Fragile (about Vulnerability)
The 20th century has pushed us into a belief in our own omnipotence and in modes of design based on mastery and strength.
Our unpreparedness to face the vulnerabilities of the 21st century is glaring. Pillars of democracy, natural environments, individual health, the economy... the mapping of vulnerabilities - local and global - is no longer a hypothesis but a central parameter in decision-making.
We must learn to identify these vulnerabilities, in order to restore and assume what has been damaged. Only effective design and decision-making can integrate this context.
Living (about Inseparability)
Cartesianism, by separating man from nature, gave him the reason to free himself from it and to exploit it by right. It imposed the dogma of a humanity disconnected from the living.
Today, everything proves to us that humanity is not free to separate itself from the living, and that it is intimately linked to it in its functioning as well as in its destiny.
The awareness of belonging to this world of the living induces new responsibilities, imposes new priorities, requires other decisions as well as other ways of taking them.
Elsewhere and Tomorrow (about Universality)
If care is about giving attention to the person(s) close to you, then it is just as much about caring for oneself and the other, human or non-human. This Other is elsewhere, this Other is everywhere, this Other is to come. It is our child, just as it is on the other side. It is connected to me, it is connected by others, it is connected by society.
This elsewhere is a territory as much as it is a network of links, interactions, actions and reactions.
This elsewhere, this tomorrow, is a project.
That is called a purpose.
Towards the beyond (about Time)
Our industrialised, rhythmic lives only offer us repetition or tasks with short, linear time horizons, where the world speaks to us of cycles, of long times.
Who today synchronises with the great cycles of life? Who today has the awareness and capacity to work on projects whose life will be longer than their own? Our separate societies have erased these cycles and long times, and our schools are participating in this erasing.
It is time to re-synchronise, to re-learn the "extended present" and long time, to re-inscribe learning in a continuum that goes beyond it.
Towards the design of decisions
We are leaving a world where it was enough to act without thinking about the day after tomorrow, because the destination was known and happy (this was called progress), to enter a world where we have to invent «where to land». At every moment we have to ask ourselves the reasons and the purpose of our actions, and then decide in conscience to do or not to do them (what, for whom, why, how).
The ultimate design is therefore that of the decision, and not just of experiences or things, because our decisions determine our projects, as much as they shape them.
We are leaving a world where projects could be understood as vast linear programmes, whose expected results we knew we could write. This world of efficient engineering has thus become the world of decision-makers and leaders.
From now on, it is necessary to learn to design and decide in uncertainty, to go through direct and cooperative experimentation, to learn to use the intelligence of one’s brain as well as that of one’s body, to no longer decide «among humans» but among the living.
These skills are those of design, and it is the designers from matter to decision that need to be trained.