5 Elements Chinese

The Five Element theory is the backbone of all Chinese Metaphysical studies. It is believed that all matters as well as the sentient beings in our universe are composed by a blend of the Five Elements. This does not mean however, that the Five Elements are physical.

Element Properties Shapes Colors
Earth Attractive
Cubic shapes Flat
and broad shapes
Metal Sharp
Water Runs downhill
Wood Grows outwards
Tall & rectangular Green
Fire Spreads in every direction
Pointed, sharp

These elements can also be represented by physical rudiments or objects:

Earth Mountain, rocks, bricks, stones
Wood Plants, trees, flower, grass, bamboo
Metal Sword, axe, jewellery, gold, iron, silver
Fire Fire, candles, red lamps, lightning, electricity
Water Ponds, swimming pools, fountains, lakes, seas, aquariums

These Elements share three types of relationships known as ‘Cycles’, through which an element can affect another element. Depending on the cycle, these elements Produce (grow), Control (counter) or Weaken one another.

The first is the Productive Cycle

Water produces Wood
Wood produces Fire
Fire produces Earth
Earth produces Metal
Metal produces Water

This cycle is rather straight forward. Water provides nourishment for trees (Wood), which is then used as fuel for Fire, resulting in ashes (Earth). Earth is mined for minerals, or Metal, which when melted, runs like Water. This is known as the productive cycle, where the elements produce one another.

The key point to remember for the productive cycle is that an element strengthens and grows the element it produces.

The second is the Controlling Cycle

Fire controls Metal
Metal controls Wood
Wood controls Earth
Earth controls Water
Water controls Fire

In this cycle, the elements keep each other under control. For example, Fire melts Metal. An axe (Metal) cuts into Wood. The roots of a tree grip tightly onto Earth (Wood control Earth). Earth forms a barrier to control Water – just like a dam holds back the massive amounts of water. Water extinguishes Fire.

In the controlling cycle, an element is countered or subjugated by its controlling element.

The third is the Weakening Cycle

Water weakens Metal
Metal weakens Earth
Earth weakens Fire
Fire weakens Wood
Wood weakens Water

This is the reverse process of the Production Cycle we’ve discussed earlier. For example, we said that Water produces Wood (as in water is used to nourish plants). Conversely, we can say that Wood weakens Water. – because Wood, absorbs Water. This is called the Weakening Cycle.

We say Metal is weakened by Water. Visualize it this way, Water contributes to the oxidation (rusting) of steel (Metal). Metal weakens Earth – the results of ore (Metal) mining weakens Earth. Fire is weakened by Earth. Why? Earth cannot burn, and limits the spread of Fire. Wood is used to make fire. Fire in turn, completely consumes Wood so Fire weakens Wood.

In the weakening cycle, an element is weakened by the energy of the element it produces. This is applied in Feng Shui: it has been discovered that certain Sha-Qi (Killing or Negative energies) is of the Earth Element, and is ‘cured’ by employing the use of Metal objects. This is because Metal ‘weakens’ the Earth.

It must be pointed out that if you plan to cure the effects of any element, do your best to avoid using the Controlling Cycle. Controlling the effects of a certain element with an opposing element is often unpredictable, and could easily cause complications later. In Feng Shui we seek the way of ‘harmony’, going with the flow, and not against.

Instead, use the weakening cycle. It is the preferred way to lessen the negative effects of any element. You can think of the weakening cycle as a safety valve.

Memorizing the 5 elements and the three cycles is a must, if you plan to use Feng Shui even on the smallest scale. It is quite simple to memorize. To help you on your way here are some simple metaphors.

Productive Cycle
Water waters plant, producing Wood
Wood makes kindling, producing Fire
Fire makes ashes, producing Earth
Earth is mined, producing Metal
Metal is melted, producing Water

Countering Cycle
Water extinguishes Fire
Fire melts Metal
Metal cuts Wood
Wood roots tightly grip Earth
Earth contains Water

Weakening Cycle
Water can be partly absorbed by Wood
Wood can be partly burnt by Fire
Fire can be diminished with Earth
Earth is weakened by mining for Metal
Metal is weakened by Water


The Five Elements

By Joey Yap

“Purpose of Art”


The highest purpose is to have no purpose at all. This puts one in accord with nature, in her manner of operation. (John Cage)

The role of art is not to express the personality but to overcome it. (T. S. Eliot)

To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim. (Oscar Wilde)

When you see what you’re here for, the world begins to mirror your purpose in a magical way. It’s almost as if you suddenly find yourself on a stage in a play that was written expressly for you. (Betty Sue Flowers)

The best reason to paint is that there is no reason to paint… (Keith Haring)

My aim in painting is to create pulsating, luminous, and open surfaces that emanate a mystic light, in accordance with my deepest insight into the experience of life and nature. (Hans Hofmann)

Man’s task is to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious. (Carl Gustav Jung)

It’s the role of the artist to pursue content. (Anish Kapoor)

