AUGHT – Communication design


As within, so without (Part II) – The possibility of purposeful design

Mindset as the macrocosm

We all tend to have a habit of questioning or scrutinising about anything around us. Yet the funny thing is that we never really like to direct that to ourselves too much, aren't we? 

While we are determined to find an answer to our problem out there in the wild, this approach often sees ourselves not getting any headway on the undertaking issue, and oftentimes we felt as though we are going in circles without any significant breakthrough. Well, the simple truth is, unless we can start to identify those ineffective habits or methods that we are so accustomed to and start changing things up, we will always be stuck in those recurring situation of mental constipation that will provide neither any solution nor progress for us. In short, nothing change, nothing moves.

Most people understand that change is inevitable, some even acknowledge that change is imperative. However not many will undertake change as their mission of action. That is because while it can be baffling seeing the world change around us as a bystander, it takes little or no effort from us to do that at all. On the contrary, for us to take real action and change things up, most of the time we will be quite hesitant to initiate that challenge as the fearful idea of failure can loom in our mind quite vividly.

In spite of this, we have to remind ourselves that end of the day, our conscious mind, this inner world of ours is the one that we can take control and change. If we can’t even do that, what makes us think that we can take control and change the world outside to our preference?

Design as the microcosm

Putting those insights into perspective, we believed the idea of relatedness between the inside and the outside teaches one of the ideology aspects of purposeful design. Fundamentally, design is a process of learning, unlearning and relearning.

For the concept to take root, openness is the key. Training ourselves to regularly empty our pre-conceived knowledge, so as for our mind to truly received any new insight. Even when we acquired new knowledge and framed new perspective, we will still need to question them and put it into test again. Hence, we empty and fill, filled and then empty — an endless cycle of inner learning that corresponds to the outer condition.

Don’t get us wrong. We are not saying one should lose his or her identity, or always changing their stands in favour of the hype and newness out there to make things work. What we mean is; We need to cultivate the sense of seeing through the lenses of others by first removing ours. 

Understanding the ideology will help to create awareness for the parallelism that our mind may construe. So in return, we can break it apart. This awareness empowered us to move along time and engage with the subject matters mindfully. It also reminds us to leave our egos aside and challenge our perception. It opens up our mind so we can genuinely examine our priority and calibrate our focus without any biases. End of the day, we aim to cultivate these train of thoughts and synergise it with the current state of affairs; all in hope to provide a solution that are both relevant and purposeful, without compromising on our principles, morality and sensibility. 

We still have much to learn and attain. Nonetheless, we believed through this cyclical process of internal realisation and external materialisation, we will be empowered to design things of values and meaning conscientiously.

Embracing the without, from within.

Tomaz Goh