Archive for August, 2007

HIGH TECH/HIGH TOUCH: THOUGHTS ON THE GREEN BODY

August 29, 2007

I recently attended a Da Vinci Institute seminar on “Future Scenarios” that was initiated by the question: Imagine a scenario for healthcare in 10 years.

Not surprisingly, fantasies quickly ran through a host of high-tech/low touch, diagnostic techniques including genetic detector centers, emergency rooms staffed by robots, and medical interviews conducted by artificial intelligence programs. Listening to the group of business – minded professionals, I had to wonder first, which science fiction novels or movies had influenced the members of the group. But more obvious was the glaring economic pragmatism that seemed to rule this collective biotech imagination, leading me to think: Had any member of the group been misdiagnosed by the failure of a MRI or by purely theoretical application of medical formula? Did any of them consider the implications of what Bruce Sterling calls “global warming goo” – the stuff that results from retired hi-tech equipment?

With summer temps rising and environmental issues heating up design and political rhetoric, the high-tech spin speech turned my thoughts to a “green body.”

A small celebrity manual entitled THE GREEN BOOK currently takes on the question, giving “supermodel” and T.V. host Tyra Banks the chance to speak about sustainable cosmetics, e.g., ways to avoid petroleum- based lipstick and mascara. All well and good for those who worship at the alters of Aphrodite or Parvati. But if a Green approach to living on Planet Earth presumes an interdependent relation between human and planetary destiny, then Green principles should be able to penetrate the surface culture of human beauty to access a deeper culture of body sustainability.

Here I’m thinking of the culture of cells – the tissue that creates, supports, nourishes and restores the biosphere of the human body, 24/7. For those of us currently involved in active address of sustainable design and sustainable bodies, consider the role “restorative” practices play in a high tech/high touch Green Body discourse.* Given the evolutionary, restorative and neuro-aesthetic directive of the George Greenstein Institute, I am joining with L. A. rolfer and somatics educator Bruce Schonfeld to advocate a serious consideration of how to bring restorative breath protocols into the arena of sustainable design.

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