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On Reconciliation, Consideration and Structure

“There is nothing that is new. Nothing that is not new. Matter itself is diffracted, dispersed, threaded through iterative reconfigurings of space time mattering, traces of what might yet (have) happen(ed).” – Karen Barad


In a previous post I have drawn a distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic lists (read here) and address the spectrum between aesthetics and utility. Since then, I have changed my view and would like to undo this dialectic, and reconciliate the intrinsic with the extrinsic list. Additionally, I include another one of my favourite concepts into this new hybrid framework: the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk (the total work of art), according to which, every component of any creation needs to be consciously considered. It is, in other words a philosophy of consideration.


Little etymological interlude:

The word consideration derives from the Latin

considerare which means to look at closely, observe

and probably literally meant to observe the stars

it contains the prefix ‘con’ meaning with, together

and the suffix ‘sidus’ meaning heavenly body, star, constellation

Thus, merging intrinsic lists with extrinsic lists forms a total work of art, adhering to a philosophy of consideration. Through this consideration: a list can become a constellation of both aesthetic and utilitarian components.

I have drawn two diagrams to illustrate the evolving concept of the list as a total work of art. The first diagram shows the spectrum between aesthetics and utility as I outlined it in my older post.

The second diagram shows the reconciliation of aesthetics and utility and intrinsic and extrinsic lists.

* The oval shape and the arrow in the diagram symbolise a minimalistic portrayal of a snake’s head and tail (in the first diagram), and an Ouroboros (in the second diagram). It is in the belly of the Ouroboros that the Surrealist lives as total work of art under the philosophy of consideration. For more on the relationship between the Ouroboros, Surrealism and Philosophy read Digital Dasein’s post on Meta-philosophy.


More concretely, the Surrealist will be a bi-weekly list of inspirational things such as music, podcasts, artworks, poetry, articles, and other senses I have discovered and want to highlight.This new project arises from a need to re-build for myself a structure of inspiration. These lists will be utilitarian in the sense that they have a purpose; they are mainly a vertical mnemonic for work, words, and wisdom. By making them public rather than private, I avoid just copying links into my 1000th note-taking app or bookmarking tabs (doomed to be lost in the fractal-mess of my Google Chrome Bookmarks). I am forcing myself to consider everything I have consumed and prioritise what I want to remember. Lastly, it will create a bi-weekly total work of art that will hopefully help my (and perhaps some of your) creative projects and processes. The Surrealist will be a recommendation, referring to aesthetic and perceptual content. It will be a surreal little vertical still- life, a cabinet of curiosities, engaging with all the senses and considering an array of modes of perception and being. As Umberto Eco said in an interview about his obsession with lists:

“The list is the origin of culture. It's part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible...It has an irresistible magic.” - Umberto Eco
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