Break Glass in Event of Commitment Emergency

How’s this for a commitment device?

Alexandra Von Feldmann‘s sculpture, the “Birth Clock” is a timepiece frozen in a glass bubble.

The moment you break the glass, the clock springs to life, marking progress.

Or, you can leave the glass intact as a reminder of your unwillingness to commit.

Dubner and Levitt have written about commitment devices before, including replica globs of human fat for dieters who need a visual reminder of the weight they are trying to shed.

(HT: Seth Godin)


I used to find myself in that pool of hawkish conservatives that typically are forward to use military might to solve problems...and hesitant to pull out of a conflict, since it might "send the wrong message."

Then I saw some pictures....

I saw a Muslim man weeping his heart out as he held the the lifeless body of his young grandson, drowned by the tsunami a few years back.

I saw (to my horror!) the face of a lifeless child in Iraq, the back of its beautiful head blown away, and it's face seemingly deflated.

And I changed. These pictures serves as commitment devices for me.

I realized that, at the heart of everything, all of us are very much alike. We love our children. We treasure our families. We weep over tragedy.

But we let certain elements of religion or politics or greed twist our perception, causing us to lose sight of our common humanity, making it easier (or "justifiable") to kill, war, terrorize, ignore, and enslave.

And so this "hawk" moderated. I'm not a pacifist, but I now realize that any war, no matter how justified it may seem, will "cost" us dead children. And that no matter who we are fighting, they, too, at their best, love their children and want the best for them.

It changed me.


Justin James

@2 (Kip) -

This actually makes sense. So long as it is unbroken, you have the option of breaking it. You are still sitting on the fence. The moment you break it, you cannot undo that, as marriage claims to be (not in reality, of course). That's the commitment. When it's whole, you have your cake while eating it; it's in one piece, and you can break it too if the mood strike you. But to break it, you must be willing to accept that it will never be whole again, so you are fully commited to that path.



I don't get it. Having the self control to leave the fragile sculpture in-tact represents non-commitment, but making a decision to destroy it signifies progress?

In a marriage (the most obvious example of commitment that comes to my mind), it is much easier to just "break" the fragile relationship than it is to maintain self-control and not destroy it.