“I am extremely touched by humanity, I am not so fond of humans.”
Sean Penn

Christopher Alexander on Feeling as Criterion and Instrument

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Unless something quotable shimmers in the appendices, this brings me to the end of book 2:

“If living processes, guided by feeling for the whole, and guided by feeling, were to shape all acts of construction in society, then everything, nearly, that we know about modern society would be changed. Above all … it means that people would have a self awareness, a knowledge of reality and wholeness as it is, quite different from the ignorance of inner feeling we came to accept as normal in the 20th-century.

The idea that feeling itself can become both criterion and instrument – that what is done, no matter how large or how small, can become personal, connected to the personal self of all human beings – and that this process then opens the door to a new form of society.

… Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of specific social processes which may have the ability to increase the life of the whole. Certainly, I am not insisting that there is any one super process, or only one kind of viable process. Rather, I am specifically insisting  that there is only one class of living processes – albeit a very large class indeed – and that any particular process must, if it is to be a good one, belong to this class.

… By inventing and re-inventing version of the fundamental process in appropriate social forms, and applying these forms of process to all acts of making and building and repairing, this worldwide operation then contains within itself, the seeds or core of the biological unfolding process that occurs in nature, now applied to human society.

A process, like the process of biology, which is attuned to human nature, makes more sense of human feeling and human common sense … you move forward in small, tiny steps. Each step accomplishes something concrete and good – oe center at a time. Each step is taken forward, judged bu the impact it has on the whole. We are continuously evaluating the whole for its deep feeling, for its usefulness, for the support it gives to human experience.

… The small, step-by-step process … is also the most satisfying, the most nourishing – because it creates, at each step, something that makes us – the makers – feel more wholesome, something that makes us feel alive while we are doing it … And … a similar healing effect takes place in the whole. Since it is the whole we are always looking to at each step, the whole which is transformed and made to have a deeper feeling, a lovely feeling consistent with everyday longings – then the whole … will in the end serve us, give us a kind of world which is the world in which we want to live.”

Christopher Alexander – The Nature of Order – Book 2: The Process of Creating Life

 

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