for Pax Cultura (Peace through Culture, Cultural Peace) with the dots symbolizing Art, Science and Religion, three of the most embracing of human cultural activities. Anno 1935 or so.

Fast forward to 2010. It just so happens that I know this lovely person who also happens to be a prince. And a prince with a mission.

The idea is to take energy and resources from “developed” countries and bring them to less developed countries in forms that differ from the current status quo (one example: weapons). Currently, the form being not only discussed but actually produced can be found in: tiny little bells. You know, the kind the Salvation Army rings. These little brass babies are bells intended to ring in peace. Become bigger. Figuratively. Literally. If cultural work won’t bring us peace, maybe sound will? Bells to represent peace, to resound in and with peace. Raw materials from Africa processed in Europe, erected in … whatever place needs to hear the sound of peace, if only for a moment. Where I grew up, if you could actually ring a big bell that vibrated through the countryside, it meant you wore a lot of black, swore rarely, kneeled daily. Perhaps that can change. (The who can ring it part, not clerics swearing.) Perhaps the reason for ringing a bell needs to change. And who is actually “allowed” to do so, for though I firmly believe it should still be a “sacred” act – like the singing bowls or the minaret – I think more people should be allowed to step into and experience what “sacred” is, can be…

A foundation has been established, much work has already been done, the prince is running ragged trying to find support for this undertaking. He asked me to help and I am simply extending the invitation out to whoever is interested in finding a NEW SYMBOL FOR PEACE / PEACE BELLS, to be used for anything and everything involved with the ensuing marketing procedures: flyers, posters, websites, banners, brochures, etc., all advertising as an active, positive, pro-active productive force for peace. The romans recognized with the olive branch and dove that it wasn’t just the absense of war, that peace meant active cultivation. I would add to that: at all times, all levels.

Bells ringing may not be everyone’s ideal. In fact, I know some who are extraordinarily irritated by the sound. But I come, time and again, to the symbolism within both the bell, the sound, the logo, the condition and state of being that peace is. Sustaining peace is like sustaining bliss (truth be told, I find them synonymous) – it takes dedicated work, inner and outer.

If you would like to join us on the development of this logo, I’m asking entries to be sent in by May 1, 2010. Low-ish resolution PDFs are fine, with name, country, email on the page. All entries will be handled with the utmost care, authorship respected and credit given where credit is due. By sending something, you are agreeing to it being published/used. Should any type of renumeration ever be possible, that is not ruled out, but currently all work is understood to be pro-bono. Send to meafb at hotmail dot com.

Thanks to all who have already expressed interest in this undertaking! Much love, M.

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JUMP!!!!

… and?

How was the feeling? Gliding through the air in a sudden burst of compact body energy, hot with anticipation yet totally released into the unknown?! The millisecond of breaking the surface of the water a plethora of sensations, all appendages on alert, sucking in which one felt it first while it all melts into one simultaneous moment of explosive cannonball. Or jacknife. Or bellyflop.

And so it is, 2010. Watching the planet turn, every day brings some new piece of news to jump into, the surface of information just as unpredictable, as impossible to imagine or comprehend, the process of letting go on the flight into it just as intense.

Why Haiti? Why bitter poverty? Why obscene wealth? Why destructive, faulty food? Why polyester fibers? Why atomic power? Greenhouse gases? Supreme court rules so obviously without wisdom or even the vaguest bit of (intelligent, democratically just) supremacy? Why all this pain?! Surely a benevolent God would never let all these horrendous things happen…

JUMP!!!!

How do I feel? Am I upside down? What part of me is struggling? Where is the surface? How deep am I? Kick, kick, kick! All systems go to rise above the surface? There are two elements: me, and everything around me that is seemlessly surrounding my thrashing, giving me something to push against, kick into, hold in my hand without being able to grasp it at all really, to exercise my might and will upon.

Water. News. Life.

JUMP!!!!

