What is Gornisht?

Gornisht is a newsletter that tackles the state of contemporary design and the nature of consciousness.

It’s about nothing. Or, more accurately, Gornisht is about my own machinations — through and by design — in grappling with nothingness and learning to see everything, both critically and compassionately.

Thich Nhat Hanh writes:

Emptiness is the ground of everything. “Thanks to emptiness, everything is possible.” That is a declaration made by Nagarjuna, a Buddhist philosopher of the second century. Emptiness is quite an optimistic concept. If I am not empty, I cannot be here. And if you are not empty, you cannot be there. Because you are there, I can be here. This is the true meaning of emptiness.

Why am I doing this?

We badly need designers that can help shepherd us through the next few difficult decades. 

Designers need to be better prepared and more fearless if we are to address massive challenges like climate change and social and economic inequity. We could use a shared practical and ethical foundation for navigating the hellfires (heavenly winds?) of client work, dealing with the rapid advancements of automation, and supporting one another in our creative work. And we could use a bit of relief from all of the doom scrolling, fomo and boredom that is our modern lives. 

What is the point?

My goal is to help designers make sense of why design remains important for advancing social change on a warming planet — and how learning to meditate, focus and train your mind and body can help.

Gornisht is a personal newsletter where I share ideas about the state of design, the practice of meditation, and the future of our planet. How do I weave these together? Each issue will have at least a few parts: a short reflection by me, links to articles and books by others, and maybe drawing or two. I hope to keep it both critical and lighthearted at the time.

The goal is to get to gornisht — nothing, in Yiddish. I am starting this newsletter at 108. When I get to zero, I’m absolutely sure we will have arrived!

Gornisht?

Gornisht means “nothing” in Yiddish. If this newsletter is about anything, it’s about getting to nothing. As my Mom would say, the whole thing is really gornisht mit gornisht or “nothing with nothing”, which means it’s something.

Why subscribe?

Subscribe to get access to the Gornisht newsletter, the website, and because you like something I said at some point time. I don’t know. Paid subscribers will get access to essays for the book I am writing called Design Consciousness.

Because it’s cool?

Hey, maybe this is your first newsletter about design?

Every new edition of the newsletter goes directly to your inbox. As long as it avoids your Spam folder. Then it really would be nothing.