Category Archives: Philosophy

Pseudostrength

I think a lot of what is currently lauded as strength is actually aggressive weakness. Aggressive weakness says “I’d be stronger if other people didn’t prevent me from being strong.” It resents signs of strength in others, interpreting them as … Continue reading

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Scientism vs designerism

Rereading Richard J. Bernstein I can now see clearly why my first encounter Beyond Objectivism and Relativism was such a revelation and relief to me as a designer: But we must realize that “individually the criteria are imprecise: individuals may … Continue reading

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Mark of the philosophical laggard

Failure to stay current with philosophical thought has the form: “Beyond this point philosophy ran astray.”

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Seinfeld wisdom

“Your blessing in life is when you find the torture you’re comfortable with.” — Jerry Seinfeld I’ve tried to say something like this before, but this is how to say it right.

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Golden Ages

As great as television has become in the 21st Century, podcasts are even greater. The wealth of insight available through podcasts is staggering. My suspicion is that this is largely due to the medium’s low production overhead, which enables individuals … Continue reading

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Domain hoarding

I use domain names as a sort of intellectual property registry. I know I will never use most of the domain names I register, but I do want to plant a flag in the terms I invent or want to … Continue reading

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Coinage: misnorm

When people have a distorted image of a discipline, and harbor a detailed misunderstanding of how that discipline achieves its results, this can result in a “misnorm”. A misnorm combines a fanciful picture of what a discipline really accomplishes, how … Continue reading

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Orginality then and now

The 20th Century ideal of originality was based on an individual as sufficient condition of creation: “I alone originated this.” Or “the help I got arriving at this original idea could have come from any number of sources, but I … Continue reading

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Applications

Some people, when confronting an abstract idea, ask “what can I do with this, practically, concretely, in specific applications?” Other people, when confronting a concrete practicality, ask “what can I learn from this, theoretically, abstractly, generally?” Unfortunately, all too many … Continue reading

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Where we are

An irritable, snobby, consensual contempt — “everyone who matters knows those people are hateful idiots” — stands on one side; paranoid, delusional belligerence stands on the other. Both claim privileged knowledge of “what’s really going on”, and this knowledge not … Continue reading

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Drawing on every side of the brain

In high school, all my art teachers taught us to draw and paint the shapes our eyes “really” saw. We were discouraged from drawing the things we believed we were depicting — eyes, noses, vases, cow skulls, gourds, drapes — … Continue reading

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“I am unique”

One of the greatest obstacles to relating to individuals as individuals is need. The need might be utilitarian. We look for someone who can perform some useful function for us. We might see them as a useful role. This person … Continue reading

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Perfectionism

Nine times out of ten, perfectionism is a symptom of an incapacity to make intelligent trade-offs — a compulsive correction of minute isolated imperfections which has lost all sense of a potentially perfect whole.

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Why you should be mad about Lean Startup

Lean Startup externalizes usability costs to users. To combat this practice, if I find a usability issue I call tech support and have them walk me through the interaction. These calls cost a company a significant amount of money and … Continue reading

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Langer (and Geertz)

Looking for a beloved Geertz quote, I happened upon this mind-blowing hunk of truth. One regret: I should have called the post “Langer (and Geertz).

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A cruel thing to say

“I wish you actually were the person you want to be.”

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Jesus as Jewish missionary

A friend of mine said “…so basically, Jesus converted you to Judaism.” Yes. My attempts to understand Jesus’s teaching without the overwhelming influence of Paul’s interpretation led me to sharing Jesus’s faith, which precludes idolizing him as a god, a … Continue reading

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Will over feeling

I do not care how I feel, and neither should anyone else. I feel all kinds of stupid things all the time, and I cannot afford to take them seriously. What matters — what I take seriously about myself — … Continue reading

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Synesis

To understand another culture it is necessary for an ethnographic investigator to suspend or temporarily suppress their own reflexive cultural judgments, at least long enough to get a sense of how life looks and feels from within the other culture’s … Continue reading

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Belief versus faith

The ideas we profess are our beliefs. The ideas we use to produce our thoughts and to guide our actions — these are faith. The two rarely coincide. * The better a thing is suited to its purpose, and the … Continue reading

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