www . softopia . demon . co . uk

version 2.2 may 2001 to the present

softopia: my public writing place

© 2001 to 2007 john chris jones.

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the world seen as poetry and colours

thanks to the imaginary rock foundation*

and everything

*foundation of the foundation

(a to z... parts of a culture)


after Godzilla

after Giraldus



ancient cultures



beyond fabrication, or craftwork

invisible books


breathing etc.


changing one's mind

changing world

chronology 1927 to 1946

a collective cv

collective cv names

conference on design methods, 1962

connective moments in softopia

connective elements


constructive realism

creative democracy

newsletter emailed to subscribers

the future of daffodil

daffodils in january

decentral realities


design methods for everyone

digital diary (or blog) : archive (2001-2007)

Double Consciousness
a conversation with GK VanPatter
in NextD Journal

a duck flying


the electric book is reviving

the electric book part 2, episode 1

a new enlightenment

practical ergonomics


the feasibility of the new

found poem

the design of the future

the future of breathing

future conferences

future diary list

a different future

the future of education etc.

the future of ergonomics (and everything!)





on the imaginary rock foundation


inside history

in the early days of the future

'in the light of new media'

the internet and everyone *reviews *mail order




in the culture of Kiso


letting go





notes and plays


ordinary perceptions
in the education of everyone



people of leisure

the people speak tool kit
collected by Mikey, Saul and others

philosophical poem

a post-industrial breakfast in Bremen

problem = solution



a source of true random numbers
derived from the atmosphere

reality and literature


scene 1: the unconscious heaven

shadow government of the world

the states of the world

a sublime connection

the symposium of Utopia


a theory of all this

a theory of designing

a theory of industrial living

traffic automation



uncle Evan's précis of the internet and everyone

uncle vanya two
a new version of Chekhov's play
completed may 2007

unspeakable utopia

user design dictionary?


prologue to an unfolding social fiction


web design

websites i like

proposal for the Welsh Assembly building

what's new

what is poetry?

what is communication?

what is designing?




the expanding design process



the yielding self



John Cowper Powys:

Some time ago, while confined indoors, I continued reading the novels and ideas of John Cowper Powys. I was astounded.

I touch here upon what is to me one of the profoundest philosophical mysteries: I mean the power of the individual mind to create its own world, not in complete independence of what is called "the objective world," but in a steadily growing independent attitude of other minds towards this world. [...] The point is that we have the power of re-creating the universe from the depths of ourselves. In doing so we share the creative force that started the whole process.

from his Autobiography, 1934/1994.

E H Carr

...any sound political thought must be based on elements of both utopia and reality.

E. H. Carr, The twenty years' crisis: an introduction to the study of international relations, Macmillan and Co, Ltd, London, St Martin's Press, New York 1961, page 93. (There are later editions.)

See also E H Carr, What is history?, Macmillan 1961, Penguin Books 1964, and later editions.

These books embody what I am now calling
constructive realism
a basis for realisable utopia.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Trust life itself; it knows more than any teacher or book.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Selected Poetry, translated with an introduction and notes by David Luke, Libris, London 1999, page 93.

Edwin Schlossberg

"The skill of writing is to provide a context in which other people can think"
Edwin Schlossberg, "For My Father". ed. John Brockman, "About Bateson: essays on Gregory Bateson" (New York: Dutton, 1977), 157.
ISBN 0-525-47469-2 Library Congress: GN21.B383A65 1977

Q: What exactly is 'interactive excellence'?

A: Typical definitions of excellence, which have long been a necessary part of our culture, have traditionally focussed on the individual.

But with the emergence of new media technologies, including the Internet, which attract hundreds of thousands of new users each day, there is a need for excellence to emerge in a conversation between the audience and the creator of what that audience takes in.

This book is meant to start that conversation.

The idea is simple: We need to make the audience better in order to create better art. And to make the audience better we need to create new channels of interaction between audience members through new artistic and cultural creations.

Edwin Schlossberg, in an interview about his book Interactive Excellence, defining and developing new standards for the twenty-first century, The Library of Contemporary Thought, Ballantine Publishing Group, New York, 1998.
See his work at
Edwin Schlossberg Incorporated

Gertrude Stein

*When a young novelist showed [Gertrude Stein] some of his writing she said: "You must cut out excrescences. Let nothing else get in but that clear vision which you are alone with. If you have an audience it's not art. If anyone hears you it's no longer pure. Remarks are not literature."

**She developed an important habit of meditating each day and through writing and meditation the methods in her work underwent changes as she made discoveries.

***One of the pleasantest things those of us who write or paint do is to have a daily miracle. It does come.

*from Janet Flanner's memories of Gertrude Stein's sayings - in the foreword to: Two, Gertrude Stein and Her Brother,and other early portraits, Books for Libraries Press, Freeport, New York 1969, reprinted by arrangement with Yale University Press, page xvi.

**from the editor's foreword to Look at me now and here I am: Gertrude Stein, writings and lectures 1911-1945, edited by Patricia Meyerowitz, introduction by Elizabeth Sprigge, Peter Owen, London 1967 (and later published by Penguin Books), page 8.

***Elizabeth Sprigge quoting Gertrude Stein in the introduction to Look at me now...etc, page 16.

Marcel Proust

two brief quotations
that to me give the gist of Marcel Proust's discovery:

(reading is) 'receiving the communication of another thought, while we remain alone' ...

'in that fruitful miracle of a communication in the midst of solitude'

from Marcel Proust, 'On Reading',
translated and edited by Jean Autret and William Burford,
Souvenir Press, London 1971, page 31.

I have several English translations of the essay
but I believe this one is the closest to the French that Proust wrote.

The most accessible English translation is by John Sturrock,
in 'Against Saint-Beuve and other essays', Penguin Books, London 1988, page 208.

In this essay (of 1905) Proust found himself
at 'the frontier of an unknown country'*
that he later explored at great length
in his novel 'A la recherche du temps perdu'
(published in parts from 1913 to 1927).

What Marcel Proust explored is, I suppose,
the 'fiction of the self' - the greatest reality perhaps,
because it's so mobile, and so responsive to everything.
Or it can be...
It was that fluidity, of vivid memories 'lost in time',
that he explored and learnt how to re-create
(in eight volumes).

There are twelve volumes in the English translation
by C K Scott Moncrieff and Andreas Mayor,
Chatto and Windus, London 1941/1970.

* Francois Mauriac, in his book on Proust.