Business Time: Paradox

Business Time: Paradox

At Bullhorn, we talk about holding things in tension. We’re professional and irreverent. We need to speak intelligently, but plainly. We want to make things that feel contemporary and timeless.

There is a sense of drama when the work successfully sits within the tension. It taps into something human, something ancient.

Heraclitus, a Greek writer and thinker, was called the weeping philosopher. The cliché “Change is the only constant” is attributed to him. While he probably didn’t say it this exact way, he did introduce the idea. He uses the image of a river.

“No man steps into the same river twice.”

This line also contains his idea of opposites – or paradox. It isn’t the same river, but it is still the same river.

I went deep down the paradox rabbit hole with Heraclitus. After thinking about it all week, I needed a drink. On the way home I stopped at Al’s, and the bartender asked how I was.

“You know. Good and not so good,” I said.

“I hear you,” he said as he pushed the bottle down the bar.

People inherently understand this concept even if they don’t actively think about it. After all, paradox is central to our religious and secular traditions.

You can see it play out in our work as well as our culture; this case study illustrates the idea. To be successful in an era of increasing transparency, FKP needs to show their potential clients that they are both professional and approachable. Traditional and contemporary.

The CFA case study is another good example. Visual identities are moving beyond the era of mechanical reproduction into something more organic, more fluid. The CFA brand is both recognizable but changing. It is fluid and solid.

Business Time: Paradox

In The Idiot, one of the characters describes an epiphany. He was sentenced to death by firing squad. The experience during the walk from his cell was rich, an entire life in itself. Moments felt like years. Everything clear, remembered. Everything crystal. At the last minute, he’s pardoned. Asked if he was able to continue living in that same profound way, he replied, “Of course not.”