Office Cockpit - Working with Dignity
Ulrich Spalthoff, Director and Coordinator
HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated).
We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, "I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice." We would like to add that we believe that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential not only for public policy, but for raising awareness in general.
Currently, many are glued to their chairs in front of their desks for hours, clutching their computer mouse, rigidifying their bodies, and acquiring back pain. An architect from an Arab country recently said: "With the chair, we also acquired back pain." This ought to be changed. Merely introducing "ergonomic chairs" is not sufficient. The basic pattern has to be humanized. No longer should the desk with its mounted computer be primary and the human body secondary. The human body has to be at the center of attention, while the machines have to be brought to the body and adapted to the body, not vice versa.
The Office Cockpit project attempts to dignify work and create a more functional solution, a solution that later could also be emulated by developing countries: the West ought to do more than bringing back pain as price for development. (Study: Sitting Up Straight Hurts Your Back)
At the current juncture of human history, everything needs to be probed, from micro levels (our consciousness, etc.), to meso levels (how families live together, in which kinds of environments, etc.), to macro levels (what kind of global cultures and institutions we need, etc.).
The Office Cockpit idea is an idea that is located at the meso level, with anchorings in the nondual concept of Unity in Diversity. It can help nurture Unity in Diversity better than almost any other piece of furniture, because it combines the global and local, the universal and personal in unique ways. It enables people to feel at home everywhere, thus helping them let go of the idea that to feel home one has to "own" and "possess" a specific piece of land, building, and furniture, something which nurtures the sense of home on our entire planet together with our joint responsibility for our human habitat (this represents the Unity side of Unity in Diversity), while, on the other side, the Office Cockpit idea offers a deeply individual expression of the diversity which exists among human individuals on this planet, a diversity that is crucial for unlocking the creativity that humankind is in need of if it wishes to face its challenges (this serves the Diversity part of Unity in Diversity).
Similar to our World Clothes for Equal Dignity project, also the Office Cockpit project has the aim to provide funding for our research. Part of the profit is designed to finance scholarships for doctoral research that study the concept of dignity, and probe how a world can be built that entails less disrespect and humiliation.
1. As for the seat, ideas may be gathered from Mercedes seats, dental chairs, and massage chairs. The aim must be to offer users a way to adapt the surface on which to place their bodies to their needs rather than to force them into rigidity.
2. As for the atmosphere to be created inside the Office Cockpit, insights from research on creativity are useful. Instead of cluttered offices, creativity, in order to flourish, needs an uncluttered, wide horizon. The Office Cockpit offers this through its form (no space for clutter) and the application of information technology (the user can fill the Office Cockpit with tailor-made images and sound). Research shows also that round shapes help us relax more than rectangular shapes, and the Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) has developed the "Hotel Room of the Future." See a demonstration at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7795601.stm!.
3. As for the information technology solutions, see, for example, Public Key, and Opticon SIM card, or Jooce, see also cloud computing.
4. As for the outer shell design, ideas may be gathered, for example, from Niki de Saint Phalle.
Niki de Saint Phalle, Nanas, Leibnizufer, Hannover, Germany.
Click on the pictures to see them larger.