If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. The Art of War, Sun Tzu, J. Cavell, 1988, Delta, N.Y., N.Y. pg. 18

Classes of Objects


There are two classes of objects, energy producers and receivers (stars and all else). This of course doesn't account for gravitational fields which twist and shape all matter. The meaning here is that life cannot exist without the added energy from outside the immediate planet.


Within the two classes there are two distinctions which are, living and not living. There can be two ways to look at both living and not living objects and that is that they are in stable equilibrium or not.


Within all these objects there remains the significant distinction within the former classes, which creates two categories of objects, man-made and not man-made. At this time none of the class of living fall into the class of man-made. There are manipulations which are hybrids, as in genetic engineered seeds and animals. There is also the reproduction and birth of one human by another which is not what I will mean by man-made.


Of the set we just looked at there is another classification which crosses the gap, these two are: those which are built into a permanent site (with periodic forces) and those which migrate. The environmental pressures effect both objects, but the one by its grounding may or may not be able to adapt to adverse forces.


Of the one class of objects that are permanent, there are the two classes: those which are living and those which are not. Those which are living have a built in mechanism to stay (migrate through reproduction) within the periodic events which are favorable (the seed). Of those which are not alive, there is no reproduction process built into the system which produces a migratory result. There is the possibility that the builder learns and thus builds someplace more favorable, but it is not in the original framing. There is an ad hoc system of recycling the smaller buildings (wood is used for wood or fuel to heat), but it fails at the skyscraper level. Meaning, the materials can be used with a system of mining and separation and refining. Low energy recycling (migration) has not been an issue. There is an effort to build a recycling component into non-stationary objects (cars) through an assembly system (to assure the reuse of all the materials in cars, as they are terminated). Thereby causing the migration of materials of a migratory product.


The environmental pressures (as stated above) effect both objects but one by its permanence may or may not be able to adapt to adverse forces. The migrating object also has a limited range of migration which by necessity has to be within the limits of the environmental tolerance (i.e. a car in Alaska may have to be modified, as with a car at high altitudes has to have the fuel to air mixture adjusted if it is within the limits of its envelop). There are also a set of objects which are temporarily migrators who are intended to be stationary, i.e. orbiting in a geo-synchronous orbit, which is not moving, or if looked at differently is falling at the same rate, escape velocity or spiraling around the sun, or approaching a straight line as it oscillates moving out of the universe.


There are a class of objects which create space and a class which exists in space and those who do both. Architectural elements create space, pieces of architecture then create space (urban). Of the fixed living objects which create (and or use) space, there are trees and plants. If one were to look at all of the classifications mentioned above, we need to know where do the objects fit that are concerned with design?


I always assumed that I could define all stationary objects as fitting in the area of architecture/environmental design, because the adaptability had to be built into the object. All other constructed objects had to share product design or the craft work or art. There are three classifications which come to mind: environmental designed, product designed and those which will fit into the fine art classification. Environmental design usually encompassed the one-off item, the site is always unique to the problem so a production run is impossible. As production moved away from continual production, as the assembly line turned into computer programmed robotic devices, the single item production became a reality. Before, only the craftsman produced a limited number of items, now production is a changing process of envisioning information in the third dimension.

There may need to be a study of just what kinds of production can adapt. A drilling machine can pick up a different bit. A welding machine can add metal anywhere. A rolling mill can create sheets of varying dimension (not very adaptable). At the present, a mold can only create one item identical to the former, but it may have several interfaces which adapt to other items. Does all the flexibility create stream-line or waste. I bought a full fax modem which made my printer into a receiver. It could turn on my computer and wait for the fax. The computer was able to send faxes immediately or at a later time. It was great but the system crashed. I gave it all up, now I use a dedicated fax. Complexity and multi-use leads to errors of an unknown origin. Not that they couldn't be understood, the problem was that everything crashes with a small error. The symptoms of the error don't lead to one solution, as they do in a dedicated machine. This is the same for a computer controlled tool creating new forms. The learning of the function of the machine has to give immediate feedback as it is designing. One example is that the stylus pointer when using a digitizing tablet (Photoshop program on this Macintosh IIsi) goes as fast as the hand moves, but the screen is far behind. The image does catch up, but the spontaneous activity becomes planned.