The purpose of art is nothing less than the upliftment of the human spirit. (Pope John Paul II)

I know that if there’s a purpose for life, it was for me to hear Mozart. Or if I walk in the woods and I see an animal, the purpose of my life was to see that animal. I can recollect it, I can notice it. I’m here to take note of. And that is beyond my ego, beyond anything that belongs to me, an observer, an observer. (Maurice Sendak)

The purpose of art is to open a door to other dimensions. (Author unknown)

Paradoxically man’s capacity for aesthetic enjoyment may have been his most practical characteristic for it is at the root of his discovery of the world about him, and it makes him want to live. - Cyril Stanley Smith

Cultivating and transplanting flowers, says Smith, preceded crop agriculture, and “playing with pets probably gave the
knowledge that was needed for purposeful animal husbandry.” He speculates that “pleasurable interactive communal activities like
singing and dancing” gave birth to language itself. This leads him to the idea that “aesthetic curiosity has been central to both genetic and cultural evolution.” -Cyril Stanley Smith




Identity formation, also known as individuation, is the development of the distinct personality of an individual[1] regarded as a persisting entity (known as personal continuity) in a particular stage of life in which individual characteristics are possessed and by which a person is recognised or known (such as the establishment of a reputation). This process defines individuals to others and themselves. Pieces of the person’s actual identity include a sense of continuity, a sense of uniqueness from others, and a sense ofaffiliation. Identity formation leads to a number of issues of personal identity and an identity where the individual has some sort of comprehension of him or herself as a discrete and separate entity. This may be through individuation whereby the undifferentiated individual tends to become unique, or undergoes stages through which differentiated facets of a person’s life tend toward becoming a more indivisible whole.[citation needed]

Identity is often described as finite and consisting of separate and distinct parts (family, cultural, personal, professional, etc.), yet according to Parker J. Palmer, it is an ever evolving core within where our genetics (biology), culture, loved ones, those we cared for, people who have harmed us and people we have harmed, the deeds done (good and ill) to self and others, experiences lived, and choices made come together to form who we are at this moment.[2]

Theories on identity formation[edit]

Many theories of development have aspects of identity formation included in them. Two theories stand out in regards to this topic: Erik Erikson‘s theory of psychosocial development (specifically the “identity versus role confusion” stage of his theory) and James Marcia‘s identity status theory.


Erikson’s belief is that throughout each person’s lifetime, they experience different crises/conflicts. Each of the conflicts arises at a certain point in life and must be successfully resolved for progression to the next of the eight stages. The particular stage relevant to identity formation takes place during adolescence (ages 12-20), this stage is called “Identity versus Role Confusion”.

The Identity vs. Role Confusion stage consists of adolescents trying to figure out who they are in order to form a basic identity that they will build on throughout their life. The primary concerns of a basic identity for this theory are social and occupational identities. Once an adolescent has accomplished the task of figuring out “who they are”, they are ready to enter the next stage of Erikson’s theory “Intimacy versus Isolation” where they will form strong friendships and a sense of companionship with others. If the Identity vs. Role Confusion crisis is not solved, an adolescent will be confused about their identity and the roles they should have as adults. The idea is that failure to form one’s own identity leads to failure to form a shared identity with others, which could lead to instability in many areas as an adult. The identity formation stage of Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development is a crucial stage in life.


James Marcia created a structural interview designed to classify adolescents into one of four statuses of identity. The identity statuses are used to describe and pinpoint the progression of an adolescent’s identity formation process. In James Marcia’s theory, the operational definition of identity is whether an individual has explored various alternatives and made firm commitments to: an occupation, religion, sexual orientation and a set of political values.

The four identity statuses in James Marcia’s theory are:

  1. Identity Diffusion: When a person has not yet thought about or resolved their identity and they have not yet established future life direction.
  2. Identity Foreclosure: When a person is committed to an identity, but that commitment was made without exploration as to what really suits them best
  3. Identity Moratorium: When a person is actually experiencing an identity crisis and actively searching for the answers to questions they have about life commitments.
  4. Identity Achievement: When a person has solved the identity issues by making commitments to goals, beliefs and values.

In business[edit]

In business, a professional identity is the “persona” of a professional which is designed to accord with and facilitate the attainment of business objectives. A professional identity comes into being when there is a philosophy which is manifest in a distinct corporate culture – the corporate personality. A business professional is a person in a profession with certain types of skills that sometimes requires formal training or education.

The career development of an individual focuses on how individuals manage their careers within and between organisations and how organisations structure the career progress of their members, and can be tied into succession planning within some organizations.

Within the business realm and many careers is the role of management. Management tasks enhance leadership, by creating an environment where all team members know and assume responsibility for their roles. Employees’ self-concept and affiliation are often aligned with their roles in the organization.

