Design: Buddhist Framework and Czerepak Framework


Buddhism’s “Eightfold Path” is a thoroughly thought out system that addresses all the interrogatives. In this post I will give a brief elaboration of what I mean.

In my work with the Czerepak Framework I presented the following:

Trivergent Thinking

Found and Fiat

Divergent Thinkng

Future and Flow

Univergent Thinking

Function and Form

Convergent Thinking

Fashion and Foot

Now, I am going to take the above structure and apply it to the Buddhist Framework, The Eight Fold Path. Let’s look at the path as it is first:

  1. Right View
  2. Right Intention
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Concentration

Buddhism states that there is no clear order, but I disagree. Now let’s reorder it according to the Czerepak Framework:

Trivergent Thinking


Right View

Right view simply means to see and to understand things as they really are and to realise the Four Noble Truth. As such, right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It means to see things through, to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas, and to understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning. Right view is not necessarily an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is not just a matter of intelligence. Instead, right view is attained, sustained, and enhanced through all capacities of mind. It begins with the intuitive insight that all beings are subject to suffering and it ends with complete understanding of the true nature of all things. Since our view of the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions.


Right Concentration

Right concentration, refers to the development of a mental force that occurs in natural consciousness, although at a relatively low level of intensity, namely concentration. Concentration in this context is described as one-pointedness of mind, meaning a state where all mental faculties are unified and directed onto one particular object. Right concentration for the purpose of the eightfold path means wholesome concentration, i.e. concentration on wholesome thoughts and actions. The Buddhist method of choice to develop right concentration is through the practice of meditation. The meditating mind focuses on a selected object. It first directs itself onto it, then sustains concentration, and finally intensifies concentration step by step. Through this practice it becomes natural to apply elevated levels concentration also in everyday situations.

Divergent Thinking


Right Mindfulness

Right mindfulness is the controlled and perfected faculty of cognition. It is the mental ability to see things as they are, with clear consciousness. Usually, the cognitive process begins with an impression induced by perception, or by a thought, but then it does not stay with the mere impression. Instead, we almost always conceptualise sense impressions and thoughts immediately. We interpret them and set them in relation to other thoughts and experiences, which naturally go beyond the facticity of the original impression. The mind then posits concepts, joins concepts into constructs, and weaves those constructs into complex interpretative schemes. All this happens only half consciously, and as a result we often see things obscured. Right mindfulness is anchored in clear perception and it penetrates impressions without getting carried away. Right mindfulness enables us to be aware of the process of conceptualisation in a way that we actively observe and control the way our thoughts go. Buddha accounted for this as the four foundations of mindfulness: 1. contemplation of the body, 2. contemplation of feeling (repulsive, attractive, or neutral), 3. contemplation of the state of mind, and 4. contemplation of the phenomena.


Right Effort

Right effort can be seen as a prerequisite for the other principles of the path. Without effort, which is in itself an act of will, nothing can be achieved, whereas misguided effort distracts the mind from its task, and confusion will be the consequence. Mental energy is the force behind right effort; it can occur in either wholesome or unwholesome states. The same type of energy that fuels desire, envy, aggression, and violence can on the other side fuel self-discipline, honesty, benevolence, and kindness. Right effort is detailed in four types of endeavours that rank in ascending order of perfection: 1. to prevent the arising of unarisen unwholesome states, 2. to abandon unwholesome states that have already arisen, 3. to arouse wholesome states that have not yet arisen, and 4. to maintain and perfect wholesome states already arisen.

Univergent Thinking


Right Action

Right action, involves the body as natural means of expression, as it refers to deeds that involve bodily actions. Unwholesome actions lead to unsound states of mind, while wholesome actions lead to sound states of mind. Again, the principle is explained in terms of abstinence: right action means 1. to abstain from harming sentient beings, especially to abstain from taking life (including suicide) and doing harm intentionally or delinquently, 2. to abstain from taking what is not given, which includes stealing, robbery, fraud, deceitfulness, and dishonesty, and 3. to abstain from sexual misconduct. Positively formulated, right action means to act kindly and compassionately, to be honest, to respect the belongings of others, and to keep sexual relationships harmless to others. Further details regarding the concrete meaning of right action can be found in the Precepts.


