Thanksgiving chord: gifts and gratitude

I was looking through the gratitude quotes in my wiki and saw this: Nobility and gratitude. — A noble soul will be happy to feel itself bound in gratitude and will not try anxiously to avoid the occasions when it may be so bound; it will likewise be at ease later in expressing gratitude; while … Continue reading Thanksgiving chord: gifts and gratitude

Designs and gifts

In honor of Hanukkah and Christmas, two great gift-giving holidays, this post is about gifts. * Agreement does not (only) mean correspondence of belief. More than that, it means compatibility of belief. It means the possibility of relationship in the medium of understanding, activity and purpose. A truly agreeable gift signals agreement in this expansive … Continue reading Designs and gifts

Design, existentialism, technocracy, etc.

If a philosophy is more a matter of questions than of answers — or to take this beyond mere language, that praxis is more a matter of problems than of responses — and I do see it this way — then the fact that the questions and problems that concern me most are all, without … Continue reading Design, existentialism, technocracy, etc.

On the subject of subjects

I have been thinking a lot about “background philosophies”, the ideas we think with, and “foreground philosophies”, the ideas we think about. I have equated background philosophies with subjects. Whether it is a personal subject, or an academic subject, it does not matter. My thought has brought me to an understanding of subjects that on … Continue reading On the subject of subjects

Please do not decenter yourself

Decentering one’s self or one’s identity as a response to one’s former egocentrism or ethnocentrism is just this year’s model of altruism. Altruism is benevolence modeled on a stunted vision of individualism, which it tries to overcome by simply inverting it: Selfish people care about themselves at the expense of others, so unselfish people care … Continue reading Please do not decenter yourself


My friend Nick Gall hates being called a fructivist, but not only is he one, he was the first one, because he invented it. Here’s my own sloppy definition of fructivism: Fructivism is an ethic that prioritizes fruitfulness — the proliferation of creative possibilities — over more traditional virtues. I needed to define fructivism because … Continue reading Fructivism


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 lifeworld. If the investigator carries their own convictions and habitual judgments into the investigation, they … Continue reading Synesis

Why I get emotional about design

When I use a product, I feel the milieu that produced it. Products are crystallized philosophies. In a designed object I feel people — the people who produced it and sometimes a precise person for whom an object is intended. This “personal from” and “personal to” is what makes design what it is. When I get … Continue reading Why I get emotional about design

Slurpy, mergy, touchy-feely notions of interpersonal being

Wow, this post really sprawled out. It hits a lot of my enduring interests. I’m not sure it is suitable for reading. It might just be a personal journal entry written to myself. Feel free to eavesdrop if you wish, but I cannot promise it will make sense or yield any value. * I listened … Continue reading Slurpy, mergy, touchy-feely notions of interpersonal being