There are two ways of human consciousness
– research and project based. They are certainly intertwined and often co-exist
in one person. But in any case, one of them prevails and determines the
character, behavior and, ultimately, the biography of a person. By the word
"person" I mean one of reason, thinking, reflecting, meditating and
creating. Two types of mental work essentially determine the fate of that person,
his character and way of life.
According to the depiction of
human behavior, it is immediately evident whether one is a researcher or a
are bothersome, picky, boring and often dangerous for the processes of
development. Designers are intrusive, self-confident, ignorant and dangerous
for public peace. Examples of people with project-type thinking are Steve Jobs
and Bill Gates.Both
haven’t received a higher education.
An example of a person with
research-type thinking is Charles Darwin. He researched everything he could,
but couldn’t manage the design stage and was unable to come up with anything
better than a primitive theory of evolution.Now it becomes quite obvious that evolution is
only a part of the mysterious and powerful mechanism of creation, and evolution
alone is not enough to understand this mechanism.
Much closer to the truth were
world religions, with their images of the Creator, his companions - saints,
angels, and enemies - devils, infidels ... The mechanism of creating religions
is a vivid example of project-thinking.They
didn’t research practically anything. They wrote, designed and relied entirely
on their imagination.All
these magnificent collections of fairy tales - the Torah, the Bible, the Koran,
are projects. Like all brilliant projects, they were created without any
This does not mean that all
researchers are bad, and all designers are good.
Communism, for example, was
designed, as was National Socialism. At the time researchers are sometimes
quite capable of benefiting. Especially in cases where they know their place
and don’t try to draw some kind of conclusions from their studies. The biggest
misfortune of pure researchers, devoid of design potential, is that, not being
able to cover all aspects of the problem (it's excusable), they often leave the
most important outside the framework of their endeavors (this is not
excusable). This is the price for "objectivity," which in this case
is an eloquence of the lack of imagination.
It is interesting that
research is always collective, while project insights occur in deep solitude,
where the word "we" isn’t known. Why are "doctors" and
"scientists" always mentioned in the plural, and "inventor"
is always just single? Because to collect data, do and study the analysis is
more effective collectively, and no group is able to invent anything. The
mention of doctors can cause objections, they say there are brilliant doctors.
No, it is up to the doctor to analyze the situation and prescribe a treatment
that is permitted by the guidelines. The doctor always remains an investigator.
It categorically isn’t allowed for him to invent, to design.
It is exactly the same
situation in other types of intellectual activity, including attempts to
understand the structure and meaning of the universe in which we live.
Variations of models of the
universe, created on the basis of "objective research", depend on the
current circumstances, accumulated mistakes, chronic and acute absurdities, as
well as instruments to justify or refute what was done. Much more attractive
and close to the truth (truths?) are poetic models, which fortunately were not
preceded by painful research, excavations, studies of "primary
sources", scientific seminars, round tables, etc. Moreover, there are
spheres, "studies" which are simply unthinkable tools of knowledge.
There remains another way.
Illumination that turns into design. One can design everything - history,
geography, biology. Something from the models obtained in such an adventurous
way can turn out to be a prophecy, both for the future and for the past. If no
excavations help to understand "how it was", it remains to be
"designed". It is likely that the project will be more true than the
results of all the carefully done spectral analyses.
I want to propose one of those
models (projects?) of the emergence, structure and development of everything.
Let's start with an oak. Or
rather with an acorn. The acorn contains all the information about the
morphology and development of the future oak. More precisely not the
information, but the program. It is horrible to imagine its volume, it records
the most complicated structure of the trunk, branches, leaves, roots, all these
patterns, veins, contours, the whole biography of growth. Who wrote this
program? The oak? And what about the oak program? The forest? And the forest
program? Planet Earth? A program for the emergence, structure and development
of the planet? The universe? And the program of the universe? And the program
of the universe is the next level of the universe that is inaccessible to our
imagination, and then another level, then again and again...
The best of all, the idea of
such a multi-level structure, where each subsequent level includes all the previous
ones, the layers can grow in both directions, and the whole system can grow
infinitely, the best of all is that this idea was embodied by the ancient
Chinese bone carvers who created the famous ball-in-ball design. The idea of an
endless build-up of layers for technological reasons wasn’t completely embodied
in this elegant metaphor, and the most skillful carver brought the number of
layers included in one another to forty-two.
Did the nameless Chinese
master know what exactly he himself modeled? Maybe he knew. He was a man with
brilliant design thinking (or rather feeling?) and created a metaphor of two
ideas at once - the idea of multi-layered infinity of the morphology of the
universe and the idea of multi-level programming, where each program is
created by a set of top-level “overprograms”, and generates many sub-programs
of the lower one. This model begins to work at a time when we understand that
the material from which the balls are made is information. This is the key
point. Information organized in the form of programs.
Unfortunately today there are
no tools with which one can confirm or deny the possibility of the existence of
such a model. It is believed that a step towards understanding can be made with
the help of a quantum computer. Hopes begin to emerge that this computer, which
runs millions of times faster than a normal one, will make it possible to solve
tasks that are not available for today's computers. In particular, it will make
it possible to study a huge number of layers of the universe, inaccessible to
the current toolkit. Many zeros will be added to the number of 42, which the
Chinese carver reached.
