Edward Matchett

Edward ‘Ted’ Matchett (1929–1998) was a pioneer in the field of industrial design and in the wider create-the-new arena.

Ted was a design engineer who transcended the confines of industrial design to develop methods of creativity of astonishing spiritual genius.

Anthony Blake, The DuVersity
He started out as a design engineer at Rolls-Royce—aircraft engines, not automobiles—in Derby, UK, later becoming a teacher of design.

From 1966 to 1970, he conducted an investigation into the creative process, sponsored by the Science Research Council of Great Britain. The aim of this research was to identify practical and workable means of injecting a new order of “creativeness, professionalism and achievement” into product design and development.

You can read about his most significant findings in the three books listed below.

Matchett established his company, Matchett Training and Consultancy Services, in 1970 “to take people to the highest level of professionalism and original thinking”, and to do this in a systematic way. His work was usually carried out on the client’s premises and often in a carefully constructed environment that he called a “logosphere of meaning”.

Matchett’s concepts and methods

Matchett’s concepts and methods were informed by his extensive and thoroughgoing studies, coupled with 40 years of continuous first-hand experience as a manager, teacher, consultant, coach and adviser. His approach was deployed on many hundreds of practical industrial projects in R&D laboratories and product design offices, and at what is now Cranfield University.

The underlying discipline employed by Matchett during the earlier part of his professional life was Fundamental Design Method, on which he began work in 1958. Matchett asserted that “the most advanced form of FDM lifts a mind into ‘meta-control’, making it possible to produce the quality and quantity of thoughts and actions that are normally produced only by a person of genius.”

Later, in the late 1960s, his focus moved to a more mystical body of work he named Sophiagenics. He described this as “the essential discipline for producing intelligent change and progress, necessary new patterns and new orders of things and ideas; not a formula for perpetuating proven patterns and orders. It is not merely the causal agent of external change and progress, but also of important radical internal developments, up to full maturity, and being truly wise”. (Source of quoted passage: Sophiagenics, on the DuVersity website.)

Sophiagenics’ core idea as articulated by Ted Matchett, is that the “Holy Spirit speaks to each of us continuously throughout the day and night, each day of our lives.” Our ability to hear the messages is contingent on our opening to that reality. Though initially Ted had disseminated his original insight in the language of religion he provided a more neutral version which became known as the 5M equation: “Media + Matter Makes Meaning in time (delta t).

Source: Daniel Proudfoot, Go your own way: a remembrance of John Kirby (1953-2019) in DuVersity 49, Winter 2019-20 (pdf)
The “two spirits” described by Matchett in the following passages correlate strongly with Napoleon Hill’s creative imagination and synthetic imagination distinctions. This is unlikely to be a coincidence as I am sure he would have studied Hill’s writings during the course of his research.

Matchett’s Credo

The great gulf that divides mankind is not political. It is not the gulf between religions, between religion and science, between science and art. It is not the gulf between rich and poor, between the privileged and the underprivileged. Not the gulf between the practical and the theorist, between those who would work and those who would dream. It is not the gulf between management and those that are managed, between the possessive and the philanthropist, between the saints and the sinners. All of these things are important, yet none so important as men often suppose. They are all streams that flow towards the same sea. All would meet and be reconciled except for one division that is greater by far then these — a division that is far more fundamental. It is the split between those persons who would hang on to old forms and those who wish to see new ones.

Two spirits are at work in the world. It is they who are the cause of the great divide. One would drive the world along at an ever-increasing rate, one would have the world stay precisely where it is. One has its foot hard down on the accelerator, the other is trying hard to apply the brake. One has his eyes fixed firmly on the future, the other has his eyes fixed firmly on the past (he does not realise that the ground that he thinks he is standing on disappeared many years ago).

What is it that has to be preserved? Every form that still equates to needs. What is it that has to be built in addition? New forms that equate to needs that either were not present earlier or that have not been satisfied. What does this have to do with the person who is doing the creating? Everything! At every moment, within himself, the same ceaseless battle must go on. He must destroy every form (ideas, beliefs, visions, attitudes, values etc.) that is no longer needed. He must preserve every form that still equates to needs. He must build new forms within (new ideas, new beliefs, new visions, new attitudes, new values etc.) that equate to needs that either were not present earlier or that have not yet been satisfied. To the extent that he does this within he will be able to do it without. Neither more nor less; it is all very precise.

Edward Matchett, legacy website, now defunct
Either knowingly or unwittingly, Edward Matchett is referencing the Trimurti, the trinity of supreme divinity in Hinduism in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified as a triad of deities, typically Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer.

View the Wikipedia entry for Trimurti

The three functions are sometimes presented as:

Generator (in the V-Spec graphic below: Create new value),

Operator (Preserve existing value), and

Destroyer (Sacrifice value for the good of the whole and mitigate or compensate for loss)

… providing the clever but misleading acronym GOD.

I developed the V-Spec value specification framework several years before discovering Matchett’s Credo and the Trimurti.

V-Spec value specification framework
Read more about the V-Spec

Matchett’s 5M equation

My researches between 1965 and 1970 into the creative process and genius, revealed that it is a non-material component rather than a material one that powers and informs all the genuine creative work of man, including all the great intellectual breakthroughs such as Einstein’s E=mc2. Further, and more importantly, I then realised that this non-material component – which I named primal media, or simply media – streams into our material realm from the eternal dimension beyond space and time, that it always {only) does this in an instant, when time stands still, as it were, and there is then zero relative motion between the eternal and the temporal elements. All this obeys a cosmic law that can be expressed as:-

Appropriate form 1 requires and demands that Media-plus-Matter be Made Meaningful in time dt 2 {the immediate Moment we label ‘now’).

This cosmic law is possibly the most fundamental and primary law governing the entire Universe, including all the activities, mutations, symbioses and other progressive (and cataclysmic) developments and occurrences in the natural world … Yet man can, and usually does, escape its action in his own life, work and play – though always to his, and his fellow’s, disadvantage … The equation describing this law became known as the ”5M equation” (the five M’s are underlined in the above) its chief occupation and constant orientation being the producing of meaning.

It soon became clear that ‘time dt’ is the chief ”Iock on the system”, that because people usually struggle to create things in their own power, slowly, logically, sequentially, there is then no access to the ‘media’ component – so usually there is neither true creativeness nor any of the breakthroughs that are the hallmark of genius, whatever the field of endeavour. Because of this realisation, all my subsequent professional work has applied a very strict self-discipline that ensures that the immediate now is always the focus of attention – so that media can be, and is, contacted and combined with its matching matter elements in each new moment.

Essentially, this self-discipline is acquired by a process of inner-tuning, which is the focus of all four volumes of True Professionalism {the first three were published by The UNIS Institute in the USA between 1994 and the summer of 1996). To make this inner-tuning as simple and easy as possible, twenty years earlier, back in 1974, I concentrated on characteristics of media that remain constant, that can therefore be anticipated and always expected to be there to link with … By doing this I made another discovery, namely that media always enters the material realm ‘packaged’ as a certain definite action that I named ‘Creative Action’. The really exciting things about this discovery are:-

  1. The Creative Action of the eternal has a latent, very definite, constant predisposition to produce meaning in whatever matter it meets and combines with. Its own nature demands this.
  2. The Creative Action of the eternal always ‘issues forth’ in space-time on a waveband of meaning. Its own nature demands this too, and it must always remain true to that nature.
  3. Creative Action is utterly prolific: not obviously so in most of the works of man – these usually make little or no contact with it – but quite definitely so throughout the natural world where it drives and sustains everything, including the entire process of Evolution.
  4. Creative Action can become the chief and constant component of all our ‘own’ work and play – and, when it does, all that we put our hands to thus gains a wealth of meaning and appropriateness.
  5. We can learn to link with a stream of Creative Action so fully that it seems that all we think and do originates from within ourselves, rather than from the eternal realm. This degree of rapport and unification with Creative Action is exhilarating and deeply satisfying.
1. Edward Matchett spoke of good design as “appropriate form” that corresponds to “the sum of the true needs of a particular set of circumstances”.
2. Time dt (sometimes written time 𝛿t) is delta time. This can be understood as the shortest duration of time (Planck Time), or as the nothingness between one moment and the next, which I believe is the meaning here. Read more in The truly new comes from nothing.
Source: Edward Matchett, legacy website, now defunct

