The macro-thinker within has recently been hearing a lot of talk about the ways that the world is shrinking, the world is communicating ideas and the world is becoming individualistically empowered. All of these movements are going to “revolutionize” how we do life. Recently, I watched a documentary entitled “Objectified,” a clip on the study of industrial design, its effects on the world and unintended side effects as well. One of the designers made a comment about the self that resonated profoundly with my soul and my understanding of the journey of life from the context of a Christian in 2010. When discussing the automobile, its power in the market place and the fact that the market continually demands them he said, “Cars become a sort of avatar for how we wish to be seen in the world. The problem is that we don’t really care what our cars look like for others…we really place ourselves in particular cars to tell ourselves who we are.”
If this is the case, do we create our own lives simply to convince ourselves of who we are? Perhaps, we only dress our lives with things and ideas so that we can convince ourselves of who we are…and so the idea of new becomes moreso an idea of “neos” or brand-newness and not so much about “kainos” and re-newal (to swipe from a recent Rob Bell sermon I heard).
The reiteration of the same things that the apostle Paul was saying emerge. There is a false-self and real-self. By surrounding our lives with the images that we wish ourselves to communicate perhaps are simply a measure to convince ourselves of the lie.
Is it wrong to wear the freshest ties and polished shoes?
Am I driving that shnazzy SUV to impress myself?
Do I identify with my alma mater only to convince myself that I’m worthy?
What does this all mean? Am I going to give up my possessions and follow Christ (as Jesus badgers the Rich Young Ruler in Luke 18)? Maybe I should. Because maybe, after it is all said and done…perhaps the only person impressed by my false-self…Is me.
Perhaps design is not so much about what is on the outside as it is about what is designed within.