Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”
“You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away”
Test your visual mind and comparison your care to others.
debates around it:Oda Hveem
Maybe not your cup of tea, but it's interesting in terms of
"empteyness/silentness" given a new meaning:
ME: In my point of view, there is a delicate difference between art and design. In this piece of music, it is the listeners and participants that make whole the music. But in design, designer according to a plan makes a milieu for dream. I wanted to test who many people see unrelated issues and how many are in a predicted line.
For example in the poster quest for global peace most of participants (32% till now ) have answered that they see whiteness and not nothing. We have the experience of using plan canvas in conceptual art as same as silence in music in john cage work. But I think using a plan paper for transferring distinct information (here quest for peace) is not used before in design. At first glance it would recognize as a not designed paper but after reading the title it becomes white or even white flag (14%) depending on viewer visual mind.
Piero Manzoni has whit painting as well. He believes that I do not want limit my viewer mind.
Thank for your mail and I am happy if could talk about it more
This is the harvest from the days of your youth;
a season of roses, and wine, and drunken companions
be happy fro a moment for this life.
می نوش که عمر جاودانی اينست
خود حاصلت از دور جوانی اينست
هنگام گل و می است و ياران سرمست
خوش باش دمی ،که زندگانی اينست
People can have opinions about non-being, but that doesn't mean that there is any such thing as non-being.
Quote / poem n° 3325 : Rumi, (Balkh, Khorasan, 1210 — Konya, Anatolie, 1273), mystic and poet, Islam, Sufism
Source : The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi, p. 298, Trans. William C. Chittick. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1983
پادشاهي پارسايي را ديد ، گفت : هيچت از ما ياد آيد ؟ گفت : بلي > وقتي که خدا فراموش مي کنم.
آنکه چون پسته ديدمش همه مغز
پوست بر پوست بود همچو پياز
پارسايان روي در مخلوق
پشت بر قبله مي کنند نماز
چون بنده خداي خويش خواند
بايد که به جز خدا نداند
By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Published: 7:30AM BST 15 Oct 2009
Researchers believe the reason that dyslexics struggle to read at speed is that they are missing the ability, and hope their discovery could lead to new treatments for the condition.
The British neuroscientists found that the reason most people can predict words and sentences as they are being scanned by the eye.
Rather than read every word and sentence to the end before coming up with its meaning, the brain makes an educated guess and then moves on.
As we become more literate, the brain becomes ever more adept at predicting sentences and therefore quicker at reading.
Traditionally it was thought that a part of the brain known as the angular gyrus acted like a "dictionary" that translates letters and words into meaning, said Professor Cathy Price, a cognitive neuroscientist at University College London.
"In fact, we have shown that its role is more in anticipating what our eye will see – more akin to the predictive texting function on a mobile phone," she said.
"We think this brings us a step closer to our understanding of dyslexia. It has changed my knowledge of how reading occurs."
The discovery, published in the journal Nature, came after a unique study into former guerrilla fighters in Colombia.
The team scanned the brains of illiterate adult rebels, who had had no education, before and after they had undertaken a five year reading and writing course.
They found that for those participants who had learnt to read, the density of grey matter - where the 'processing' is done - was higher in several areas of the left hemisphere of the brain.
These were the areas that are responsible for recognising letter shapes and translating the letters into speech sounds and their meanings.
Reading also increased the strength of the "white matter" connections between the different processing regions.
Particularly important were the connections to and from the angular gyrus, which is at top left of the brain, it was found.
Scientists have known for over 150 years that this brain region is important for reading, but the new research has shown that its role had been misunderstood.
Previously, it was thought that the angular gyrus recognised the shapes of words prior to finding their sounds and meanings. In fact, the researchers showed that the angular gyrus is not directly involved in translating visual words into their sounds and meanings.
Instead, it supports this process by providing predictions of what the brain is expecting to see.
Author: Rumi, Jalaleddin
Title: Say Nothing: Poems of Jalal-al Din Rumi in Persian and English
Language: English + Persian
Translator: Anvar, Iraj and Anne Twitty (trans. and eds.)
ISBN: 1596750278 / 9781596750272
Catalog #: 9781596750272
i- aim of Project
“Clay is molded to form a cup, But it is non-being that the utility of the cup depends on. Doors and windows are cut out to make a room, But it is non-being that the utility of the room depends on. Therefore turn being into advantage, and turn non-being into utility.”
