Category Archives: Philosophy

Design: thinking, crafting and actualizing

This post has also been published on my company’s blog.

To be effective in any design discipline it is certainly necessary to master the universal methods of design. Whether you call these methods Human-Centered Design (HCD) or Design Thinking or invent some new term for it, the principles are always the same and they are incredibly useful, especially for innovation, even outside the domain of what is normally called “design”. Let’s call this the thinking aspect of design.

Effective professional designers also become connoisseurs within their chosen design medium, capable of detecting subtleties in designs, rapidly assessing consequences and weighing trade-offs among different design directions, rapidly switching perspectives, zooming between whole and detail, and tacking between a shopper’s hasty glance and an expert’s inspection. Let’s call this the crafting aspect of design.

But even this is not enough, if the goal is making real change in the world.

For that, a designer must progress beyond thinking and crafting, into the actualizing part of design. This requires understanding of the materials specific to their design discipline. This understanding is not only an explicit knowledge about materials, it also involves an implicit feel for the possibilities and constraints of  materials, as well as fluency in the language which has formed around the material, often used by engineers and craftspeople.

This fluency is acquired less from from talking than from hands-on experience, and it is this that we mean when we say someone “knows what they’re talking about” and it is crucial for winning the respect and active support of the collaborators who will help the designer actualize the design.

Some examples:

  • Industrial designers need to understand the various materials and fabrication techniques used in manufacturing, and they need to know how to speak with mechanical and other types of engineers.
  • UX designers need to understand enough about development frameworks and methodologies to communicate and interact with software engineers. (“UX/UI designers” are even expected to be engineers. Whether they are still expected to be designers is the real question, but that’s a topic for another time.)
  • Architects need to understand methods and the myriad materials used in the construction of buildings, including plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc., and have the vocabulary to communicate with the various specialists involved in building projects.

This brings us to an interesting question: What is the material of service design?

My answer is: The material of service design is organizations.

Designing services demands deep and extensive knowledge of how organizations work. The explicit part of this knowledge (the knowledge of MBAs) is far easier than the implicit part which takes years of experience collaborating with many disciplines working in many departments. It is not necessary to have the same level of knowledge as those who work in these departments. But the more a service designer can convey that they know what they they’re talking about when discussing the problems employees face every day in their jobs, the more the service designer can earn their respect and willingness to collaborate. Just as other design disciplines collaborate with teams of engineers and other types of experts to actualize their designs, service designers must enlist the involvement of entire organizations and get them to function as a massive multidisciplinary organizational engineering team. If anyone wonders why service design workshops tend to lean large, this is why.

Great service designers will know the methods of Human-Centered Design inside and out. They will overflow with observations and opinions about good and bad services they’ve experienced or heard about, and they’ll probably talk your ear off about how these experiences came about and what they portend about their industries, etc. But the real test is what happens when they talk with front-line employees, managers and executives. If the conversation plunges into the deepest shop-talk, and everyone is talking what’s going on at work with the kind of intensity normally reserved for sports or scandal, you may be witnessing a talented service designer in action.

Faith space

Normally I don’t publish this kind of disorganized mess, but today I feel compelled to reflect on what feels like a constricting world, where liberal space from others is increasing scarce.

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A person’s beliefs are not the same as that person’s faith.

Here is why I make the distinction: Beliefs are the product of innumerable choices, guided by attitudes that precede belief. The attitudes manifest primarily as our intuitions of relevance and value, and they pre-consciously influence what we are inclined to regard with interest or complacence, what we accept or question, what we embrace or push away.

Our practical responses are similarly guided. We are pre-consciously inclined to behave in particular ways to different kinds of beings and situations.

Before birth, long before we think or begin making conscious choices, a complex feedback process of perceiving, reacting, recognizing, responding has begun, and this process simultaneously produces us as people and our situation as the world we inhabit and the relationship between enworlded self and the world in which the self emerges is faith.

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The best conversations sound out harmonies and cacophonies among faiths, faiths felt to inhabit an impossibly deep, dense, vast reality — a reality which monotheists like to emphasize as one, which polytheists like to emphasize as plural, and which pluralists like emphasize as both at once.

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When talking with people of other religions I often detect a shared faith, even despite divergent beliefs. They’re “coming from a good place.” Or their “hearts are in the right place.” This place is what I call faith. And the goodness and rightness seems for me to have much to do with a desire for more than what their beliefs can grasp or possess. This is what I experience as liberal, and, for me, it has less to do with what one confesses or professes, and more to do with hospitality, mobility and spaciousness of soul.

