Blog 9: The Biased Version of Happiness

We took a happiness barometer this week, in response to one of the articles that we read, Fashion & Sustainability: Design for Change from Chapter 13: Needs. My results were shockingly low and very un-accurate as to how I usually feel. This was due to several large class projects that were due in my life last week, which resulted in severe lack of sleep, lack of varied activities, lack of quality food, and lack of any activity not associated with a large piece of paper, a ruler, and a sewing machine. All of my hard work was, of course, worth it as I got my projects turned in and was also awarded a very large grant to continue funding a research group that I am a part of—we turn old t-shirts into new textiles, a sustainable practice that I am proud to be a part of. All in all, the results of my happiness barometer that was taken on Tuesday would vary very greatly if it had been taken at a different time in the semester or during a school break (or even on a Friday).

As discussed from Max-Neef’s Taxonomy of Human Needs in Chapter 13, my fundamental human need of subsistence— food, water, and shelter— were indeed met. I have a wonderful house to live in with plenty of access to tasty food and clean water. However, last week I did not have the satisfier of physical and mental health as much as I normally would, as both my body and mind felt weak and tired from school and horribly mournful for what happened at the Homecoming parade on Saturday. I also have protection, affection, understanding, and participation. These fundamental human needs helped me to persevere through a tough week, even though I was lacking the fundamental human need of leisure. Identity and creation were definitely there, but mostly for abilities, skills, work, techniques, a place I belong, and self-esteem.

In the article, Change by Design by Tim Brown with Barry Katz, I discovered the story behind KickStarter, an organization which I admire deeply. This article discussed the enormity of designing for inspiring solutions—ideas that can make a whole country’s lives easier and designs that can improve the quality of life significantly for many people. It is very inspiring and useful to learn about ideas that start out small or seem incomprehensible turn into something utterly enormous and beneficial to humanity, such as the case with Aurolab. These solutions come up with ideas that simply change small parts of existing ideas to make something incredibly new and innovative—changing something so it works better. This information was a major learning epiphany for me. These design solutions are useful and relevant because it gives me hope that designers can keep coming up with innovative solutions to global problems. Learning about the Top 100 NGOS of 2013 was also very eye opening and inspiring—it was wonderful to read about all of the non-government organizations who are helping to change the world. I think that the news mostly covers all of the bad things that happen in our world—it is nice to read about organizations that are being humanitarians and activists and being there to support human beings and our planet.

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