“Lao-tzu” from the book “Tao Te Ching”
1- I try to use negative spaces or spaces between the forms as object in Graphic design. As I believe by this way we can extend the borders of graphic design further than borders of paper.
My project is about the designing the spaces in between the elements of graphic design. For me, the design process does not start by putting some shape on a plane paper, rather I design the hidden area surrounded by forms and make it visible. As viewer will find vast fields of color around of objects in poster, that seems are not designed, this part could be main part of design for me.
2- On the other hand, I accept as true that, viewer memories, believes and backgrounds will effect on an architecture space in the same manner on visual composition. The author is not the person who starts and finishes a design lonely. Viewer mind is part of design as he completes the work.
Historically, The minimal artists tried to use audience mind as area of impression. In minimal artworks, not only objects but also the spaces surrounded objects were material of work. Personally, walking through Serra sculpture in Guggenheim Bilbao, I felt different artwork in different moods.
ii- Visual language
ii-1-image the common language of mankind.
I believe that the base of human brain is visual. Our dreams and wishes do not sound or smell mostly. In this respect impressing feelings with a picture is more precise and closer than other non-visual mediums. Even a reader of a book illustrates objects and subjects again in his mind but, an observer of a picture, for example one of Pollock or Rothko’s paintings, does not need any re explanation to understand the meaning. Observer understands the form directly just the way it is. That is why I think, image is one of the most epidemic ways of inviting the whole human race to Peace, Friendship and Humanist.
Semiotic is the science of reading the images. It includes the study of how meaning is constructed and understood. In process of reading the image, the visor changes the work by looking from different points of view. His beliefs and background effects on understanding and developing the composition.
An example makes it clearer:
ii-4 Audience mind, part of work
It is the window that adjusts how much light can come in. The ears set up amount of message for listener! So, according to audience capacities, potentialities, actualities and limitations the Idea transfers through designer to reader.
For me, graphic design can be an instrument and not just a message. While poster invites audience to involve the work, he improves the meaning and turns around the various aspects of idea.
Using audience mind as an area of work, while breaking the borders of paper, happens in process of understanding. Delthey argues about it under title “empathy”.
For me, If there were not any person in space, if no body feels the space, we do not have architecture. If nobody look at a poster there is not any poster
iii-1 literature and culture
Poem plays an important role in Persian culture; it is joined with our art and traditional images.
Rumi, was a 13th-century Persian poet, Islamic jurist, theologian, and mystic.
He have many poems in case of non-being:
“When you are with everyone but me,
you're with no one.
When you are with no one but me,
you're with everyone.
Instead of being so bound up with everyone,
When you become that many, you're nothing.”
The Sufi movement has spanned several continents and cultures over a millennium, at first expressed through Arabic, then through Persian, Turkish, and a dozen other languages.
One of the basic ideas of Sufism is to minimize the self or individual identity. It is said, “a Sufi is one who is not.”
iii-1-3 Buddhism and Emptiness
Emptiness is a key concept in Buddhist philosophy, or more precisely, in the ontology of Mahayana Buddhism. The phrase "form is emptiness; emptiness is form" is perhaps the most celebrated paradox associated with Buddhist philosophy.
The concept of Emptiness - as explained in Buddhism - questions our belief that we have a separate self and helps us see ourselves in terms of relationships that connect us with the rest of the Universe.
iii-2 Non-being in form
Architecture is not the forms that are drawn but the spaces between the forms. We live between the architect lines; actually, the architecture without free spaces is not architecture. Architect should not only design the frame or forms but space. His forms should be affected by spaces .his spaces leads him to modify the forms instead of modifying the forms to explore the space.
In Islamic architecture we face to non-designed spaces, in this architecture we usually confront inner spaces and not monumental structures. In this system, the architect not designs the form but the spaces between the forms and it is one reason that why this architecture is inner more than being outer.
iii-2-2 Persian miniatures
In the miniatures, especially those from the first half of the thirteenth century, there are large blank areas, often even devoid of painting and with only the papers as background. Or considerable areas of the background are left blank, though there is a gold ground that gives an entirely feeling of space than a real void.
iii-2-3 Persian patterns
Looking closer at Persian traditional patterns, we will face to a non-being in middle of the shapes. This leaved field area, sometimes refers to God or light. This patterns called shames witch comes from shams means Sun, depicts non-being believes .
iii-2-4 typography is white
In Helvetica movie is mentioned: Some designer think typography is black and white, but typography is really white and is not even black. It is the space between the blacks that really makes typefaces. We consider typefaces in the words and sentence but single letters. The relation between the types makes typeface .it is why the spaces between the types are really typeface. A good typographer always has sensitivity about the distance between the letters as well this space leads eye to pass the forms.
iii-2-5 Bowls from 9th-10th century
The inscription placed in a dramatic position. Using free spaces as part of design inspires me.
