Adler developed the term and method called Syntopical
Reading in How To Read A Book [rbtfBook].
idea is to read many books at the same time - on
a given subject - and aggressively dialoging with
the authors. First, you see things this way that
otherwise would not be revealed. In addition, it
is possible to read a set of books, that together,
bring information and insight to a subject that none
of them, singularly, cover.
of course, involves a very different mental state
on the part of the reader than exercised by a typical
passive reader. This is active reading at
its highest level.
have developed this technique further including building
several DesignShop Modules around it. Gail and I
- and many of those in the Enterprise - have employed
it, personally [link],
book could very well be titled How To Think. He
points out that different kinds of readings (technical,
poetry, novel, philosophical, etc.) have to approached
in different ways with different judgment criteria.
He establishes powerful rules for how to approach
reading a book and what being done with
it requires. The rules are not only practicable they
are ethical in nature and can be effectively applied,
and should, when in discourse with anyone. It is
his description of the insight/synthesis process
that is the most valuable. It is possible to bring
the 5 Es to reading activities in a way that creates
a vivid, powerful, strong memory. When
this is done, in a larger collaborative process,
with many designer/peers, in an open commons -
the results can be astounding.
took Adlers Great Books concept
and developed a list of 500 books for the 21st
Century as part of my ReDesigning the Future
These books became the basis of the Renascense [link] Library
project in Kansas City.
Kansas City Star Article - 1975 - here]
the years Gail and I have compiled many libraries
for various Management and NavCenters, Work Shops
and, of course, the KnOwhere Stores. We have sorted
these by various strategies. Most often by the 7
Domains Model and the Curriculum for the 21st Century.
It is possible, using Aders method to read
these 500 books within a two year period while living
a normally active life. Done properly, this will
have a profound effect on anyone. First the disciple
required to effectively fit this in and accomplish
it - in the allocated time frame - will itself make
a profound impact on you. Next, the organizing principle
provided by the 21 Century Curriculum and 7 Domains
structure/process will provide an applications environment
that integrates thinking/doing in a provocative way.
And, doing this with a peer-group provides the opportunity
for dialog along the way - this is necessary for
integration and a fuller understanding.
I am serious about this. Two Years - even one if
you want to work on it.
Kansas City article said that I believe that these
500 books covered the minimum information
for understanding the future. I still
believe this. The KnowledgeBase of most individuals
- because of our educational methods and the overspecialization
of the workplace - is too small for the task ahead
of them. One can be intelligent and still ignorant.
However, it is not intelligent to remain ignorant. Know
the state-of-the-art is the first rule [link] of
creativity. There is a basic critical mass of information
you have to be aware of at the beginning of any design
process if you are to succeed. Detailed information
and knowledge can be developed in the process.
However, the initial navigational set will be determined
from the outset. We, as a society, are designing
our future by default. If we want a different outcome
from where we are headed, we have to start from
a different place. The 10 Step Process [link] has
to be applied [link].
Adler organized the Great Books of the Western
World he used a selection criteria based on
the perennial dialog. He wanted classics
that addressed fundamental issues that Humankind
will be concerned with in all ages. He wanted books
that had stood the test of time. My 500 book
reading list does not follow this criteria. The best
books that can be found on essential subjects are
selected, of course. However, the test of time measure
is turned on its head. The selection is based on
judgment that the book can help us understand the
time that is coming. Some of this, of course,
involves broad philosophical viewpoints. Just as
important are critical topical subjects that
may remain so only for a few years - or months. However,
it is necessary to include some classics.
Classics in the traditional sense and new classics that
capture the birth of a new idea or technology. Nobert
Weiners The Human Use of Human Beings, [rbtfBook] as
example, does not have the latest in Cybernetic theory
and application but it does describe the birth of
that field. Nothing can replace the energy of
the originator and the first thoughts of a new art,
science, business or social movement. These first books
on an art, craft, science or movement tend to provide
insight for years while the more practical
and accurate followers tend to go out of style
intend to repeat my 1974 [link] exercise
and re-conceive the next 25 years. This will
involve a recreation of the 500 book list and a new
version of the ReBuilding
the Future Course. For those of you who wish
to take this journey with me contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org [link].
are a number of links to reading lists and quotes
relevant to the MG Taylor Methods, Authentic Architecture,
Weak Signal Research and the ReBuilding the Future
Course. Each of these, in themselves, make for an
interesting syntopical dialog, and altogether, establish
a basis for thinking about the time we live in. It
is necessary to engage the authors in an active dialog
as Adler describes. The answers are not in the books.
The answers are what emerges [link] from
the process of your experience, ability to live with
the thinking that you do about it all and the feedback
get from the actions you take.
authors, of course, are ones whose “voice” have been
important to me. And, they represent a fraction of
the books I have read over a lifetime. These are
the short lists - and the currant ones.
would do well to make you own list and share it with
others. A personal viewpoint is very subtle - and
totally unique [link].
It is not easy to bring to consciousness [rbtfBook] to the design of a life, nor
to describe it, yet this necessary to
the making of a creative life. Finding oneself is
the primary creative act [link].
This is why art is so important to
each of us
as it is
able to express, in a single gestalt, what
cannot be shown any other way [link].
The act of building a personal library, going back
to those works time and again as experience allows
new vantage points and insights, marking in them,
keeping a journal [link],
sharing them with others via vigorous dialogs - and
then, starting all over - is
a major step
to becoming human.
to rbtf Reading Index
- Syntopical Dialogs INDEX
- Syntopical Reading 500 #1
of the post Usonian - Reading List
Reading - “and I quote”
Easter Sunday 1999
voice of this document:
VISION PHILOSOPHY PROGRAM
April 4, 1999
July 4, 2004
19990404.453201.mt 20040704.133400.mt •
this document is about 5% finished)
April 4, 1999
April 11, 1999
this document is about 10% finished
Matt Taylor 1999, 2004
and NavCenter are Trademarks of iterations and licensed to MG