Training is a form of identity setting, since it has not only effects on knowledge, but also affects the team member’s self-concept. Knowledge, on the other hand, of the position introduces a new path of less effort to the trainee, which prolong the effects of training and promote a stronger self-concept. Other forms of identity setting in an Organization include Business Cards, Specific Benefits by Role, and Task Forwarding.[3]


Self-concept or self-identity is the sum of a being’s knowledge and understanding of his or her self. The self-concept is different from self-consciousness, which is an awareness of one’s self. Components of the self-concept include physical, psychological, and social attributes, which can be influenced by the individual’s attitudes, habits, beliefs and ideas. These components and attributes can not be condensed to the general concepts of self-image and self-esteem[citation needed] as different types of identity coming together in one person. These types of identity can be broken down into the following.

Cultural identity[edit]

Cultural identity is the (feeling of) identity of a group or culture, or of an individual as far as she/he is influenced by her/his belonging to a group or culture. Cultural identity is similar to and has overlaps with, but is not synonymous with, identity politics. There are modern questions of culture that are transferred into questions of identity. Historical culture also influences individual identity, and as with modern cultural identity, individuals may pick and choose aspects of cultural identity, while rejecting or disowning other associated ideas.

Ethnic and national identity[edit]

An ethnic identity is the identification with a certain ethnicity, usually on the basis of a presumed common genealogy or ancestry. Recognition by others as a distinct ethnic group is often a contributing factor to developing this bond of identification. Ethnic groups are also often united by common cultural, behavioral, linguistic, ritualistic, or religious traits.

Processes that result in the emergence of such identification are summarised as ethnogenesis. Various cultural studies and social theory investigate the question of cultural and ethnic identities. Cultural identity remarks upon: place, gender, race, history, nationality, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and ethnicity.

National identity is an ethical and philosophical concept whereby all humans are divided into groups called nations. Members of a “nation” share a common identity, and usually a common origin, in the sense of ancestry, parentage or descent.[citation needed]

Religious identity[edit]

A religious identity is the set of beliefs and practices generally held by an individual, involving adherence to codified beliefs and rituals and study of ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as faith and mystic experience. The term “religious identity” refers to the personal practices related to communal faith and to rituals and communication stemming from such conviction. This identity formation begins with association in the parents’ religious contacts, and individuation requires that the person chooses to the same–or different–religious identity than that of his/her parents.[citation needed]

Gender identity[edit]

In sociology, gender identity describes the gender with which a person identifies (i.e., whether one perceives oneself to be a man, a woman, or describes oneself in some less conventional way), but can also be used to refer to the gender that other people attribute to the individual on the basis of what they know from gender role indications (social behavior, clothing, hair style, etc.). Gender identity may be affected by a variety of social structures, including the person’s ethnic group, employment status, religion or irreligion, and family.

Interpersonal identity development[edit]

Social relation can refer to a multitude of social interactions, regulated by social norms, between two or more people, with each having a social position and performing a social role. In sociological hierarchy, social relation is more advanced than behavior, action, social behavior, social action, social contact and social interaction. Social relations form the basis of concepts such as social organization, social structure, social movement and social system.

Interpersonal identity development is composed of three elements:

  • Categorisation: Labeling others (and ourselves) into categories.
  • Identification: Associating others with certain groups.
  • Comparison: Comparing groups.

Interpersonal identity development allows an individual to question and examine various personality elements, such as ideas, beliefs, and behaviors. The actions or thoughts of others create social influences that change an individual. Examples of social influence can be seen in socialisation and peer pressure. This is the effect of other people on a person’s behavior, thinking about one’s Self, and subsequent acceptance or rejection of how other people attempt to influence the individual. Interpersonal identity development occurs during exploratory self-analysis and self-evaluation, ending at various times with the establishment of an easy-to-understand and consolidative sense of self or identity.


Main article: Hegelian dialectic

During the interpersonal identity development an exchange of propositions and counter-propositions occurs, resulting in a qualitative transformation of the individual in the direction of the interaction. The aim of the interpersonal identity development is to try to resolve the undifferentiated facets of an individual. The individual’s existence is undifferentiated but this, upon examination, is found to be indistinguishable from others. Given this, and with other admissions, the individual is led to a contradiction between self and others, thus forcing the withdrawal of the undifferentiated self as a truth. In resolution of this incongruence, the person integrates or rejects the encountered elements. This process results in a new identity. During each of these exchanges which human beings encounter as they go through life, the person must resolve the exchange and then face future exchanges. The exchanges are recurring, since the changing world constantly presents exchanges between individuals and thus allows individuals to redefine themselves.

Collective identity[edit]

The term collective identity is a sense of belonging to a group (the collective) that is so strong that a person who identifies with the group will dedicate his or her life to the group over individual identity: he or she will defend the views of the group and assume risks for the group, sometimes as great as loss of life. The cohesiveness of the collective goes beyond community, as the collective suffers the pain of grief from the loss of a member.