In my point of view without silence we cannot speak, the most important part of speech is silence and in a sense, it is like music. It is not the notes, but it is the space between the notes, that makes the music.
In Music, While the western classical tradition was emphasizing the Continuous, connected words of melody and harmony, eastern classical music was equally concerned with the role of SILENCE!
From the book: Understanding Comics by Scott McCLOUD
iv- Who else has done it:
Edward Hopper ( 1882 -1967) was a prominent American realist painter and printmaker. By considering at Edward Hopper paintings, we will figure out the main part of the painting is in viewers mind as well.
In Nighthawks (1942) , the painting is the emptiness around the bar and not the bar or in the bar. The emptiness of street makes it cold and dark. This nothing transfers the meaning of the work. This nothing has made this work so impressive.
the painting is not a nude woman but what she is looking at. What she is thinking about what is in out side of the window. The panting is in viewers mind not on the boom.
Edward Hopper painted Night Hawks as an oil on canvas in 1942 Edward Hopper, “Rooms by the Sea”, 1951, Oil on Canvas, 29×40″ Yale University Art Gallery
Edward Hopper A show of his work, including “Morning Sun” (1952), opens on Sunday at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The above is Edward Hopper’s artwork titled “Excursion Into Philosophy”.
iv-2 Richard Serra, Sol Lewitt and Minimalism
Minimal artists have used this concept in their works. Engaging the audiences is an important issue in minimalist works.
“I am interested in the fact that space is functioning as much as material, so that the void becomes as much the subject as what the surrounding the void and that happens in very very few spaces or places, it happens in some architecture rarely it happens in sort of landscapes ...” Richard Serra
iv-3 Anish Kapoor
Anish Kapoor (born in Mumbai 1954). He has lived and worked in London since the early 1970s when he moved to London to study art
It may be the most valuable insight into Anish Kapoor's work to suggest that the presence of an object can render a space emptier. This quality of an excessive, engendering emptiness is everywhere visible in his work.
He sais: … The curious thing about double mirrors, concave mirrors, when you put them together, is that they don't give you an infinite repeatability… . What interests me is that from certain angles and positions there's no image at all in either mirror. I'm very interested in the way they that they seem to reverse, affirm and then negate…
Sky Mirror Nottingham, 2001
iv-4 Catherine Opie
Catherine Opie (born 1961), is known as portrait and documentary photographer, but I consider her works one step more than portrait photography and documentary. Opie in her collection called surfers, works on field of spaces. Her photo subjects are not only the surfers but the spaces surrounded them.
Icehouses series (2001), can consider as photography version of my illustrations in “Shiny snowy day” collection.
v- End point-(My efforts )
If designer started her/his work with form, Conclusion would not be anything further than it. If start with idea, the idea would find a form to end with.
v-1 How fragile we are
This series of poster is designed for Quanto exhibition in Venice,
Lack of freedom is not intrinsic with prostitution, but is a function of abuse, poverty, bad working conditions, inexperience, and/or desperation. It is therefore indispensable to consider first of all, women and minors as human beings, and as such, individuals with rights (aside from their conditions, legal status, and more or less coerced prostitution activity).
Huge amount of dark space above the girl, an that is under pressure of society burden, depicts why we have to pay more attention to how life goes around us. In this poster the Black area is not only background but plays an important role in design.
v-2 Shiny snowy day collection
While Snow shining in face to rays of the sun. Always this extremely whiteness of snow, which glazes our eyes, inspires me. The coldest element of nature face to hottest one and this high-contrast encountering makes it sparkling. Many of people think when it is dark they cannot see. However, if it was too light, we cannot see too.
In these works, the unnecessary elements have been vanished under the pure luminosity rays of the sun. What we see is only the effects of them. In snowy days, we see some signs of nature and complete the shape in our mind. Just some leftover signs lead us to discover the truth. We see parts of tree and complete it. We look at footprints on snow and imagine the people whom have passed there. We see car tire track and find out here is the way.
