“What does exhaust us is the disuse of our organs and our senses, the disconnection, repression… what does motivate us is development. Development that takes place because we are challenged by the outer world.”
Hugo Kükelhaus was a universal thinker who called attention to central problems of our times and also made suggestions to how these problems might be overcome. He observed our technical civilization weakens humans physically and emotionally and thus throws them out of balance. The reason behind this is a system of values which separates the intellect from the whole range of human capabilities, as well as technology and environmental design directed to providing comfort to the body and the senses instead of challenging them.
This kind of environment is becoming more and more monotonous, not giving the senses much to do and offering less and less freedom to fundamental physical experiences and developmental capabilities, which, for Kükelhaus, corresponds with an artificial sensory overstimulation. By overcharging particular senses such as seeing and hearing it contributes to a further decay of differentiated perception. Kükelhaus goes so far as to see here a deprivation of life itself. Tirelessly he illustrated the devastating consequences of sensory deprivation in all its aspects – for the individual and its relationships with others as well as for nature and technology.
In the early 1930s, he emphasized the importance of diverse sensory experiences – right from the start – with the production of “Allbedeut” objects, wooden toys fostering sensory development in the early years of a child.