If You Can’t Support The Revolution Let The Revolution Support You


Brodey’s manifesto-like declaration presenting the lab’s work as being on the cutting-edge of the post-industrial transformation. Think of a product that could be rendered responsive and intelligent — and it’s probably described in this article.

I want to tell manufacturing people, for chrissakes, instead of fighting it, go with it, because you can make money that way. You can support yourself, and you might even be able to have a beautiful life - Warren Brodey -

Then have been some real changes during the past few years. Changes inside people—particularly young people, but lots of the rest of us as well. I've seen the changes happen among lawyers, students, doctors, hippies, my friends at MIT. I've even seen some of these changes among the people I've met at the Innovation seminars. There’s certainly no sense running through a list of what those changes have been. There are lots of lists.

The important thing is that the changes are real They are changes in values. It doesn’t really matter whether you agree or disagree with those changes. They are certainly happening —and when people's values change, they want different things. There are lots of products that you are making right now that no one really wants anymore and there are lots of things which you are not yet making which people are just beginning to realize they want.

Why not start thinking about making them. What I mean is

If You Can't Support The Revolution; Let The Revolution Support You.

What Kinds of Products Do People Want?

People want products that feel good. That they can touch. That they can play with and get involved in. Houses which are not rectilinear squares and jails. Houses which evolve with you like living things. They want houses where a small amount of work at individualizing it gets you something reasonable and a large amount of work gets you something beautiful.

People want products which they can control.

Which involve them.

Responsibility is the capacity to respond. As soon as you feel Response-able you can get some control over your life.

I don’t want a house where I can't scratch the walls. I don't want to feel like a vandal in my own house. When the walls are so hard, you can't mold them to your use—then all you can do is write 'fuck' on them and walk off.

It isn’t the same as before. The market has changed. I want to tell manufacturing people, for chrissakes, instead of fighting it, go with it, because you can make money that way. You can support yourself, and you might even be able to have a beautiful life.

Our cities are made of shit. Hard, heavy shit. It just lies there . . . and rots after a while. How do we evolve things like plants to grow in. Living rooms. Living structures. Which have some of the evolutionary capacity we admire in biological systems.

During the 1930s, it's said, three pigs built houses.

One built his house out of straw.

One built his house out of sticks.

One built his house out of bricks.

During the 30s there was a wolf outside the door, and the smart pig used bricks. Now the wolf isn't there anymore, and I favor the pig who used straw. The house was light, it was changeable, and the mortgage was cheaper. But my house will be made out of living straw. It will change and grow with me.

The Revolution Is The Breakdown Of Consumer Conditioning

Q. What sorts of products do people want?

A. At this point, people don’t know what they want, but they sense what’s right when it's made for them.

Q. What do you want?

A. I want products which make me response-able.

Why should our telephone be the same when my voice is different from your voice? I want the telephone to hold hand differently from yours. My phone may start out the same as yours, but iti learns quickly.

Choice is not intellectual. It’s mad® by doing, by exploring, by finding out what you like as you go along.

Author’s request: Take out your watch— examine this for two minutes.

Reasonable-able Shoes

I want shoes that are my size. I don’t 'ant size 9. I don’t want size 8. I don’t want 7D. I want my size shoes.

How do I get my size. I can make them myself, or maybe I can put my foot into a machine like those old x-ray machines in the shoe stores. As I stick in my foot, an order goes into Shoe Central, leather is fed in, or some other material. As it’s happening, I can say “well, no, I don’t like it that way. How about a little more this is way."

And those shoes should be roperly aerated. They will change as a function of my behavior. They will be a little different when I’m walking, a little different when I’m running, a little different when I dance.

The Response-able Toilet

I want an ecologically sound toilet.

Five gallons of water going down every time I crap is ridiculous. Connecting all our homes into one great sewer which is dumped into a harbor is nonsense. All that was necessary before there was the desire and capacity for something better but now I want a toilet which moves the stuff into a drying compartment, dries it, powders it, and puts it into pellets which I can recycle into my garden.

