Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.

2005-03-16

You Say Relationship, I Say Projection

The definition of relationship is much broader in scope than it ever was.

When we discuss relationship now it can be

consumer + product = relationship
citizen + nation = relationship
husband + wife = relationship
employee + employee = relationship
competitor + competitor = relationship
blogger + blogger = relationship
actor + audience = relationship
teacher + student = relationship
land + inhabitant = relationship.

Hyperdictionary defines relationship in the following ways
[n] a relation between people; (`relationship' is often used where `relation' would serve (as in"the relationship between inflation and unemployment") preferred usage of `relationship' is for human relations or states of relatedness; "the relationship between mothers and children"
[n] state of relatedness or connection by blood or marriage or adoption
[n] a state of connectedness between people (especially an emotional connection); "he didn't want his wife to know of the relationship"
[n] a state involving mutual dealings between people or parties or countries

What has changed in the new definition is that the reciprocal party need not be human, or even living for that matter. I wonder how this has eradicated the strength of meaning of the word relationship. Has it created a superficial context?

In its pure sense, the use of the word 'relation' to discuss two entities in comparison allows for inanimate objects. However, 'relationship' denotes that there is a shared connection between two entities. If that entity is inanimate, there is no sense of anything shared, so much as there is a reaction and formulated association on the part of the living entity. The "thing" doesn't have relationship.

Enter product marketing...

How do you define relationship? How has your vision of relationship changed?
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