I as creator and author do not complete the work, but that being complete without my attendance.
v-3 Up to invisible become visible
This poster is based on one of Rumi poems. Meaning of the poem is when you fall in love then the invisibles become visible. up The negative spaces are an important part of work, until by omitting this unused area all the work will be destroyed.
In this work, form and context depict the same meaning. The relation between form and context is one part of design process. The non-designed area so called background here is the main part of the composition with relation with meaning of the poem.
v-4 poster for homage to Abbas Kiarostami
The idea of poster is based on the motion between the frames. as Using sequences to make motion in cinema. I used it for the poster for homage to Abbas Kiarostami a Persian cinema director. This poster completes in audiences mind and not in paper. so The audience mind is part of the work and the time witch is between the frames are an important point in reading and understanding the idea of poster.
v-5 logo for a consultant-engineering firm
It is a logo for a consultant-engineering firm. This monogram by letter “T” intimates a home. The home shape is made not only by lines but also by the spaces around it.
v-6 Noor complex Logo
Noor in Persian means light; I used sun form in this logo. The nothingness inside the logo, which is a reminder of light, may be considered.
v-7 The Sky is blue…
For me, the design process does not start by putting some shape on a plane paper, rather I design the hidden area and shape by making it a visible form.
v-8 Iran Green movement
In resent months, Iranian people tried to spread their voice by silence demonstration.
People around the world heard this silence!
I designed this poster based on V, symbol of this green movement and the way of splitting the darkness.
In this poster, The black color is not just a background for V but, is part of meaning.
v-7 Quest for global peace
in this video, by making context, the message is made in viewer mind. At first, some attractive pictures catch sights of viewer. in the meanwhile make a rule. at the end when see the boy say noooo stop it! this point is main part of impression that is made bye viewer and not author to make it memorable.
Later, in the evening of a busy working day while was walking toward my home, Main entrance board of a fast food cached my sight. Some tiny texts among a flat surface painted with red, no doubt was left when saw name of Maziar as designer. I saw that he tried to apply his opinion in different graphical fields as a real experience for his clients.
Although I am in to Edward Hopper paintings and know that how his main point of work is not on the canvas And also I have read about non-being and emptiness in laotzu and Rumi poet, Tried to find Maziar and ask him directly about this idea.
Maziar started by history. Where he found emptiness in Persian traditional Miniature and Persian patterns. This forms derived him to Sufism and Buddhism philosophy. He finished his argument by presenting minimal artists experiences and his favorite artist Anish kapoor.
Now, I know why he has hanged on “Catherine Opie” photos from the surfer’s collection on the wall.
I leave his office as thinking how negative space can extend the graphic design borders!
“I think my little daughter could do it better for us”. His bold-face assistant continued.
This situation was not unpredictable for Maziar. He tried to explain how negative spaces could be part of design. As they just look at designed objects he thinks about not-designed parts of objects as well.
“You are living between the architecture lines. Between the walls that are designed by architect. You pay for a cup but you buy the nothingness inside it. He continued calmly.
“I try to complete the design in your mind.”I want take one step further than objects that you see. Your mind is an area of my work. “ How you dare enter my mind???” the angry bald head man interrupted him.
“Personally, walking through Serra sculpture in Guggenheim Bilbao".Maziar said. "I felt different artwork in different moods. How every new looking can make a fresh composition is what I am looking for in graphic design.”
“Historically, The minimal artists tried to make audience mind co-operate with the artwork. In minimalism, spaces surrounding objects are materials of work."
some poets like Rumi, Lautzo or Mallarmé – French modernist poet and Anish kapoor who works with void observed this meaning in too. Also i would name Catherine Opie who use this meaning in "surfers collection" photos as well.He said while was putting his stuff into bag. "Why do not you have a look at Jacques Derrida writings or Rolan barth when talks about death of author in this fled?”.
“I do not waste my time by reading these novels” The boss said.
Maziar was leaving the office while heard a loud sound of shutting the door behind him.
“What shall we use
To fill the empty spaces
Where we used to talk?
How shall I fill
The final places?
How should I complete the wall”
“I keep my hands empty for the sake of what I have had in them.”
“It's the empty can that makes the most noise”
“I looked into that empty bottle and I saw myself.”Grace Metalious
“The usefulness of a cup is in its emptiness.” lautzu
verything which is other than Allah is "hidden" in non-being, even if it appears to spiritually veiled beings to be endowed with existence. But the sage does not concern himself with what is non-being and does not make it the aim of his acts.