In writing the First Edition of this book, I decided to make no direct reference to ‘media’ (using that name). I chose to employ the terms ‘Creative Action’ and ‘Creative Energy’ as the labels for the eternal media that constructed and sustains the Universe, which continuously streams into all phenomena – wherever no blockage of ours prevents or seriously inhibits this. The reason for not using the term ‘media’ in the First Edition, was the controversy that its usage had provoked between 1968 and 1975, which I was trying to avoid. This controversy has gradually subsided … now almost all who read my books or papers – or who are tutored and counselled by me – accept the term ‘media’ and the fact of the existence of this non-material formative force that they soon learn to make contact with. So, in preparing this Second Edition of the 1974 discourse, I was tempted to lose the ‘Creative Action’ and ‘Creative Energy’ terms since both are but aspects of media. Also for another reason: the phenomenon ‘Creative Action’ was and still is – too often improperly assumed to be a human action rather than a cosmic, generative one. It is a blow to human pride to discover that all human actions that are truly creative, owe their content and success to a non-material formative force that inspires, guides and shapes virtually the entire construction, whether that construction is music, dance, literature, visual art, sculpture, architecture, business strategy or organisation, technological system, a component … or a scientific breakthrough.

Source: Edward Matchett, Author’s Introductory Comment, Creative Action, Second Edition
Matchett used various names for intent, the generative impulse that streams into the manifest realm from the unmanifest through the gap in time, including media, Creative Energy and Creative Action.

View a list of synonyms and related terms

Anthony Blake, who knew Edward Matchett well and worked with him in close collaboration, provides a detailed account of the 5M equation (then known as the 3M equation) in his introduction to the Immediate Learning Method.

Books by Edward Matchett

Books in print

Edward Matchett's books in print
Creative Action: The Making of Meaning in a Complex World
By Edward Matchett. Facsimile reprint of the original edition (first published: 1975 by Turnstone Books). Hardback, price £20.00 from Systematic Innovation.

Fundamental Design Method
Foreword by Darrell Mann. Paperback, New Edition, 2010 (first published: 1998), price £20.00 from Systematic Innovation.

The Road to True Professionalism
Edward Matchett’s pioneering study of genius. Reprinted in 2012 (first published: 1994). Price £20.00 from Systematic Innovation.

Please note that these are not affiliate links.

Other books by Edward Matchett

The Core of True Genius (1996)

Journeys of Nothing in the Land of Everything | Published by Turnstone books (1975)

The Sophiagenic Discipline (1997)

More Edward Matchett quotes

Try to ‘listen’ to the call of that which needs to be brought into existence. All it requires is a certain inner stillness. Then be intent on doing nothing other than obeying what the need is commanding. In your imagination picture a “hole in the universe”, and simply allow that hole to be filled with what is most conveniently at hand. Care enough that the fit between hole and form shall be perfect; but watch it happen, don’t work too hard at it. Be prepared to experience this need in every fibre of your being. Then “make the call for help” and take what comes.

Edward Matchett, Creative Action: The Making of Meaning in a Complex World, First Edition, 1975, Turnstone Books

Continue reading

Creative imagination at work

Creative Victory — a discourse on the collected works of Carlos Castaneda

Experiencing divine wisdom in ordinary living, by Edward Matchett

Imagination — two forms: synthetic and creative

Selected quotes about the power of creative imagination

Talking with Angels — origin and themes

Think and Grow Rich!

The truly new comes from nothing

Transcend the mundane, enter primal world and channel intent

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