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IDF – Web Communication Course – Question 3

IDF – Web Communication Course – Question 3

This time, The Interactive Design Foundations asked for up to a half a page about how we could improve our site’s Beauty, Proximity, and Similarity (three aspects of Attractiveness). And also how we could reduce our site’s Uncertainty (because if people are going to want to form a relationship with you, you need to reduce their uncertainty about you). The whole thing has to do with encouraging users to form a relationship with your site and business.

How did the boys do this time?
Not to great. Came on real strong with the metaphysics, but ran into some difficulties with the practical applications of their great Truths.

BW & AW Answer:

Beauty is Truth is Goodness is Justice, and the spot within each human moment where these ineffables run together is the same spot where Love explodes and is all. The wise see Beauty bursting through all things. That doesn’t mean they think all things are equally worthy. Beauty bursts through all things, and should be shared, and the way to share Beauty is to open hearts and minds to Beauty, and the way to do that is to encourage the growth of inner space: to encourage peace and togetherness and watchful kind joy. In individuals and groups, the values that promote such space are Beauty, Truth, Goodness, Justice, Love–those eternal directions that words cannot perfectly capture but to which words can nonetheless meaningfully point.

Proximity is convenience: is this relationship there for the taking?

Proximity is also welcomness (or at least we can roll it into this category, since the research didn’t mention that critical part ​of attraction. We form deep bonds with immediately family members partly because they are always around and partly because there is a dome of welcomness over the relationship: “come what may and annoying as everyone here is, we all accept the notion that we are in this together”. Since “we are all in this together” is actually not just true within families, but is in fact a great spiritual Truth spanning and yoking together all sentient beings, there’s no reason that we cannot expand that dome of welcomness so that it encompasses all of creation–it is just a matter of growing in wisdom. As wisdom grows one sees that we all flow together off of the one Light that shines through everything.
Similarity is, at the surface level, shared culture: shared notions about what is cool, what is interesting, how to put things, what is funny, what is right, how politics should go, how religion should be done. But at the deeper level, similarity is shared human Truth: what really matters is the Light within that alone knows what-actually-matters and how we can move in accordance with what-actually-matters. Therefore, the wiser we are, the more we grasp that we all share this Light and the longing to understand, follow, and flow off of it better.

From the foregoing, it is clear that to the wise, Beauty is everywhere, proximity is unavoidable, and similarity undeniable. Therefore, the best design will be that design that encourages the most wisdom in its users. But how can design encourage wisdom? It must be wise itself: relentlessly aware, honest, clear, kind, joyful, kindred.

But how can our website be wiser? As it is now, the site is a few silly introductory pages for several products: the site itself, an unreleased book and some possible future books, a few novelty items, and then various writings that I’ve tossed up over the last five or six years and which landed somewhere on the blog. We need to make at least a version of the book that is very readable, and we need to make it very easy to avoid falling down into the miles of verbiage. But yet we still need some way for users to see what is available. Maybe if we made the introductions to each product on the landing page into one sentence in bold with an anchor tag to reading more about that topic. How is that wiser? Well, it would be a little clearer. And how to make the site more aware? How to get a site to admit to itself and others what it is up to? What about cartoons with rollovers that reveal their underlying trick (ex: “Buy me because reading me will make you better looking and/or closer to more good looking people. Look at me: I’m reading this book and I am gorgeous!”)? That might get people thinking a little bit about how media encourages their own inner errors and thus guides them away from wisdom. But how to get them to really question the value of our product? What about our silly, back-handed, too-cool-for-school style: how do we make people aware of the deceit within that? And yet we feel that on the whole they should forgive us and work with us, because we are trying to be honest and kind–how to lay out our case for that forgiveness honestly? Obviously, we can release the answers to these questions and otherwise be transparent about our process, but we’re trying to make the landing-page itself wiser. Perhaps we could add an anti-advertising section at the bottom that links to both our advertisements and our misgivings about advertising. I think lots of banners festooned on the main page that upon rollover read “We can’t do it! We can’t get it right! We’re trying to make a perfectly decent and forthright product, but the little foolishnesses within us prevent our success!!!” Maybe that would get across our belief that honesty and kindness are the goals and also our confession that we’ve fallen short and also our intention to keep trying.

