The Science of the Essence in popular culture

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Pattern recognition

The Science of the Essence can be applied to all manner of things, especially fashion and design. Most designs are adapted from an earlier model. It can be fascinating the seek out the 'classic' example.


Often it is easy to see how derivative designs have lost the essence and become unnecessarily encumbered and lack the substance of the original.
The raw immediacy and sheer functionality of the original is often evident. Adaptations often look weak, shabby and lacking.

After a long day at work I might commit 45-60 minutes to watching something we've rented or bought on DVD. Occasionally a movie. It is supposed to be relaxing; a way to unwind from dealing with the trials and tribulations of my day job... Yet, so many modern films are really quite miserable. Last night we tried to watch Collateral Beauty. Big mistake. It was a bunch of actors talking about bereavement and cancer. Hey, I encounter the real thing at work. And worse. Why do I want to watch an actor pretend that they care? DVDs should have more detailed classification on the back of them. If you rent/buy Moana, it's going to be pretty safe. But even a so-called 'rom-com' nowadays involves trauma/upset/death/misery... Why? If I wanted to be miserable I'd watch the news.

Sifu said that he thinks that films/TV should either entertain, educate or enlighten. I agree with him but it is exceedingly rare to encounter anything that educates or enlightens.



Think of the Science of the Essence in terms of art. Art begins with innovation. The new idea is then explored until the most robust, working example is produced: the classical phase of development.
Afterwards comes the collapse of the idea: baroque. Baroque design features pointless ornamentation, convolution and can lead to a loss of functionality and purpose.

The strongest example

The Science of the Essence is concerned with both the innovative stage and the classical. The raw new idea can often be crude and not quite developed.
Different styles, options, choices and preferences may be considered until the design reaches its strongest example: the classic.


The strongest example can be seen to most exemplify the characteristics/nature/essence of the object. This is what the Science of the Essence seeks.
For example: a duffle coat that looks, feels and functions the most like a duffle coat.
The Montgomery may be the original duffle coat manufacturer but the Gloverall 'original monty' looks and functions better than the real thing.


The Science of the Essence need not be about consumer goods. It can be applied to virtually everything e.g. movies:

  1. Sean Connery as James Bond

  2. William Shatner as Captain Kirk

  3. Leonard Nimoy as Mr Spock

  4. Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau

  5. Alec Guinness as Obi-wan Kenobi

  6. John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn

Even better than the real thing

A Taoist or Zen-adept aims to live life fully and passionately. They seek out the essence of things. Instead of being fashion-led or caught in the flighty winds of fads, they hunt for the inspiration for things.

Ask questions

What was the original like? What influences led to its creation? What were the design elements? What function/purpose do they serve? Why was it built this way? Which characteristics are intrinsic?
Why are these characteristics significant, meaningful and necessary? What should you value?

Find out for yourself

By answering these questions, the exponent gains a more in-depth understanding and can discover some surprising insights. With practice, a person becomes skilled at seek out uniqueness.
They learn to see past the derivations and hunt for the source, the inspiration, the essence.

A seeker of the real

Cultivating an eye for pragmatism, functionality, purpose, along with an understanding of the underlying design features enables the individual to seek out the really real.
In our phoney, fake, derivative culture it can be refreshing to find things that are more than just a brand, a label or a price tag. Become a cautious consumer.
Rather than buy the first thing that takes your fancy, why not dig deeper?


Ventress: The Dark Side is strong in me, for I am Sith.

Count Dooku: A bold claim, but you are not Sith.
You wear the trappings of the Sith, you fight like the Sith, but this can be imitated, however.
You lack a vital quality found in all Sith.
Sith have no fear, and I sense much fear in you.

(Clone Wars)

Page created 18 April 2005
Last updated 29 August 2019