Wiki Contributions


I wonder if you think that the Telephone Principle that you mention might be of relevance both as an example and as a possible critique of the methodology you propose in this post. Transformation into a new paradigm might be understood as something like a 'long distance' in epistemic terms. Therefore, we would expect principles active in our current paradigm to be more or less arbitrarily conserved over that epistemic distance.

Do you think the 'distance' in the Telephone Principle can be equally well put into epistemic terms?

I think construal theory is an interesting but not entirely satisfactory explanation for some of the features of the 'futuristic' aesthetic. 

An alternative explanation is that most thinking about the future assumes broad trajectories in civilisational development. In particular, they assume the further expansion of what you might call 'universalised functionalisation', by which I mean the transformation of all human culture into efficiently purposeful objects and their increasingly complete coordination around the same ends. The most striking example of this is probably the Transcension Hypothesis, but there are many fewer absolutist forms of the same idea.

The lack specifically of ornamentation in the futuristic aesthetic would therefore stem from an assumption of its irrationality, and perhaps even its tendency to hinder the effective development of technology's functions.

Having written that, I can see that these are perhaps only the features of a specific worldview, as you wrote.

Placing this in a social or even adversarial context, I wonder if there is also an assumed tendency for adversarial groups to increasingly not mistake symbolic power for real power, which would power the same anti-ornamentation stance in military technology development. That's a very fuzzy intuition though at the moment, and perhaps it's too conspiratorial to believe that military technological development is determinative of our futuristic imaginary.

EDIT: Something similar to this is claimed in the article that Hanson links to. They point out that at higher levels of construal, higher points on the abstract hierarchy of reasons for action are imagined more intensely. That is, near thought imagines motivations like 'enjoying this specific meal' but far thought imagines things like 'sustaining myself to accomplish my other goals'. This also might account for the particular homogeneity of food in the futuristic aesthetic.