You can put someone in a new home, but you can’t give them a new mindset.
Look at kids playing with blocks. I think it’s in everyone’s DNA to want to be a builder.
I was a dancer of no repute. But dance taught me a lot. You walk into a dance studio knowing you have to walk out with a dance. You improvise.
I decided to set out to prove that you could make a reasonable living building for the poor using recycled materials and only hiring unskilled labor.
For centuries, building materials were free. You want to build a house, you cut down some trees. But we haven’t been thinking about the cost to the planet.
Where do you get lumpy tiles? Well, of course, you don’t. But I get a lot of toilets, and so you just dispatch a toilet with a hammer, and then you have lumpy tiles.
We have cultural expectations that everyone needs a dining room, yet they’re only used three times a year. But if I put a bone handle on the door of an upper-end brick home, I’m making an outlandish statement.
Human beings are a social species. We like to hang together in groups, just like wildebeests, just like lions. Wildebeests don’t hang with lions because lions eat wildebeests. Human beings are like that. We do what that group does that we’re trying to identify with.
The first cause of waste is probably even buried in our DNA. Human beings have a need for maintaining consistency of the apperceptive mass. What does that mean? What it means is, for every perception we have, it needs to tally with the one like it before, or we don’t have continuity, and we become a little bit disoriented.
Building codes are a good thing. People who throw rocks at inspectors are being naive. It’s a lot like police officers; we want them around unless they stop us for a ticket. It’s the same with inspectors.
Back when I was restoring art and antiques, finding ivory was very difficult because it’s illegal, and the only difference between bone and ivory is that bone is free and not illegal.
Repetition creates pattern. If I have a hundred of these, a hundred of those, it doesn’t make any difference what these and those are. If I can repeat anything, I have the possibility of a pattern from hickory nuts and chicken eggs, shards of glass, branches. It doesn’t make any difference.
People have been doing this for hundreds of thousands of years: using whatever is available to build shelter. If you ponder what could be used, then building materials are everywhere.
I had always suspected that one could build an entire house from what went into the landfill, and, sure enough, it’s true.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a complete set of anything because repetition creates pattern, repetition creates pattern, repetition creates pattern.