I’m just reading over some design sites trying to fill in my afternoon here and came across this interesting piece on the wonderful A Brief Message:

Your most intuitive, meaningful, and devastatingly clever design is worthless – unless it’s shallow enough to appeal in the first five seconds.

Most of the time, that’s all you’ll get before they walk, click, or turn away.

Every day, millions go window shopping. Flip through magazines or channels. Walk bookstore aisles, quickly judging each book… by its cover.

Ask us what we’re looking for, however, and most of us won’t know. Though we can’t articulate what we want, it’s clear that we all know it when we see it. Design helps us see it.

With more email, more channels, and more data, we’re left with less time. And more and more, we’re forced to make decisions in a split second, often based on less information than before.

Though we may think of design as a process that runs deep, often it works at very superficial levels.

It’s here that design plays an increasingly important role: communicating a concept, feeling, or attitude in a moment. It condenses the larger body of information that we’re no longer willing (or able) to attend to, and conveys it instantly. It’s what good design has always done, and it’s more important than ever.

This makes me wonder about the state of selling things as quickly as possible. Not just products/services, but people, too. The douchebag New Jersey kids with spray-on tans, the ditzy bar hussies who spend too much time thinking about their hair, people in general with no practical experience with their own subjective opinions.

It has to do with this post I recently made on the difference between how Americans the French can tell when they’re full. One group grows up being told to eat everything on their plate, and feels dissatisfied till they do. The other, they eat and drink only until they’re comfortable and sense they’re comfortable capacity has been met.

After observing the whole national movement which garnered around the Internet vs Scientology, I have to wonder: how do we inspire a Fight Club-like knowledge of subjective value and worth?

At the heart of the occult arts is the Art of knowing the limitless that exists within each one of us. And even that doesn’t do the concept justice, as we’re all One and we can shape and experience things in a multitude of levels, every living moment we’re gifted with on this plane.

So how might the Few go about designing interactions that are both attractive at face value, but also inspire a deeper interaction. Not an easy question, I know. But I want to know if any readers’ personal experiences testing those around them have produced results we can share here.

One experiment I came up with my friend was to detail three adjectives about your closest friends, the Why that you like them, Why they are your friends. Seems a pattern emerges after you go through enough friends, and the adjectives used seem to reflect things about ourselves. This reflects the old ideas that we can only know ourselves through those around us.

It also raises some interesting questions ? la Prometheus Rising. What happens when you have a dear friend that is a skinhead and another that is a Bible-thumping Christian, as I do. Dropping labels from this we find a few characteristics of each person that define why I like them as people and hold them dear. Then there are a bevy of other characteristics they have that might not be to my liking, but I overlook them in favour of the way my preferred characteristics make me feel in their presence.

I might not like the skinhead’s disposition towards violence, but I admire his intellect. The Christian’s unquestioning faith in something they’ve been led to believe in drives me up the wall, but also intrigues me – but overall, I am elated by the sexual chemistry between us that is only amplified by these other differences.

What does this say about them? Not a lot, aside from that the skinhead is intelligent (as many typically seem to be), and that the Christian is sexually flustered and willing to take flirtation to a level of art that permiscuous women aren’t capable of (due to the relative ease of putting the penis in the va-jay-jay).

On the other hand, what does this say about me? Might be a poor example of my character, but it would seem you could accurately say I enjoy both intelligence in thought (even aggressive philosophies that might characterise the skinhead stereotype) and that I get off on flirting. Why are different, these are subjective things that I’ve come to learn about myself. Over the years, it’s been no secret that I’m fond of the controversial philosophies of the likes of Julius Evola (Italian fascist occultist) and that while I admire the layers upon layers of subtle sexual innuendo that flirting can bring about, the actual act can be a bit of a let-down and I am not an overly sexual person by nature. (I feed off the energy of sex, not the act itself. In that, I don’t actually require the physical stimulation.)

Popularity among social circles is also something that’s always piqued my interest, as has fashion, status, leadership, charisma, introverts, violence, and a host of other shit.

In contrast, I’ve inquired with a number of persons I know to list off adjectives about the friends they keep. Not all, but many are stumped and leave me with answers such as ‘They’ve just always been my friends,’ or vague miscellanies like ‘She’s just such a good person.’ I’m not saying that there aren’t good reasons to befriend these individuals, but there seems to be a lack of narrative to both identify and contemplate the Why. This brings me back to a lack of awareness of the self.

Which makes me wonder what activities might bring about this awareness?

While I am fond of people thinking in their own terms, I also believe words act as stepping stones to provide ground for new ideas to be explored and traversed. As is put forth in the Gospel of Philip:

Truth made names in the world,
and without them we can’t think.
Truth is one and is many,
teaching one thing through the many.

I am thinking promoting honest storytelling and dialogue amongst people is gonna be one of the first steps to developing subjective awareness. Perhaps difficult in America, the Land of Hollywood and TV, where stories are told for you, rather than by you. And us Canadians are no better, don’t think I’m not shaking my head at myself here.

I know I got more to think on, but I just wanted to get this out as I ponder away for the coming weeks. Little tidbits of random thought…

Photo by enggulberg