Over the past week I have been delving into group of different topics that have spun off the design agenda of critical design for my collaborative project and some of the current curiosities I have within design. If you follow these blog posts closely, there's a clear pattern of my ever-growing interests in education and designing for impact, especially in direct relation to my belief on ecological and environmental design. I want to teach and inspire people to make a positive change so that it can have a positive impact on our world yet, I understand not everything is designed with this Utopian and 'morally right' vision. Not all education is good, as we can see throughout history, and tactics used in the commercial industry such as subliminal messaging are used daily to manipulate perceptions in attempt to sell a product.
'A subliminal message is a signal or message designed to pass below (sub) the normal limits of perception. For example it might be inaudible to the conscious mind (but audible to the unconscious or deeper mind) or might be an image transmitted briefly and unperceived consciously and yet perceived unconsciously.'
Subliminal messages have always fascinated me because I am a self-proclaimed 'tin-foil hat' who thrives on conspiracies with my clearly has a heightened sense of paranoia as I believe nothing is as it seems and that everything has an interior motive or agenda. In some ways this is good as I am not just excepting all as a given but it can also obscure a sense of trust I have within brands, companies, organisations and so on. I don't like to be deceived for the personal gain of others and many users feel the same. The ethical implications of subconsciously fashioning a persons mindset so that they unknowingly create a familiarity with a product they have never seen before is deceitful and wrong. Or is it?
The world is in a dire state and these questionable methods may have helped create this dystonia, so why not used the very same methods that may have contributed to these mess to relieve us from it. Shamelessly imprinting the message of environmental destruction on our the adverts of products aided this reality could be almost bitter sweet. Or are we caught in a Catch 22? Deceiving individuals to make more conscious decisions could save our ecosystem, however the ethical implications and possibly discovery our motives could backfire and create more animosity towards the green movement. With a portion of the population still convinced climate change is a hoax, can we afford the risk?
Ethics are not black and white by any means. They are seemingly complex and unique to each individual. As I place this scenario before you I ask you to think whether you would forgive the worldwide deceit in this case? If we all share the blame in this worldwide destruction what entitlement do we have to question the methods to save it?
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