(Dedicated to JM, in the hopes that he begins to understand – and please note: no one ever finishes understanding!! – that the precious beauty of our world lies precisely in its infinite complexity and perpetual newness in which we swim. I love you very much.)

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Yesterday I decided I had screwed around enough, read enough, twittered enough, cooked enough and worked enough. I decided to do a few minutes of introspective meditative practice. So here I am, doing my better-than-Tai-Chi stuff - which was indeed wonderful – and then move into the sitting position. Float, one could even say.

And there he was. Since my eyes were closed, I could only guess what he was. Or if it was indeed a she, which is pretty difficult to determine as a lay person that doesn’t specialize in insects. One thing was clear, whatever it was, it had wings. And was pretty pissed. Or frustrated. Or both. Meditative practice being what it is, I refused to “go there”, took it all as part of the immaculate picture of the moment, and finished up.

But the bounce upward once I had determined I was done was pretty springy indeed. I immediately saw what it was: a huge yellow-jacket wasp, perhaps even a queen. Aren’t they the bigger ones? Or is that just with bees? Either way, I knew it needed saving. Watching its predicament, I was reminded of a bee in the same state a while back where I wondered about the frustration such a creature may/must feel. They see the great outdoors right there in front of them. See the trees, the open sky, the clouds, perhaps even smell it all, and they crawl hither and thither and cannot fathom why they cannot get back to that state of openness. It’s just the simple, stupid pane of glass that separates them. Easy enough for us, maddening for them.

Sometimes my life feels just like that. I see it all, I feel it all “out there” - and yet, the pane between makes me do all sorts of things that get me nowhere. Of course, you may think, “just open the door/window”! Were it so easy for the bee or the wasp! The door is opened by something bigger than either of us, that much was clear that morning as I fumbled for a glass and a piece of heavy paper to transport my co-meditator outdoors.

Sit and wait? Hardly. I find myself in the unusual position of having not one but two elderly “patients” - people I visit on a regular basis. For whatever it’s worth, both seem to benefit from our sessions. The one, a 97-year old man, is alert, alive, vital - just old and frail. The other, a 94-year old woman, is blind, slightly dement, not very vital, but usually pretty healthy and perky. On my last visit to the woman, another elderly woman sat next to me and began to talk about how her life used to be (being outside), how she was in charge of her own household, etc., and how it is now (being on the pane) about her many fears, and how awful it is to be so frail…

Sitting on the other side of me was the blind woman. Essentially crawling on the same pane of glass, “my” 94-year old said that “She can’t complain. She’s healthy mostly and what more could you want? Sure, she’s old, but that’s just how it its.” (For the record, that is pretty much the same sentiment that comes from the 97-year old man, though he lived - and lives - a life of relative luxury…) And there you have it, I thought.

There’s the door. It’s as easy as that. And I took her hands in mine and looked in her blind, glowing, beautiful, toothless face and was full of admiration, love and contentment. Just being.

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It took only two of the thousands of applications offered for the iPhone to convince my partner: it became a “must-have” product based on the weather and the compass apps. Naturally, he now is spouting off about a variety of other functions. But those two functions (on my phone, before he ordered his) knocked him over the edge. He is, if I may say so, a changed man due to this product.

Mind you, he is no designer. Truth be told, we are diametrically opposed regarding our level of education and the ensuing social stratum. Normally, that would give you a few clues as to the car he drives, the clothes he wears and the newspapers he reads. Or does not read. So goes the cliché. The richness of discovering how wrong clichés can be is part of the lesson here. An important lesson, I believe, for the future of design, specifically product design in the most varied of sectors.

I would postulate that there is some connection between the aesthetic value of any given design and the development of consciousness in the broadest sense. This is a big statement that I intend to expound upon some other time. But very briefly, it is my belief that the things we touch, hold, use, need, value also touch, form, affect and develop who we are. Not just in the banal sense of - as any old American knows - giving us our position in the socially conspicuous consumption caste system. The fact of my mobility being assisted by a Ford, an Audi or a Bentley defines me more quickly than anything else to anyone else. And getting out of the car with Jimmy Choos and a Louis Vitton bag cinch the picture. But it’s also reciprocal. My Audi teaches me about curves and textures and pictograms. Inside the car. Because that is where I live large chunks of my life.

