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Design for the Spiritual Man


In this 21st century, which has only  just started, the design should reinvent itself urgently.

We must stop  emphasizing and enhancing only the material – physical side of man, as it has done so far with great failure.

It must exist from another perspective,the “spiritual”, therefore creating a new reality of material production, consumption and disposal in accordance with the universal principles of respect , culture and education.

A universe that includes the  Earth and its human inhabitants.


Material x Spiritual


The design in an ideal given situation would be to balance  the material and spiritual man.

But it happened the opposite, design contributing to unbalanced the relationship between material and spiritual man.

As an example, technology is both slave and owner of the material man, giving us a false sense of stability, security and progress, when in fact, technology is only the “external reflection of  the internal” chaos, poverty, spiritual and moral of the present human being.

The current financial and ecological crises are just “one” manifestation of the spiritual poverty of the man and his lack of respect for all life, including his.

We are designers,”builders” of realities, capable of generating new paradigms through innovative products, services, business models, so we can create new and positive awareness, behaviors, attitudes

in order to successfully build a sustainable society in the future, in which relationship between material and spiritual man are in balance.


Design moral obligations

As designers we have a moral obligation to propose, design and innovate with a new vision, creating design with real and significant benefits for all.

If not, which would be the reason of the existence of design? Just consumption?

The perception of the design will be only different when it reach a new meaning bringing quality of life for all and therefore  being understood by all.

We live in a constant  relationship with our context. It is impossible to continue designing products and services in an unconscious manner aiming only the material-visible man, forgetting that there is always an action-reaction although it is not immediately visible, a reaction that is happening now!

To create a “21 century design” the spiritual man must be the new center of attention, and from there to propose a new reality of sustainable life-cycles  (design, manufacture, consumption and disposal) aiming “human centered well-being” benefits.  Benefits that will ecologically educate and spiritual enhance the society.


Design, a universal right

So far the design is only available for those who can consume it, when design should be a universal basic right and as essential as education, food, health.

Designing for the spiritual man means to respect the Earth and nature, optimizing our material surroundings, visible and invisible, creating quality of life for all.

The “sustainable design” is also new attitude toward the design where  man finally acknowledge that is part of Earth and not just isolated in his supposed greatness and intelligence.

We need a moral and material regeneration, the planet Earth and humanity can´t wait no longer.

The material man must give up immediately her seat to the spiritual man and thus build a new material reality according to the 21st century through a new education, culture and especially peace, and peace with himself.


Original article in portuguese from:



About the author: Marcio Dupont is a Brazilian industrial designer and sustainability analist( design and consumption). Visit his Sustainable – Social Design Portal and contact him through his LinkedIn profile

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • jared b December 2, 2011, 4:30 pm

    Interesting take on some of your points. I whole heartedly agree with the fact that design should take on more depth than just the consumption side of things.

    The only point i disagree on is that design is a universal, basic right. What does that mean? Does that mean that every human has the right to be surrounded by beautiful man made things? Design is all around us in nature. It’s not a right. It’s a gift.

    I guess I just believe that the only universal “rights” we have are: Life, Liberty and Property. Everything else is a gift.

  • RhettR September 14, 2012, 3:28 am

    Jared, it really comes down to how you define a universal right. I would take the stance that there are more universal “rights” than just Life, Liberty, and Property. I would say that a universal right is something that every person in the world should be able to posses, and not have taken away from them. In my view a gift can be given to or taken away from someone based on wether or not they “deserve” it.

    All the author is trying to say is that everyone should have design and beauty in their lives. Letting someone live without beauty surrounding them should be a violation of their basic rights. E.G. we deserve to live in a beautiful world.

    p.s. Examples of other universal rights you have: The right to breath the air around you (no one owns it) and the right to view private property from public property.

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