Shifting a Giants Course with carrots
An earlier post, one of my earliest posts here was about the death of goliaths. I revisit this subject now because the imagery was not as clear nor precise as I should have hoped. In that post I believe I talked about the oncoming death of the goliaths and their death throes, (this is how shitty this blog is, I’m too lazy to even go back and look at my own posts) but in truth the goliath is only a figurehead, stand-in, proxy for something else, a giant of interest. Interests are the invisible giants make human society turn.
These Giants range in size, sometimes they fight with one another, other times they help one another. They are rarely ever killed, more often they absorb one another, or morph slowly from one giant into another. But they are pretty much never stopped once in motion. Yes, this analogy is not elegant. But it is useful in one way, it gives a comprehendible visual analogue to the idea of ideological momentum. We can name some of these giants and get a sense for how big they are by how common the desire or interest can be among people, or by how much these interests physically change the world. Greed is a giant, but so is protecting your family. Giants are not all bad.
I guess what I am getting at is that you can’t attack a giant head-on and hope to really effect change. When I said in my last few posts that I want to think up viable solutions that don’t go against human nature, it goes hand in hand with this giant idea. Many of the solutions to the world’s ills have been in the form of trying to attack a giant head-on by trying to forcing a form of education on people, legislating against certain industries, or relying on a message spreading “far enough”. None of the current tactics at solving the world’s problems have had nearly as much capacity to change anything, as a new interface with technology has been able to change the world. It is these happenstance changes of design or new technology that have these far reaching effects. I don’t use facebook, but it is hugely popular and has profoundly affected the way we interact with each other, why? There are lots of studies out there that get into the specifics of why, but in short, it is because it tapped into this huge dormant giant of something that we collectively thought we wanted, wider interaction and ability to influence and connect with the things we love, and just a generally fun place to make your homepage for when you hop on the internet. That giant had a price and it is starting to burn itself out just a bit, especially as facebook (as a tool) began to be used for other giant interests… But that is another story…
The solutions I want to get at and discover, cooperate with human psychology and our innate interests. We humans generally don’t like “mandatory” things to be overly difficult, or time consuming. By mandatory, I mean all those things that we are told over and over again in society that we “should” be doing (maintaining our health, participating in the political endeavors, staying up to date with current events and being educated about all the points of running our own society. Heck even the daily routine stuff of finding something to eat for dinner). Humans are statistically terrible at managing time and keeping motivated. We have a wide range of interests, giants pulling our strings. Can we implement a bit more design and engineering into our everyday lives to make this mandatory stuff easier and more enjoyable?