Right Speech

Ethical conduct is viewed as a guideline to moral discipline, which supports the other principles of the path. This aspect is not self-sufficient, however, essential, because mental purification can only be achieved through the cultivation of ethical conduct. The importance of speech in the context of Buddhist ethics is obvious: words can break or save lives, make enemies or friends, start war or create peace. Buddha explained right speech as follows: 1. to abstain from false speech, especially not to tell deliberate lies and not to speak deceitfully, 2. to abstain from slanderous speech and not to use words maliciously against others, 3. to abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others, and 4. to abstain from idle chatter that lacks purpose or depth. Positively phrased, this means to tell the truth, to speak friendly, warm, and gently and to talk only when necessary.

Convergent Thinking


Right Livelihood

Right livelihood means that one should earn one’s living in a righteous way and that wealth should be gained legally and peacefully. The Buddha mentions four specific activities that harm other beings and that one should avoid for this reason: 1. dealing in weapons, 2. dealing in living beings (including raising animals for slaughter as well as slave trade and prostitution), 3. working in meat production and butchery, and 4. selling intoxicants and poisons, such as alcohol and drugs. Furthermore any other occupation that would violate the principles of right speech and right action should be avoided.


Right Intention

While right view refers to the cognitive aspect of wisdom, right intention refers to the volitional aspect, i.e. the kind of mental energy that controls our actions. Right intention can be described best as commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. Buddha distinguishes three types of right intentions: 1. the intention of renunciation, which means resistance to the pull of desire, 2. the intention of good will, meaning resistance to feelings of anger and aversion, and 3. the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively, and to develop compassion.

As you can see, although there some minor variation in order, there is a very solid correlation with the Czerepak Framework as a whole. Whether it was a man called Buddha or a collection of person’s who composed this path, it is obvious that it is a complete system framework.

I want to give credit to for their high quality presentation of philosophies and religions and from who I quoted the text on Buddhism.


Design: Judean Framework and Czerepak Framework


Judaism’s “God’ Promise to Abram” is a thoroughly thought out system that addresses all the interrogatives. In this post I will give a brief elaboration of what I mean.

In my work with the Czerepak Framework I presented the following:

Trivergent Thinking

Freedom and Fiat

Divergent Thinkng

Future and Flow

Univergent Thinking

Function and Form

Convergent Thinking

Fruition and Fulfillment

Now, I am going to take the above structure and apply it to the Judean Framework, God’s Promise to Abram.  Let’s look at the passage as it is first:

Leave your country,
your people
and your father’s household
and go to the land I will show you
I will make you into a great nation
And I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and
You will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And whoever curses you I will curse;
And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

Now let’s reorder it according to the Czerepak Framework:

Trivergent Thinking


I will make you into a great nation


I will make your name great

Divergent Thinking


go to the land I will show you


Leave your country,
your people
your father’s household

Univergent Thinking


I will bless you;
You will be a blessing.


I will bless those who bless you,
And whoever curses you I will curse;

Convergent Thinking


will be blessed through you


all peoples on earth

As you can see, although there some minor variation in order, there is a very solid correlation with the Czerepak Framework as a whole.  Whether it was a man called Abram or a collection of person’s who composed this promise, it is obvious that it is a complete system framework.


Universe: History Rhymes


In a Forum interview by Michael Krasny of NPR with Futurist Paul Saffo brought to my attention in a blog by Tim Brown of IDEO, Paul quotes Mark Twain who said, “History does not repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes.”