Social support[edit]

Individuals gain a social identity and group identity by their affiliation. This is from membership in various groups. These groups include, among various categories,:


One of the most important affiliations is that of their family, whether they be biological, extended or even adoptive families. Each has their own influence on identity through the interaction that takes place between the family members and with the individual person.[5] “Information regarding possible identities of possible selves comes from various contexts that surround adolescents and temporal commitments are tested and practiced in interaction with others.”[6] Researchers and theorists basically state that an individual’s identity(more specifically an adolescent’s identity) is influenced by the people around them and the environment in which they live. Also if a family does not have integration this seems to help create identity diffusion (this is one of James Marcia‘s 4 identity statuses, meaning that an individual has not made commitments and does not try to make commitments.[7]) This is true for both males and females.[8] These concepts prove that a family has influence on an individual no matter if the influence be good or bad.

Peer relationships[edit]

The purpose of this study was to analyze the influence of same-sex friendships in the development of one’s identity. This study involved the use of 24 same-sex college student friendship triads, consisting of 12 males and 12 females, with a total of 72 participants. Each triad was required to have known each other for a minimum of six months. A qualitative method was chosen, as it is the most appropriate in assessing development of identity. Semi-structured group interviewers took place, where the students were asked to reflect on stories and experiences with relationship problems. The results showed 5 common responses when assessing these relationship problems. The responses involved joking about the relationship problems, providing support, offering advice, relating others’ experiences to their own similar experiences, and providing encouragement. The results concluded that adolescents are actively constructing their identities through common themes of conversation between same-sex friendships, in this case, involving relationship issues. The common themes of conversation that close peers seem to engage in, help to further their identity formation in life.[9]

Influences on identity[edit]

There is an abundant amount of influences on identity formation. Some of which have already been touched on in other sections of this article. Among the many influences, four influences stand out to be especially important. Those include: cognitive influences, scholastic influences, sociocultural influences and parenting influences.

Cognitive influences[edit]

Cognitive development has an impact on identity formation. When adolescents are able to think abstractly and reason logically they have an easier time exploring and contemplating possible identities. When an adolescent has advanced cognitive development and maturity they tend to resolve identity issues more so than age mates that are less cognitively developed. When identity issues are solved quicker and better, there is more time and effort put into developing that identity. Having a solid identity earlier is a preferred situation and is one of the first steps in forming the desired life and goals of the individual.

Scholastic influences[edit]

Adolescents that have a post-secondary education tend to make more concrete goals and stable occupational commitments. So going to college or university can influence identity formation in a productive way. Of course, the opposite can also be true, where identity influences education and academics. The two can play off of each other, ultimately forming identity in the process. Scholastics as an impact on identity can be beneficial for the individual’s identity in the sense that, the individual will be getting educated on different approaches and paths to take in the process of identity formation. Ultimately scholastics are important for our brains as well as our identities.

Sociocultural influences[edit]

Sociocultural influences are those of a broader social and historical context. For example in the past, adolescents would likely just adopt the job, religious beliefs, etc. that was expected of them or that were the same as their parents. In a society like today’s, adolescents have more resources to explore identity choices as well as more options for commitments. This influence is becoming less significant due to the growing acceptance of identity options that were once less accepted. Also, more of the identity options from the past are becoming unrecognized and less popular today. The changing sociocultural situation is forcing individuals to develop a unique identity based on their own aspirations. Sociocultural influences are playing a different role identity formation now than they have in the past. However, it still has an impact on identity, just in a different way.

Parenting influences[edit]

The type of relationship that adolescents have with their parents has a significant role in identity formation. For example when there is a solid and positive relationship between parent and adolescent they are more likely to feel freedom in exploring identity options for themselves. A study found that for boys and girls, identity formation is positively influenced by parental involvement specifically in the areas of: support, social monitoring and school monitoring.[10] In contrast, when the relationship is not as close and the adolescent fears rejection from the parent, they are more likely to feel less confident in forming a separate identity from their parent(s).[citation needed] These are just examples; of course there are other outcomes possible in adolescent identity formation when examining the parenting as well as the parent-child relationship.[citation needed]


Game Theory




2011/03 Mike Monteiro | F*ck You. Pay Me. from San Francisco Creative Mornings on Vimeo.

Our speaker at the March 2011 San Francisco, CreativeMornings (www.creativemornings.com) was Mike Monteiro, Design Director, and co-founder of Mule Design Studio (www.muledesign.com). This event took place on March 25, 2011 and was sponsored by Happy Cog and Typekit (who also hosted the event at their office in the Mission).

Mike's book "Design is a Job" is available from A Book Apart (www.abookapart.com/products/design-is-a-job)

A big giant thank you to Chris Whitmore (www.whitmoreprod.com) for offering to shoot and edit the video. Photos were graciously provided by Rawle Anders (twitter.com/rawle42).

The San Francisco chapter of Creative Mornings is run by Greg Storey (twitter.com/​brilliantcrank).

Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/​SanFrancisco_CM



Interactionism is the view that mental states, such as beliefs and desires, causally interact with physical states. This is a position which is very appealing to common-sense intuitions, notwithstanding the fact that it is very difficult to establish its validity or correctness by way of logical argumentation or empirical proof. It seems to appeal to common-sense because we are surrounded by such everyday occurrences as a child’s touching a hot stove (physical event) which causes him to feel pain (mental event) and then yell and scream (physical event) which causes his parents to experience a sensation of fear and protectiveness (mental event) and so on.[6]

Non-reductive physicalism[edit]

Main article: Non-reductive physicalism

Non-reductive physicalism is the idea that while mental states are physical they are not reducible to physical properties, in that an ontological distinction lies in the differences between the properties of mind and matter. According to non-reductive physicalism all mental states are causally reducible to physical states where mental properties map to physical properties and vice-versa. A prominent form of non-reductive physicalism called anomalous monism was first proposed byDonald Davidson in his 1970 paper Mental events, where it is claimed that mental events are identical with physical events, and that the mental is anomalous, i.e. under their mental descriptions these mental events are not regulated by strict physical laws.


Workings of CSG

The simplest solid objects used for the representation are called primitives. Typically they are the objects of simple shape: cuboids, cylinders, prisms, pyramids,spheres, cones.

It is said that an object is constructed from primitives by means of allowable operations, which are typically Boolean operations on sets: union, intersection and difference.







Whose voice gives agency to fragments of apprehension and memory…forming, arranging, connecting, unifying psychic criteria into a living whole of prose and prosody?

As one poet, Wallace Stevens, stated the question, who arranged this rendezvous?

One does not create poetry simply by possessing the will to do so, nor does one blunder into its numinous dominion by a swoon of enchantment.

One must be in love with the face and form of creation. To paraphrase Spinoza: Be drunk on God.

But not besotted with belief…aspiring to be some Infallible Pope of Bar Stool Logos…

Rather, to be able to make a a home in being lost…to recognize:

The homunculus of aspiration, lost as well, squatting amid the ruins of towering rage.

Granted, like you, homunculus, my prevailing sense of self has been besieged by contretemps and coincidence; even more like you, I am enraptured by the distraction.

Our kind…are dazzled by broken bits of the approving sun. Amassing solar shards the way bower birds shore glinting baubles, I’ve witnessed you bartering with penurious angels for a glimpse of the totality that caused their fall.

(What we won’t do for the buzz provided by primal grace. Although we carry Eden within us…knowing it is as provisional as paradise.)

Your need for recognition leaves you exhausted: At day’s end, you collapse upon sweat-sodden sheets, dreaming of your shit-dust empire…built from hoarded, moldering triumphs, the ash of incantatory wit, and the atrophied promises you made to your future self.

Your mind — such as it is — is an inhuman reflection cast by daemonic mirrors: You mistake the welter of fragmented drives and desires for the deathless dreams of numinous seeds.

Come morning, you negotiate your existence amid a city of visionary vermin and indifferent right angles; you drag your putrefying hopes down to the banks of Eternity’s burning river. There, you turn, face east, and mutter your desperate prayer of entitlement to the distracted dawn.

A filthy breeze rises from the river in reply.

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Holly Wood


 Associated by Druidic tradition to the grand majesty of the Unicorn. Holly is one of the most fiery of woods and second only to Oak for its sacred regard by the Druids. The Gaelic “tinne” is thought to mean “fire.”  Holly has been regarded as a powerful protective wood, good against evil spirits, poisons, angry elementals, and lightning.


(Ilex opaca)
Purity, strength, logic, protection, power transfer,
blocking unwanted forces and healing.
Holly is the whitest wood in the world and is often 
associated with purity and the unicorn.
Natural Habitat – South Eastern United States
Wood Hardness – 950



Alchemy (4 stages)

Magnum opus

Main article: Magnum opus (alchemy)

The Great Work of Alchemy is often described as a series of four stages represented by colors.


Philosopher’s stone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 The philosophers’ stone or stone of the philosophers (Latin: lapis philosophorum) is a legendary alchemical substance said to be capable of turning base metals such as lead into gold (chrysopoeia) or silver. It was also sometimes believed to be an elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and possibly for achieving immortality. For many centuries, it was the most sought-after goal in alchemy. The philosophers’ stone was the central symbol of the mystical terminology of alchemy, symbolizing perfection at its finest, enlightenment, and heavenly bliss. Efforts to discover the philosophers’ stone were known as the Magnum Opus (“Great Work”).[1]

The Word Paradise

Etymology and semasiology

The word “paradise” entered English from the French paradis, inherited from the Latin paradisus, from Greekparádeisos (παράδεισος), and ultimately from an Old Iranian root, attested in Avestan as pairi.daêza-.[1] The literal meaning of this Eastern Old Iranian language word is “walled (enclosure)”,[1] from pairi- “around” + -diz “to create (a wall)”.[2] The word is not attested in other Old Iranian languages (these may however be hypothetically reconstructed, for example as Old Persian *paridayda-).