Consumer uncertainty can be reduced with a FAQ page, as well as a page on our attempts to be open, complete with links to info on what we are doing with our money (supposing any money was being made), what we’d like to accomplish, and what we wish we could get away with.

Answer from Bartleby Willard and Andy Watson to some extremely difficult questions posed by The Interactive Design Foundation.

A New, Improved Manhattan Project: Pt 1: Preliminary Worries

A New, Improved Manhattan Project: Pt 1: Preliminary Worries

[Anti-Weapon / New Manhattan Project]

I live in the world. I worry. Won’t it just have to go off the rails? Nuclear war still clearly a threat; nuclear terrorism now clearly a threat. Antibiotic resistant bugs still being carefully crafted by reckless agricultural practices. Strange rumors of cracking ice and swirling storms. Prison industries profiting while perfectly good people get thrown away. “Race” and other tired old delusions still keeping us from being ourselves and meeting one another for real. And so on.

And look how the United States lost its shit after 9-11. Plus the corrupting influence of money and advertising in the US election cycle coupled with gerrymandering moderates out of the House while everyone tucks into their private media sources for a dose of agreement and amplification in the echo chamber: the politicians become more and more beholden to a few while the many become more and more divided over the glory of their good-good wisdom and the horror of their neighbor’s evil-evil stupidity.

How worrisome!

And yet here on the ground floor of the US, we mostly go on our merry way. It is fun. We like the sunlight and enjoy chatting with friends, family, and acquaintances. We slip into comfy beds with our lovers; we stroller our kids around vibrant, bustling streets, full of life and fun. We have to go to work but not all the time and there’s opportunities to find more congenial, more rewarding work.

[Editor’s Note: This essay was written in the late Summer of 2017 in Brooklyn, NY, USA, Planet Earth, Nondescript Spiral Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy.]

Meanwhile some groups tell us they very much plan on killing a bunch of us — hard to say how many: 30, 300, a few metro-areas’ worth, the more the better — and get the rest of us to discombobule and blow our hand. The freedom to speak your mind and a safe, orderly setting with a functioning government are wonderful and they are still ours to watch fade on out.

In a representative Democracy the citizens must serve as a final check on corruption and idiocy in the political class. We are not doing a very good job of fulfilling our basic duty, which is to together guard against political corruption, meanness, and other obvious idiocies. The rich feed television to the poor; and judgment’s a storm gathering a thousand miles — the relatively young Leonard Cohen might yet be wrong, but the route oute is difficult to discern.

When a major city is destroyed by a nuclear bomb or everyone at the President’s congressional address is killed(A Worrier’s Suggestion), or even when the citizenry notices that such darkdooms are not necessarily a priori impossibilities, the citizens need most of all to stay calm and resolute. They need to work together to make sure that they keep first things first: yes, immediate safety and order are extremely important, but the very most important thing is that we hold these truths to be self evident:

That all people are created equal and are endowed by the Light within with the right and duty to live well (clearly, honestly, fully, joyfully, creatively, beautifully, kindly) and justly (honestly and impartially, with respect and kindness towards all).

[Some Philosophizing moved to Outtakes!]

I am worried that we lack the shared clarity and purpose required to pull it together and put clear competent kindness first when faced by something awful — or maybe even when merely faced by something that particularly reminds us of awfulness.

I am concerned. But what can I do?, that’s what I’d like to know. Or rather: what should I do, and am I allowed to go take a walk?

Authors: Proposers

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[Anti-Weapon / New Manhattan Project]

[NYC Journal – Politics Page]

[Something Deeperism Institute]

[NYC Journal]

From Before:

I live in the world. I worry. Won’t it just have to go off the rails? Nuclear war still clearly a threat; nuclear terrorism now clearly a threat. Antibiotic resistance bugs still being carefully crafted by reckless agricultural practices. Strange rumors of cracking ice and swirling storms. And so on.

