By Don Norman
The layout of daily Things is a strong primer on how-and why-some items fulfill buyers whereas others simply frustrate them.
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I wondered if one could think of the community as an organism divided against itself, and apply psychoanalytical ideas to the violent political con¯ict in my community ± a con¯ict that had intruded on my own life and family, though much less than it had for many others who lived in Northern Ireland. Since then I have devoted a good deal of my life, ®rstly to coming to an understanding of psychoanalytical ideas in clinical practice and then to exploring their application to violent political con¯ict, not just as a theoretical postulate, but directly in the development of an approach to negotiation in political peace processes.
It is not appropriate to speak politically in the language of the clinic. I sometimes 24 Alderdice ®nd that psychotherapists mistakenly do this to each other in meetings. Whether or not it can hope to be successful in such professional circumstances, it certainly has little chance in a political context. It is, however, possible to speak politically in a way which is relevant but guided by the same principles. One of the keys is to address the process as well as appreciating the content. When, for example, you ®rst meet a group of people who are involved in violent political action they will be keen to explain to you why they are fully justi®ed in what they are doing.
Very few refuse to engage with this question and most will say that they desperately hope that their children and grandchildren do not have to face the same problems. From the couch to the conference table Aggression is a very powerful instinct in the individual. In the group it can be overwhelming and terrifying. The capacity of `talking' to express, and at the same time contain, the violent expression of that aggression in the group depends on how directly the issues are addressed, the personal human relationships developed between those involved and the robustness of the structures within which the talking takes place.
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman