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Everything That Rises Must Converge

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Jeff Pass presentation from the 2018 IA Summit Reframe IA Academics' & Practitioners' Roundtable: Ethics and IA.

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Everything That Rises Must Converge

  1. 1. Everything That Rises Must Converge Jeff Pass Ethics and IA Reframe IA Academics & Practitioners Roundtable 2018 2018 IA Summit, Chicago, IL Image: Petah Coyne, MASS MoCA 2007/2008
  2. 2. Everything That Rises Must Converge • Background • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin • Mary Flannery O’Connor • Shriekback • Discussion Image: Petha Coyne (artist), McBride Architects (photo), 2010
  3. 3. Background Talk: • Originally a 45-minute IA Summit session o Merging 2018 “Convergence” theme with 2018 World IA Day theme, “IA for Good” • Focused on IA and UX events and organizations o IA Summit, World IA Day, GoodGov UX, UXPA DC, DC UX Leaders, Aquilent/Booz UX COPs Speaker: • Catholic, Jesuit education • First career in conflict analysis and resolution • 20+ years in industry (first site in 1997) • UX COP chair, Booz Allen Hamilton Laurel Digital Hub o Plus previous employer, Aquilent • Local UX and IA event organizer (same events as above) o Heavily involved in local community Image: Petha Coyne (artist), McBride Architects (photo), 2010
  4. 4. Image: Archives des Jésuites de France, 1955 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881 – 1955) Background • Jesuit priest • French idealist (positivist, optimist) • Vitalist philosopher • Thomistic philosopher • Paleontologist • Geologist • Fusion of evolution, psychology, and spirituality caused tension, exclusion o Lost positions, opportunities (research, teaching, and publishing) o Died in exile o Magnum opus published posthumously
  5. 5. The Phenomenon of Man (1959) Le Phénomène Humain (1955) Key concepts • Introduced the Omega Point (In French) o Coined “everything that rises must converge” • Human evolution and drive toward: o Convergence over divergence o Attaining new levels of existence and organization o Hominisation (progressive psychological evolution) o Hyperpersonal organization • Complexification (or convergent integration) o Drive toward increased organizational complexity o Complexity is a prerequisite for evolution Image: Harper & Row, 1959
  6. 6. Image: Editions du Seuil, 1955 Le Phénomène Humain (1955) The Phenomenon of Man (1959) Additional concepts/themes • Humanity is a process o It is defined by direction and possibility • Necessity of adopting an evolutionary point of view o The need for order in all systems • Evolution and progress driven by o Population (driving complexity, innovation) o Communication (interthinking) • Importance of Vitalism and Idealism • Conflict between science and philosophy
  7. 7. Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man (Le Phénomène Humain),1955
  8. 8. Applying Teilhard de Chardin • Like organisms, information systems are ever evolving; acknowledge their: o Their life/spark o Tendency towards complexity but desire for order o Potential for (and risks of) hyperpersonalization • Evolutionary divergence/convergence has risks o Adaptation required; rigid approaches, tools, users may perish o Convergence tends towards homogeneity • Collegial sharing and openness to new truths is essential o Increases complexity but drives organization and improvement o But both can make you targets of the establishment • Tension between information and aesthetic design can be productive
  9. 9. Image: Estate of Joseph De Casseres/PCAphoto.com Mary Flannery O’Connor (1925 – 1964) Background • Southern Gothic writer/essayist • Roman Catholic o Part of Catholic intellectual movement • Used Didacticism and Thomistic philosophy • Cultural provocateur obsessed with: o Negativism o Morality and ethics o The grotesque and flawed characters o Liberal and fundamentalist clash o Issues of race and racism • Seminal works published posthumously
  10. 10. Image: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1956 Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965) (Short story collection; short story 1961) Key concepts • Address political and social woes via gothic realism o Also sarcasm and tragicomedy • Short story and larger collection focus on: o Racism o Integration o Prejudice and perception o Morality and consciousness o Confronting the other
  11. 11. Image: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1956 Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965) (Short story collection; short story 1961) In her own words • Everything works toward its true end or away from it, everything is ultimately saved or lost. • We do not arrive on this earth ready-made and “good.” • I use the grotesque the way I do because people are deaf and dumb and need help to see and hear.
  12. 12. He began to imagine various unlikely ways in which he could teach her a lesson. He might make friends with some distinguished Negro professor or lawyer and bring him home to spend the evening. He would be entirely justified but her blood pressure would rise to 300. He could not push her to the extent of making her have a stroke, and moreover, he had never been successful at making Negro friends. He had tried to strike up an acquaintance on the bus with some of the better types, the ones that looked like professors or ministers or lawyers. One morning he had sat down next to a distinguished-looking dark brown man who had answered his questions with a sonorous solemnity but who had turned out to be an undertaker. Flannery O’Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge (1956)
  13. 13. Applying Flannery O’Connor • No single person or philosophy or idea can solve the world’s woes • Forcing evolution or progress too quickly can result in: o Lip service or incomplete understanding/adoption o Shaming or embarassment o Non-adoption/rejection o Backlash o Tragedy • Misguided or incomplete enlightenment reveals its own stubborn prejudice o Overcompensation undermines progress as well as sincerity • Self-deprecation and acknowledgements of guilt can be: o Disarming o Endearing o Engaging