The modern computer operates
by bits of information using a binary system - zero and one. A quantum computer
operates on qubits, quantum bits, each of which cannot be in two, but in three
states, the third of which implies the simultaneous presence of zero and one.
It seems that the technology of the future will depart from the bisexual
paradigm and will be based on the third-sex (homosexual?). I'm kidding...
Observing the substantive
world man created from the standpoint of understanding (rather a premonition)
the model of the multi-layered structure of nature and civilization and
multilayered management, programming, designing of this substantive diversity,
it is possible to see in what rudimentary, primitive state the
substantive-based environment of his existence created by man is today.
A glance from the
multi-layered sphere of programs at our civilization makes one think a lot. For
example, take a look at the creativity of the architect. For thousands of
years, he's crawling like an ant on the surface of one of 42 (or 42 thousand)
spheres, designing a house: a hut, a pyramid, a bank, a skyscraper, a prison
... All these objects, regardless of the author’s genius, succumb on the day
completion of construction. Eitherbecause they are not capable of change, development. They are dead. The
city is a cemetery of houses. Even the most striking works of Zaha Hadid,
Santiago Calatrava, Frank Gehry don’t go beyond the "house" level of
the spherical programming model.
Everything came from the fact
that the main (single?) object of the architect's attention is the house, that
is to say, just an atom, a molecule of the city. The city as a whole is engaged
in some kind of mythical "town planning", which no one has seen, and
which nothing is drafted.
Enough of designing houses.
This is some kind of protracted childhood illness of mankind. Let's look at
modern, fast growing cities in Asia, the Arab oil East. The parade of
ambitions. The crowd obscures one another, hovering over each other, hysterical
towers, the sole purpose of which is to convince people that it is the best.
What an annoying stereotype of the house - something sticking out of the
ground... No matter whatever the height of skyscrapers which were built today,
the city still remains firmly attached to the surface of the earth. What
misery... And if it were different?
I want to imagine what happens
when people stop designing individual buildings and will take on the city in
its entirety and an object of meaningful design. The buildings, roads, bridges,
parks and reservoirs from separate private, unrelated, ends unto themselves,
will turn into details of a mega-drawing. I don’t see the city in the form of a
flat chessboard, on which kings and pawns are placed (the most varied kinds),
but in the form of a three-dimensional structure, a network structure. Such a
network is three-dimensional in the form of a tree crown: vertical trunks, can
be curved like trunks of trees. The trunk of roads (straight, curved,
horizontal, inclined, vertical) penetrate the crown, communications and
habitable supports. A three-dimensional curvilinear lattice with node-crowns.
One that is bionic, three-dimensional, certainly capable of changing the
theaters, stadiums, museums don’t crawl any more on land, but fill the cavities
of a three-dimensional network ("city" according to the old
definition). Let's look at Atomium in Brussels (1958). The idea was such, but
everything organic was in plastic, more complex and gigantic. Such a
3-dimensional city frees the surface of the earth for nature, forests, rivers,
creeks, mountains (and agriculture). It can be erected above a waterway - a
creek, a strait, a river, a lake, an ocean... The city is a bridge. By the way
there were inhabited bridges already - Ponte Vecchio in Florence or Ponte
Rialto in Venice. Imagine such a Ponte Vecchio of the future between the
towers, giant and populated, hovering over forests, lakes, rivers, deserts,
Similar projects already
exist. For example, the NeoTax project for the eVolo 2011 Skyscraper
Competition. Or the John Wardle Architects project called Multiplicity which
shows a huge metropolis, growing not in breadth, but up and down. To move
around the city, it is suggested to use underground and air routes, and to
create a common transparent "roof" above the whole city, which will
serve for growing food, collecting water and solar energy. Another example is
the Lilypad project. This ecological city in the ocean is by the Belgian
architect Vincent Kallebo. Despite the fact that these projects don’t go beyond
the framework of competitive futurology, they are encouraging and promise that
the Earth will finally be able to gradually free itself from under dirty heels
and asses of cities and breathe again. All this can be realized if we go to the
next level of our multi-sphere model. Treat the building only as a detail of a
Today's city, from forever
paralyzed houses can only expand, or rather swell, gradually turning into a
space incompatible with life. That which cannot change is doomed. Some heroic
architects occasionally take up the city as a whole, but this does not cover
it. This is excluded on the surface of today's software sphere. There is only
one architect who feels that the so-called architecture has come to a
standstill, it's the Chilean Alejandro Aravena. His structures are capable of
development. This gives hope that the archaic architecture and the failed
"town planning" are gradually mutating into multi-layered design,
covering not one, but many programmed (programming) layers of life.
