From Bruce Mau Design: “3. ‘Things should be as simple as possible. But no simpler.’ — A. Einstein — In our work, it’s not a matter of dumbing down to a common denominator but of opening up to the broadest intelligence. We seek to work at the intersection of maximum density and maximum access. Robert Wilson has said that the best performers perform for themselves first. They open up a mental space and allow the audience into it. This is a generous approach to ideas, one without compromise.”
When he talks about “maximum density” and “maximum access”, I’m thinking about our ‘Ontology’ and ‘Human Truths’. BMD is referring to design and the application of design principles but I don’t think that’s far from the nature of ‘things in the world’ or ‘thoughts’. Ultimately, when things have presence, when they become ‘things in the world’, they are recognized in various fundamental ways. They are put into your basic lexicon of needs and desires and are catalogued and evaluated according to their ability to satisfy. This is no simple hierarchy of good, better, best nor is it a reductive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ choice equation.
Simplicity and satisfaction go hand in hand but, as BMD suggests, their result is an intersection of density and access. Density, in that what is encountered contains multiple references to past experience and future projections. Access, in that what is encountered has direct purpose and satisfies basic needs. The Neemee Ontology carries with it a ‘density’ of connections to other thoughts through the Four Life Categories (Entertainment, Design, Technology, Well Being) and Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs and ‘access’ is in the form of the ‘Wave’ names and the associated ‘Human Truths’.
‘Human Truths’, although conceptual in nature in that they don’t refer to any specific ‘thing’, capture a specific human emotion. They are accessible in that they take a concept like ‘Green Echo’ (“If it has a basis in nature it just makes sense”) or ‘Deity Complex’ (“It’s my world my way”) and define what all of the ‘thoughts’ mean that are collected around the ‘ideas’ those waves present. Objects for Ideas rather than Ideas for Objects.
Things dumbed down to the lowest common denominator begin to loose purpose. They become self-referential and, in that way, quite stupid. The Neemee ontology and ‘Human Truths’ put the ‘thoughts’ associated with them into larger contexts. There is nothing in Neemee that is without purpose. Tags, as they exist on the web currently, are self-referential in that they act to merely describe the object being tagged. They are common words that link ‘like’ things: “Truck” to all “Trucks”, and “Book” to all Books. An ‘ontology’ and ‘Human Truths’ together add to the tags “Truck” and “Book” the further dimensions of Maslow’s hierarchy and the associated real human emotions of ‘Human Truths’. All of these together create meaning rather than merely groups of like things. Neemee’s results for these searches exist at the intersection of Density and Access.
All of this reminds me, as well, of the Shaker solution to ‘sweeping’. Quite a simple act in and of itself but the Shakers had intentions other than just clearing away the unwanted. When the shakers invented the Flat Broom, all brooms up to that point had been round and relatively inefficient. Mainly used for general cleaning, the Besom was simple enough to construct and use. When the Shakers attached a higher purpose to the act of cleaning (There is no dirt in Heaven) the Besom became too simple and, in true Shaker ingenuity, they invented the flat broom. That statement, “There is no dirt in Heaven“, would for all intents and purposes exist as a ‘Human Truth’ for the Shakers.
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