  14. 14. Image: Peter Anderson, 1982 Shiekback (1882 – present) Background • Band began as a loose association of musicians o Members of Gang of Four, XTC, and Out on Blue Six o Dramatically different from previous bands o Evolved into a collective around three core members • Experimental and dance music focused on: o Celebrating possibilities, not dangers o The fusion of funk, punk, dance, and pop o Unorthodox vocals and primal music o Being mysterious yet accessible o Ever evolving o Embracing the other and the outsider
  15. 15. Image: Da Gama, Kight, McDowell, and Warwicker, 1985 Oil & Gold (1985) Key concepts • Directly echo Telihard, the Omega Point, and notions convergence o Sincerely, unlike O’Connor • Team effort: the album features numerous lead singers and musicians • A highly collaborative album o It engages a wide audience not through fusion, but rather inclusion • Careful balance between: o High energy and ambient o Abstract imagery and literary references
  16. 16. Image: Da Gama, Kight, McDowell, and Warwicker, 1985 Oil & Gold (1985) Impact • Minor commercial success with “Nemesis” o Cult status • Larger impact on alternative and dance music in general: o Production values and approach o Literary references and subject matter
  17. 17. And she don't know which way to go She says if you find it darling let me know And he says well, this could be so Says I'm a car crash, now tell me baby does it show And it's blue blue blue A colour and a surge Everything that rises must converge She says one day soon You and I will merge Everything that rises must converge. Shriekback, Everything That Rises Must Converge, 1985
  18. 18. Applying Shriekback • Do not suppress the other; do not repress their contributions o Celebrate them and look to them for perspective and inspiration • The fusion of desperate ideas and backgrounds creates variety and richness o It also widens the potential audience and appeal • Avoid strict adherence to proven methodologies o New approaches, even those that fail, strengthen the overall structure o Reliance on a single process can become a weakness • An overreliance on classification can: o Exclude potential audiences o Stifle evolution and growth • Borrow heavily; always acknowledge sources
  19. 19. Q&A + Discussion Image: Petha Coyne (artist), McBride Architects (photo), 2010
  20. 20. Image: Petha Coyne (artist), McBride Architects (photo), MASS MoCA, 2010 Everything That Rises Must Converge Jeff Pass (@jeffpass, jeffpass@gmail) Ethics and IA: Reframe IAAcademics & Practitioners Roundtable 2018 2018 IA Summit, Chicago, IL
  21. 21. Sources & Citations Intro • Petah Coyne (artist), MASS MoCA (instillation site, photograph). “Petha Coyne: Everything That Rises Must Converge” (Untitled #1240; see listing below). 2010. http://massmoca.org/event/petah-coyne-everything-rises-must-converge/. • Petah Coyne (artist), McBride Architects (instillation, photograph). “Exhibition Design for Petha Coyne, MASS MoCA, North Adams MA” (Untitled #1234, #1240, #1336; see listing below). 2010. http://www.mcbride-architects.com/mass-moca/. Teihard • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Le Phénomène Humain. (Paris, Editions du Seuil, 1955). • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. The Phenomenon of Man. (New York, Harper & Row, 1959). • Unknown (Archives des Jésuites de France). “TeilhardP 1955.jpg.” 1955. Wikipedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TeilhardP_1955.jpg. • Editions du Seuil. “Le Phénomène Humain“ (first edition hard cover). 1955. Amazon.com. http://a.co/7M3XRjT. • Harper & Row. “The Phenomenon of Man” (first edition hard cover). 1959. Amazon.com. http://a.co/8VzBuAu. O’Connor • Flannery O’Connor. Everything That Rises Must Converge (short story). (Gambier, OH, The Kenyon Review, 1961). • Flannery O’Connor. Everything That Rises Must Converge (short story collection). (New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1965). • Joseph De Casseres (Estate of Joseph De Casseres/PCAphoto.com). “Portrait O’Connor.” October, 1961. Newsweek. http://www.newsweek.com/good-god-hard-find-10968. • Farrar, Straus and Giroux. “Everything That Rises Must Converge” (first edition hard cover). 1965. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everything_That_Rises_Must_Converge. • Farrar, Straus and Giroux. “Everything That Rises Must Converge” (first edition soft cover). 1967. Amazon.com. http://a.co/9QwUAGq. Shriekback • Shriekback, “Oil & Gold.” (1985, Island Records/Universal Music Group, London/New York). • Shriekback, “Everything that Rises Must Converge.” (1985, Island Records/Universal Music Group, London/New York). • Peter Anderson. “Shriekback.” (1982, Y Records, Bristol, UK). Tumblr. http://shriekback.tumblr.com/. • Da Gama (artwork), Kight, Nick (photography), McDowell, Al (artwork), and Warwicker, John (design). “Shriekback: Oil & Gold” (first edition album cover). 1985. Amazon.com. http://a.co/8OsC1SQ. • Da Gama (artwork), Kight, Nick (photography), McDowell, Al (artwork), and Warwicker, John (design). “Shriekback: Oil & Gold” (first edition album cover). 1985. 45worlds.com. http://www.45worlds.com/cdalbum/cd/4228428822. Otro • Petha Coyne: Everything That Rises Must Converge works included: Untitled #1240 (Black Cloud), 2007-2008 [slides 1, 3]; Untitled #1336 (Sclapino Nu Shu), 2009-2010 [slides 2, 3]; Untitled #1234 (Tom’s Twin) 2007-2008 [slides 3, 16]; Untitled #1180 (Beatrice), 2003-2008 [slide 16]; Untitled #1205 (Virgin), 1997-2008 [slide 16]; Untitled #670 (Black Heart) 1990 [slide 18], Untitled #720 (Eguchi’s Ghost) 1992/2007 [slide 18]. Sources: Petha Coyne. http://www.petahcoyne.org/selectedworks.html. MASS MoCA. http://massmoca.org/event/petah-coyne-everything-rises-must- converge/. • Stacy Surla. “Iva Stoyneva.” 2016. Stacy Surla, used with permission of photographer and subject. You’d be bananas not to include citations! Image: Stacy Surla, 2016

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