Where Science Meets Muse

How ‘i’nnovations Can Prevent ‘I’nnovation

Posted by Plish on November 6, 2009

I am a Rock, I am an Island

I am a Rock, I am an Island

I came across this article from my home town of Chicago.  Seems that a local apartment complex gives residents a safer experience by providing a rooftop dog park so owners don’t have to deal with crime in the area and risk life or Fido when they go for walks.  It’s a creative idea and a great business idea, but…

 …it also isolates and therein lies the problem. 

“Everyone wants to experience goodness in their life.  So, if they can’t experience it in their home community, they are going to find a way to experience it elsewhere, whether it’s on the rooftop of their building or whether it’s in an adjacent neighborhood.” -Al Zelinka, Planning Manager, Fullerton, California

The more fundamental question driving innovation in this context should be:

Do we want to be part of the world, contributing and living within it or would we rather do what we want, letting the world do what it may, while we stay safe and warm? 

Making a building into a creatively designed, self-contained world is great for its tenants but is this creativity and innovation really a good thing if it fosters separation of the inhabitants from the immediate community?  Don’t get me wrong, people should be protected, but there’s an interesting situation here in that the solution is ultimately self-defeating. 

If people aren’t a part of the community they live in, if they don’t have to deal with the community’s shortcomings day-to-day, the motivation to fix those problems disappears.  People purposefully avoiding their neighborhood results in a lack of empathy, a lack of having ‘skin in the game’, a lack of desire to change their situation.  That means that real creative solutions to community safety issues might never be found…

 …the current situation is perpetuated…

Simon and Garfunkel’s, I Am A Rock eerily hits the mark:

A winter’s day

In a deep and dark December;

I am alone,

Gazing from my window to the streets below

On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.

I am a rock,

I am an island.

I’ve built walls,

A fortress deep and mighty,

That none may penetrate.

I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.

It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.

I am a rock,

I am an island.

Don’t talk of love,

But I’ve heard the words before;

It’s sleeping in my memory.

I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.

If I never loved I never would have cried.

I am a rock,

I am an island.

I have my books

And my poetry to protect me;

I am shielded in my armor,

Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.

I touch no one and no one touches me.

I am a rock,

I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;

And an island never cries.


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