Quote / poem n° 3262 : Abd el-Kader, (près de Mascara, auj. Muaskar, v. 1807 — Damas, 1883), émir algérien, Islam, Sufism
Source : Kitab al-Mawaqif 4, p. 38,in The Spiritual Writings of 'Abd al-Kader. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1995
In the Michelangelo painting, ‘The Creation of Adam’, 1508-1512. Fresco Sistine Chapel, Vatican, we face to a tiny distance between Adam and God. This distance makes the work of art impressive and dynamic. In my point of view the focal part of the painting is this space between the fingers and not the fingers. In this renowned Fresco, Michelangelo has used a gap between the hands meticulously.
According to Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Persian people outcomes are Persian and Norwegian works are Norwegian in base while the design what thinking about and what inspire them. Most of the time, the similarities in form are as a result of similar way of thinking in visual grammar. This language that its words come from common computer software, grammar of Bauhaus and common mankind needs, goes to be more alike in 20s century.
"The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in linguistics states that the structure of one's mother-tongue influences the way one's mind perceives the world. It has found at best very limited experimental support, at least in its strong form. For instance, a study showing that speakers of languages lacking a subjunctive mood such as Chinese experience difficulty with hypothetical problems has been discredited. However, another study has shown that subjects in memory tests are more likely to remember a given color if their mother language includes a word for that color.
According to Cognitive therapy, founded by Aaron T. Beck, our emotions and behavior are caused by our internal dialogue. We can change ourselves by learning to challenge and refute our own thoughts, especially a number of specific mistaken thought patterns called "cognitive distortions". Cognitive therapy has been found to be effective by empirical studies."
So, according to audience capacities, potentialities, actualities and limitations the Idea transfers through designer out to reader.
For me, the poster is an instrument and not the message."
Rumi starts Masnavi with this poem:
Listen this reed (ney) how explains
It explains for separations.
Ney is a musical instruments witch inside it is empty, this emptiness makes the sound(1) but just in a way that if used right, Ney in the word means No. According to Rumi if we make ourselves empty, this emptiness makes us possible to sound nice.
As the window that its size adjust amount of light that home gets. it is viewer that develops an image, a peace of work.
Music, independently, has not any message; it is the listener that adds value and idea to it while listening. He makes impression and adds meaning according to himself. According to his capacity, potentialities, actualities and limitations.
It is the window that adjust how much light can come in. The ears set up amount of message for listener!
So, according to addressee’s capacities, potentialities, actualities and limitations the Idea transfers through designer out to reader. It is not depends just on designer but reader. Whereas the instrument modifies the message, it is not the end point of communication. For me, the poster is an instrument and not the message.
If you want to become whole,
let yourself be partial.
If you want to become straight,
let yourself be crooked.
If you want to become full,
let yourself be empty.
If you want to be reborn,
let yourself die.
If you want to be given everything,
give everything up.
in relation between idea,form and visual languas if we accept that froms play role of words so the idea of Linguistic determinism may be considerd.
this idea beliaves that language shapesthe thought.
Wittgenstein said in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." (proposition 5.6), "The subject does not belong to the world, but it is a limit of the world." (proposition 5.632) and "About what one can not speak, one must remain silent." (proposition 7). That is, the words we possess determine the things that we can know. If we have an experience, we are confined not just in our communication of it, but also in our knowledge of it, by the words we possess.
Sapir–Whorf hypothesis argues that individuals experience the world based on the grammatical structures they habitually use. For example, speakers of different languages may see different numbers of bands in a rainbow. Since rainbows are actually a continuum of color, there are no empirical stripes or bands, and yet people see as many bands as their language possesses primary color words. Although neither Edward Sapir nor his student Benjamin Lee Whorf ever wrote an "hypothesis" of this nature, writings such as Whorf's The Relation of Thought and Behavior to Language (1956) make arguments based on a version of linguistic determinism.