And look how the United States lost its shit after 9-11. Plus the corrupting influence of money and advertising in the US election cycle coupled with everyone tucking into their private media sources for a dose of agreement and amplification in the echo chamber: the politicians become more and more beholden to a few while the many become more and more divided over the glory of their good-good wisdom and the horror of their neighbor’s evil-evil stupidity.

How worrisome!

And yet here on the ground floor of the US, we mostly go on our merry way. It is fun. We like the sunlight and enjoy meeting friends for a chat. We slip into comfy beds with our lovers; we stroller our kids around vibrant, bustling streets, full of life and fun. We have to go to work but not all the time and there’s opportunities to find more congenial, more rewarding work.

Meanwhile some groups tell us they very much plan on killing a bunch of us–hard to say how many: 30, 300, a city’s worth, the more the better–and get the rest of us to lose our shit and blow our hand. The freedom to speak your mind and a safe, an orderly setting with a functioning government are wonderful and they are still ours to watch fade on out.

In a representative Democracy the citizens must serve as a final check on corruption and idiocy in the political class. But we’re too busy playing policy expert with our chosen pundits and otherwise goofing off to focus on the task at hand; and we’ve been too completely lulled and badgered into writing the “other side” off as “hopeless” to work together as a nation: we are not doing a very good job of fulfilling our basic duty, which is to together guard against political corruption, meanness, and other obvious idiocies. The rich have their TVs in the bedrooms of the poor; and there’s a mighty judgement coming–the relatively young Leonard Cohen might yet be wrong, but the route oute is difficult to discern.

When a major city is destroyed by a nuclear bomb or everyone at the President’s congressional address is killed, the citizens need most of all to stay calm and resolute. They need to work together to make sure that they keep first things first: yes, immediate safety and order are important, but the very most important thing is that we hold these truths to be self evident:

That all people are created equal and are endowed by the Light within (deeper and wider than any concept or feeling, though some concepts point better towards it than others–here I picked “the Light within” because because and sometimes we mention “love” with a similar argument) with the right and duty to live well (fully, joyfully, creatively, beautifully, kindly) but also justly (justice = no shortchanging souls in order to achieve your goals; aka: your goals can’t forget that you and other people are full, complete humans; aka: beneath every goal must be the deeper goal: that the Light in our centers bursts evermore through the rags and we all move more and more for real).

We know that sense-of-things deeper and more fundamentally than any doubts we may conjure against it or any dogmas we might use to justify ignoring or co-opting and betraying it. It is a good idea; it is our idea. This idea informs us that we can and should work together to make this democracy of the people, for the people, by the people be just and kind to all the people in this land and the world.

I am worried that we lack the clarity and shared purpose required to pull it together and put joyful-justice/just-joyfulness first when faced by something awful–or maybe even when merely faced by something that particularly reminds us of awfulness.

I am concerned. But what can I do?, that’s what I’d like to know. Or rather: what should I do, and am I allowed to go take a walk?

Authors: BW, AMW

…..

What is this?
A three essay series called “A New, Improved Manhattan Project”
Part 1: Preliminary Worries
Pt. 2: The Proposal
Pt. 3: Some Tips for the Geniuses

Whatever happened to selling evolving ebooks on the world-wide web?
Well, nothing’s being posted, but the somewhat-begun books are still available:
Love at a Reasonable Price are listed and linked-to here:
Intro to Love at a Reasonable Price
Intro to Diary of an Adamant Lover for sale here:
Buy the Books

We also are still selling cat totes and epistemologically controversial baby onsies:
Buy Cat Totes!
&/or Objectively Cute Baby Onepieces! (advertised here: An ad for an “Objectively Cute” baby wrap

But what are we really up to?
I dunno, Bartleby and Andy are writing something once in a while and then sometimes going back and editing things. I think they’ll go back to the ebooks before too long. We’ll see.