Chindogyu are relatively useless inventions. They are created to solve problems however they tend to be somewhat ineffective in actual use or even create more problems. The classification of chindogu was introduced to the English speaking world in the 1990s however Japan has known about these things for quite some time before that. The term was coined by Kenji Kawakami who was one of the authors of the book 101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions: The Art of Chindōgu, which came out in 1995.
It was through that book that I encountered the fabulous world of Chindogyu.
The International Chindogyu Society has a website dedicated to these ideas to which you may submit your own inventions. The president of the society has described chindogyu as:
A tool that doesn’t quite improve our lives but it fun to look at because it’s really weird. “Dogu” is the Japanese word for tool and “chin” might be best translated as “really weird.” from the President’s message
Some examples of chindogyu:
Here is Kenji Kawakami himself demonstrating some chindogu from the Pink Tentacle channel:
These kinds of things are not confined to Japanese inventions. 25 Ridiculous Inventions includes baby toupees, inflatable toast and paper email.
Here’s a couple of strange things that occurred to me recently that aren’t exactly chindogyu but maybe hover in that area.
Voodoo dolls for extreme fundamentalists so that they could take out their anger for heretics.
Add Urban Dictionary and an academic dictionary to all spellcheckers. This would save me a lot of work. [OK that’s possible with a little work]
Internet lie detection filter.
Shine in the dark mood shoes. This would save a lot of misunderstandings in bars and clubs.
Solar charging bricks. Just by building a house with them they interlock and connect to the grid. This may take nanotechnology to pull off.
Etch-a-Sketch walls. In technicolor.
Recyclable paper/wooden/bamboo carpet that comes in big rolls.
Self-cleaning Venetian blinds.
Passport chip implants with electronic visa information.
Something that may seem impractical but actually works.
The Kashmiri kanger-this is a heating device that consists of a clay pot suspended in a basket that many Kashmiri people carry under their woolen cloaks. It is filled with charcoal that burns slowly and without smoke. The design of the cloak is such that air can reach the kanger and burning fumes can be expelled. This type of device has led to the development of hand and body warming devices like instant heat packs that utilize chemicals or other methods.
Chindogyu world and egregores
There are a lot of things that seemed like a good idea as they developed but proved to be problematic in implementation. We have a hard time recognizing them when they are of a scale much larger than ourselves and involve whole populations. Social constructions such as religion are beginning to demonstrate this.
As a person who views Buddhism as a religion it’s something that I have to take note of now and again.
In terms of political philosophy I’ve found much that is useful in the explanations of Marxist writers however implementation has proven difficult. Same is true of what is occurring with western medicine and psychology.
What seems to happen is a kind of over development wherein the original purposes are lost. These lines of thought become bloated and self-serving rather than in service to the populations which developed them. It is as though, at a certain point, they become uncontrollable entities.
Egregores describe uncontrollable social entities. According to Wikipedia:
Egregore (also “egregor”) is an occult concept representing a “thoughtform” or “collective group mind”, an autonomous psychic entity made up of, and influencing, the thoughts of a group of people. The symbiotic relationship between an egregore and its group has been compared to the more recent, non-occult concepts of the corporation (as a legal entity) and the meme.
We don’t have to buy into occult phenomenon to consider the concept of egregores. Social psychology has been considering the processes of “groupthink” and mob behavior for a long time. From the same article:
When these situations arise, trying to understand the group by understanding its members in isolation fails. The group can be understood by modeling the members’ interactions, but the human tendency to anthropomorphize may make it more intuitive to see the group itself as having preferences for a certain outcome, regardless of its members’ wishes.
We often don’t realize what is influencing or conditioning our behavior.
We can blame the egregores or we can become mindful of what we are doing.