My work on the Czerepak Framework is an effort to look back as far as possible to find the rhymes of the history of systems and out of it has come the following:

Trivergent Thinking

Freedom and Fiat

Divergent Thinking

Future and Flow

Univergent Thinking

Function and Form

Convergent Thinking

Fruition and Fulfillment

I have adopted the above process for my company, Cognitary, Inc.,  and call it “Cognitary Stratus”.  It is both a methodology and, when extended to additional dimensions, a framework for designing a system.


My usage of the root “verto” with the prefixes “tri-“, “di-“, “uni-” and “con-” are intended to create new terms to deal with a four dimensional perspective (not three) of systems.  The eight sub-forms of thinking correspond to the eight interrogatives:

  1. Why: Freedom
  2. Who: Fiat
  3. When: Future
  4. Where: Flow
  5. How: Function
  6. What: Form
  7. How Much: Fruition
  8. How Many: Fulfillment

These rhymes and sub-rhymes are the stratus of all systems and all systems design.  Together they are the basis of Cognitary Stratus.


UK Design Council: Flat Worlds and Flat Words

Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver

In the field of design I am of the opinion that the Pareto principle holds.  Eighty percent of “design” is simply “craft” and twenty percent of “design” is truly “creatif”.

I’ve spent the morning researching the UK Design Council as I consider the refinement of the Czerepak Framework.  One of their major research projects was to visit and study the design departments of eleven of the UK’s most successful companies and to generalize a design process based on their findings.  Personally, I consider their findings to be anti-climactic.  I have studied design since the early 1980s and I don’t see anything new or even optimal in the model the UK Design Council produces as a generalization.  I agree with a four part process, but I get the impression they are constrained by both flat world thinking and legalistic vocabulary to come up with a model that portrays design as a bipolar disorder cycle instead of an incrementally clearer focus on the desired outcome.

There is a way to win and a way to lose in any venture.  The UK Design Council’s research has not found a consistent way to win.


Universe: Czerepak Framework R0.2

I have been thinking about the terms “convergent” and “divergent” in Tim Brown of IDEO’s Design Thinking and realized that they were products of planar (2 dimensional) thinking.  This has lead me to alter my definitions of what convergent and divergent are and to also redefine “vergent” and add “trivergent”.  I also realized that the convergence point is at the center of the ellipsoid and each verge (radius) point is separate and distinct.


Converge, diverge, verge and triverge all come from the same Latin root “verto”, to turn out.  All of the polyhedron vertexes are representations of the intersections of radii with the surface of not a sphere, but an ellipsoid.  Therefore each vertex is a unique dimension or radius.  However, there is one thing that is still not recognized.


Roll, Pitch and Yaw ellipses alone are an incorrect representation of orientation in space because they fail to include orientation relative to the observer.  Roll, Pitch and Yaw are flat earth concepts.  You cannot represent an ellipsoid with three radii.  The minimum radial representation of an ellipsoid requires four points on the surface of the ellipsoid.  The tetrahedroid is the minimal representation of the inscription of an ellipsoid.


The above three ellipse object and four ellipse object are both ellipsoids, the only difference between them and the three ellipse ellipsoid above them is the perspective–they have been rotated in space.  Using the four dimensional representation gives us the table below:


While I was illustrating the above table it became apparent to me that it accurately reflected  John Boyd’s OODA Loop.  It also became apparent to me that the OODA Loop could be conceputally simplified to:

  1. OBSERVE: Range
  2. ORIENT: Direction
  3. DECIDE:  Elevation
  4. ACT: Fire

The OODA Loop or the Czerepak Framework cycle can be graphed as a simple two dimensional sine vertice:


Now, that’s all sure and fine and it provides a way of thinking with a minimum number of variables.  However, if we think about John Boyd as a military combatant it is not the right set of variables.  The model has to cater to the following needs:

  1. OBSERVE: Who and Why
  2. ORIENT: Where and When
  3. DECIDE: What and How
  4. ACT: How Many and How Much

Suddenly, it becomes obvious that in a system involving living organisms there is added complexity and layers of consciousness.  The following table is my first attempt to illustrate this:


The yellow row and column headers are what is of importance.  The naming of the white cells will have to come later.  Obviously, there are considerable changes in the order of the columns and rows, but I believe John Boyd is closer to the truth about the process than anyone else.  Therefore I am redefining everyone else’s concept to fit his.  What is important about the table is that in the columns each icon represents a set of ellipses that one ellipse at a time intersects with the ellipses above it to converge on a subset that is the target.