By the 6th/5th century BCE, the Old Iranian word had been adopted as Akkadian pardesu and Elamite partetas, “domain”. It subsequently came to indicate walled estates, especially the carefully tended royal parks and menageries. The term eventually appeared in Greek as parádeisos “park for animals” in the Anabasis of the early 4th century BCE Athenian gentleman-scholar Xenophon. Aramaic pardaysa similarly reflects “royal park”.

Hebrew פרדס (pardes) appears thrice in the Tanakh; in the Song of Solomon 4:13, Ecclesiastes 2:5 and Nehemiah 2:8. In those contexts it could be interpreted as an “orchard” or a “fruit garden”.

In the 3rd–1st centuries BCE Septuagint, Greek παράδεισος (parádeisos) was used to translate both Hebrew pardesand Hebrew gan, “garden”: it is from this usage that the use of “paradise” to refer to the Garden of Eden derives. The same usage also appears in Arabic and in theQuran as فردوس (firdaws).

The idea of a walled enclosure was not preserved in most Iranian usage, and generally came to refer to a plantation or other cultivated area, not necessarily walled. For example, the Old Iranian word survives in New Persian pālÄ«z (or “jālÄ«z”), which denotes a vegetable patch. However, the word park, as well as the similar complex of words that have the same indoeuropean root: garden, yard, girdle, orchard, court, etc., all refer simply to a deliberately enclosed area, but not necessarily an area enclosed by walls.

For the connection between these ideas and that of the city, compare German Zaun (“fence”), English town and Dutch tuin (“garden”), or garden/yard with Nordicgarðr and Slavic gard (both “city”).


Our name is not arbitrary:


User-generated content (UGC) is defined as “any form of content such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, posts, chats, tweets, podcasting, pins, digital images, video, audio files, and other forms of media that was created by users of an online system or service, often made available via”.[1] It entered mainstream usage during 2005,[2] having arisen in web publishing and new media content production circles. It is used for a wide range of applications, including problem processing, news, gossip and research and reflects the expansion of media production through new technologies that are accessible and affordable to the general public. In addition to the above-mentioned technologies, user-generated content may also employ a combination of open source, free software, and flexible licensing or related agreements to further reduce the barriers to collaboration, skill-building and discovery (“‘UGC'”) has also gained in popularity over the last decade, as more and more users have begun to flock to social media and “‘content-based'” sharing sites.[citation needed]

Sometimes UGC can constitute only a portion of a website. For example, there are sites where the majority of content is prepared by administrators, but numerous user reviews of the products being sold are submitted by regular users of the site.

Often UGC is partially or totally monitored by website administrators to avoid offensive content or language, copyright infringement issues, or simply to determine if the content posted is relevant to the site’s general theme.

However, there has often been little or no charge for uploading user-generated content. As a result, the world’s data centers are now replete with exabytes of UGC that, in addition to creating a corporate asset,[3] may also contain data that can be regarded as a liability.[4][5]


1 General requirements
2 Adoption and recognition by mass media
3 Motivation and incentives
4 Types of user-generated content
5 New business models
6 Criticism
7 Legal problems related to UGC
8 See also
9 References
10 External links

General requirements

The advent of user-generated content marked a shift among media organizations from creating online content to providing facilities for amateurs to publish their own content.[citation needed]

User generated content has also been characterized as Citizen Media as opposed to the ‘Packaged Goods Media’ of the past century.[6] Citizen Media is audience-generated feedback and news coverage.[7] People give their reviews and share stories in the form of user-generated and user-uploaded audio and user-generated video.[8] The former is a two-way process in contrast to the one-way distribution of the latter. Conversational or two-way media is a key characteristic of so-called Web 2.0 which encourages the publishing of one’s own content and commenting on other people’s.

The role of the passive audience therefore has shifted since the birth of New Media, and an ever-growing number of participatory users are taking advantage of the interactive opportunities, especially on the Internet to create independent content. Grassroots experimentation then generated an innovation in sounds, artists, techniques and associations with audiences which then are being used in mainstream media.[9] The active, participatory and creative audience is prevailing today with relatively accessible media, tools and applications, and its culture is in turn affecting mass media corporations and global audiences.

The OECD has defined three central schools for UGC:[10]

Publication requirement: While UGC could be made by a user and never published online or elsewhere, we focus here on the work that is published in some context, be it on a publicly accessible website or on a page on a social networking site only accessible to a select group of people (e.g., fellow university students). This is a useful way to exclude email, two-way instant messages and the like.
Creative effort: Creative effort was put into creating the work or adapting existing works to construct a new one; i.e. users must add their own value to the work. UGC often also has a collaborative element to it, as is the case with websites which users can edit collaboratively. For example, merely copying a portion of a television show and posting it to an online video website (an activity frequently seen on the UGC sites) would not be considered UGC. If a user uploads his/her photographs, however, expresses his/her thoughts in a blog, or creates a new music video, this could be considered UGC. Yet the minimum amount of creative effort is hard to define and depends on the context.
Creation outside of professional routines and practices: User generated content is generally created outside of professional routines and practices. It often does not have an institutional or a commercial market context. In extreme cases, UGC may be produced by non-professionals without the expectation of profit or remuneration. Motivating factors include: connecting with peers, achieving a certain level of fame, notoriety, or prestige, and the desire to express oneself.