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It is not enough to be a mystic, to believe that there is more, to sense that that a beyond exists. It is necessary to desire it and want more and more of it, even though that means almost renunciation of many mystic virtues. A liberal soul does not have special divinatory or gnostic powers, or some special relationship with god that makes one immune to vulnerability, loneliness, anxiety, uncertainty or forsakenness. A liberal at heart might be a mystic turned inside out — …

Faith in faithfulness

Faith is the relationship we have with reality beyond what is present to our experience, the being that inspires our warmest love and coldest dread, the being upon which we depend for our very being, the being with the potential to shock us with its stark alienness or surprise us with inconceivable fullness. Life without faith is entirely pointless, and this is why reciprocation of faith — faithfulness — seems commanded by reality itself.

We should be faithful to the past and to the future, to what is behind what is nearest and concealed by distances, and to the people around me (human and nonhuman) I can learn from and teach and to the mysterious source of my own selfhood. In the stories we tell ourselves, we should adhere to the existence of these realities and not re-narrate them for the convenience of the moment, because only this gives our own selfhood persistence and coherence.

We maintain ourselves as ourselves both for ourselves and for those who love us, those who we love, those who we hope with be faithful to us. Covenant.

I believe this faith in faithfulness makes me religious. No?

Art and world

Art affirms a world, completes a world or promises a world.

The affirmation of a world that is not full of positive significance and potential does nothing but provide folks with refashioning of the expected: safe novelties.

A world that exalts self-sufficiency and autonomy prefers an impoverished perfection to any suggestion we are not already complete in ourselves, however much loneliness, hopelessness and emptiness demonstrates otherwise: ideological narcissism.

A world that scoffs at transcendence refuses on principle to hope for anything that inspires genuine love: cool lust.

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If you have to hustle your art, try spending less time on craft and more time on asking deeply offensive questions.

3 C’s of service design

More on this later, but I wanted to jot down this framework:

Service design aims to get three things right:

  • Continuity: ensure the whole experience is designed without thoughtless gaps at any unconsidered moment where the customer is confused, frustrated or unserved.
  • Consistency: design the experience to maximize familiarity and “learn once, use often.”
  • Climax: build memorable and differentiating highlights into the experience that make it special to the customer.

The “yes, but, so” of pseudoliberalism

What is it about Rorty that makes him so satisfying to disagree with? Rorty’s mistakes and omissions make me like him even more. Maybe it is because his ultimate goals and tacit evaluations correspond to my own, and our disagreements are merely around facts and inferences.

Rorty was profoundly pluralistic, and you can feel it.

[I meant to just write about Rorty, but here the post takes a turn toward the theme of emergencies and liberalism, which appears to be my live problem right now.]

Rorty, as far as I know, never did that pseudoliberal move of piously nodding to the ideal of liberalism and then immediately finding reasons to betray it for the sake of saving it from those illiberal others.

Yes, there are illiberals. Yes, they attack liberalism from the inside when they attack it from the outside by forcing it to resort to illiberal measures to defend itself. But with pseudoliberals the eagerness to find necessities to resort to illiberal measures is palpable. Their faces brighten when they find the “yes, but… so…” that lets them have it both ways: appealing to liberal principles to support their own liberty, while finding themselves in the midst of an emergency that calls for privileging their own judgments over those who view things differently. “Yes, but people’s safety is at risk, so…” “Yes, but there is corruption (or conspiracy!) at the very root of the institutions we are supposed to trust, so…” “Yes, but the public is too deluded and stupid to judge for itself, so…” “Yes, but the USA’s form of liberal democracy was corrupted from the start, and the stain of sin remains, so…” “Yes, but we are being overrun by hordes of illegal immigrants, so…” etc., etc., etc.

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Saturday, I tried to explain to a conservative friend that if we arbitrarily decide an illegal immigration problem (that is actually on a trajectory of improvement) is such an emergency that it justifies use of extra-democratic emergency powers, he has no right to complain in 2022 when President Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declares an emergency over poverty or institutional racism or worker’s rights.

Rorty on public and private beliefs

This passage from Rorty’s absolutely brilliant essay “Pragmatism as Romantic Polytheism” made a very deep impression on my politics:

I turn now to the other big difference between Nietzsche on the one hand and James and Dewey on the other. Nietzsche thinks religious belief is intellectually disreputable; James and Dewey do not.

