“... everyone who comes into contact with a child is a teacher who incessantly describes the world to him, until the moment when the child is capable of perceiving the world as it is described. According to Don Juan, we have no memory of that portentous moment, simply because none of us could possibly have had any point of reference to compare it to anything else. From that moment on, however, the child is a member. He knows the description of the world; and his membership becomes full fledged, I suppose, when he is capable of making all the proper perceptual interpretations which, by conforming to that description, validate it ...”
Carlos Castaneda

Journey to Ixtlan

Christopher Alexander on Feeling as Criterion and Instrument

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 – one center at a time. Each step is taken forward, judged by 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

Nature of Order - Table of Contents"

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  • […] were small enough and reasonable enough, not arbitrary, so that people could discuss them, feel them the same wat, settle them, move on to the next, and thus gradually approach consensus on the […]

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