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Pro-gress by De-sign?

April 22, 2011


Hope everyone is well. And developing their awareness.

In this time where both extremes of gross and subtle are at the pinnacle of their  expression across all dimensions of our existence, we need our senses finely tuned. Else, we will live in a narrow-band world of make-believe. Miss out the extremes and you’ve probably missed the heart of the matter entirely. Seriously.

There is no excuse for not being aware and more aware every second. We are only as balanced as our senses. Remember, engine of cause versus instrument at effect. You definitely want to be the former in these times.

A quick digression and then I’ll get to the headliner…

Awareness…what is it? A very important question. To ask that is. It is good to remember that the more the outside in-trudes, the less we are our fully ex-pressed selves. We need space in every dimension. And in this deliciously twisted world we live in, the way in is the way out. Really, no other way. The deeper you pro-gress (ah, there’s the word), the farther you will reach outward. to grab the world at large is clumsy and in-efficient in the extreme.

And the way in through the tips of your fingers. It’s really that simple. You can only begin the journey of inner awareness inwards through your farthest point of physical reach, your fingertips.

Hold them together and ponder that. Find the first exercise and try it (here on the blog).

So, pro-gress and de-sign.

The work I mentioned in my previous post is coming along apace. And in my journey, I got to ponder the word pro-gress as I saw it’s pernicious and deleterious impact on human and all sentient life really, in it’s relentless march through India. And we are all begging for it. Pro-gress. And you know what it means?

progression Look up progression at Dictionary.commid-15c., “action of moving forward,” from O.Fr. progression (early 15c.), from L. progressionem (nom. progressio) “a going forward,” from progressus, pp. of progredi “go forward,” from pro- “forward” (see pro-) + gradi “to step, walk,” from gradus “step”

Forward walk. Basically. In the direction of the dominant paradigm. There is nothing positive about Pro-gress. It is just a step in the forward direction. Stepping over a cliff would be called pro-gress.

And we’ve been conditioned to think it means for the betterment of through such and such. such a lie this language is or at least how it has been twisted. seeing “progress”, I wish we would in-gress and then e-gress this Pro-gress train. Progress is a lie. Ponder that deeply. It’s important. Words are that important. Give me Di-gress from pro-gress, thank you very much.

So now, I’m seeking an authentic, etymologically correct word for advancement through betterment/refinement.

And Design. Most here have probably seen my de-sign website ( . Design sticks in my throat just like pro-gress. So I dove into de-sign, whose opposite would be en-sign.

design (v.) Look up design at Dictionary.com1540s, from L. designare “mark out, devise, choose, designate, appoint,” from de- “out” (see de-) + signare “to mark,” from signum “a mark, sign” (see sign (n.)). Originally in English with the meaning now attached to designate; many modern uses of design are metaphoric extensions. As a noun, from 1580s, from M.Fr. desseign.designing Look up designing at“scheming,” 1670s, from prp. of design (q.v.).

Emphasis mine. It has nothing what-so-ever to do with how a product is conceptualized and brought to tangible form. Nothing. As we understand it, design is one of those metaphoric extensions of Designate.

And so, I am looking for help in re-languaging these two words.

Progress through design got us where are. And it is not a pretty place. How do we “take it back”? I suggest re-languaging is a subtle and powerful tool we can all wield freely and master-fully.

So, advancement through betterment/refine-ment. And en-sign?

It’s important to the work I’m putting out shortly.

Thanks for your attention. And awareness.



14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2011 4:39 pm

    Thank you for these most interesting explorations. The work of Christopher Alexander may be enjoyable to examine, particularly “The Nature of Order.” In it he tries to understand how to go about creating beautiful buildings.
    “For twenty years,I spent two or three hours a day looking at pairs of things, buildings, tiles, stones, windows, carpets, figures, carvings of flowers, paths, seats, furniture, streets, paintings, fountains, doorways, arches, friezes–comparing them, and asking myself: “Which has more life?” And then asking, “What are the common features of the examples that have most life?”
    I managed to identify fifteen structural features which appear again and again in things which do have life. These are: 1. LEVELS OF SCALE, 2. STRONG CENTERS, 3. BOUNDARIES, 4. ALTERNATING REPETITION, 5. POSITIVE SPACE, 6. GOOD SHAPE, 7. LOCAL SYMMETRIES, 8. DEEP INTERLOCK AND AMBIGUITY, 9. CONTRAST, 10. GRADIENTS, 11. ROUGHNESS, 12. ECHOES, 13. THE VOID, 14. SIMPLICITY AND INNER CALM, 15. NON-SEPARATENESS.”
    “During those many years of observation, I often asked myself what these fifteen properties signified, what they (italicized) are, what they (italicized) do. And finally, I came to understand that all of them are, in effect, just the fifteen ways in which centers can help each other come to life. I came to understand that they work, they make things have life, (italicized) because they are the ways in which centers can help each other in space.” From The Nature of Order book one, p. 144.

    • April 23, 2011 5:58 am

      Thanks for sharing wise, insightful words. Architecture is the first reflection of our pro-gressive dysfunction. I met my own hero in Hugo Kukelhaus, similar train of thought. My own en-signs follow a similar, fractal, balanced approach.