In order to defend James and Dewey’s tolerance for theism against Nietzsche, I shall sketch a pragmatist philosophy of religion in five brief theses. Then I shall try to relate these theses to what James and Dewey actually said about belief in God.

First, it is an advantage of the antirepresentationalist view of belief that James took over from Bain and Peirce — the view that beliefs are habits of action — that it frees us from the responsibility to unify all our beliefs into a single worldview. If our beliefs are all parts of a single attempt to represent a single world, then they must all hang together fairly tightly. But if they are habits of action, then, because the purposes served by action may blamelessly vary, so may the habits we develop to serve those purposes.

Second, Nietzsche’s attempt to “see science through the optic of art, and art through that of life,” like Arnold’s and Mill’s substitution of poetry for religion, is an attempt to make more room for individuality than can be provided either by orthodox monotheism, or by the Enlightenment’s attempt to put science in the place of religion as a source of Truth. So the attempt, by Tillich and others, to treat religious faith as “symbolic,” and thereby to treat religion as poetic and poetry as religious, and neither as competing with science, is on the right track. But to make it convincing we need to drop the idea that some parts of culture fulfill our need to know the truth and others fulfill lesser aims. The pragmatists’ romantic utilitarianism does drop this idea: if there is no will to truth apart from the will to happiness, there is no way to contrast the cognitive with the noncognitive, the serious with the nonserious.

Third, pragmatism does permit us to make another distinction, one that takes over some of the work previously done by the old distinction between the cognitive and the noncognitive. The new distinction is between projects of social cooperation and projects of individual self- development. Intersubjective agreement is required for the former projects, but not for the latter. Natural science is a paradigmatic project of social cooperation: the project of improving man’s estate by taking account of every possible observation and experimental result in order to facilitate the making of predictions that will come true. Law is another such paradigm. Romantic art, by contrast, is a paradigmatic project of individual self-development. Religion, if it can be disconnected from both science and morals — from the attempt to predict the consequences of our actions and the attempt to rank human needs — may be another such paradigm.

Fourth, the idea that we should love Truth is largely responsible for the idea that religious belief is “intellectually irresponsible.” But there is no such thing as the love of Truth. What has been called by that name is a mixture of the love of reaching intersubjective agreement, the love of gaining mastery over a recalcitrant set of data, the love of winning arguments, and the love of synthesizing little theories into big theories. It is never an objection to a religious belief that there is no evidence for it. The only possible objection to it can be that it intrudes an individual project into a social and cooperative project, and thereby offends against the teachings of On Liberty. Such intrusion is a betrayal of one’s responsibilities to cooperate with other human beings, not of one’s responsibility to Truth or to Reason.

Fifth, the attempt to love Truth, and to think of it as One, and as capable of commensurating and ranking human needs, is a secular version of the traditional religious hope that allegiance to something big, powerful, and nonhuman will persuade that powerful being to take your side in your struggle with other people. Nietzsche despised any such hope as a sign of weakness. Pragmatists who are also democrats have a different objection to such hope for allegiance with power. They see it as a betrayal of the ideal of human fraternity that democracy inherits from the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. That ideal finds its best expression in the doctrine, common to Mill and James, that every human need should be satisfied unless doing so causes too many other human needs to go unsatisfied. The pragmatist objection to religious fundamentalists is not that fundamentalists are intellectually irresponsible in disregarding the results of natural science. Rather it is that they are morally irresponsible in attempting to circumvent the process of achieving democratic consensus about how to maximize happiness. They sin not by ignoring Mill’s inductive methods, but by ignoring his reflections on liberty.

Emergency and hubris

An inclination to see emergencies — emergencies being states of affairs demanding extraordinary means to address an immediate dire threat of some kind — can often seem more motivated by a strong inclination to use extraordinary means than in the circumstances claimed to demand them.

And it is not uncommon to see this inclination to exercise extraordinary means appearing alongside a hubristic frame of mind: I/We, unlike those others, see clearly what those others cannot and will not see, because, unlike them, I/we possess special virtues they lack. I/We are [smarter/braver/profounder/greater/kinder/fairer/more rigorous/industrious/prophetic/etc.] than those [sheeple/unwoke/blue-pilled/liberals/pinkos/privileged/bourgeois/Establishment-flunkies/fascists/racists/sexists/cisists/etc.]”

