Walked: 15 Km (94.3Km total)
Last night I dreamed of a friend who is a designer. He was looking for freelance work. I happened to know the owner of a chain of pharmacies in Mexico, the businessman needed a logo refresh for his pharmacies, so I put them in touch.
Some days later I met with my friend, it looked like he hadn’t slept since I last met him. “How is the project going?” I asked. “Good” he responded dryly. I sensed that he didn’t want to be ungrateful and complain about my referral with me. “You look tired” I said.
He hesitantly begun complaining. “I feel I’m a tool for somebody ignorant in its use. He briefs me, I come back solving his brief, yet nothing seems to satisfy him. He blames me, but he’s the one clearly at fault”.
In a zen state of mind there is nothing to be solved. The world is just as it should be. Taoist wu wei and Hinduist karma yoga teach the same thing: our rational cleverness only puts us into great trouble. Just as our desire for material things can be infinite, our perception is things that need to be fixed and solved is infinite. But from the spiritual perspective, these problems are illusions. Most design problems are illusions.
The designer’s job is to deal with attachment. Under the spiritual lens a User Experience Designer would be a User attachment manager, and perhaps the solution wouldn’t be solving the problem in the product, but solving the problem in the User (through liberation). The user may come and say: I’d be much more efficient if I could see all this data in the screen at the same time. The spiritual designer would respond: “and why do you want to be more efficient? You would just get more work assigned to you if you did. Be satisfied with what you have.”
If you solve a problem for a user, the next day he will come with a new problem. Solve this problem too, and he will come again the next day again. Attachment is a thirst that is never satiated, it’s only kept in check because there’s economic constraints to it (resolving attachment has a cost).
This conundrum has no answer. Jim Carey said “I wish everyone were rich and famous, so that they would know first hand that this doesn’t make you happy”. In the same way, let us wish that everyone would have well designed and attractive products, so they may notice the problem to be solved is not without, but within.