the "Peeling and stacking the layers of the essence"

I heard the process of behavioral change as human being for the better should be like an onion. Instead of adding new layers and suddenly acting differently (inauthenticly), you should try to peel the bad layers off to reveal the better, the authentic yourself. Bad layers must die, the great authentic essence needs to be revealed.

Reverse pattern is true for designing things. You start from the essence, keep it abstract and low fidelity to be flexible and gradually add layers to the design, gradually add complexity. You tinker with the essence until you are happy with the nucleus and then stack great layers on it. Mold the essence, shape it and then decorate it with beautiful layers.

In the conceptualization process, we encounter instances of things (like a cat and a dog), and with our mental X-ray vision, we perceive the common essence between the two things, we make an analogy to bridge them and several instances later, the concept becomes clearer and clearer. We reveal the essence: “These things living in the wild eating grass and each other… I see it now, I will call them animals”.

The layers were observed, we noticed the partial similarities, we perceived the common essence and now we have it in our hands, an abstraction called “animal”. We found the layers, put them together and revealed the essence.

In designing process, you build the essence and stack layers on it. In the conceptualization process you find the layers and reveal the essence.


As we dive deep into essences, we can always trace back to some fundamental forces and particles. If we dive deep enough in the question of “how is this nuanced?”, we will find a common place, a common essence of everything. Common essence of animal is up to the perceiver, not the dictionary definition, it might differ. Though, over time your concept might get updated and wrong instances may die.

This blog post is a concept of “peeling and building the layers of the essence”, it is about peeling off the layer of things to reveal the essence or stacking layers on top of the essence. This layering mechanism is a fundamental part of nature and you can observe the same mechanism anywhere, I bet you can come up with bunch of instances of this mechanism right now.

A typical rock song has drums, bass, guitar and vocals. They could be thought as the layers of the song and the essence would be a chain of expressions to be conveyed. The essence is in the mind of the song writer, he puts the layers of instruments together, creates the song and now the essence is realized in the real world underneath the song.


In some cases, the essence might change. A friendship might be born out of a mutual interest in some pop punk band called Blink-182. That is not the essence of the friendship, it is just an instrument. The essence is actually bonding with another human being to fulfill your social needs. However, Blink-182 might be the essence of the mutual interest and maybe over time, you notice that this guy has many great traits and is genuinely a nice person. The essence of mutual interest might die over the years, and new essence might be a mutual interest in programming.