Design for This Century, reading assign 1:

Common Sense. Wikipedia defines it as “a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things, which is shared by (“common to”) nearly all people, and can be reasonably expected of nearly all people without any need for debate.” So it’s a concept that is believed to be inherent in our understanding of the world. Something we already know to be true and logical, and can be applied to our understanding of the world. But I have issues with this definition, mainly because of the idea that these “logical” reasoning tools are not only universal, but are also predefined in all of us. I don’t believe that common sense is universal. Our perception of the world is created within the context of our education and the society we live in (among other factors). They are learned behaviors that are common among a group of people, but uncommon among others. It’s only after we learn them and realize that others around us have learned the same thing, that we look back with 20/20 vision and call it “common sense”. But we often forget that what may be common sense to us may not be common sense to others. For me, common sense tells me to stay out of the street because of traffic. But for anyone living in a place where cars are not as common, playing in the street is not a big deal.

So, my question in response to the reading, is whether or not common sense really exists, or if it’s just a frame of reference that we refer back to, while incorrectly assuming that it was there all along, inside all of us.

For the second reading, I found it interesting to think of something as organic as an orange, in a strict design-based way. As if there was some god-like designer that made the orange to best suit human needs. And while I assume this reading is supposed to be light-hearted, I do find it interesting to think about the way humans look at the world through this design central focus. Which makes me wonder, as technology continues to strive for efficiency and quality design, how does this affect the way we see things that are not man-made?

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