Today, boys and girls, we're going to look at the most at-first-glance-unclear of the Precepts: GESTALT.
It actually is not that hard; it's just the German word that makes most people cock their heads like a confused puppy. In German, gestalt means simply "shape." In psychology and other areas, it has come to mean "the shape of the whole," and that's how Lichtenbergianism uses it.
How does it work? As you work through your SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATIONS, you stop and take stock after each one: what's missing from your work? You may still not have a complete picture of what the finished product is going to look like, but the most recent SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION should at least give you a clue.*
Let's use this website as an example. I'm building it to provide an online presence for my eventual book, Lichtenbergianism: procrastination as a creative strategy. (In fact, such an online presence is a necessary step these days toward getting your book published in the first place.)
I've been working on it for a couple of weeks now, and it's nowhere close to being finished or even presentable. So what's missing?
For one thing, a newcomer to the site, say, someone who has arrived here after catching one of my rare Tweets, would find no guidance as to what he or she should do with the site. What is Lichtenbergianism? There appear to be other pages on the site, but which one should I look at first?
The one about the Book seems promising, but it only says there's not a book yet.
There's a blog, but it seems to presuppose that you have a little understanding of the philosophy.
There's a list of something called "Precepts," but they're pretty basic.
What is a newbie to do?
So my next steps on the site should be to structure some pages which introduce the concept of Lichtenbergianism, kind of like the first two chapters in the book: an intro, and some basic presuppositions about creativity. They should identify whom this site can help, and how. They should lead the user into understanding Lichtenbergianism and then a desire to learn more about how to apply it.
There we go: GESTALT in action. I now have definite plans on which to take no action at all any time soon.
*If it doesn't give you a clue, then more destructive strategies are called for. More about that another day.