I have often been intrigued by the origin of words. There is so much hidden in the etymological roots of words. And the origins of the sounds form phonetic roots of each word. What is profoundly fascinating to me is the linguistic lineage of words. Additionally, the intersection of cultures and civilizations that have contributed to the formation of living languages. This is something that we have grown to understand our universe through. Thus leading our exploration of design, in search of the sign.
The power of language can be hugely constructive and destructive.
And in many ways, it has obfuscated the true essence to the world we live in. And ultimately, the world we are ourselves as beings. Symbols and semiotics are a vast area of exploration, as some hold, greater than reality itself. That is if we can determine what reality is in the first place.
As the saying goes, in the beginning, there was the word, and the word was with God; and God said let there be light. As such the word of God precedes the light that revealed the Universe. And all the created things within this Universe. Of course, the word Uni-Verse itself connotes One Verse, or One Word. We can take this thread still deeper, to the Tibetan chants reverberating across Lhasa in hidden monasteries, and beyond. And we can reference to the word, or better described, the sound Ohm, the resonant frequency that encompasses all creation.
Meditating on the origin of words, as utterances born on the wings of breath.
It is a powerful experience when we take a moment and pause. To truly consider it deeply, listen to breath melding with thought, firing synaptic impulses that formulate ideas. And activate the complex chain reaction of events that finally result in spoken or written words. This then travel through space and finally land on the listener’s ear. It funnels into signals that result in a profound act of faith between the speaker and the listener as ideas leap across the void from one mind and enter another consciousness. We take this simple and elegant act for granted, and yet how powerful a dance it is… But I Digress.
Let us get back to the origin of words; written by swords dipped in the ink of matter; the very swords that sign the fate of nations and worlds; the words that connect us to our source. Of particular interest and subject of this essay is the word design itself.
Design. What does it mean?
Merriam Webster defines design as a transitive verb: to create, to fashion according to a plan; to conceive and plan out in the mind, and idea imbued with a sense of purpose. Over the centuries and millennia, we have come to associate the word design with the application of the intention. Such as to make a drawing or draft a plan for a house of an industrial project, or similar. Elsewhere, we have come to ascribe a more covert and internal meaning to the word. As in crafting a scheme in the mind, a plan in the mind, a master plan for a broader purpose.
But a deeper examination of the word design perhaps reveals something unexpected, and for those of us who wish to pursue the rabbit hole, it offers endless treasures. The archaic meaning of the word design references the act to define or indicate with a mark, a name, or…a sign. Etymological investigation of the word leads us back to the Latin origin of the word, designare, “mark out, point out; devise, choose, designate, appoint,” a compound of de+signare, or signum, or sign as an identifying mark. This is where we begin to uncover the true meaning of design, in search of the sign.
Perhaps somewhat distractingly, the artistic reference to the word design is a relatively recent development, circa mid-sixteenth century, stemming back to the French word, dessin, and Italian word, disengage. But still, we digress, so let us dive a little deeper still to discover design, in search of the sign.
What do we actually do when we engage in the act of designing?
Beyond the physiological and mechanical aspects of the act itself, we are engaged in an intention to manifest. The intention to create on paper, in digital space, in brick and mortar, film, prose, nation building, policy to govern, a corporate entity, a life, all of it, originates with the intention to manifest and transmute into matter the specter of thought, and even deeper, the energetic force and motion that resonates within us. And so, to create a sign, de-sign, is a profoundly spiritual act, whether we are conscious of its spiritual implication or not it is nonetheless a connected and mysterious act of conception that is ultimately intertwined with the very essence of the Universe and taps intrinsically into our fundamental relationship with the creative force of the Universe and our interconnected self within our greater Self.
How often are we conscious of this connection when we design anything, mundane, or sacred?
A fraction of a moment’s decision, or an epic choice defines the fate of many and creates an enduring legacy. With his understanding, perhaps it becomes apparent that every choice we make, the words we utter, the thoughts we entertain, the lines we draw on trace, or the layers we compress in Rhino and Blender, are ultimately aspects of us de-signing ourselves and our own destiny. Each mark leaves an unending ripple in the fabric of time and space. This is heady stuff, a purist’s ecstasy, and clearly elevates the standard of care on how we are accountable in creating form within the matrix of our fate and Karma; and in this way, this is a new paradigm that is driven by an uncompromised consciousness of the origin or each action.
In this manner, how do we sign our name on an agreement, or a creation? How can we allow our signature to be imprinted on a choice, ours, or others, without truly knowing the origin of the intention, without inner-standing the purity of the light that emerged from the sound, the sound that ignited in the intention of the heart, the energy that was set into motion, or the source e-motion that created it all?
I have invested many long and evolving journeys to explore the realm of de-sign and seek out traces of its origin within myself and without myself, in the greater Self that hermetically radiates outward and inward.
The closer I have personally come to the source of the meaning of the word de-sign, the more awe inspiring the revelations have become. I am often touched and inspired when I witness and experience these revelations. The visceral and intangible knowledge in the inherent design of the structure of mycelia and the consciousness of a forest’s undergrowth, the extension of our neural network into our subtle bodies that toroidally flow in ever expanding fractal arrays that reach into the infinite.
From the cries of babies cascading along harmonic frequencies that ebb and flow with fluid emotions; to the songs of larks on a fog enshrouded afternoon along a flowing river carving a meandering path along a rock bed, atop which is perched a crystalline white villa once designed in the mind of its architect; and can we now imagine within this very house a beautiful blind woman with raven hair, playing on a harp the ancient songs of Orpheus only imagined by her as liquid light? Where does all this interconnectedness in our world come from…all the synchronistic, and yes multidimensional warp and weft that undulate to an innate design language…
So yes, the act of designing is indeed to manifest the scared.
And to engage in this act is none other than to immerse oneself consciously and unconsciously in the co-creative force of the original world which bears the mark and signature of the divine self. To design, in search of the sign. To de-sign is to know of the sign and bring forth the mark of the hidden yet manifested. As we sit on our drawing boards to conceive the next design or masterplan, or draft the next road map, it certainly behooves us to take heed of our understanding of the word design, and as such elevate the mark we manifest.
I have included on this website in-depth courses that explore humanity’s history in its pursuit of the original signature of the Universe, and I reveal how we can discern meaning from the signs and incorporate them intentionally into our lives and work. Whether you are the CEO of a major corporation or a world leader, or an artist passionate about creating resonant forms, the key ingredient is how well do you know source design, how well are you connected with the inherent subtext and matrix that the material world is derived from? Can you see through the veil, and touch the signs? Can you bring what you see to our dimensional and material realm and create new worlds and new meanings from it? I invite you to join me on this journey and open new portals for yourself and your world. Let us design, in search of the sign.