How we understand visual relations if translate it to words is our business. design local or global. other way is think in visual word. is our mind limited to our shapes? how we can expand our thought by changing the forms that we see lets say expand the shapes.
according to Sapir writings, the understanding of red color is based on our language. it expands to all of our believes.
many of the times, presenting new idea needs new words it is why we can use new shape to make new ideas. Using literature grammar and translate it to visual language leads us to existed subjects.using new language is a way to expand human thoughts way of thinking and believes.
expanding new ideas and making new phenomena needs new area of words/forms.
work on empathy and understanding, which Maziar discussed in the context of
previous and current design projects. Maziar used a series of pedagogical
examples to discuss the necessity of empathy based on understanding in
design, but also brought our attention to its ultimate impossibility: if
someone has a toothache, we can summon our previous experience of a
toothache and thereby muster empathy for others based on understanding.
But how do we know that we are talking about the same thing when we base our
understanding of others on our own experience: how can we know that, when
taking other¹s pain and sadness into consideration, in this way, that we are
really comprehending the same thing? Asked Maziar. His argument, as I
understood it, is that these limitations or questions concerning human
abilities of comprehension can be expressed in design: more particularly,
through the reflective use of emptiness and blank space in graphic design
(of which we showed us a number of his own examples).
I cannot go into the full depth of what Maziar, in my view, raised in his
intervention by proposing this connection. But I find really interesting the
idea that the limits of human comprehension (as developed and conveyed in
verbal language) can be expressed (visually) by emptiness, blanks and void.
In my view, a point that surfaced in conversation between Maziar Z and me
after the classes, is that this might be a case in point of a more general
possibility: that graphic design can extend verbal communication, as a
collateral of ideas expressed in words (i.e., when graphic design works as
During classes we also talked about how the demanding subject raised by
Maziar probing difficult philosophical issues can be of interest to
designers (of which all present at the studio) other than in the context of
an design assignment, in which this type of reading is part of the research
(e.g., to design a cover for a philosophy magazine issue on the topic of
empathy and understanding). There were several views on this issue:
Marianne, for instance, thought the topic interesting on its own account. In
a larger setting, taking such interests into a larger setting, I think it
might be important particularly when interacting with professionals
outside the design field that we manage to clarify what is our designer¹s
³take² on philosophy.
In this regard, I think that for instance a minimum of context is
required. For instance making accounts for Dilthey¹s place among
philosophers we know from German hermeneutics (i.e., word derived from
Greek, meaning the science of interpretation): featuring names such as
Schleiermacher, Gadamer and Heidegger (in France, Paul Ric¦ur is considered
as part of this tradition). In a general fashion, this direction in
philosophy reflects a German cultural intellectual tendency to such a degree
that the key-terms of the method often are quoted in German (also in English
texts). Such as:
1. Verstehen [understanding]
2. Auslägung [expounding the text as it comes out in a detailed reading]
3. Aufkläuring [explaining the text as it becomes available when having
Actually, this order of enumeration does not give justice to the method. In
the hermeneutical method, Auslägung (expounding) precedes Aufklärung
(explanation) and together they bring about Verstehen (understanding):
interpretation comprises all three steps. And the resulting understanding
feeds back into later readings of the same text (assuming that we are
talking of a text of the type we can return to). So, the 3-step of
interpretation defines a cycle called the Hermeneutical Circle that
perhaps could be imagined as a dance.
This three-step or waltz can be important whenever we want to build
empathy where there is no understanding. In trans-professional practice
(i.e., when we work with people of other professional backgrounds than our
own) this is bound to happen: because we know different things.
It is in this precise situation that note-taking can become of avail,
because it lays out what we hear from other people (eve as we don¹t
understand too much of it). At some point, when this goes on for a while, we
start arguing with our notes. And from this exercise understanding occurs:
i.e., the possibility of empathy and, its counter-point, critique.
In other words, interpretation can help us cross bridges, and develop
relations whenever required by our work and the need for empathy based on
understanding is needed: which it is in most design assignments/projects.
Obviously, using hermeneutics as a sales angle is rather hopeless. Throwing
German glossary around in professional encounters won¹t make people move,
nor may it be particularly practical for the designer to form relations. But
the theory introduced by Maziar Z can be of interest/importance when it
comes to talk about empathy and understandings in theory: that is, as the
part of research that has to do with the sharing of research with community
of peers, as in our Studio.
We returned to the topic of research in the closing lecture of our studio.
But before I proceed to elaborate on that issue, I am now turning to
Marianne¹s presentation. Which reminds me that she actually mentioned a
woman in the company of German philosophers just mentioned whose name is
Hannah Arendt. I have not heard Hannah Arendt discussed in connection with
hermeneutical philosophy, but certainly in relation to Heidegger: and her
potential importance to our forum comes from somehere else.
