I am contemplating a radical shift in language.

I’ve talked about “designing philosophies”, and observed that most of the time when we think about philosophy and design we almost automatically think about applying philosophical ideas to design practice, and rarely the reverse — applying design ideas and practices back to how we do philosophy.

But when we turn back to design these philosophies do this, I’m not sure it is helpful to think of what we are doing as a kind of philosophy (nor other handy words, like psychology or religion). We are definitely designing, but designing a very strange artifact in a very strange way which does something very strange to our experience of life. And further, philosophy is so obscenely freighted with history, crusted with connotation, and so professionalized and specialty factionalized — and I am so uncredentialed as a philosophical professional (or any kind of professional, for that matter), I might as well invent a new domain that I can survey and map out as I please.

So, I want to re-try out a re-new way of characterizing what I am proposing. Years ago I coined the term “enworldment” and started sporadically using it as an alternative term for worldview (which is too ocular and not interactive enough) and lifeworld (which seems too biologically interactive and downplays the conceptual too much for my taste).

Some things I like about the word “enworldment”:

  • It suggests a better locus for the activity of thought. Not inside my skull but outward into a world within which I am enmeshed.
  • I like this implication that the world neither contains us materially, not that we project it mentally, and that this world is neither an active medium that deterministically makes us into some kind of a self (aka identity), not a passive material upon which our agency can impose its will, but rather something we draw around ourselves and weave ourselves into, in how we think about it, in how we interact with it, and what we rearrange within it (aka, what we “make”).
  • I like that it is nearly synonymous with praxis, but freed from Marxian straightjacketing.
  • I like that it promises (or can promise) to do what religions do, but sans mumbo-jumbo. It could be argued — and I would be the last to argue back — that my own Judaism is no longer a religion, but instead, an enworldment. But, because it does everything I expect of a religion, including making intensely meaningful sense (albeit non-thaumaturgic sense) of religious texts and symbols, I observe Judaism (at least Reform Judaism). But the theories I consider respectable and useful smell pretty atheistic to most conventionally religious folks.

Out of time — I’ll write more later.

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