A tiny part of what made my partner a “must have” for me was the fact that, no, he didn’t have any academic titles and yes, he began his factory career at the age of 15, but he had a Braun razor! His shoes were lovely. His undergarments were spectacular. An essential fact to understand why I say this, is that I am a designer by trade and passion. These things matter to me in a way no non-designer would ever understand. But I understood that the choice he made in choosing these products on an extremely limited budget stemmed from the way his inner world worked. He valued value. He turned things over again and again before finally making that choice. (And still does, btw.) Watching someone choose less is much more valuable than watching someone choose more. (If I would ever spend thousands of dollars on a purse – which I wouldn’t – I would never purchase a Louis Vitton bag. The “why” in that is an essential element in this theory that needs further study.)

Which brings me back to my postulate. Allow me to dream for a moment. Take the iPhone as our first example of a massive shift in consciousness caused by design meeting function (– it wasn’t, of course, but this is a dream…). Suddenly, people realized that having a sleek, intuitive, truly “sexy” product in their possession was not only a positive notch for their social status but truly, authentically, aesthetically fun. Easier. Joyful. That product raises the bar on all products (not just phones) from that point generic cialis cheapest price. At least for iPhone users. It may not make people run out and buy a different car, but I do think it changes them, in their aesthetic sensitivity if nothing else, from that point forward.

This is a change that is happening more rapidly than ever. In my humble opinion and experience, I would say that Braun was the “pre-Apple” type of company that recognized the usage-consciousness connection early on and followed their design principles without compromise. It would not surprise me in the slightest if many an IT and/or design professional in and around Apple had Braun calculators on their desks. Or is there a coincidence in the calculator app on the iPhone?

As a former native of Detroit, I’ll take the argument to automobiles. Driving in yet another motor city I call home, I noticed a compact Alfa Romeo that they have named (we still have progress to make in this department) “Mito.” Impressive from the front. From the back, I was reminded of the unfortunate mistake – my size 14 opinion – of the back of a Ford “Ka.” The back of the Mito coming from Italians, I hesitated and thought, “well, perhaps more men DO like fat bottom girls than Paris will lead us to believe?” (Most car designers still being men, from what I know.) Because that’s what the forms of both the Ka und the Mito bring intuitively to mind. Wide, squatty. That may be a tremendous comfort to millions of women worldwide, but –come ON – is it joyful design? (In all fairness, the Mito is fun from the front.)

But what happens to you when you see, as was my experience on the same road on a different day, a small, silver, completely perfect “compact” Bentley? It evokes the same feeling as when you meet someone who is completely and totally beautiful in a physical sense. Where bones are positioned in breathtaking places and you just cannot take your eyes off of their sheer perfection. You are truly transported to a place of visual bliss. (Forget the near-immediate “wanting to own” reflex for a minute. Just enjoy the bliss in the moment.)

We’re still dreaming. Now imagine this happening to you with, say, a toaster. Or a cup. Or shoes. Or a chair. It is already happening to you with your (i-)phone. Imagine this happening to you more and more – and it is an affordable, achieveable fact for each and every factory worker worldwide. It may not stop global warming. It may not solve world hunger. But when we come to expect bliss in the tiniest of consumer products, we may move on to expect more bliss. And then more-than-bliss. We may be happier with less for longer. Designers/companies can turn the clock of obsolescence around and make things last longer. If they are beautiful and bliss-inducing, we will want them to. With the world’s resources fast disappearing, we made need them to work on such solutions more quickly than we think. We (the people) may remember, as any good designer knows and intelligent companies never forget, that “consumers” are humans first. And humans have a right to bliss. Sooner or later, they’ll fight for it.

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Sensualability
Imagine
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