Environmental design may move into the domain of product design in my mind, but at this moment it fits into a single-kind-object and those are in the classification of architecture or art (or crafts). The craft item which has a fixed base may be considered as sculpture and that is not in a class of environmental design, unless it does create space. Now I get into one more problem, and that is with the migratory objects. They are at one time both object and space. The car has an environment (the inside), the design of it is in product design. The environmental portion is fixed in terms of the envelop, but it is migratory in its relation to periodic forces, those caused by nature and those caused by the locomotion. Therefore, it fits into both environmental and product design. At this time I haven't separated it further than that. The part of "environmental impact" (which is sometimes called environmental design) which all objects have on the ecosystem is a part of all design disciplines and cannot be separated out. It is the first concern of all design. Here, the naming of a system as "environmental design" may fall apart. I believe that for the reasons which have been brought out here, that the term is too broad and needs to be rethought.

Teaching Ideas

The student is subject to the teaching methods of the teacher, but that student has to feel there is a possibility to change. The methods the student has used up to this time have met all his needs, now he has to change in order to learn anything new. There has to be a built in desire or acquired desire to change. If the work that has been viewed is exciting, the motivation is real. If the examples are not exciting, but the alternative is dismal, the motivation may be moderate. If the example is as bad as the alternative, then no change will take place. If one is looking for beauty, utility or the esoteric the problem is the same, the student needs motivation first then he will pick up the tools. The locus of control has to be within the student, not outside, as with "bad luck." Given a problem, the fastest way to the solution is the answer, but that isn't important. What is critical is to find a process which begins to work with the student's existing information bank. The ultimate learning is where the student can play any problem into a system and the problem works toward a solution which is unique to the problem (context, problem and student, a methodology). The solution cannot remain in the world of thought, it has to be actualized, made visible and when needed brought into three dimensions. Form lives in real space and time. When considering the event, teaching, one can invent a system to design teaching.

The problem as I see it at this time is that I need to use the authority of the teacher's position, I know it is not productive in the long run, but I am afraid to do without it. There is an old book by Postman and Weingartner, Teaching as a Subversive Activity, A Delta Book, Dell Pub., N. Y., N. Y., 1969, which I think would be a good source for trying to teach a method of learning. The problem as explained in Subversive is that we teach subjects, but that doesn't endure, only teaching a method to learn will endure.

A child is "learning" constantly. While under the influence of parents he learns from them, and must follow their ideas until a separation is made. But before a separation is made the idea "school" is introduced where the teacher assumes part of the same role as the parent but with a different authority. After the parent/child separation is made all learning should take a different tack. The child should develop into his own self, if there is an authority figure pressing his "self " on the child, he will not become an individual. If teaching and/or learning remain in the same mode, it will or may be rejected (if the parent separation has been made or is in the process of being made). Let's assume that there has to be a distinct separation between parent and child so that the child can function on his own, then it follows that school should not prolong or hold on to that which the child is fighting. When I first talked with my son about his Jujitsu practice, I found that he was asking questions, and I was answering with a completely wrong perspective. He was to learn how to use aggression to his advantage by never opposing it, he was to be the "open door," let the force go right through with only a slight redirection. If the teaching role is looked at from that same standpoint then we are possibly teaching by hitting a force head on. There is a point where teaching becomes a means of domination, the learning has been lost to the idea of survival [for the student]. If this situation occurs, then the entire value has been subverted to power. The teacher has lost the way to teach and has only unrelated information which has to be learned by coercion. There should never be any reason to take attendance, the student should have such desire to be there learning that one cannot keep them away. OK, that is the ideal, how can it be attained?