What and who we are

This is what we are. A sentient life form, each one of us with a limited term, intent on preserving and extending our life as much as possible and keen to sustain a richness of experience, a sense of excitement or both. From the earliest times our mortality has been a deep concern and in far less certain times the belief in an afterlife of some kind clearly became an almost obsessive preoccupation for those who managed to rise above the basic human involvements with survival and comfort. Divination, placation of the gods and preparation for the afterlife were as much a part of the foundations of early religions as morality and ethics. And religion was intimately entangled with the emergence of the arts. Continue reading What and who we are

Some thoughts on value and significance in artefacts

Value may be construed as the worth one sees in something. Values are the various worths (qualities, goods and principles) that are important to a given individual or institution. They become the criteria for action and selection. Value or a number of qualities may be regarded as residing in an object or artefact. Continue reading Some thoughts on value and significance in artefacts

Design, Architecture and Urbanism

Design, like art, is an essential part of all our lives. It may be thought of as the extension of our day to day decision making into the longer term. We create artefacts and environments to meet our habitual desires and serve our habitual purposes. The imagining of new possibilities for these artefacts and environments, based on the experience of what has been made before and a vision of what might be possible in the future, is the core of the design process.

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A further look at the Eco/techno divide

The idea that there are two opposed world views that may be characterised as ‘techno’ and ‘Eco’ is intuitive. The two belief systems are both viewpoints and standpoints that persuade their devotees which way to interpret a situation, argument or body of observation that may be otherwise either difficult to interpret or prove, or is on a knife edge in the balance of its implications. Such strongly held core beliefs sometimes allow a sliver of doubt to inform and justify a strong opinion.

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Life goals: the diagram explained

Life goals diagram
Life Goals idiagram

So what does this rather inelegant diagram mean? Well, at its heart is the notion that the central preoccupation of most people is to secure and strike an acceptable balance between wellbeing and livelihood. Even the waitress or bank teller who sees the pay cheque at the end of the week as the only reward for a service sullenly dispensed, is exercising some kind of aspiration towards this balance of goals. Continue reading Life goals: the diagram explained

What makes it all worth it?

I’m at a crossroads of sorts. The opportunity exists to grasp my own destiny, granted not for long, but it brings up a lot of questions that I have fudged in the past. Realistically from my present perspective I’ve got about 20 active years at most before memory loss and incontinence set in. I’m a bit like those people who suddenly realise that they don’t have long to live because of some life threatening illness. Well, maybe not quite as bad as that, but sobering anyway. To get to the point, however, what should I do to bring meaning to my life and stop the inexorable drift into safe inactivity?

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Are you Techno or are you Eco?

It’s hard sometimes to argue a case for the existance of environmental problems with a stalwart denier. They will always have the latest sensational report trashing the integrity of the IPCC or some maverick theory of sunspots or earth wobbles to undermine the modelling and observations of a thousand scientists. And, indeed, science itself is not that good at dealing with complexity in reality. Anyway for the vast majority of us a truly informed view is beyond our reach. Sometimes, as old as I am, I realise that the vast majority of what I believe in is learned rather than first hand experience. I have to choose, to a large extent, who I believe.

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Economics & compassion

The origin of economics, as we currently understand it, is usually cited as Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and its free market overall ethos as stemming from his notion of the ‘Invisible Hand’ guiding us in an appropriate direction through enlightened self interest. Origins are rarely so specific in actuality and we simply anchor them in our mind with some convenient time stamped event.

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