The catalog from the MOMA show SAFE: Design takes on Risk is a great read. Overall, its an interesting testament to the anxious times we live in. It also points out eloquently that safety and comfort are fundamental desires for us as human beings. I found this helpful to think about in terms of the nervousness or fear I somethimes feel about having diabetes. On the rare occasions something goes wrong, I am always surprised by how intensely and immediatly I fear for my safety. I have also found that my fear of the loss of safety is with me in most of the time, like a quiet whisper, informing all the preparations I make. It's not overt but rather subtlely threads itself through decisions and plans and my willingness to try something unchartered or spontaneous. I can usually override the worry but it is always there to contend with.
Paola Antonelli in her opening essay of the catalog states: "Safety is an instictive need that has guided human choices throughout history. Like love, it is an unversal feeling and, as such, has inspired endless analytical thinking and motivated science, literature, religion, and art. On our sleeves we wear not only our hearts but also big red panic buttons."
She also says some great things about the power of fear: "For every object designed with safety in mind, there is a corresponding fear. Conversely, for almost every fear, there is at least one object designed to allay the apprehension. Fear is a powerful motor of invention."
One of the biggest struggles I've had about diabetes, with both the medical community and the marketers who sell the stuff we have to use, is the use of the word and idea of normalcy. Normal this is not. Built into living with the regimen of diabetes is the idea of minimizing risk and maximizing safety through good planning and anticipation. Once all that is done, a normal life can be lived. What I've found is that normal chunks of life can be lived, in between the planning, the worry and the few actual times of real danger.
After reading Ms. Antonelli's essay, I now understand a little better, that even though my day to day life isn't exactly "normal", my response to it actually is. I also really like the idea that fear is a powerful motivator to invention and innovation. It's not that the fear goes away but rather that it becomes energy and fuel to create something wonderful. I like thinking about it this way.