Today, brands of all sizes are eager to jump into the UGC/social networking environment. But doing so blindly—without clear objectives in mind—can lead to an unsatisfying experience. Many companies may ask you to post your reviews or comments freely to their Facebook page. This could end up disastrous if a user makes a comment that steers people away from the product. As with any new environment, it’s important first to understand where you want to go and how you can get there before diving in.[11]

Mere copy & paste or hyperlinking could also be seen as user generated self-expression. The action of linking to a work or copying a work could in itself motivate the creator, express the taste of the person linking or copying. Digg.com, StumbleUpon.com, and leaptag.com are good examples of where such linkage to work happens. The culmination of such linkages could very well identify the tastes of a person in the community and make that person unique
Adoption and recognition by mass media

The BBC set up a user generated content team as a pilot in April 2005 with 3 staff. In the wake of the 7 July 2005 London bombings and the Buncefield oil depot fire, the team was made permanent and was expanded, reflecting the arrival in the mainstream of the citizen journalist.[citation needed] After the Buncefield disaster the BBC received over 5,000 photos from viewers. The BBC does not normally pay for content generated by its viewers.

In 2006 CNN launched CNN iReport, a project designed to bring user generated news content to CNN. Its rival Fox News Channel launched its project to bring in user-generated news, similarly titled “uReport”. This was typical of major television news organisations in 2005–2006, who realised, particularly in the wake of the London 7 July bombings, that citizen journalism could now become a significant part of broadcast news.[12][citation needed] Sky News, for example, regularly solicits for photographs and video from its viewers.

User-generated content was featured in Time magazine’s 2006 Person of the Year, in which the person of the year was “you”, meaning all of the people who contribute to user generated media such as YouTube and Wikipedia.[13] The precursor to user-generated content uploaded on YouTube was America’s Funniest Home Videos.[14]
Motivation and incentives

While the benefit derived from user generated content for the content host is clear, the benefit to the contributor is less direct. There are various theories behind the motivation for contributing user generated content, ranging from altruistic [1], to social, to materialistic. Due to the high value of user generated content, many sites use incentives to encourage their generation. These incentives can be generally categorized into implicit incentives and explicit incentives.[15]

Implicit incentives: These incentives are not based on anything tangible. Social incentives are the most common form of implicit incentives. These incentives allow the user to feel good as an active member of the community. These can include relationship between users, such as Facebook’s friends, or Twitter’s followers. Social incentives also include the ability to connect users with others, as seen on the sites already mentioned as well as sites like YouTube, which allow users to share media from their lives with others. Other common social incentives are status, badges or levels within the site, something a user earns when they reach a certain level of participation which may or may not come with additional privileges. Yahoo! Answers is an example of this type of social incentive. Social incentives cost the host site very little and can catalyze vital growth; however, their very nature requires a sizable existing community before it can function.
Explicit incentives: These incentives refer to tangible rewards. Examples include financial payment, entry into a contest, a voucher, a coupon, or frequent traveler miles. Direct explicit incentives are easily understandable by most and have immediate value regardless of the community size; sites such as the Canadian shopping platform Wishabi and Amazon Mechanical Turk both use this type of financial incentive in slightly different ways to encourage user participation. The drawback to explicit incentives is that they may cause the user to be subject to the overjustification effect, eventually believing the only reason for the participating is for the explicit incentive. This reduces the influence of the other form of social or altruistic motivation, making it increasingly costly for the content host to retain long-term contributors.[16]

Types of user-generated content

There are many types of user-generated content: Internet forums, where people talk about different topics; blogs are services where users can post about many topics, the most important blog services are these: Blogger, Tumblr and WordPress.There are also wikis, where every anonymous user can edit and make changes as, for example, at Wikipedia or Wikia. Another type of user-generated content are social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or VK, where users interact with other people chatting, writing messages or posting images or links. Companies like YouTube are enticing a growing number of users to not only consume the content, but to create it as well.

Other types of this content are fanfiction like FanFiction.Net, imageboards; various works of art, as with deviantArt and Newgrounds; mobile photos and video sharing sites such as Picasa and Flickr; customer review sites; audio social networks such as SoundCloud; crowd funding, like Kickstarter; or crowdsourcing.

