Inderscience Publishers

The narrow door to sustainability - from practically useful to spiritually useful artefacts

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Beginning with a rationale for extending design's ambit beyond materialist and consumerist values in order to address today's pressing sustainability concerns, the contributions and limitations of eco–technologies and service solutions are discussed. The case is made that a less consumptive path requires a more fundamental systemic shift in priorities and values, and the basis of this must be rooted in deeper understandings of human meaning. The difficulties of including traditional, primarily religious, expressions of 'inner' values in the public realm are identified. However, emerging trans–religious and/or supra–religious forms offer an opportunity for restoring notions of profound meaning and wisdom in our workaday endeavours. This provides grounding for design development and the creation of a supra–religious 'spiritually useful' artefact, which offers a tangible, creative example of a post–materialist direction for design. In the process, contemporary sustainability concerns are embraced.

Keywords: product design, religion, inner values, spiritually useful design, symbolism, sustainability, sustainable development, eco–technologies, human meaning, wisdom, post–materialism

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