By Dallas Elvery

Let me begin by introducing a designer friend of mine. There are some activities that she seems to get really absorbed in.

Curly problems with myriad restrictions and complex expectations can be daunting. She doesn’t usually get there in an instant. There is something about the slow coming together of the various components, perspectives, and explorations that result in a much more satisfactory solution.

No use asking in advance for a detailed plan of attack. She sometimes fluffs about for ages before any sort of clear framework of the whole begins to emerge. Progressively, glimpses of insight into major priorities emerge from the swamp. In time the full picture emerges.

She always finds it hard to stop the trees from hiding the forest, to identify which tree will need to go before some of the fine detail will reveal itself.

She sometimes gets caught up in endless cycles of bright ideas bursting from the dark depths, only to be driven back by the cold light of impossibility. She curses that so often reality throws a wet blanket over what initially seemed a fantastic idea. She riles at the unreasonableness of the endless rabbiting on about cost overruns. Those bean counters are the sworn enemy. They show no appreciation for imagination, finesse, and quality.

The limits, the parameters, the restrictions, the client’s specification. These all float about in her head, swirling, rushing, sometimes coalescing in some sort of ordered hierarchy of needs. Then just to see it collapse as another brilliant beginning rushes off into the distant ether.

But moments of insight continue, and in time the whole emerges.

Ahh, but when all the loose ends come together and she achieves an eloquent solution, then that deeply feeds her soul.

A question to ponder: is it emotionally healthy to long for the simple life?

The answer of course depends on many things, including our current circumstances and the levels of stress associated with whatever complexity we are speaking of. The web of relationships and level of support feature also. But do we sell ourselves short if we do not continue throughout life to build our capacity to understand things in the fullest way possible?

Part of John Spong’s mantra was that we should ‘strive to be all that we can be’. I think he may go as far as to say that it is part of an individual’s ‘manifest destiny’.

What are the consequences, for ourselves and others, if we fail to do this?

Disclaimer: views represented in SOFiA blog posts are entirely the view of the respective authors and in no way represent an official SOFiA position. They are intended to stimulate thought, rather than present a final word on any topic.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay