By definition a viable system contains and is contained in a viable system. As a creature produced by nature, I am a viable system. To remain viable I must be embedded within a viable environment.
A viable environment is both pleasant and suitable. What has traditionally been considered excess or privilege may in fact be what is necessary to thrive.
An amenity is a desirable or useful feature or facility of a building or place, from the latin word amoenus meaning pleasant. This definition does not make it clear that amenities are necessary, yet a little bit of thought makes it perfectly clear that they are.
A necessary feature of a building — for instance, my shelter — is a roof and walls to protect me from the elements; to insulate me from the weather, deny access to pests and shield my family from predators. In the winter, it is necessary to have heating to keep us warm. In the summer it is necessary to have air conditioning to keep us cool. It is necessary to have access to optimal housing conditions without over crowding in confined and unhealthy spaces. Not having these amenities is life threatening.
Take for instance other amenities, without which the hygiene in the ecosystem of my personal space would be dangerous for myself and others. The historical development of personal hygiene and antisepsis has led to the discovery that it is necessary to have access to clean running water. Private bathrooms for bathing with flushable toilets integrated with proper sanitation systems for sewage are necessary. In fact, it is necessary to have an entire sanitation infrastructure for handling garbage and waste.
It is necessary to have access to optimal nutrition and the capability for its production; either hyper-locally or from afar through a necessary infrastructure supporting trade and transport. It is necessary to have the right equipment for food safety and preservation; refrigeration, freezing, canning, dehydrating to slow its decay.
It is necessary to have access to proper maternal care allowing people the time and resources to care for their children until they themselves are adults. Access to optimal medical care is necessary. Access to optimal working conditions, shorter hours, more rest time, laws and regulations that reduce health hazards for workers are necessary. It is necessary to have proper care for the dead, like burial and cremation.
After dark, artificial lighting is necessary. The artificial extension of the daylight has allowed people to stay awake and continue their pursuits into the night time. That added time has lead to a more educated society, new applications of technology and a greater economic participation. The flow of information in society is necessary. As such, it is necessary to have a postal service for the delivery of packages and information. Modern developments in technology have lead to broadcasted media such as radio and television. It is necessary to access this media so one can be kept apprised of developments in society; to be aware of sudden changes in conditions in the climate, the market, or to be alerted in emergency situations. None of this could be possible without the necessary electrical power.
It is necessary to have internet access and to possess the devices that enable it, personally. The collective evolution of technology has made it such that the internet permeates every aspect of modern society. To participate in it, you must have access to the internet. Is that not so? It is necessary to maintain access to the aforementioned amenities and expand the definition of access beyond economic privilege to basic human right.
A human being is not viable when separated from technology. Technology isn’t just some “extra thing”, technology is the extension of the human mind and body. Technology is the orchestration of material using faculties of human intelligence both of which have been provided by nature. A cat needs its sharp teeth and claws to survive. A bird needs feathers and wings. A fish needs scales and fins. These biological equipment make them well suited to their environments and ways of life. I was not born with the biological equipment I need to survive. I was not born with fur, but I wear clothes. Without clothes I am frail. Other animals don’t have this problem. It’s as though the biological evolution of humanity required the capacity to develop technology. As a result, it is necessary to extend the mind and body with technology as a survival strategy. Human beings need personal and individual access to technology to survive. Technology is a necessity for human environments and a human way of life.
As human beings, we share common frailties. We have developed technology to cope with our environment and overcome these frailties. These technologies are our amenities. Furthermore, I would venture to say that without these amenities my life would be threatened or in imminent danger. Yet, my society treats it as economic privilege. It labels these extensions of my mind and body as amenities, as though they were privileges unnecessary to my survival. These amenities are necessary to survival and should be considered human rights. In a modern civilization, a human being is not viable when separated from high-technology.
There is a word that means to provide or equip with what is necessary or desirable, it comes from the Old French furnir which means to furnish. Furniture are those furnishings used to make a space suitable for living or working.
The definition makes clear that without furniture, a space is not suitable for living or working. The human species evolved on this planet, in its gravitational field. One of the problems with leaving Earth is that our bodies don't work well when separated from its gravity for prolonged periods. We can't really stand the gravity either. There is a special blend of adaption and an ill-suited-ness that has forced humans to reshape the ground. Extending it into surfaces that match and support the contours of our bodies. To alleviate the pressures of our weight with cushions. An entire professional specialization has been created in the field of ergonomics. Other animals haven't done this. They are well adapted to sitting and sleeping on the hard earth, some even do it standing up. Our unique physiology, its unique blend of strength and frailty, combined with our capacity to imagine alternatives, led to the creation of furniture just as it did with amenities. Furniture supports our bodies, enhances social situations, improves our sleep and wakeful posture. Early on in the development of furniture the same support for our bodies was imagined for inanimate objects. There is furniture to store and organize our things; to keep our things out of our active space where they remain safe and clean.
A precision in language must be agreed upon as we proceed in the development of a regenerative living system. Presently, these necessities are not considered human rights. The necessity of these amenities is analyzed through the lens of ideology, as a result, society has bifurcated into opposing points of view. These points of view imagine themselves in competition with each other and the forces of nature, which sets the tone for the system dynamics that prevail. There are other ways, and the reasoning behind these other ways are accessible. Why then are they still chiseling off of each other?
These creature comforts have been demonstrated to be necessary. Without access to these necessities, a person is unable to contribute fully to society. Through widespread access to a personal ownership of these amenities and furniture, a greater number of individuals are empowered to give back in abundance.