Enworldment design

Another way to think about enworldment within the larger context of philosophy would to be to draw another anomalous analogy between the domain of thought and the domain of engineering.

Some philosophy explores lines of thoughts out of sheer interest in the thought itself. Something about the ideal material fascinates the thinker. What can be done with this way of thinking? What can it be made to do? What can be made out of it? This is analogous to engineering — it is objective in the sense that the thinker is not inhabiting the thought or merged with it, but instead is absorbed in the activity of crafting, assembling, disassembling conceptual systems. This is philosophy in an engineering state of mind.

Enworldment is philosophy in a designerly mode. This is the mode of linking formal thoughts with the immersive experience of using them for one’s own understanding. Not as merely explaining or arguing — that is still a manipulation of objects external to self. Enworldment is using concepts for original and spontaneous understanding, where the understanding is built into how one conceives what one perceives, without any conscious figuring out or translation process.

Enworldment aims for the same goal as design — the extension of self through artifices. In enworldment we become conceptual cyborgs (thanks, Donna Haraway) through using concepts so perfectly designed that they are invisible (thanks, Beatrice Warde) and that produces a personal being-in-the-world existence that we understand intuitively and clearly, that helps us respond effectively to events in our lives, and that makes existence itself feel valuable and motivating, or as designers frame it, useful, usable and desirable (thanks, Liz Sanders).

I like to distinguish design from engineering by defining engineering as constructing purely impersonal systems — systems with components that function apart from personal participation. Once a system requires for its successful functioning a person who experience, responds and completes the system, the problem has expanded into a designed system. (Most engineering happens inside a usually unacknowledged design context, and most design depends on engineered subcomponents. This is why engineering ought to report up to designers.)

Enworldment is what happens when we pull together ingenious concepts and arguments developed through philosophical engineering type activities and assemble them into a habitat or a vehicle or workshop — something we can climb inside of and inhabit, which then becomes self-evident truth, and eventually indistinguishable from reality.

Beatrice Warde said “design should be in invisible.” By extension, the ultimate goal of enworldment design is naive realism.

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