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Why problem-solving doesn’t work, but solution-discovery does.


While doing some research online this morning, a video popped up on my computer that showed a group of engineers using a 3-D printer. They excitedly huddled around the piece of technology, bouncing their feet and tapping their fingers with anticipation to witness what would be born from their printing process. As they stared into the lucite box incubating what was building their burgeoning brainchild, a recognizable object started to revel itself. The vanguard piece of technology around which they had so eagerly gathered, had just printed a hammer. 

As I watched them celebrate the victory of their progressive technology, I couldn’t help but ponder its fascinating implications. For, they had invented a modern magnum opus of a machine...and used it to print an antiquated hand-held hammer. 

It struck me how often we, as a society, use, repeat and implement the exact same ideological framework when approaching challenges—big or small.

Whether we as humans want to microscopically troubleshoot personal issues regarding work, lifestyle, relationships or macroscopically repair global issues of egregious injustice, economic imbalance, environmental destruction, we often turn back to take the familiar tools and limited programming of our past in order to build a “new” future. But, instead of something seminal, we often end up in the same predicaments having only changed the particular people, places or things. We often end up printing the same hammer with a new polymer material.

Some would argue that the past is all we have at our disposal; that all answers have been encoded within the historical record, detailed maps and evidentiary proof of how we created past pain or pleasure, war or peace, success or failure. But, that is categorically untrue. In fact, the past is only an antiquated reflection of humans doing the best that they could do from the perspective and self-imposed parameters allowed by their level of limited beliefs. History is an itemized list of actions we have already taken—a series of snapshots denoting fixed and frozen moments in time. 

From the perspective of this very present now, the past is as ephemeral as an idea, a program, a framework. The past no longer exists, just as the future hasn’t yet happened. All that is indubitable is this moment; right here, right now. And, the only way to repeatedly resuscitate our past is if we keep using our search history to fill and fuel our search engines

Why on earth do we constantly keep rifling through our metaphorical print history to find the program that will only recreate objects, scenarios, relationships that we have already experienced before? Why do we keep calling upon the past, culling it’s ephemeral obsolescence, to try and find answers within the same past program of the problem? We cannot create or embrace the innovative vibrational frequency of a solution while still mucking, deep and sticky, within the bowels of bilious battle. We cannot solve anything from the same level of consciousness that perpetuates the problem. We must open our minds, connect them to our hearts, and—like a wireless 3-D printer searches for wifi networks—elevate the antennae of our awareness to find the latest, most current, upgraded, updated and comprehensive frequency to inspire the programming of a new paradigm. And, subsequently, the printing of a new and compassionate creation—far beyond the scope of a hammer.

Human beings are brilliant. We are ravenous in our desire to create. We have just gotten stuck rifling through files of the familiar instead of embracing the unknown, potentially astronomical nature of something brand new; uncharted, unprecedented, and unlimited

When we walk backwards into our future we ignore the innovative ingenuity of being cumulative beings. We ignore the fact that—when present—we are an updated aggregate of all of our life experiences multiplied by the power of infinite possibility. It is time to use our unique moment in time, our unparalleled technology, and our elevated awareness to bring forth the change we wish to see, we wish to be in this world. 

Perhaps now is the time to huddle together in eager, excited anticipation for what has the potential of coming out of our world’s 3-D printer during this particular, peculiar place, space and time...