application for invitation

May 03 2011

Emergent Design Application

Review of a random design artifact asked for to gain interest to a new design community that is forming. Since I just did my Ph.D. on design I thought I should try to gain entrance to that community, although my speciality is really architectural design of realtime embedded software systems, and systems as a whole including hardware. My resume is at Ira Glass Quote Poster by  Sawyer Hollenshead on who said “Stumbled upon this quote and had to make a poster for it. I think everyone can relate to this.”

Ira Glass Quote:

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have.

“We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

I recently finished a Ph.D. in systems engineering ( and I found that what is said in the poster is quite right. In the course of doing the Ph.D. I wrote ten or eleven drafts that were all separate books. And it was just pushing through the writing itself that allowed me to get fluent in the expression of my ideas. Of course the grammar still leaves something to be desired, but the volume of expression that is available for rework is now quite high. For my first Ph.D. I did which was about philosophy of science and the idea of Emergence as seen though the lens of Continental Philosophy, I had not written anything until the end and I realized that was a mistake so for the second Ph.D. I decided I would write from the very beginning so I would have a record of the evolution of my thought throughout the research. I found that it really helped to write, even if I had run out of things to say, because many times the best ideas came then. I had to fight my way through the times when I had run out of things to say, and keep going until I reached 20 pages when ever I wrote a working paper. Then at a certain point I changed it to ten pages which is about what I can write at one sitting, and I found that I had transformed in my writing so that I could just sit down and right a ten page chapter as a whole thing, where before I had to struggle through them. Some how I had become fluent in my writing, by pushing through the deadspace in the longer form over and over, so when I went to the shorter form I could suddenly just sit and write, and my thoughts flowed onto the paper, as I was thinking them. Of course, it took a long time to edit the final raw stream of consciousness draft of the chosen version to be my dissertation, but I wrote the first draft in about six weeks, and then it took ten months to edit it into the dissertation that you will find on Design if ou click the linke above. I have a theoretical interest in design that stems from my work on General Schemas Theory and the work in my first dissertation on The Structure of Theoretical Systems In relation to Emergence. In that first dissertation I map out the phases of emergence as the meta-levels of Being discovered in Continental Philosophy as interpreted through the lens of Russell’s Theory of Higher Logical types that were taken up and so brilliantly applied by Gregory Bateson, in Steps to the Ecology of the Mind. In the Second Ph.D. I try to develop a foundation for Systems Engineering Design, called General Schemas Theory which is the next level of abstraction from Systems Theory. Schemas are templates of projected understanding and self-organizing schemas that we apply to the world to pre-understand it. We use these schemas when we design things and they are separate from the way nature organizes itself as a whole. That is why our designs and implementations of those designs seem so artificial compared to the self-organizations of nature though natural phenomena. Schemas are things like patterns, forms, systems, openscapes (meta-systems), domains, worlds, etc. They are things like the system, i.e. projected templates of understanding, yet different. To my surprise General Schemas Theory has not been developed before in architecture, or art criticism, nor among the various arts and craft disciplines. It is a new way of looking at what we are doing and I discovered it is rooted in Special Systems theory which is the bais of the meta-levels of negative entropy. Then in my dissertation I went on to show that there exists a design field which appears when you create a matrix of meta-levels of Being and the Principles of C.S. Peirce and B. Fuller called First, Second, Third, Fourth, etc but which indicate isolata, relation, continuity, synergy, integrity, poise etc. It turns out that we can understand design if we extend the dialectics and trialectics of Hegel into Quadralectics and Pentalectics, and then we can see that the moments of the quadralectics are inscribed into the interstices of the design filed. This is based on an extension of N-Category theory of John Baez (U.C. Riverside). At any rate I believe that Quadralectics, which also to my knowledge has not been described before, but which is an extension of dialectics and trialectics based on mathematical models like those described by B. Fuller in Synergetics, is a good description of the design process that as I show is integral to our understanding of the Emergent Meta-system which is the cycle of the Special Systems and the Normal System, but is composed of moments that are isomorphic to those of the Quadralectic. As we move from the Quadrlectic to the Pentalectic we are crossing the line from  the third dimension into the fourth dimension, and in that transition we encounter the source of ultra-efficacy of design which comes from the properties of the fourth dimension. Anyway hopefully that will give you enough to whet your interest in my dissertation, whose production, ended up being for me an emergent event itself. In it I was surprised when the theory I was propounding spontaneously led from the quadralectic to the Pentalectic. And I think that if designers understood this meta-lectical basis for design it would help them understand their design practice better, and also what they encounter in design which are the various meta-levels of Being like Hyper Being (Derrida = differance) Wild Being (Deleuze) and Ultra Being (Badiou, Zizek).

Emergent Design Application

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