If You Can’t Support The Revolution; Let The Revolution Support You. Make an Ecological Toilet.

A few years ago, no one would have bought that toilet. Just hook up to the central sewer and pay your taxes. Now people say. “We’re managing our own sewage. Don’t bother me with that tax stuff!”

They don’t let the inspector in to check. If he gets in. they have a fake gizmo which isn’t really hooked up to anything. A few years ago. no one would have bothered to lie like that. Things are different now.

The Response-able Television

I want to make my own tv showsand send them down a network of my friends. If they like it, they’ll send it along their network.

The days of television as a face hanging out of a tube are not past. It will always continue, but many people in addition to that will want interactive television. They will want to redesign the program as it goes along in terms of what they want to happen. They will want to dial into any one of a thousand kinds of programs-produced by CBS and also by all the other people in the country who feel they have something to say. Like me.

The Response-able Shower

I want a sensually rich shower.

You go to a shower in a modern house ... what have you got? One stream of water. You can adjust it thick or thin. Fine or coarse. While standing in a three foot closet.

I once went to a Turkish bath. Overhead there was a gorgeous blue dome. The baths had, at one time, been a mosque. Inside there were cool marble slabs with wood seats. There were bowls of hot and cold water which fitted perfectly to the curve of your arm.

If you can’t support the revolution let the revolution support you. Why not?

A little boy comes into a store where I am shopping. He asks for a pocketful of peanuts. The lady says, "Do you want a '/< or a Vj pound?”

He says, "Lady. I don’t know anything about that. I just want a pocketful."

She says ... this really happened ... "Do you want 100 worth or 200 worth?"

He said, “I don't know about that. I want a pocketful."

I said, "Lady, give him a pocketful and I'll pay for them."

She says, "I can’t give him a pocketful.”

I said. “Why not?”

She said, "Well, they're made up in packages of 100, 200, Va pound, and Vs pound . . . and anyway, he should go to school and learn how to measure."

I wanted to tell her that we're learning to measure in new units. We don't learn to do it in school 

but we learn nonetheless. We don't use inches anymore. Our feet are all different sizes.

We weigh in new scales. The strength of my arm, the weight of my hand. The breadth of my pockets.

Comments the Editor (CH):

The bearded fellow rising from a field of daisies is Innovation author Warren Brodey. Over the past twenty years, Warren has practiced a number of trades— psychology, cybernetics, and now ecology; but I should quickly add that ecology means something rather different for him. Besides saving wildlife (and the rest of us) from noxious chemicals, Warren wants to construct new sorts of environments for people which will further their joy, creativity, and growth.

In Innovation Number Five, he described some of these environments and suggested ways to apply them in a business setting ("Building a Creative Environment”). Now-he says-the changing times have created the desire for new sorts of products-products more finely tuned to individual human needs. Products, which, in his words, make the person who uses them "response-able." 

Because Warren was dissatisfied with old-style articles as well as old-style consumer products, we decided to make this one a collision of words and images. Warren talked at length about his ideas and art director Eric Gluckman, his assistant Tita Thomas, and I collaborated with him in devising the format.

One point was very important to Warren -that the article itself become a "response-able" product; that the reader should have room to become a collaborator. interpreter, or antagonist. Thus, the triangles in the middle of the article.

We all selected the words and pictures, the design is Eric's, but the order is random. We want you to play with them. Because until we have your response the article isn't really complete. So have a cup of coffee, cut them up with a pair of scissors, and try them out in different ways. They fit together in two or three dimensions. If you're really ingenious maybe you can put them together in four.

You may not like some of our images -burn them. If you've seen pictures or words in magazines or newspapers which mean something special to you, why don’t you cut them up into little triangles and add them in.

If you like what happens, send it in to Eric, and let us learn from what you’ve seen or felt. If we find we are learning things from the triangles you all send in. we ll probably get excited and publish them.