Filed under: on empathy and values
It was mentioned that I should re-look at trust, empathy and empowerment in a philosophical perspective thereby side-stepping whether I am comfortable in calling them as ‘values’ or ‘guiding principles’.
This critique is apt as the ‘fudging’ doesn’t make my conclusions very assertive. It does need to be strongly put. I am unsure what this ‘philosophical perspective’ means yet. Maybe the idea of trust, empathy and empowerment aren’t necessarily the ‘right’ terms?
At the end of this research, what I have come to is an approach to how designers work with people and how they create their practices with others. In this instance, values of trust, empathy and empowerment are indeed important and valuable to this approach. Principles and philosophy are similarly related. I have stated that the values revealed as important in working with others cannot be conveyed or adhered to as ‘rules’ or ‘guidelines’. It is not a method in which designers can create social practices in an instance. Rather, it is a set of values, a mindset, a framework, a way to think and feel and conduct your practice in an every-day context. By framing the values as principles, I am putting it forward as a mental/emotional/spiritual approach to practice.
So when I am questioned with ‘any designer could have said that these values are important’, I think the critique there is missing the point. Whilst acknowledging that identifying these values as important is not necessarily original, I think the real question is ‘how?’ How are they embraced? How are they applied? How are they manifested? I believe each designer will respond differently in how it is pursued in the day-to-day practice. It is in this action that makes it ‘real’, rather than rhetorical. Furthermore, focus on these values may illuminate other values that are more or as equally important to them. In a similar manner to this research, it is also about being able to recognise the situations that isn’t respecting the values that you have that enables you to understand that they were important in the first place. Through the projects, I have understood how and what it means to ‘live’, manifest and enact these principles. I have understood how to recognise when it is neglected or ignored, and how it can be integrated within the human interactions again.
I am now coming around to think that perhaps it is not about simply framing these principles as ‘philosophical perspectives’. I think the emphasis is the ‘lived’ and the ‘action’ taken in how values create practice. It is about each individual designer being aware of what values they have and how this is a ‘way of being’ in their practice.