The Harsh Truth of Mindfulness

What is a wicked problem? They are problems that no matter the angle you choose to try and solve it, there is no solution, only more problems. No matter how hard one tries to solve a wicked problem, it simply cannot happen. These problems are typically severe, such as world hunger, housing crises, or even terrorism. These issues have been looked at from many directions and still continue to be prevalent in our lives. It does not matter how much funding is poured into finding solutions for these wicked problems, no answer comes to sight. To understand wicked problems means compassion. To be compassionate means to be mindful. Being mindful is the first step into finding solutions to the wicked problems of the world. This class, Wicked Problems of Industrial Design, is centered around finding this mindfulness in hopes that one day that the issues of the world, some of which I have listed above, can be solved and peace can be restored to the Earth once again. In class, we meditate, which is surprisingly very peaceful. I did not come into class with an open mind about it, but once we did it more and more, I began to genuinely enjoy it. It helps with mindfulness in multiple ways. Not only for large societal issues, but also it helped with my personal stress with my other classes. My first semester took a toll on me and having a time where I am zoned out really brings peace. This state of mindfulness is what it is going to have to take to solve the wicked problems of the world. Understanding myself I feel like is the first step of understanding life in general. Using meditation, I feel as if I am learning to understand myself more. It has helped me cope with the issues I have in my life, and those issues have been getting smaller and smaller since I have been in this class. I believe that everyone should take time out of their day for the sole purpose of self-reflection and creating a stronger sense of peace and mindfulness within themselves. That to me how wicked problems get solved. If people realized how fortunate they are to have a roof over their heads, food on the table, and people to confide in, all of the energy can be put into solving these wicked problems. Instead, greed takes over and people want more than they have, which in turn, created more and more issues, therefore creating more wicked problems. For example, I have been learning about urban slums, and how they are a wicked problem. The diverse culture of the urban slums makes it hard to pinpoint how to exactly tackle the issue, but my mindfulness and compassion are telling me that funding would be the first step to eliminating urban slums permanently. By doing that self-reflection I was talking about earlier, people can realize how fortunate they are in comparison to the people living in the slums., which would make them more likely to donate to the cause. However, my mindfulness helps me realize that money can only get someone or something so far in life. The other problems arise such as inflation, and inflation in third world countries is a big issue. The money raised could eventually be worthless and the wicked problem is back to square one. Another issue would be that people do not want to play their part of getting out of the urban slums. Like I said earlier, funding can only get something so far, so if the residents of the slums do not put the effort in to bettering their lives, the problem, is once again, back to square one. That was not very compassionate, I know, however it was mindful. Looking at every angle is essential in the case of mindfulness, and being realistic has to happen. That is the hard truth about wicked problems- you have to be realistic, yet compassionate. I believe that is why that they are so hard to solve. By having individuals solve their own miniscule problems (in the grand scheme of things), it makes these wicked problems of the world seem smaller and more apt to be solved. Another hard truth is that not many people work to fight against the wicked problems of the world, which in turn makes them harder to solve. People are selfish, almost by nature, and that is a leading factor of why people fail to be compassionate and mindful of others in a worse situation than themselves. They think that their life is so hard, however, most of those people have a roof over their heads, clean water, and food on the table. Their life is “hard” because they got a bad grade on a test or they got into a fight with their best friend, but some peoples life is hard because they do not know where their next meal is going to come from or how they are going to get clean water to drink. That is the harsh, truthful, and honest reality of life. To solve this, you have to find a way to be mindful. You can meditate, like we have learned in class, talk to someone you trust, or even reach out to different organizations that help people that are in fact less fortunate than you. Volunteer work would be a great way to see how hard life can actually be, not just failing a test. Seeing people of all of the different socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, and ages really opens the eyes of the beholder and goes to show that your life really is not that bad. What do we get in return of being mindful? Well, problems start disappearing, and the real problems of the world- the wicked problems of the world, start to become more clear and more solvable. By clearing your mind, you can begin the process of clearing the world of everything bad and restore peace to the earth.

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