Reconstruction after Deconstruction

Holding onto Faith While Losing Faith in Institutions

What is faith?

Someone was asking if faith is a belief in an idea without evidence. It seems that many people believe this to be the definition of faith, so they have put their faith in people who have provided no evidence of being trustworthy. That would be the definition of blind faith. That is how people are being conned by unscrupulous liars and manipulators.

I think in the podcast episode Christian (Part Fohr), Richard Rohr defined faith as trust.

We put faith (trust) in a relationship when we experience kindness and a sense that the other person has our best interests at heart.

A baby learns to trust by observing a pattern of behaviour that meets the child’s basic needs. But it goes beyond the physical to the emotional needs as well, which involves the warmth of bodies in contact with each other as the primary mode of communication at this early stage of life.

As we grow older, relationships change, and forms of communication mature. There are certain relationships that stand the test of time. People do their best to look out for each other’s needs, but also to express warmth through acts of kindness and generosity.

We trust that mercy triumphs over judgment, that good overcomes evil, and that love has the power to move mountains, even if it is one grain of sand at a time. Trust allows us to be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. There is faith in a relationship because there is evidence of a pattern of behaviour.

Faith is the prerequisite for hope, and hope gives us the power and the will to love.

Faith as an Iterative Love Process

Design, as a profession, has been evolving as we move from designing physical artifacts to designing human experiences. As user experience designers, we integrate art and science with empathy.

A social science model of behaviour might refer to stimuli, interpretations and responses.

A model for understanding human experience might describe how a person processes stimuli and events in an environment and responds with particular patterns of behaviour:

  • perception (senses: stimuli — experience)
  • cognition (mind: thoughts — faith)
  • emotion (heart: feelings — hope)
  • action (body: behaviour — love)
Design for human experience: perception, cognition, emotion and action.

Experience: Our perceptions are signals gathered through the senses from environmental stimuli in a mysterious world that has been designed to accommodate organic life on a beautiful planet, a tiny seed of life in the soil of the universe. Learning is an iterative process. We learn through trial and error. When we make mistakes, we change our approach and try again.

Faith: Through cognition, we create a mental model of the world to try to make sense of events (the past, the present and the future), assigning meaning to people, places and things through shared experiences and the stories we tell each other.

Hope: Through our emotions, we discern threats and dangers, but we also fulfill a longing for purpose in generosity (giving) and gratitude (receiving).

Love: Through our actions, we transform thoughts and emotions into habits and patterns of behaviour that reflect our decisions about how best to use our time, energy and resources. Acts of love express our hope for purpose in creating intimate relationships that fulfill the transcendent human need for a sense of belonging.

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Rebuilding as an Iterative Design Process

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
— Buckminster Fuller

Don’t fight the system. Replace the system with something better: imagine, design, build.

Design is an approach that applies the scientific method to the process of creativity. Hypothesis, experiment, results. Concept, prototype, reality. If there is a problem with the experiment, we make adjustments and try again.

Imagine: Reality provides constraints and opportunities. Needs and desires are the starting point for invention and innovation. Imagination allows us to extrapolate ideas and possibilities into inspiring visions of what the future might look like.

Design: An ideation process explores the feasibility by sketching and creating prototypes to simulate the finished product or process. Research and testing help to validate elements and features of the design or reveal problems to be improved and refined.

Build: When a working prototype has been approved, the design is built as a finished product or a complete process, ready to be reproduced and delivered or deployed and launched.

Design is a process of bringing ideas into reality, making the world a better place.

Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

Designer, writer, educator, social architect, founder, Builders Collective, Leading with Design.

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