The concern, obviously, is that the response to the emergency will position the emergency-monger in a position where justification and deliberation (behaviors normal among equals) are replaced by pure exercise of authority, where power is knowledge and knowledge is power and it all runs together into a privilege to judge and dictate to everyone what is true and right, on the basis one’s own personal criteria and justifications, despite objections to those who believe in different criteria and justifications for determining what is true and right. From this vantage point, anyone despicable enough to doubt what is plainly true and right (to those virtuous enough to know it) cannot be reasoned with and have forfeited their right to the niceties of reason, such as being allowed to present their case. To use the idioms of the George W. Bush era, if they won’t “support the troops” by keeping their Politically Incorrect doubts to themselves they must be deplatformed for the sake of considerations far more important than civil rights and due process. “The Bill of Rights is not a suicide pact,” they #dittoed. Wherever folks all have the same borgy thing to repeat/repost/retweet/#rehash at each other, I get the creeps.

Complicating this suspicion of emergencies is the fact that emergencies requiring quick, procedure-free response do happen. This is where it is terribly important to look at the character of the person seizing power on the basis of emergency. Do they demonstrate a taste for pluralism, or do they seem preoccupied with their own special powers and the privileges these powers justify? If you are a true prophet who sees the future, or you have a special talent for discerning what is most moral, just or kind that permits you to see with clarity others lack who should sacrifice what rights to whom to restore the scales of justice, or your intuition provides you with special insights into discerning what is really real or truly true, or you possess extraordinary courage to look directly into possibilities that terrify smaller souls, or if you are a member of a vanguard who has history on its side — I’m sorry but all these beliefs strike me as varieties of microomniscience and symptoms of apotheoitis.

It is depressingly difficult to figure out exactly how much we are God, because the answer is neither 0% nor 100%, but an uneasy point between. I look for that unease in my political allies.

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Just as one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter, one person’s suppression or silencing is another’s deplatforming.

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I know folks who were on the wrong side of 9/11 and now admit it, but are now making up for it by fighting on the right side of justice by deplatforming people who do not care about equality among all categories of person.

Infinite sigh.

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“But, Stephen… aren’t you claiming to have privileged insights into what is really going on?” — Oh, I do believe my efforts to understand what is going on have produced some valid truths, but I have caught myself being wrong too many times to want to impose the implications of my convictions on anyone else. I will argue them with anyone willing to engage them, which, by the way, is not the same as swimming into a logical conspiracy-theory vortex with them. Usually, such vortices are comforting Dervish dances for those who find an overpowering logical suction a suitable substitute for the up-down of gravity and magnetic North in the midst of pluralistic relativity. But to put it bluntly, such folk are entirely wrong to think they lack magnetic attraction to North… On the contrary, they are locked in and frozen in their negative current.

Jaspers on philosophy and science

From Philosophy, “Epilogue 1955”:

This came to be the great philosophical challenge: to hold on to science, to keep testing by its standards of compelling certainty, and yet to do our ascertaining in the realm of our lives. The point is to make our philosophizing a function of our reality itself, to have the thought figures spring from personal life and address themselves to the individual. The only proof of an impersonal, objectified philosophical construction lies in personal Existenz. It makes no sense as a knowledge of formulae, theses, and words, nor as a contemplation of soul-stirrmg figures; it does make sense in the inner action which it stirs or recognizably reflects.

This philosophizing is thinking. That is what sets it apart from the tendencies of emotional self-satisfaction, from thoughtless romanticism, and from the self-destruction of reason in so-called irrationalism. The joy of a thinking life, whether in sorrow or in rapturous love, is that philosophical thinking will not only make each experience, each action, each choice more clearly conscious but more deeply based and more intense.

To study such thinking means to deal with oneself. It commits not only in the manner of surface laws, to which I might conform in calculable fashion. This commitment goes farther; it is an existential responsibility which my thoughts make clear and certain.

Philosophical thinking occurs in movements that accomplish and confirm an ethos so that the effects of the philosophical thought extend into our private and political lives, thus showing what it is. The thought proves true if it encompasses our everyday actions as well as those of the exalted moments of its birth.

