Z  E  I  T  G  E  I  S  T

A newspaper clipping from ten years ago (speaking of branding; you know where this came from).

I’ve been thinking about zeitgeist, and the designer’s role; of rolling with the times, of reflecting those times. And how ADD, ADHD, “ED,” etc. are the indicators of Our Time (and so we have Ritalin®, Adderall®, Viagra®...).


But how to respond in a way that doesn’t feed the beast?

* * *

And so I think of this man as a kind of touchstone.

Just 88 years prior to the WSJ’s clipping, this man — the last remaining survivor of his tribe, the hold-out — finally came out of hiding to surrender himself by walking to a ranch about 90 miles north of here. He was starving and his hair was burnt off in mourning, a tribal custom following a death (it’s conjecture whether this was for the loss of his people or himself, since giving himself up could have been a gesture of suicide — he never would tell.)

Anyway, it was on this day that he crossed between two completely different cultures, walking — literally — out of the Stone Age and into the Modern Age.

Now this was a “prehistoric” man, physically undistinguishable from the “modern,” yet his values were so totally different. One thing that struck me was that he never did reveal his name (which would have gone against his cultural mores; you were introduced), though he did readily accept the name his anthropologist-friend and caretaker gave him: “Ishi”; the Yana word for “man.”