Calling all dreamers and doers.
Do you think that ideas can ever be too grand, incredible, and fantastical, or is it untainted idealism that ultimately has the greatest potential to drive humanity forward?
Maybe idealism in itself does very little without transitioning from ideas into action but I’d always rather invest my time with the optimistic visionaries enthusiastically striving for a better way forward for humanity.
Are these people naive or are they the revolutionary architects of the future?
I want to discuss the part that bold ideas and creative thinkers might play in shaping the vision of a collectively better world for all.
Does life imitate art or does art imitate life?
The role of artistic expression within our world is a fascinating one.
On the surface, how society functions seem to be driven by very tangible elements: money, possessions, assets, and accumulation. Yet as human beings we are still intrinsically storytellers and the very foundations of civilization have been built upon this fact.
This quality is universal across cultures.
We are, and always have been, producers and consumers of stories — whether that is done in oral, written, or visual form.
We are, therefore, as a species, creative in essence.
This was the key to our very evolution in the first place. It was our ability to construct and relay emotive narratives to one another in a unifying way that enabled the mass cooperation needed to advance.
These days, we live in a somewhat conflicting world where creativity is in many ways simultaneously revered and undervalued.
I think that artistic and creative expression is still all too often put into a little box misguidedly labeled for entertainment purposes only.
Financially and educationally speaking, a “creative route” in life doesn’t often come with the same social status or rewards as other professions.
I know that my parents were not so keen when I decided to opt to do my first degree in drama rather than psychology. ‘Penniless artist’ was never at the top of their imagined dream career goal for me.
On the other hand, there is also an increasingly wide recognition that tapping into our human creativity is the magic ingredient that brings a spark of genius to any project.
Fostering a culture of creativity has become a popular trend within the Silicon Valley companies that sit at the forefront of technological and scientific development.
Perhaps the significance of creativity in human advancement lies in the fact that:
“The future is always first an idea”
— Emilia Lahti
As a collective, we humans quite literally imagine the world as we know it into being.
Creative expression amplifies three significant components of the human psyche: sensation, emotion, and knowledge.
In a conceptual phase, creativity becomes all the more vital. That’s also arguably why our greatest creative thinkers and artists should be a significant driving force in painting a vision for the future.
“The artistic imagination allows us to have a visceral experience of possibility. In times where we understand that the future must be significantly different than the present, then there are few better pathways to realizing this than art that illuminates the future. Art that gives us freedom for a moment to live within, be challenged by, discuss, and bask in possibility.”
For those of us who want to see dramatic positive shifts in society, is this not the exact place for the biggest dreamers amongst us to be put to use?
You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will live as one.
I was recently introduced to the work being done by a collection of creators and artists who are such big dreamers. In their own words, they are “working to design a future that works for everyone — to share ideas, support each other’s work, and build a new paradigm.”
The Design Science Studio aims to use the latest technology to heal our ecology with the desire of enabling humans to be a net positive to nature — aka actually putting back more than it takes out.
Their ideas are largely based on the inventor and visionary Buckminster Fuller who proposed a scientific and socio-economic revolution by seeking to optimize planetary resources for the benefit of 100% of humanity.
Even if you’ve never heard of the man himself, you will no doubt be familiar with the geodesic domes — inspired by nature’s geometry — which he made famous.
It’s this harmony with nature, rather than the discourse we seem to have created, which design science wants human beings to rediscover.
“…the effective application of the principle of science to the conscious design of our total environment in order to help make the Earth’s finite resources meet the needs of all humanity without disrupting the ecological processes of the planet.”
— Buckminster Fuller
It’s true that, arguably, the world we currently inhabit pits economic benefit and environmental benefit against one another.
This strengthens the concept that people live alongside nature, rather than being an inseparable part of the whole that collectively is nature.
The group of creators at the Design Science Studio have ambitious plans for a non-violent, design-led, creativity-expressed revolution over the next decade.
Here’s how they have mapped it out:
2020-2021 Reconciliation and commitment
Starting to address the root causes of crisis around the world and making “wild commitments, without knowing the path to get there.”
2022-2023: Restoration and capital transfer
Mass tree planting, banning of pesticides, investment in regeneration, and a reduction in super-wealthy individuals.
2024-2025: Resilience and coming together
Upgrading of infrastructure and creating a more resilient world through the emergency response to rising global temperatures.
2026-2027: Regeneration and celebration
Where the hard work starts to have an impact through a “wave of regenerative good news” and indications of life rebounding.
2028-2029: Rejoicing and the circularity
The end of exploitation, where mining will no longer be needed and resources are either recovered or regenerative. Landfills will be mined and then closed.
I know that potentially many people who hear these ideas will be quick to call out naivety or point to countless practical obstacles that stand in the way.
Despite being born into just about the most ‘down to earth’ family you could ever imagine —and having the talk about what is “realistic” to expect from life drilled into me countless times since childhood — I cannot help but feel hope and excitement for this kind of revolutionary talk.
After all, is it not the “crazy” thinkers amongst us who have always pushed the fringe of what we believe is possible?
The colourful characters of history who refuse to let raised eyebrows deter them from ambitious attempts to create positive change.
Will they change the world? Of course, there’s no way right now to know the answer to this question. But it doesn’t make the work they are doing to continue the conversation and at least attempt to take action any less important.
The naysayers and negaholics in this world can keep all their talk of “realism” if there is even the slightest chance of these grand plans coming to light.
To anyone out there who is struggling to believe humanity could ever shift so dramatically from selfish takers to conscious sharers, I will leave with you some parting words of optimism from Buckminster Fuller:
“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”
Whilst there is no way to predict the future, surely we must at the very least accept that anything is indeed possible —nature herself proves this to us every day.
If the ideas here have sparked your interest, the Design Science Studio is hosting an online event. The week-long virtual summit from March 21-28 will involve immersive experiences, celebrations, talks, workshops and art to inspire collaboration and cooperation in co-creating a world that works for 100% of life. If you are interested in learning more or attending, you can click here for more details.