Hannah Arendt is a philosopher who is known first and foremost for her
contributions to political theory. Among a number of other words, she wrote
a book called Vita Activa (which exists in Norwegian translation at Pax
forlat, Palimpsest series), in which she writes about the determining
importance of objects (i.e., in the sense of material artefacts) to social
and political life. She also speaks about the lack of awareness among the
representatives of Homo Faber (designers and makers of different categories)
of this contribution to social life.
All the best,
Basically almost all of us regard ourselves as individual beings separate from the rest of existence. This view in universal to the human race and is the cause of many of our problems and shortcomings.
The concept of Emptiness - as explained in Buddhism - questions our belief that we have a separate self and helps us see ourselves in terms of relationships that connect us with the rest of the Universe.
When we say that something is empty, the obvious question then is – empty of what? If we say that a cup is empty what we may really mean is that the cup is empty of water. The cup however is full of air. Therefore to be precise in our meaning we must specify that the cup is empty of water.
Similarly what does the concept of Emptiness as applied to ourselves really mean? It means that we are empty of a separate self.
When we look at a flower and think a little we can perceive that the flower could not have had its existence without the Earth, the Sun, the rain, and the gardener who tends the plant, the fertilizer and the clouds. In a way of speaking the entire Universe has come together to bring forth the flower. The flower could not exist without each and every element of the Universe that has helped bring it into existence. It is in this sense that we say that the flower is empty of a separate self. It is in no way separate from the clouds, the sunshine, the rain and all the other elements in the Universe that have caused it to have its being. As I said earlier this is the concept of Emptiness and it is basic to Buddhism.
But when you or I or anybody else who is not a poet or a thinker or a philosopher looks at a flower we generally do not perceive all these relationships. Our habits of thinking and conceptualizing cut the Universe into pieces in order to name it and classify it and thus make sense out of it. This however is just the way of our looking at the world. Our conscious attention has this characteristic that it can focus on only one very small aspect of the world at a time and it has to ignore everything else. This is however the way we think; this is not the way the Universe really is.
The concept of Emptiness of Buddhism religion forces us to look at the flower in relation to the rest of existence. It forces us to perceive the relationships between the flower and the rest of the Universe. We see that the flower arises out of these relationships; that the flower has no self and no being apart from its relationship to the Earth, the Sun, the rain and so on. And thus we are able to gain a very significant insight. We begin to see the world in terms of relationships that are interdependent. One cannot exist without all the others.
This way of regarding ourselves – as empty of a separate self and as composed of interdependent relationships with the rest of existence – could transform our ways of dealing with the world. For example the environment. We would not be as ready as we are now to pollute the air, the seas, or the rivers and to destroy the forests. This is Buddhism with social relevance as well as being a path to Nirvana.
This outlook would transform our inter-personal relationships also. We would perceive that we need our friends, our relatives, our parents, our enemies and in fact the whole of humanity for our existence and being. We would not have the sense of separation from them or from life. We would realize that we could not exist without these people and we would be more willing to respect their rights, needs and right to live and to be.
As stated earlier, we would feel connected with the whole Universe. And so the feeling of loneliness, which plagues so many people, would vanish. But for this we need to make this teaching of Buddhism a way of life for ourselves - not just any other intellectual concept.
This outlook would transform each and every aspect of our lives. Both our private lives – as individual citizens – and the public lives of politicians, social workers, nations etc would be transformed. Again as I said earlier - Buddhism with social relevance.
The problem is that these insights are not immediately obvious. We have to do a certain amount of meditation and contemplation to have them become real for us. As stated earlier, our way of thinking, of making sense of the world, our way of forming concepts is that we focus on only one aspect of our environment and ignore everything else and we try to understand it in isolation.
However – as any scientist will tell you – blood in a test-tube behaves differently from blood in our bodies. And to understand an object, or a situation or anything at all we must consider its relationship with its environment and with the Universe.
The concepts of Emptiness and Inter-being of Buddhism force us to think in terms of these relationships and we can gain insights and form a more true understanding of ourselves and of the world as compared to our habitual ways of thinking.
To learn more about this please read The Heart of Understanding by Thich Nhat Hanh and do the practices recommended in the book. It is excellent.
Understanding of other people and their expressions is developed on the basis of experience and self-understanding and the constant interaction between them.
پيش هست او ببايد نيست بود
چيست هستي پيش او کور کبود.