The sciences can neither vindicate philosophy nor produce it as their result. Philosophy antedates them all, and in the grandiose figures of Antiquity it managed to exist without them. Still since their development they have constituted the inevitable field of orientation for any philosophy that cares about truthful thinking. To philosophize today, a man must know the profound satisfaction of scientific insight. At the same time he must know the consciousness of method without which he cannot be sure of his insights; he must know what it means to be aware of the limits of science. He must experience the immense difficulty of communicating with the unscientific, about concrete everyday questions in particular, whether the unscientific approach appears in the guise of pseudoscience or as “philosophy.” The scientific approach is the premise of all rationality. We sense its germs in the earliest philosophies, in Anaximander, in Mei-Ti, in the Sankhya system. It is not the basis of philosophical truth, but today it is a condition of truthfulness in philosophizing. The scientific approach has become unavoidable in the conceiving, the weighing, the judging we do every day.

The belief that a science, religion or political vision can be an adequate substitute for philosophy is an artifact of an inadequate popular philosophy. Generally, such popular philosophies lurk inside common-sensical attitudes toward truth without ever articulating themselves as philosophies, while presenting “philosophy” as a useless, abstract, speculative activity that has been supplanted by more practical and rigorous disciplines.

My concern is that the majority of educated Westerners have been indoctrinated in this anti-philosophical philosophy through the content of their educations, through consumption of what passes today for public intellectual product, and, increasingly, enacted in the routine social just-so stories the casually woke perform for one another to signal their fealty to a class identity none will admit is an identity, which uses its full hegemonic power to suppress talk of its own existence.

Apprehending apprehension

The word apprehend is uncanny.

When I encounter it, I cannot fully comprehend what it means, in a way that makes me mildly anxious.

When I comprehend an idea, I am able to wrap my mind around it, conceptualize it as a complex whole, explain it to others and use it. Not so with the idea of apprehension. I can only touch it with my mind, not grasp it. It feels like trying to pick up a basketball by my fingernails.

My topological intuition suggests that I try some russian-reversal style eversions. Perhaps in apprehension the normal subject-object relationship is flipped. a) What I comprehend “belongs” to me as a fully-contained part of me. Apprehension is not mine in this way, and I might very well exist within it, as a mere part, or participant, not privy to the containing whole. b) I do not comprehend apprehension, but those incomprehensible beings I know only through apprehension might comprehend me.

These everted-comprehension relationships are identical with the relationship I have with reality that transcends my own existence. As I unceasingly try to comprehend this reality, with increasing recognition of the futility of the goal but the value in the action, reality hands me consolation prizes of new concepts and new modes of understanding. (I am reminded of a t-shirt design I’ve been laughing about for the last 30 years where a bulky weightlifter exclaims “I will not rest while gravity threatens my people.”)

However much we comprehend truths about reality, what is comprehended are mere intentional objects, not the realities themselves (“extensional objects”?). The realities are only apprehended. The anxiety we feel in the discrepancy between known reality and real reality ought to be called apprehensiveness.

I notice that I feel less apprehensive about the word apprehension. While the objects of apprehension cannot themselves be comprehended, the relationship between a knowing subject and objects of apprehension can, and this consolation prize is not only consoling, but useful.

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In the past, when I needed a word for experiencing reality in a non-cognitive way, I used “perceive” (in contrast to “conceive”) or “encounter” (in contrast to “understand”) , but I think “apprehend” (in contrast to “comprehend”) might become my new word of choice.

Jaspers

Jaspers is uncannily close to my own worldview:

Authentic reality is the being that cannot be thought in terms of possibility. What does this mean?

Any actuality, whose existence I comprehend through the causes that produced it, could have been different under different circumstances. Considered simply as something known, any known actuality is a realized possibility; as an object of thought it retains the character of possibility. Even the whole world, considered as an object of my thought, is one of many possible worlds. To the extent that I know reality, I have posited it in the realm of possibility.

When we are dealing with reality itself, however, possibility ceases. Reality is that which can no longer be translated into possibility. Where what I know is one of many possibilities, I am dealing with an appearance, not with reality itself. I can think about an object only if I think of it as a possibility.

Reality is therefore what resists all thought. . . .

Since reality as thought recedes from us while nonetheless being present as the all inclusive bearer, and since its presence consists in what no thought can turn into a possibility, philosophical thought means not that we void the inconceivability of authentic reality, but that we intensify it. The force of the real is made palpable by the foundering of thought.