Colonel Boyd’s model was simple.  Deviations from it are based more upon misunderstanding than anything else.  This is the fundamental System Development Lifecycle (SDLC):

  2. ORIENT = INSERT = ANALYSIS = CLIMATE and TERRAIN = TACTIC = DIVERGENT THINKING = When and Where are the exceptions?
  3. DECIDE = UPDATE = DESIGN = FUNCTION and FORM = OPERATION = VERGENT THINKING = How and What are the exceptions?
  4. ACT = DELETE = DEVELOP = QUALITY and QUANTITY = GOAL = CONVERGENT THINKING = How Much and How Many are the exceptions?

“What are we deleting?” You may ask.  We are deleting exceptions that existed in the previous system whatever that system may have been.  We are never dealing with a non-existent system.  We are SELECTing a set of exceptions the current system does not handle.  We are INSERTing those exceptions into the current system.  We are UPDATEing the system to handle those exceptions.  We are DELETEing those exceptions from the system.  I still have to work to reconsider the names for each of the cells, but I am converging on that.  The differences between methodologies are really ones of scale and nothing else.  It’s how many exceptions do you intend to address at a time.

This effort is requiring a lot of work and rework because I have never dealt with eight interrogatives before, however the fit is conceptually the best I have ever had.

Universe: Interrogative Spaces


In my previous post I gave thought to Tim Brown of IDEO’s “design thinking”, Clayton Christensen’s “Innovator’s Dilemma”, Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping Point”, and Buckminster Fuller’s “Synergetics” concepts.  What emerged was the above Czerepak Framework.  My claim is this framework is fundamental to designing a system.

The thing that the above table shows is interaction within what I am now going to call the “Interrogative Spaces”: HowSpace, WhatSpace, WhySpace, WhoSpace, WhenSpace, WhereSpace, HowMuchSpace, HowManySpace.  Each ellipse I call a “vortice”.  The Interrogative Spaces are composed of one or more vortices.  The Framework above shows how Spaces are composed within the Interrogatives,  but what about interactions between the Interrogative Spaces?   A good example is speed or velocity.  Speed is the intersection of WhenSpace and WhereSpace:

v = r / t

Where v is velocity, r is radius and t is time.

If you are increasing Speed, which is acceleration, you have one dimension of WhereSpace and two dimensions of WhenSpace:

a = r / t’ * t”

Where a is acceleration, r is radius, t’ is the first clock and t” is the second clock.  You cannot measure acceleration with one clock. This uniqueness of every vortice applies to all the Interrogative Spaces and all inter-relationships between all of the Spaces.  .

Another way to look at the Interrogative Spaces is as sets and subsets.  The first row are the complete Space vortice sets.  The second row are the first Space vortice subsets.  The third row is the intersect between the row two and row three Space vortice subsets. And the fourth row are the intersects between the row two and row three and row four Space vortice subsets.

I do not believe that anything is constant.  Not the speed of light, not gravity, not cosmology.  Every intersection of dimensions creates a vortex in Universe and every one is unique.  We are simply unable to measure and manage the uniqueness of everything, therefore we make generalizations which create models that can always be falsified.

Universe: The Czerepak Framework

I just visited the archive of Tim Brown’s Design Thinking Blog and came across the following post:

Definitions of design thinking

Tim Brown » 07 September 2008 » In design thinking »

In my HBR article I gave a ‘definition’ of design thinking. It was:

Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.

On reflection this is a narrow description that focuses on design thinking’s role within business. The next sentence that I wrote.“….design thinking converts need into demand” , which I borrowed from Peter Drucker, broadens things out a bit but still assumes an economic motivation.

