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The Birth of The Blog

A place where theory meets practice.

Where aesthetic meets ethical.

Where imagination meets structure.


The structure of Just Engineering, what we’ve been trying to build for the last three months, needs moral imagination to survive. Just Engineering is an explorative enterprise, seeking to discover and define (or perhaps re-discover and highlight, to get away from colonist language) new realities in the field of justice in engineering.


If we’re not thinking forward, reflecting backward, comprehending systems, and trying to imagine what is currently invisible, Just Engineering will remain a dry, boring enterprise built on old ideas. Sure you could argue that putting engineers and organizations in partnership to design technology is innovative, but even that way of innovating is old. It is uninspired entrepreneurship.


"The projects need to be in conversation with new ideas and ideals in the field of justice engineering."

As the founder of Just Engineering, I am finding it hard to stay motivated while lifting an organization into existence, and I think that’s because I gave up reading, writing, and philosophizing in order to focus on the more structural parts (website, incorporation, funding models, etc.) of founding an organization. Our mentor Bhavna warned about this: that this would be dry work. Her recommended antidote was projects. I would add that these projects need to be infused with a moral imagination and be in conversation with new ideas and ideals in the field of justice engineering.


Another way of capturing the relationship between projects and moral imagination, is to say that the projects need to be the manifestation of the philosophical work, the ship with which we can explore the limits of what’s possible in justice + engineering, the workshop in which the theoretical can be prototyped. This was an idea cemented early in the development of Just Engineering’s ethos: I did not want to stand on the shore with friends and theorize what was out there for a just practice of engineering. It needed to be lived out, as messy as it may be.


"Moral imagination is nothing without practice, and you should not practice without moral imagination."

I want to share two quotes, from popular thinkers I deeply respect. Gandhi, a believer that moral philosophy meant nothing until lived out, says, “An ounce of practice is worth more than a ton of preaching.” While Theodore Hesburgh, critic of technology without a conscience, warns, “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” I believe both of them are right: moral imagination is nothing without practice, and you should not practice without moral imagination.


So here I am, having just gone through a season of structural work, remembering the fundamental relationship between the theoretical and the practical, which was not only present at the beginning of this journey, but foundational to the mission. Only this time, I am recognizing its importance from the other side: in the beginning was all theory and no practice, lately it has felt like all practice and no theory. Undoubtedly I will forget about and remember this fundamental balance many times over throughout the journey of Just Engineering.


"The Just Engineering blog, a place where people can explore together the theories behind justice in engineering, is born."

Where does this remembering, this recognition that I’ve swayed toward practical and away from theoretical, leave me? Of course with a desire to dive back into the moral imagination of justice in engineering, and this time, not to leave behind the structural. I want to practice both in tandem. I need to practice both in tandem. We need to practice both in tandem.


How does one explore theory? In many ways: through reading philosophical texts, stringing ideas together through writing, and reflecting in conversation with peers. For me personally, writing is the easiest start. Thus the Just Engineering blog, an idea that has been with JE since its inception, a place where people can explore together the theories behind justice in engineering, is born.


With the Just Engineering blog, we hope to share our ideas as an organization, my ideas as a founder and practitioner, and feature others’ ideas as project partners or thought leaders in the space of justice + engineering.


Here’s to exploring in thought, a crucial balance to exploring in practice!

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