I prefer to use logocentrism to mean believing that thinking is essentially a matter of logos: words, logic and other explicit components. A corollary, that unless an idea is expressed in explicit word-logic terms it is not thinking and cannot be characterized in terms of truth, is a consequence of logocentrism.

I believe words are handly, lightweight and abundant objects through which thoughts can move, but thoughts can also act directly on other objects without involving words at all. These objects can exist in many forms both inside and outside the mind, physically or symbolically. A tacit understanding can be stimulated by wordless observation to produce visual images indicating possible actions in certain kinds of minds, bypassing words altogether. A mind in this stare might feel a potential image before it is glimpsed by the mind’s eye. Thought feels a need for an imaginary object and creates it as a vehicle for its action. Thought can also act directly on physical objects without the involvement of words, and sometimes it requires protection from words to think its actions out through the body.

To a logocentric perspective these mental events cannot be thought. Logocentrism wants to place symbols at the very center of thought, or even to reduce thoughts and meanings to symbols. Consequently, between a mind and what the mind tries to accomplish, it casually interposes words as if they are not in the way because they are nothing but the thought itself.

But I believe we think best when our thought act without intermediating objects, including words. To use a tool instinctively means to dispense with intermediating words.

The best designed tools are disintermediable (or disinterposable?). As a new user you might at first use words (as briefly as possible) to make sense of the tool, and then to train yourself how to use it (also using as briefly as possible, almost as a verbal apprenticeship), but eventually all intermediaries between your intentions and your actions through the tool are dissolved, and the tool is a seamless extension of your being. This ought to be the target user experience goal.

Do we use, or even have, methods for designing this way? I think UX and all UCD design (at least in the mainstream) remains radically logocentric.


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