“Form follows function.” This famous dictum presents some difficulties. Its initial constraint is the linear linkage of incompatible categories. To phrase this more dramatically, “Function demands form.”
“Function” becomes a prime-mover. It carries with it both potential and intention. There is a sense of a fragile autocrat whose first word (often without a first thought) must stand forever. Here is an ancient king who can never be wrong; an entitled word once placed cannot be unspoken. This aspect of intention is part of the manifestation movement. If my field of dreams is visualized clearly enough, it will appear. There is no need for a second thought, a feedback loop, or forgiveness. “In the beginning” is sufficient for all time.
We are caught in a net of necessity when one thing follows another or is a direct and required antecedent of a next state. The bed of Procrustes becomes an apt image. If the form created by a function is too large or too small to adequately show off the function in all its glorious intention, it must be lopped off or stretched on a rack to just the right, Goldilockian, size.
In an independence-driven or narcissistically-limited setting, the great Me-Myself-I is both form and function, intention and result, always present everywhere—the measure of all.
“Form” turns out to be more static than when first revealed. It lingers, putting both itself and its source in danger. Though how long it takes to become habitual, a tradition, can widely vary, it soon becomes a persistent icon that is no longer capable of providing helpful feedback to the function it first imaged.
While a helpful tool to help those in power develop a series of constraints that will establish a particular set of entitlements, this ancient phrase does not hold over time. Eventually, a next god overthrows a Function, and forms shatter and are scattered. In a day when virus mutation outstrips the development of vaccines and treatment modalities, we can better see how many forms a function can have. A better hope may be tied to an appreciation of a cycle: a function develops a tentative form, listens to what it reveals, modifies the initial intention, reforms, and listens again. In such an interactive process, both initial functions and resultant forms can find a next intersection in which to rejoice and from which to become still.