      Thanks again.

  2. Nan permalink
    April 22, 2011 8:47 pm

    How ’bout re-sign?

    • April 23, 2011 6:01 am

      good first step Nan. De-sign this set of structures, re-sign from their reality, e-gress from that dominion, di-gress to your own, clearly chosen path…then en-sign the new co-creative out-pouring. How does that sound? 🙂
      And to your last comment regarding empathy, I feel you Nan. And such is how it is. Pain is a choice, like bitterness. Enough, inflicted from within, will make the external seem like a gnat on an elephants back! 🙂

  3. bingaling permalink
    April 22, 2011 9:24 pm

    Novel idea. Great to hear from you! I just came over to post a video on “getting real” that I thought would help some kill time while we awaited your return . But it goes so perfectly with this post (like an answer to your question so perfectly timed) here it is . Terrence Mckenna’s final interview before he moved forward .

    One of the guys posted it over at ZH . I have to say Terrence is probably the best interview IMO that Terrence has given .

  4. Alex Rodriguez permalink
    April 22, 2011 9:55 pm

    Thanks for all the good comments and all the good times!!

  5. April 23, 2011 3:05 am

    Vivek, I see ¨advancement¨as another word for progress, and not necessarily a better one. I like refinement through in-sing (designated from the inside). Through in-sign, we give meaning to our projects, life and refine it.

    Every time I hear the word progress I think about how much developed countries are wishing they could de-gress. What will the US give to find ways to un-do sprawl, dependence on cars and fuel even for the most basic of needs. I think of how much more peaceful and meaningful life would be if we lived in smaller, focused communities that are walkable or bikeable, where people grow their own food, where people trade meals and clothing and share their faith and laughs and pains. All chimeras most likely, but I remember growing up somewhat like that and being happy there… though as you say, most of my neighbors and myself couldn’t wait for progress and now that we have it, we wish we could go back to simpler, refined, more focused lives.

    Peace and love to you,

    • April 23, 2011 4:46 am

      Thanks for the thoughts Tuttysan. In line with your thoughts, here is what I just read:

      The primitive rush for the modern and the modern rush for the primitive is one of the weird but well-recognized features of the current cultural landscape of our world. Many of us spend our lives traversing it.” (Graham Townsley)

      Interesting! 🙂

    • velobabe permalink
      April 23, 2011 6:40 pm

      hello out there. i believe you can go back. i am working on it every day. really, walk or bike every where, is a beautiful thing for me right now. plus farmer’s market is up and running. good post ORI, glad you are back. i miss you when you are gone, from ZH.

  6. dublinmick permalink
    April 24, 2011 1:06 am


    Not sure how much my awareness has the time to evolve at this point. I am kind of am who I am, realizing the kill switch for man on this planet has been thrown but feeling better and better and better about it because frankly there are some on the other side I am dying to see again. (pun intended)

    You are breath of fresh air Vivek. I salute you

  7. April 24, 2011 1:57 am

    Fukushima, Passamari, Spring

    Bow-legged two-legged, leaning on his hoe
    peers for garlic, late beneath the plum.
    Cuffs unbuttoned cut the wind like wings.
    He veers a stretch of sky between limbs
    and bed, tallying spears as if eagle
    gauging hares. Planes he’s sure
    spray poison for no good reason
    and returning geese persist against
    the pelt of fronts. A neighbor’s tom
    deserves his adulation. Clouds decay
    to cumulus and haze when no fields burn.
    Fat Mouse dies without a kick in yellow grass.
    Orach cotyledons pool in paths like blood.

    Early spinach vernal under hog fence hoops
    and plastic from the dump needs safe water
    from the county’s deepest well. Still, rain
    threatens, at a hundred counts per minute,
    not him so much but kids who play next door.
    When did the world’s backup generators seize?
    The missing witness, shoeless on the tape,
    muttering, stumbled- on by mistake
    in a landfill heap. And this newest war,
    when were there debates? He leans on stone
    to sort intrusive roots from wanted stock.
    One wind whips the town’s flags all directions.

    Doves weight the air a gray he shoulders
    like a bar. Admitting defeat so late and far
    from sanctuary waves, snow geese argue
    security measures all the way to straw. Truth
    is north and hurts worse faced head on.
    Land a million peasants hoed subsides
    while dying aspens turn silver he can’t save
    and nations crash in gardens like the sea.
    Aerosol merges dark as news in sky
    when sun unwinds in tongues that peel his ears.
    Teetering worlds lose bearings like tilted geese.
    He takes the dog whose eyes beg for a walk.
    She shows him when you turn you’re halfway home.

    April, 2011

    • Nadall permalink
      August 15, 2011 3:31 am

      I don’t have the right words for this, but your writing has touched me deeply. Please, please, please write more. I hope you are published so many others can experience what I cannot possibly put into words.

  8. Stephen Baze permalink
    April 24, 2011 11:10 am

    Hello all – Mckenna was a very intricate guy. this guy gave some long winded but enveloping answers that leave you …….thinking. Hope all is well with everyone.

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