3001: A Human Oddyssey [A Manifesto]
Over the last century, we have made incredible advancements in technology that have answered and solved certain questions and problems while raising others. However, despite this outward exploration that has pushed technology into our hands in the form of smartphones as well as taken us into outer space, I believe there is still as much arcane and unchartered territory within us as there is out in the universe. This is the reason why despite all our ‘scientific progress’, we are still grappling with issues of ontology and existentialism.
The human condition is a complex and vast universe in and of itself. It’s time to start looking in as much as we look out. Hence, the play on words in the title of my manifesto. Remember 2001: A Space Odyssey?
This is 3001: A Human Odyssey.
1- HUMANITY OVER TECHNOLOGY.
Technological advancement is not the objective or the end. It’s the means to fulfilling human needs. Preserving human interaction and contact through the physical realm is important and should form the boundary of technological pervasion.
2- THE INDIVIDUAL OVER THE COLLECTIVE.
The human condition can be best understood through the emotional and mental study of the individual in relation to themselves and the collective. The majority tends to be centered around the lowest common denominator and, by its very merit, can not be expected to spearhead change, engender innovation or push intellectual boundaries.
3- STORYTELLING OVER DATA AND INFORMATION.
As human beings, we are compelled most by stories that have a strong human emotion to them. Data and information about genocides is not as affective as a personal tragedy well told.
4- COMPLEXITY OVER REDUCTIVENESS.
Simplicity should not be confused with reductiveness. Complex ideas should be simplified only so much so that they retain their nuances and sophistication. If an idea demands higher engagement of the mind, it should not be reduced to the fundamental except as a lead-in. Accessibility should not supersede synthesis and substance.
5- SUBTLETY OVER THE OBVIOUS.
Allowing thinking space for imagination and multiple interpretation is crucial for discussion. Good design does not stare back at you. It disappears and lets content take center stage.
6- CONFLICT OVER ASSENT.
Both in storytelling and education, conflict is more important than agreement. Conflict is used here for its properties of divergent opinions, multiple perspectives, narrative device, complicated emotion, contrast and interest- and is free of its negative connotations as an aggressive expression.
7- EMPATHY OVER SYMPATHY.
Understanding is more useful than the primal emotion of sympathy which can be administered without comprehension. Great design comes from great empathy.
8- THE INEVITABLE OVER AGENCY.
Outcomes lie largely outside of our control and only probabilities can be achieved. Agency should only be exercised in the choice of efforts.
9- POSSIBILITY OVER CERTAINTY. OR FANTASY OVER REALITY.
As human beings, our imagination, desires, hopes, spirituality and cultivation of what- could-be is a more powerful force than the harsh count of reality. Addressing the irrational in us makes for more emotional user experiences than what is functional and logical.
10- DUALITY OVER THE ABSOLUTE.
A comfort level with contradiction and ambiguity is essential. Engaging with, understanding and balancing the duality- even multiplicity- of ideas, things and people should be a bigger objective than choosing the one right answer. This manifesto is written in a purposeful ‘x over y’ format to represent my choice of poison but I’ve been able to prefer one over the other after fully appreciating and understanding the undeniable merit of the other. My manifesto is self-contradictory because life is.