Another factor that can have a
serious impact on the fate of architecture is the growing interest in
parametric design. This is the case when development at a higher program level
(the spherical layer, if it remains within the framework of our model)
initiates programming and morphological changes on much lower layers. For the
time being, parametric technologies affect purely visual characteristics of
structures. That is to say, the algorithms for transforming volumes, spaces and
forms transform structures only within the framework of the design process, and
then are forever frozen in the morphology of the architectural object, like
traces of a disembodied dream or an updated version of the Portuguese
manueline. That is, all these various fractals, perforations on the walls,
folds, variable curvature of the surfaces, they are the result of movement. Why
does it freeze in the material, but live only on the designer's screen?
But parametric operations can
work not only in the design process. Algorithmic ornaments can continue their
rhythmic dances in the process of the entire life activity of the structure. In
the daytime the surface of the house can be one thing, and at night quite
different. At night, for example, very different windows are needed. Have we
really been sentenced for centuries to draw and open curtains, drapes,
blinds... The arrival of winter and summer, rain and winds should also prompt a
dynamic morphology of the structure. And why should the layout of the house
remain fixed? By the way, the plan of the Japanese dwelling is much more
flexible than the European one and this dynamism is achieved with the help of
Parametrism must come to life
and cease to be only just an imitation of something else, real. In the
meantime, it is similar to the Cargo Cult, when, after the Second World War,
the Melanesian natives built scenery reminiscent of airfields and waited for
the next arrival of aircraft with food and beer. They put on their
"headphones" made from coconut halves and shouted into bamboo
microphones, urging the Americans, having flown away, to return... So also is
the fixed parametrism, only depicting shifts, oscillations, stretches, bends,
decrease-increase, but all this is in a frozen state.
From the city and the house we
move to the residential interior. There is nothing more neglected, stagnant and
anti-human than the state of the human dwelling. Just like the city, no one has
ever professionally designed it. It is the same unfortunate layer of the sphere
metaphor of the programming of the environment. In general, the word is
somewhat antediluvian, “interior”. It implies that in the empty space, filling
the womb of the architectural subject, some kind of people come and put or hang
something there. Things filling the "interior" are designed,
programmed in complete isolation from the whole which they will have to
constitute. Armchairs, tables, sofas, racks, washbasins, televisions... Among
them are masterpieces of world design, but, becoming a part of the “ensemble”,
they only aggravate the chaos. This program sphere fell out of the ingenious
Chinese toy and rolls on the floor to nowhere...
I've seen one variation of a
residential space that didn’t irritate me in all my life. This is a ryokan - a
Japanese country inn. There is NOTHING in the room. On one of the walls is a
window with a sliding screen. Pairs of screens are on the other walls - behind
them are containers. There is a table 30 centimeters in height. They sit on the
floor on pillows. Paradise. The Japanese live on two levels - the floor and the
table. Everything else - tables, couches, cupboards and other garbage are
Outside of Japan, for the
foreseeable period of time, the prospects for changing the situation are not
apparent. I think salvation will come from an unexpected side. From the
computerization, digitalization of intellectual space. First, desks, bookcases
and shelves with books will disappear. Open fire on me from all kinds of small
arms, throw stones at me, but the paper book disappears. The speed and breadth
of access to any source of information in the digital environment are
incomparable with the search, access and retrieval of necessary information in
the paper world. In addition, it will help save forests, which are destroyed
for making paper.
Removing book shelves and
desks from the home, I think, will open the designer’s eyes to what a living
space can become. The European dwelling, unlike the Japanese one, is a
three-level: a floor, a couch and a table. Plus verticals - cabinets, shelving
on the walls. Many Asian cultures manage on one level. What will happen, when
many processes related to paper disappear (from reading and writing to
drafting), is difficult to say, but much will change. The 90-degree paradigm of
a residential space can change: a horizontal-vertical with a clear
level-gradation can be replaced by curvilinear surfaces. Don’t forget that we
once lived in caves of beautiful curvature.
What I am talking about isn’t
the result of research or prediction. This is more than the first and second.
This is a project. Let’s take a window. What kind of window should it be? The
project: changeable transparency until its absence. In sunny weather - partly a
light source, partly a solar battery. In the winter – a heater. It is, upon
request - a screen. We don’t need a window shining in our eyes when we interact
with the screen, television, computer (soon to merge). All these glass (?)
surfaces will also work as a screen. Walls with pictures? Never again. A
digital electronic wall. Call up any masterpieces of world art or portraits of
loved ones on it. I foresee objections: “The hand of the master, canvas,
touch...” For God's sake. What I'm writing is a project, and not the combat
regulations of the infantry. In any case, things will become less. Mankind will
breathe a sigh of relief.
Such disparate thoughts arise
when trying to imagine our habitat, history and prospects of its development in
the form of a multi-layered spherical programming model. This project is based
on the idea of including Information in the number of physical parameters of
the universe. Never did physics treat Information with the same attention as
mass, speed and energy. The theory of relativity, the theory of the big bang
and the debate about whether the universe can return back to the
“pre-explosive” state, could be different if Information became one of the
physical concepts and elements of the universe. The search for God, in my
opinion, is nothing more than an instinctive attempt to fill this gap.
Information, organized in the program form, is most likely the god in which
Einstein believed, unlike the God he did not believe in. But then there were no
quantum computers and programmers and he could not include Information in the
number of basic physical parameters of the universe.