I am grappling with two questions as I think about this.

1. Is there a general definition of design thinking?

2. Is it useful to have one?

I think Tim has something very good here and suggest that the following would be a further breakdown of his classification:

  • Viable: Business
    • How Much: Quality
    • How Many: Quanitity
  • Feasible: Technology
    • What: Material
    • How: Process
  • Desirable: Human
    • Why: Goal
    • Who: People

Obviously, if you have been following my blog, you can see the same pattern appearing and reappearing as we explore other’s concepts.  The six interrogatives continue to reassert themselves.  However, I think I finally nailed one more aspect on the head.  I hate to say it, but it came to me in a dream about working on a programming project:

  • Reliable:
    • Where: Location
    • When: Timing

Quantity and Quality are two aspects of design/system thinking that are continually overlooked by academics and specialists, but not business people.

Interestingly enough this perspective is not new.  Clayton M. Christensen in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma discusses a four part model that fits nicely with this:

  1. Availability
  2. Compatibility
  3. Reliability
  4. Cost

I consider, Clayton’s the most empirical ordering.  Consequently, I would like to mesh Tim’s, Clayton’s and my perspective into the following:

  1. Feasibility: Technology
    1. How
    2. What
  2. Compatibility: Personality
    1. Why
    2. Who
  3. Availability: Market
    1. Where
    2. When
  4. Viability:  Business
    1. How Much
    2. How Many

Now, looking at this I am reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Tipping Point, and it adds the following character to the model:

  1. Feasability: Mavin
    1. How: Processes
    2. What: Materials
  2. Compatibility: Connector
    1. Why: Goals
    2. Who: People
  3. Availability: Salesman
    1. Where: Locations
    2. When: Schedules
  4. Viability: Customer
    1. How Much: Costs
    2. How Many: Units

Universe: A Multi-Dimensional Medium

Let’s do a thought experiment.  I want to take design thinking and abstract it to a system.


Imagine that there are no solids, liquids, gases or plasmas or particles.  That the Universe is a fluid medium swirling between equilibrium and non-equilibrium in multiple dimensions.  What we perceive to be solid, liquid, gas or plasma are not states, but intersections of dimensions that describe interdimensional vortices.  Energy is the intensity of a vortice.  Mass is a vortice of a set of dimensions.  Light is a vortice of a set of dimensions.  All of the particles are vortices of sets of dimensions.  Each influence the other based upon which dimensions they are composed of.

R. Buckminster Fuller clearly states in his work that we should perceive the systems as finite four dimensional spheres.

There are only four fundamental states:  vortice verge, vortice converge, vortice emerge, vortice diverge.


Everything we perceive are combinations of these vortice states.  The states are +/- vortice yaw, +/- vortice pitch, +/- vortice roll.

If any vortice is spiraling toward you it is positive, if any vortice is spiraling away from you it is negative.  By definition, no vortice can be stationary with respect to you.

There are only eight fundamental vortices: How, What, Why, Who, When, Where, How Much, How Many.

This gives us the following eight vortice, four state table:


Take the time to look at the terms defining each of the white cells in the table.  Each row is the addition of a dimensional vortice.  For example: Each additional “when” vortice is another separate clock.  Each additional “where” vortice is another separate radius.  All of them are factors in a system or a design.

And even this representation is inaccurate.  If we consider fractal geometry and chaos theory, there are no points, no straight lines, no arcs, no planes, no circles, no polygons, no polyhedrons, no spheres, only vortices that are above, within or below our range of perception.  Space cannot be filled with any geometric shape.  Everything is composed of vortices–spirals.

We have to abandon the flat world, flat space models we currently cling to.  The world and the universe are not infinite planes.  The world is a finite island of non-equilibrium in a predominantly equilibrium universe.

And that is it, the Czerepak (Chair-eh-pak) Framework.

Copyright (c) 2008 Grant Czerepak.  All rights reserved.