Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context..." Eliel Saarinen

"We were reading the same book but on different pages."

- 25 year old student on the #2 bus, describing why things didn't work out with her boyfriend

BeC's theory is that in order to have a successful relationship - wait, I really just wanted to write "in order to form a more perfect union." But decided not to.

Anyway, BeC has this theory I am expounding on today, so that 1) I can tell her I analyzed a theory she worked on and 2) I'm in that kind of mood.

BeC thinks relationships require

1) chemistry
2) timing
3) context

And I think what the girl was getting at, albeit in an unoriginal manner, was the context piece of things.

Obviously - well, maybe this isn't obvious. In fact, in much of the world historically and even today, long-term partnerships are more pragmatic than romantic. Which I think is true, you can make something work with probably just about anyone if you had to. But I still believe in chemistry. Anyway, if chemistry's there but say one person's about to move to deep Alaska and not ever talk to anyone again, this might not work out - the timing piece, where say if she had met him 6 months previously and clicked, she might not have decided to move. And then there comes context.

Context (Noun): (from Webster's)


Middle English, weaving together of words, from Latin contextus connection of words, coherence, from contexere to weave together, from com- + texere to weave
circa 1568

1 : the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning

2 : the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs: environment, setting

If you've got chemistry right, and timing right, and then each get the other's context, and in fact can start contextualizing together, I think it might work. I've been 2 for 3 of these categories in every relationship thus far, but I'm pretty hopeful it could happen. Well, I'm not really, but I think it's possible in theory.

BeC, any thoughts?

Speaking of context, Eliel Saarinen was a Finnish architect, and I'm not sure I'm a fan of his style.