Intellectual fashion

When an idea goes out of fashion it is not always because it is shown to be false or discovered to neglect important considerations. It can also be discarded prematurely because another idea ascends and conflicts with it, or even because the new idea makes the old idea seem dull and played out and sucks all attention away from it. An idea can also be abandoned and forgotten because of a change in collective mood, or because the philosophical drift of a time renders an idea irrelevant, then incomprehensible, then nonsensical. Or a whole culture can decay into ideological microomniscience: all thought beyond the ideology’s horizon is self-evidently immoral, ignorant or both.

Oppressive rooms

It feels terrible to be in the midst of hyper-aggressive people who only care about what they are doing and saying, who leave no room for anyone else and expect anyone who wants to participate to barge in, make room for themselves and fight off all competitors. If your ideas are not fully worked out and armed with hard, definitive answers it will be crushed by better arguments or obscured in the fog of war. In an aggressive milieu subtle thoughts are lost.

It feels terrible to be in the midst of hyper-receptive people who are sensitive to what is going on with everyone else, who are incessantly on the lookout for subtle signs that someone might have something to contribute, who make room for all people at all times — and who expect all others present to do likewise. If inspiration distracts you from perceiving and tactfully responding to each and every individual present, or worse, compels you to unfold your idea beyond your equal share time and attention, only your boorishness and inequity will be heard and your injustice will be secretly repaid. In an excessively receptive milieu big ideas are placed in solitary confinement.

Jaspers

Look out. I am entering a Jaspers phase. Reading Hannah Arendt’s essay “What is Existential Philosophy?” I’ve drawn a ridiculous number of stars, explanation marks and yeses into the margins of her summary of his thought. My plan is to read him through a material-turn lens and see if I might connect him up with Postphenomenology and ANT as a complementary second-person perspective, and develop it all into the design philosophy I’ve been threatening to write about about for last decade.

Humility as insight

Objective reality as we all (to some degree) know it is a product of myriad overlapping subjective realities as each of us know it; and each of these subjective realities is in turn a product of metaphysical reality none of us knows in any normal sense of knowledge.

If we are insufficiently alert our objectively-tempered subjective truth seems for all the world to be an imperfectly but adequately known objective reality that faithfully represents metaphysical reality.

The hardest thing for a human is not mistaking oneself for God. Most of us fail at this task and succumb to apotheosis.

Humility is a hard-won insight. Self-humiliation is a grotesque counterfeit.

(I’m pretty sure I’ve written this post before.)

How-first

Far too few folks have given real thought to how they think — only to what they think.

They might think outlandishly different things, but they do not think about those things in different ways. And they think about different things precisely because the things they think about in their conventional way fail to give them satisfying answers, which drives them to go digging for data in new places, or to speculate about things allegedly happening beneath the surface, inaccessibly, but in a manner that soaks up the inexplicable remainder without requiring any change in how one thinks.

My instinct, a pragmatist’s instinct, is, when confronting an intractable conflict of interpretations, to suspect the How of thought first, and only after to question the What, or Why, or (God forbid!) Who.

Object attachments

Most of the research I’ve done in my career has been focused on removing problems or finding opportunities for increasing usefulness. Much less has been focused on intensifying desirability and long-term attachment, except as a side-effect of function. I’d like to focus more on designing for desirability in the next decade.

I would also like to think more about what desirability is. It is not only visual aesthetics. Nor is it only a matter of personality or identity projection. Since early childhood I have always formed unusually strong attachments to objects, and these attachments are deep, intense and inward. They are never one thing, but a mix of aesthetics, use quality and symbol — and occasionally they are social as well.

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I keep returning to my triad of What/How/Why (aka Is/Can/Ought) which started as an obsession with the meaning of the I Ching trigram yaos back in the early 2000s, and which is still a live problem for me and in the form of a venn trefoil is one of my most enduring geometric meditations (along with three other diagrams: wheel, star and spiral).

(For me, these shapes are intuitive springs and no matter how hard I try to finally explicitly nail down what they mean, they are never even close to exhausted. I’ve written about each of them extensively, in prose and verse, but it all seems so pompous that I get embarrassed and I don’t want to expose it. I should probably just get it all out of my head onto ink on paper and into boxes in a storage area and just move on. And if it is not obvious, I have a powerful object-attachment to my unpublished magical pamphlet.)

For the moment, I want to connect this with Liz Sander’s design trinity of Useful/Usable/Desirable.

I am tempted to view Usefulness as the overlap of How/Why; Usability of How/Is; and Desirable as the overlap of Why/Is.

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I might need to explore attachment theory.