Half-Formed Thoughts on Connections and Consciousness

I was thinking about what we really meant by “connections”. We talk about them all the time but what do they actually look like? We tend to describe them as either a vague concept, as in “there’s a connection”, or we talk about an external mechanism somewhere in the space between people, like social media. But what does a connection actually look like?

A couple of books I’ve been reading made me think about the internal and external worlds of our lives, the places we inhabit in our heads and the interactions we have with other people. I was particularly drawn to ways of looking at art and design, and wondering whether we could describe the differences in this way:

“The artist meets us in their world; the designer meets us in ours.”

It’s a simplification, and these things are never just about meeting, but I couldn’t find a particularly good way of describing how an artist brings us into their inner world in order to help us explore ours and a designer enters our world to understand how to connect it with theirs. Or something like that.

Either way, it did seem interesting to consider the internal exploration of the artist versus the external exploration of the designer. These internal and external spaces, and the way we use them, potentially offer different perspectives on what we mean by “connection”. Somewhere between our innermost consciousness and that of someone else lies a connection point.

Depending on how self-centred each of us are that connection point lies deeper within one person than the other. We could probably even plot the point somewhere on a kind of diagram. Maybe someone has. But how does it apply to the people around us? What does the way someone writes (or makes music, has conversations) suggest about where these connection points lie for them? And how much are they aware of it?

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2 comments
  1. Interesting thinking Simon. The analogy of the designer meeting us in our world made me think of the old adage that the best design goes completely unnoticed.

    When a product or service is so well designed that interacting with it is almost intuitive the designer has successfully connected with you on your terms. On the other hand, when your experience is unintuitive, complicated or just down right confusing you have to adjust your own frame of mind, move out of your own world, before you can properly connect.

    I know I’m moving away from interpersonal connections there, but your half-formed thought half-formed a few of my own.

    • Thanks for the comment, Andrew. I really like your point about design and intuition; it’s a great example. And the invisibility of good design is well worth considering in contrast to the way good art can disrupt our thinking.

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