There are professions more harmful than industrial design, but only a very few of them. And possibly only one profession is phonier. Advertising design, in persuading people to buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, in order to impress others who don’t care, is probably the phoniest field in existence today. Industrial design, by concocting the tawdry idiocies hawked by advertisers, comes a close second. Never before in history have grown men sat down and seriously designed electric hairbrushes, rhinestone-covered shoe horns, and mink carpeting for bathrooms, and then drawn up elaborate plans to make and sell these gadgets to millions of people. Before (in the “good old days”), if a person liked killing people, he had to become a general, purchase a coal mine, or else study nuclear physics. Today, industrial design has put murder on a mass-production basis. By designing criminally unsafe automobiles that kill or maim nearly one million people around the world each year, by creating whole new species of permanent garbage to clutter up the landscape, and by choosing materials and processes that pollute the air we breath, designers have become a dangerous breed. And the skills needed in these activities are carefully taught to young people. […]
As long as design concerns itself with confecting trivial ‘toys for adults’, killing machines with gleaming tailfins, and ‘sexed-up’ shrouds for typewriters, toasters, telephones, and computers, it has lost all reason to exist. Design must become an innovative, highly creative, cross-disciplinary tool responsive to the true needs of men. It must be more research-oriented, and we must stop defiling the earth itself with poorly-designed objects and structures. […] Design can and must become a way in which young people can participate in changing society. As socially and morally involved designers, we must address ourselves to the needs of a world with its back to the wall while the hands on the clock point perpetually to one minute before twelve.

Victor Papanek – Design For The Real World

This is from the preface of Papanek’s book (written in 1971), who seems to be some kind of godfather of socially and ecologically responsible design. I’m on page 40 right now and i’m already convinced that this book makes it in my personal all time favourites. If you happen to be a designer and haven’t read it, please do. Or at least watch Mike Monteiro’s talk “How Designers Destroyed the World”.

A political victory, a rise of rents, the recovery of your sick, or the return of your absent friend, or some other favorable event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.

Ralph Waldo Emerson – Self-Reliance

The reliance on Property, including the reliance on governments which protect it, is the [lack] of self-reliance. Men have looked away from themselves and at things so long, that they have come to esteem the religious, learned, and civil institutions as guards of property, and they deprecate assaults on these, because they feel them to be assaults on property. They measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is. But a cultivated man becomes ashamed of his property, out of new respect for his nature. […] It is only as a man puts off all foreign support, and stands alone, that I see him to be strong and to prevail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson – Self-Reliance

In what prayers do men allow themselves! That which they call a holy office is not so much as brave and manly. Prayer looks abroad and asks for some foreign addition to come through some foreign virtue, and loses itself in endless mazes of natural and supernatural, and mediatorial and miraculous. Prayer that craves a particular commodity, – any thing less than all good, – is vicious. Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. It is the spirit of God pronouncing his works good. But prayer as a means to effect a private end is meanness and theft. It supposes dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness. As soon as the man is at one with God, he will not beg. He will then see prayer in all action. The prayer of the farmer kneeling in his field to weed it, the prayer of the rower kneeling with the stroke of his oar, are true prayers heard throughout nature, though for cheap ends. […]

Another sort of false prayers are our regrets. Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will. Regret calamities, if you can thereby help the sufferer; if not, attend your own work, and already the evil begins to be repaired. Our sympathy is just as base. We come to them who weep foolishly, and sit down and cry for company, instead of imparting to them truth and health in rough electric shocks, putting them once more in communication with their own reason. The secret of fortune is joy in our hands.

Ralph Waldo Emerson – Self-Reliance

Wenn sich ein Mensch dem Nicht-Sein stellt, wird er dazu befähigt, sein Le­ben in die richtige Perspektive zu rücken, es in seiner Gesamtheit zu begrei­fen und ihm dadurch Richtung und Einheit zu verleihen. Wenn der Ur­sprung der Angst letztendlich die Angst vor der Zukunft ist, endet die Zu­kunft mit dem Tod; und wenn der Ursprung der Angst letztendlich die Unge­wissheit ist, dann ist der Tod die einzige Gewissheit. Sich dem Tod zu stel­len, seine Unvermeidbarkeit zu akzeptieren und ihn ins Leben zu integrie­ren, heilt den Menschen nicht nur von der Neurose*, sondern befähigt ihn auch dazu, das Beste aus seinem Leben zu machen.

Neel Burton – Der Sinn des Wahnsinns

* Für [Paul Tillich] führt die Weigerung, sich dem Nicht-Sein zu stellen, nicht nur zu einem Leben, das nicht authentisch ist, sondern auch zu neurotischer Angst. Er hielt die Neurose für eine Methode, um das Nicht-Sein zu meiden, indem man das Sein meidet. Aus dieser Perspektive entsteht neurotische Angst aus einer verdrängten existenziellen Angst, die wiederum auf die Conditio humana zurückzuführen ist, insbesondere, auf die Fähigkeit des Menschen, sich seiner selbst bewusst zu sein.