جز حق حکمي که حکم را شايد نيست
هستي که ز حکم او برون آيد نيست .
(منسوب به خواجه نصير طوسي ).
-به هست آمدن ; به وجود آمدن . (يادداشت مولف ).
-به هست آمده ; موجود. آفريده . خلقشده . به هستي آمده:
يارب از نيست به هست آمده لطف توايم
و آنچه هست از نظر لطف تو پنهاني نيست .
(ص ) موجود. (يادداشت به خط مولف ):
گفتم به حس و عقل توان ديد هست را
گفتا ز عقل نيست مر انديشه را گذار.
اي هست ها ز هستي ذات تو عاريت
خاقاني از عطاي تو هست آيت ثنا.
-هست شدن ; بود شدن و موجود شدن و واقع گشتن و ظاهر گشتن . (ناظم الاطباء):
قالب از ما هست شد ني ما از او
باده از ما مست شد ني ما از او.
بلندي از آن يافت کاو پست شد
درِ نيستي کوفت تا هست شد.
حاضر شدن . (ناظم الاطباء).
-هست کردن ; موجود ساختن . به وجود آوردن . آفريدن . (يادداشت مولف ). پديد آوردن و به وجود آوردن و موجود کردن و خلق کردن . (ناظم الاطباء):
چنين کنند بزرگان ز نيست هست کنند
بلي وليکن نه هر بزرگ و نه هر گاه .
گفت ايزد جان ما را مست کرد
چون نداند آنکه را خود هست کرد؟
-هست کن ; خالق و آفريننده . (ناظم الاطباء):
اي هست کن اساس هستي
کوته ز درت درازدستي .
اول و آخر به وجود و صفات
هست کن و نيست کن کاينات .
-هست کننده ; آفريننده . به وجودآورنده . (يادداشت به خط مولف ).
-هست گردانيدن ; آفريدن . خلق کردن:
با چنان قادر خدايي کز عدم
صد چو عالم هست گرداند به دم .
-هست ماندن ; موجود ماندن . جاودان شدن و باقي ماندن:
هست ماند ز علم دانا مرد
نيست گردد به جاهلي نادان .
-هست وبود ; هستي . موجودي . رجوع به هست وبود شود.
-هست ونيست ; بودونبود. کون و فساد همه چيز:
از اوي است نيک و بد و هست ونيست
همه بندگانيم و ايزد يکي است .
خداوند دارنده هست ونيست
همه چيز جفت است و ايزد يکي است .
اي واهب عقل و باعث جان
با حکم تو هست ونيست يکسان .
رجوع به مدخل هاي «هستي » و «هست وبود» و «هست ونيست » شود.
(اِ) دارايي و ضياع و ملک: طسوج لنجرود هست ِ اسحاق... طسوج ابرشتجان ، هست ِ ادريس ... هست سعدبن نعيم . (تاريخ قم ). و همچنين است سبيل و طريق ديگر ضياع و هستات و باغات عربيه و نامهاي ايشان و بناکنندگان ايشان . (تاريخ قم ).
I am drunk and you are mad
Who’ll take us home and make us glad?
Said a hundred times, if you had
Two or three cups less, won’t be bad.
In this town I do complain
Every person seems insane
In this place madness like rain
Washes wisdom down the drain.
In the tavern of my soul
Carpet of joy will unroll
My soul is out of control
When trapped in a soulless hole
Gypsy minstrel who must play
More drunk than me as I lay
Beside such drunk, I dare say
Mild is the story of my day.
I left my home in that state
My drunken ways could not wait
Every place I looked, looked great
Saw my beloved, my soul mate.
I asked "where is thy land?"
With laughter and a cold hand
"Half from the Arabian sand
And half a heavenly strand.
"Half made of water and clay
Half soul and half solar ray
Half on the shallow beaches lay
Half from the oyster’s pearly play."
I asked Thee to be my friend
And change this dividing trend
Replied that "I transcend,
All divisions in me end."
I am without head or hand
I am of this drunken band
All things I understand
Describe or silently stand.
Ó Shahriar Shahriari
April 13, 1998
knocked. A voice asked, 'Who is there?'
He answered, 'It is I.'
The voice said, 'There is no room for Me and Thee.'
The door was shut.
After a year of solitude and deprivation he returned and knocked.
A voice from within asked, 'Who is there?'
The man said, 'It is Thee.'
The door was opened for him."
-- Jelaluddin Rumi