We believe that as therapists it is important that the methods we use reflect our own belief systems and that our ideas and our interactions with families about those ideas be coherent. We claim an approach called an aesthetic preference (Allman, 1982; Keeney, 1983) as opposed to that of an applied science approach or belief system. Family therapists who subscribe to an applied science belief system identify with values associated with the physical sciences and are concerned with the control of nature for practical purposes. Differences between applied science therapists and aesthetically oriented therapists often revolve around issues of power and control (Hoffman, 1985), differences about who or what "determines" change, and which methods are useful in facilitating change.
When we speak of an aesthetic preference, we are speaking of the ideas of Gregory Bateson about cybernetics or feedback functions of biological and social systems based on cognitive or mental organization (Bateson, 1972,1979). We also call into service the ideas of the new biologists or constructivists, Von Foerster (1981), Maturana (1978), Varela (1979), Maturana and Varela (1980) and von Glasersfeld (1984). Von Foerster proposed second-order cybernetics as opposed to first-order cybernetics of the "hard" sciences (Keeney, 1983; Hoffman, 1990). Second-order cybernetics requires that the observer or observing system be considered part of the whole. As Hoffman puts it:
Terry Tempest Williams has written that “it’s strange to feel change coming. It’s easy to ignore. An underlying restlessness seems to accompany it like birds flocking before a storm. We go about our business with the usual alacrity, while in the pit of our stomach there is a sense of something tenuous.”
Where, Terry Tempest Williams asked, can we find refuge in change? She has answered that question as well, “I am slowly, painfully discovering that my refuge is not found in my mother, my grandmother, or even the birds of Bear River. My refuge exists in my capacity to love. If I can learn to love death then I can begin to find refuge in change.’’
Terry Tempest Williams is naturalist-in-residence at the Utah Museum of Natural History in Salt Lake City. Her first book, Pieces of White Shell: A Journey to Navajoland, received the 1984 Southwest Book Award. She is also the author of Coyote’s Canyon, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, two children’s books, and most recently, An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field. She is the recipient of the 1993 Lannan Literary Fellowship in creative nonfiction.
Corporate logos are incredibly powerful sigils. At their best, they are seamless integrations of intention, representation, and action. (At their worst, each of these vectors moves in its own direction and yields a logo that is more of a cipher for a vast corporate unconscious.) Multi-millions of dollars, pounds, euros, yen, and rubles worth of focus-groups, design frms, branding, and executive whim go into each stroke of what the corporation hopes will become an iconic sigil. The best ones are recognizable on a subliminal level — that is, consumers need not engage in any higher cognitive processing in order to recognize and orient their behavior in response to this symbol.
Grant Morrison does a fne job of highlighting this phenomenon with his term ‘hypersigils’, and this idea is well known to archetypal psychologists. Consider McDonald’s, Mitsubishi, Apple, American Airlines, Starbucks, Microsoft and a host of other multinational corporate entities who need only show you a color palate or typeface for you to recognize their branding. You might not even need to know anything about the company in order to learn something about it simply from a well-crafted logo.
Jay Silver is a maker, designer, and inventor. I’ve worked with Jay for a few
years and feel lucky to know him. Jay invented MaKey MaKey, an invention kit, with Eric Rosenbaum. MaKey
MaKey allows you to turn anything into an interface. Just plug the board into
your computer with a USB connector and, using alligator clips,
you can turn anything into a keyboard or device to control your computer. There
are amazing YouTube videos that show how people have turned bananas and stairs
into pianos, Play-Doh into Super Mario controllers, and even buckets of water
into Dance Dance Revolution controllers!
As you can imagine, Jay has a unique perspective on design. He gave a TEDx talk
called “Hack a banana, make a keyboard!” that expressed what it means to be an open source maker, and what we hope
to accomplish with the 21st Century Robot Project.
As builders and designers, we spend our lives trying to make the best possible
product or thing. We want to design the perfect chair. We want to write the best
computer game. We want to design the best robot ever!