There’s a magnificent idea by Steven Johnson. He says, “our thoughts shape our spaces.” Obviously, we build cathedrals and skyscrapers and townhouses and beach houses. And guess what? He says, our spaces return the favor. Those spaces we build, the architecture of happiness, as Alain de Botton writes, the spaces we create in turn, inform, shape, sculpt our subjective experience. There is a feedback loop. We script intention into our designs. And those designs, in turn, script our subjective experience.
Our ability to create virtual future possibilities, both for ourselves and for others, to create future spaces, to inform future thoughts, to build a thinking room, to build an idea lab, to build a creative playground, to build a backyard that’s going evoke being a child playing in the yard. I mean, even the space we’re in right now, the serene water, the perfect temperature, the hue coming from that sky, the fact that we want around the bend, we’re surrounded by green, there’s no other way to enter the space we’re in, creates a kind of womb-like, serene space, mood, reality.
It’s such a wild idea because, again, going back to Steven Johnson, to realize the freedom that we have to compose our lives, what Timothy Leary calls the “vertigo of freedom,” right? I can actually shape this thing? This chaotic ride is a blank canvas for me to beautify? It’s fulfillment. It’s awe.
It’s Henry Miller’s blade of grass that, when given proper attention, becomes a magnificent world in itself. There is so much to inspire us. And to realize that we are bound by no limits in order to drink that inspiration, it’s there for the taking, were we to just exercise a little discretion, a little discernment, flex those creative muscles and make it happen, we engineer, literally, our own divinity.