It has been a long time coming and now it’s finally happened: My blog, like most of my other online entities, now carries my moniker. I have to admit it is scary – the Design is Philosophy brand is well established and I’ve had a lot of success with it – but in the end I feel consolidating my “brand” if you will makes more sense. I’ve sat on the mor10.com and mor10.ca domains for years with the intention of doing something cool with them. Then I realized most of the stuff I do is right here, and this is where people should be able to find me. QED.
This will be the third URL for my blog. The first – blog.pinkandyellow.com – was as uninspired as it could get and never really made any sense at all. This is not a blog for my company but more of an online notebook and idea exchange for me personally. Which brings us to the name the blog has carried for the last 7 years: Design is Philosophy. Many have asked, and I’ve never really answered, where that name came from. Now that it’s been deprecated for something simpler, allow me to explain:
By education and trade I am a philosopher. I make a point of telling people that, not because I am a pretentious ass (though some will say that’s a fair description) but because it is the truth and knowing this will help people I encounter understand why I think the way I do.
When I finished high school back in 1997 the teacher handed the probably bizarre job of school career counselor sat me down and asked me what I wanted to do. This was due to the fact that I hadn’t filled in anything sensible on my university / polytechnic applications during my senior year. My dad is a doctor so that was the first suggestion. Which as anyone who knows me (and my dad will attest to) is a preposterous notion. Think Dr. House except not funny and without a job and you get the idea. Then came the other obvious options: Math? Biology? Chemistry? How about physics? Maybe kinetic cybernetics? Or Informatics? I hear these computer things are going to take over the world one day! None of this appealed to me in the least little bit. Well, I have to admit Theoretical Astrophysics and Particle Mechanics seemed interesting until I realized they both required three years of core math and physics first. No deal.
As I sat in this incredibly patient teacher’s office I leafed through the Book of Courses from the University of Oslo discarding one option after the other. Then the teacher asked: “OK, what do you want to do?” and I answered “Think”. Which somehow got me onto the right track. Flash forward 5 years and I walked out of the University of Oslo with a Cand. Mag. (basically a small Master) in philosophy with deep dives into philosophy of science, language, metaphysics, and epistemology.
What my years of study taught me, what has coloured my life ever since, was how to think. More specifically how to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and turn the situation around. It’s hard to do, and once you figure it out it changes your life in a way that can’t be undone. Philosophy has made me the perpetual fence-sitter, the constant devil’s advocate, the proverbial flip-flopper. Ask me my opinion and I’ll give you my view and a thousand reasons why it might be wrong. Show me a problem and I’ll ask you why you want to solve it in the first place. Ask me for input and I’ll turn your project on its head and make you rethink everything from the ground up. Philosophy also made me a developer, designer, and teacher. I could go into details, but that’s a story for a different day.
When 7 years ago it came time to name my blog I wanted to include the word “Philosophy” to reflect my approach to everything I do. My initial thought was to name it “Philosophy of Design” but that would be wrong for many reasons, most notably that my blog is not about the Philosophy of Design. Then after a lot of back and forth with myself I realized that at its core design is about philosophy (I realize this begs a question, and I intend to explain at some point in the future). Thus the name “Design is Philosophy”.
I still think it is a great name which is why the URL will still point here and will still work. I have however realized that though this connection is obvious to me it is somewhat obscure for the rest of the world. And as I’ve traveled the world and the web my other more easily remembered and very direct moniker has taken over as my main identity. The change simply had to happen. And now it has.
Let me introduce myself: My name is Morten. You can find me on the web under the moniker “mor10” – because that’s my name. Pleased to make your acquaintance.