Time is something we can all relate to. What if we viewed time not as linear but as recurrent? What if time became subjective instead of objective? This idea takes face as an intimidating concept too many. The idea of non-linear movement through time was also a motif in the movie “Arrival”.
In other words, time is irrelevant to knowledge. From the beginning of “Arrival” we could see Dr. Louise Brooks having visions masking as memories. These visions were later to be conceived as Dr. Brooke being clairvoyant. Dr. Brooke’s ability to see into the future like the heptapods is what rooted her in this journey to saving the world from itself. The earth’s lack of brevity and clarity in relation to language is what tore itself apart. The answer to this problem was the heptapods gift. Their ultimate gift was translation. As math and numbers are a universal language because they are timeless, the heptapods offered the humans a language that was identical in stature. The ultimate goal of the heptapods gift was brevity.
In addition to the heptapods ability to see time as non-linear, their written language matched the semantic. Their use of cyclicity within the written system mirrored their worldview as well. The use of logograms was also instrumental in the world of the heptapods. As a designer we view logos as being iconic and timeless. Similarly the heptapod’s written system and graphic design have much in common. Both visually communicate to an audience, and both have multiple meanings in what looks like one complete mark. Translating a logogram is very similar to translating a logo. Each marking would include a meaning gathered from various graphical elements to complete a complex word or phrase. As designers we also want our work to be timeless. This ensures that our work cannot be mistranslated through time.
Thus, we arrive to the conclusion that time is a complexity of life. Blaise Pascal once said, “I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” This illustrates that more content doesn’t always convey a clearer message. The ability to code and encode a translation comes to brevity and clarity. Otherwise, the surrounding elements just become white noise. In other words the previous 400 words can be summed down to the great words of my mother, “keep it simple stupid.”