Week 4: Unit 1: Sustainable Systems, Art, Science, and Beauty

Hello All!

In this post I am documenting a review on Week(s): 2 and 3 discussions in my Sustainable Systems class, as well as a conclusion to end. Here it is!

Megan Taylor
Sustainable Systems/ Jean Gardner
15 February, 2017
Week 4: Unit 1: Sustainable Systems, Art, Science, and Beauty

What is a Sustainable System/ Three Ways We Learn:
Note: Unfortunately, I am not able to upload my sketches directly into this text box entry form; however I do have a link provided to a Learning Portfolio Post where you may view the required sketches there. http://portfolio.newschool.edu/taylm762/2017/01/30/sustainable-systems-what-is-a-sustainable-system-three-ways-we-learn-images/
1). What is a System?
Answer: A system is an order of existence between people, places, things and the environment- that functions cohesively as a whole. Ultimately; everything is a system, because the entire universe is made-up of micro-systems upon micro-systems. Some require more interaction than others, but all are in their own right a system. A personal example: The elevator service at the New School.
2). What does Sustainable mean?
Answer: Sustainable is a term denoting, any practice that works in a fashion that is beneficial to the preserving of our universe in any way. A personal example: Filtering through and Recycling Trash.
3). What are Three Basic Ways of Learning?
Answer: In my preference, three basic ways I learn best would be; kinetically, visually, and audibly. A personal unsustainable habit: Smoking.
(Additional Comment):
I did not realize that we had to elaborate on specific “three ways of learning” from the hand-out. Apologies. Let’s see, as for qualities; in order to pick up any habit or trait you certainly do need to possess confidence in yourself to be open to try out anything. Humans have survival tactics to get out of dangerous situations, we call this “fight or flight” mode. What is so funny about this is that- it is not actually taught to people at all; it is a chemical reaction.
Which leads me to say here is a perfect example of being intuitive and going with your gut feelings. In regards to dealing with facts and evidence, I find this to be especially important for myself; many times I will be so impulsive and forward concerning a task that I overdue what was expected and end up wrong, or completely miss the deadline or theme, etc- other times I can be incredibly spaced out…in a dream land of my own only hearing bits and pieces. Sometimes or maybe always it is best to go over details multiple times, read the fine print- nothing successful is produced otherwise. Lastly, when recognizing patterns that interconnect, this is crucial; think of having a toaster, two pieces of bread; but having no idea that they obviously were made for each other- perhaps I tried to throw a banana in there- patterns and operating systems are a way of learning that I believe is picked up during early childhood.

                             Week 3: Art and Science= Beauty?

Note: Answers based upon TED talk: “Rebuilding a Neighborhood With Beauty, Dignity, and Hope” by Bill Strickland.
1). Question: Compare what your experience of Beauty was before watching your team’s TED talk and after. Use the Three Basic Ways of Learning to organize your comparison.
Qualities (Before): Before I watched the TED talk video, I associated beauty with visual gratification, what is sensually pleasing- colorful and/or detailed.
Qualities (After): After watching the TED talk video, I recognized that the art of beauty can be far more encompassing …even spiritual, broader and less literal- just showing empathy to those less privileged; it can be a duty, a calling- that comes to fulfill and transform the lives of others by practical means. Example: (The building of a school in Pittsburgh).
Facts (Before): Previously I associated beauty with emotion, variation and verbal expression.
Facts (After): After watching the TED talk, I noticed how beauty can actually structure a community that is at the verge of crumbling- it brings order and growth.
Patterns/Systems (Before): At first the systems of beauty I recalled were those that mostly dealt with business and trade such as: fashion and cosmetics. Yet I also noted that therapy and counseling can be just as beautiful.
Patterns/Systems (After): After watching, I found that systems or patterns of beauty could be found in community service, humanitarian causes, gardening, creativity, and overall hospice of the unacknowledged. Beauty without a cost- yet I was initially correct by concluding that beauty is transformative; (such as is the case with therapy and counseling).
2). Question: What did Team #3 agree upon as descriptions of qualities of a system and facts of a system?
Qualities of a System: Consistency, Purpose, and Organization.
Facts of a System: Composition, Dependence, and Function.


After having heard all four presentations on beauty and its various interpretations, I realized that beauty; (although often mistaken for good external aesthetic) is actually entirely an internal concept. It renews, restores, and ultimately transforms. Some facts on the subject of beauty are that it: deals with actualities, and struggles with what you are up against. Beauty usually confronts problems head on, and finds a way to change them- (not without a struggle of course). Without some form of pain, transformation wouldn’t take place… this is what gives beauty its value. Qualities that beauty possesses are its ability to: be spontaneous, and make use of intuition.
Moments or events that have the potential to be beautiful are not always planned; and seldom are. Also; when beauty is discovered, there is usually a deep inner-knowing that accompanies it- heightening every sense and lifting the spirits. An example of what I would consider to encompass beauty would be: tears. When we allow ourselves to let go of whatever is holding us back, the end result can be incredibly beautiful. Tears are often a raw, and vulnerable way of doing just that.
In my teamwork, I would say I functioned as the organizing voice of the group. Perhaps the more assertive individual, leading the group in a subtle way; and ensuring cooperation and good communication flow. I do think that crying is a very sustainable system. Numerous studies have proven that allowing one’s body to do this releases high amounts of stress hormones, protein, manganese, and toxins- which only result in a tranquil state of health and mind… so why hold it in? (1)


(1) Derek, Whitney, “The Science of Tears,” PsychCentral, https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/11/18/the-science-of-tears/.


1). Whitney, Derek. “The Science of Tears.” PsychCentral. https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/11/18/the-science-of-tears/.

Hello, My name is Megan Taylor, I am a returning student here at Parsons; my major is Fashion Design with a peaking interest in environmentalism and animal welfare; I hope to transform the industry someday...slowly but surely. My wish is to combine luxury and aesthetic appeal with the consciousness of how and where it is made along with the idea of what to do with it after use. I have been following my need to create and share with the world art and fashion since the tender age of eleven years old.

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