Video games have an additional form of user-generated content, namely mods. Some games come with level editor programs to aid in their creation. Most of these only appear in single-player games, but some multiplayer games also have them. A few massively multiplayer online role-playing games including Star Trek Online, Second Life, and EverQuest 2 have UGC systems integrated into the game itself.[17]

A popular use of UGC involves collaboration between a brand and a user. For example, the “Elf Yourself” videos by Christmas Jib Jab that come back every year around Christmas. The Jib Jab website lets people use their photos of friends and family that they have uploaded to make a holiday video to share across the internet. You cut and paste the faces of the people in the pictures to animated dancing elves.[18]

Some bargain hunting sites feature user-generated content, such as Dealsplus, Slickdeals, and FatWallet which allow users to post, discuss, and control which bargains get promoted within the community. Because of the dependency of social interaction, these sites fall into the category of social commerce.
New business models

The media companies of today are starting to realize that the users themselves can create plenty of material that is interesting to a broader audience and adjust their business models accordingly. Many young companies in the media industry, such as YouTube and Facebook, have foreseen the increasing demand of UGC, whereas the established, traditional media companies have taken longer to exploit these kinds of opportunities.

Big and small brands are attempting to lure customers and potential customers back to their websites with rich social experiences, like the photo- and video-sharing that has made networks like Vine and Instagram so popular.[19] Realizing the demand for UGC is more about creating a “playing field” for the visitors rather than creating material for them to consume. A parallel development can be seen in the video game industry, where games such as World of Warcraft, The Sims and Second Life give the player a large amount of freedom so that essential parts of the games are actually built by the players themselves.
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The term “user-generated content” has received some criticism. The criticism to date has addressed issues of fairness, quality[citation needed], privacy[citation needed], the sustainable availability of creative work and effort among legal issues namely related to intellectual property rights such as copyrights etc.

Some commentators assert that the term “user” implies an illusory or unproductive distinction between different kinds of “publishers”, with the term “users” exclusively used to characterize publishers who operate on a much smaller scale than traditional mass-media outlets or who operate for free.[20] Such classification is said to perpetuate an unfair distinction that some argue is diminishing because of the prevalence and affordability of the means of production and publication. A better response[according to whom?] might be to offer optional expressions that better capture the spirit and nature of such work, such as EGC, Entrepreneurial Generated Content (see external reference below).[citation needed]

Sometimes creative works made by individuals are lost because there are limited or no ways to precisely preserve creations when a UGC Web site service closes down. One example of such loss is the closing of the Disney massively multiplayer online game “VMK”. VMK, like most games, has items that are traded from user to user. Many of these items are rare within the game. Users are able to use these items to create their own rooms, avatars and pin lanyard. This site shut down at 10 pm CDT on 21 May 2008. There are ways to preserve the essence, if not the entirety of such work through the users copying text and media to applications on their personal computers or recording live action or animated scenes using screen capture software, and then uploading elsewhere. Long before the Web, creative works were simply lost or went out of publication and disappeared from history unless individuals found ways to keep them in personal collections.[citation needed]

Another criticized aspect is the vast array of user-generated product and service reviews that can at times be misleading for consumer on the web. A study conducted at Cornell University found that an estimated 1 to 6 percent of positive user-generated online hotel reviews are fake.[21]

Content creation will continue to grow, and content consumption driven by the growth of mobile devices and OTT video screens will grow as well. Which moves the challenges from creation to curation. Curation is the driving force that provides contextually relevant video content in channelized environment. And for brands looking for a way to contextualize and validate their native video content creation, the emergence of Native Channels can’t come soon enough.[22]
Legal problems related to UGC

The ability for services to accept user-generated content opens up a number of legal concerns: depending on local laws, the operator of a service may be liable for the actions of its users. In the United States, the “Section 230” exemptions of the Communications Decency Act state that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” This clause effectively provides a general immunity for websites that host user-generated content that is defamatory, deceptive or otherwise harmful, even if the operator knows that the third-party content is harmful and refuses to take it down. An exception to this general rule may exist if a website promises to take down the content and then fails to do so.[23]

Copyright laws also play a factor in relation to user-generated content, as users may use such services to upload works—particularly videos—that they do not have the sufficient rights to distribute. In many cases, the use of these materials may be covered by local “fair use” laws, especially if the use of the material submitted is transformative.[24] Local laws also vary on who is liable for any resulting copyright infringements caused by user-generated content; in the United States, the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILA)—a portion of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), dictates safe harbor provisions for “online service providers” as defined under the act, which grants immunity from secondary liability for the copyright-infringing actions of its users. However, to qualify for the safe harbors, the service must promptly remove access to alleged infringing materials upon the receipt of a notice from a copyright holder or registered agent, and the service provider must not have actual knowledge that their service is being used for infringing activities.[25][26] The European Union’s approach is horizontal by nature, which means that civil and criminal liability issues are addressed under the Electronic Commerce Directive. Section 4 deals with liability of the ISP while conducting “mere conduit” services, caching and web hosting services.[27]
See also

Carr-Benkler wager
Collective intelligence
Communal marketing
Consumer generated marketing
Creative Commons
Customer engagement
Fan art
Fan Fiction
Networked information economy
Participatory design
User innovation
User-generated TV
Web 2.0