“We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
Anais Nin

Tag Archives: quality

Spaces for the Soul (a Ruth Landy documentary about Christopher Alexander)

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Dear Ruth, thank you for this precious work, it is vital that this story be told, and  for it to be told it is vital that it be available. While I understand your motivation for having it taken down, please don’t. Please let it live and ripple.

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Christoper Alexander – What is Wholeness?

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“How can we tackle the task of making good sense of this intuition of unity and wholeness? First, wholeness is a structure, and can be understood as such … Second, the thing we call wholeness –  the feeling, or the intuition, of what the wholeness is – always extends beyond the thing in question … […]

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Jeff Bezos: They know it when they see it

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In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig describes teaching students to write and how much clarity and agreement there was between students about what constituted good writing (and how impossible is to define what “good writing” is) … and … wholeness anyone? Jeff Bezos confirms: “In a letter to shareholders, founder and […]

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Christopher Alexander – Experience Beyond Descartes

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where Descartes only allowed observation to focus on the outer reality of mechanisms in the world, my method requires that we focus on the inner reality of feeling as well

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Christopher Alexander – The Mirror of the Self Test

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it is not so easy to find out what we really like. It is a skill and an art to become sensitive enough to living structure so that we see it accurately

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Christopher Alexander – Liking from the Heart

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What people like can often not be trusted, because it does not come from the heart.

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Christopher Alexander – A Universal Personal

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… from the point of view of the world picture in this book, ‘personal’ is a profound objective quality which inheres in something, It is not idiosyncratic but universal. It refers to something true and fundamental in a thing itself.

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Christopher Alexander – Value as a Matter of Fact

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one of the most fundamental tenets of contemporary science – that value is not part of science and tht all matter is, from a scientific point of view, equally value free – can no longer be sustained

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Christopher Alexander – Fundamental Property 6: Good Shape

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good shape … comes about when the whole is made of parts that are themselves whole in this rather simple geometric sense … is not only making things more beautiful; it also makes them work more profoundly, more effectively.

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Christopher Alexander – Centers & Life … and Robert Pirsig

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This excerpt has, for me, a unique flavor. It is brief. I originally intended to skip it, but decided to come back to it. It will probably come across as abstract. I did not find a way to capture the essence of the next few sections which contain examples that illustrate the point Alexander is […]

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Christopher Alexander – Degrees of Life

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“In the 20th-century scientific conception, what we meant by life was defined chiefly by the life or an individual organism. We consider as an organism any carbon-oxygen-hydrogen-nitrogen system which is capable of reproducing itself, healing itself, and remaining stable for some particular lifetime … There are plenty of uncomfortable boundary problems: For example, is a […]

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Inside Grand Seiko

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“This is the minimum requirement in making a beautiful watch: First, each individual part must be beautiful.”  

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Christopher Alexander – Mechanistic: A Mental Toy

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“The mechanistic idea of order can be traced to Descartes, around 1640. He ideas was: if you want to know how something works, you can find out by pretending that it is a machine. You completely isolate the thing you are interested in … from everything else, and you invent a mechanistic model, a mental […]

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Be Just and Good

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Al Franken on arete and goodness

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Robert Pirsig on Writing

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“The basic unit of that particular process is a comparison. You take two slips and you say: “Which one comes first?”. And I don’t know of any rational way in which you can pass a rule as to which one comes first but it seems like you always know. And now you get two slips […]

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Everyone’s just about out of gumption

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“My personal feeling is that this is how any further improvement of the world will be done: by individuals making Quality decisions and that’s all. God I don’t want to have any more enthusiasm for big programs full of social planning for big masses of people that leave individual Quality out. These can be left […]

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Christopher Alexander on Essential Awe

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“… In this conception, value is not something merely grafted onto space, as a passenger might be who carries no weight and does no work. It is part of the same nearly mechanical picture of space that we have come to believe in, and respect and trust. Yet, at the same time, in a most […]

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Christopher Alexander on an Extended Physics

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“… In physics, the effort has always been to take the geometry of a material system and to derive from it, predictions about the dynamic behavior, forces, and causal interactions … which follow from a particular configuration. In art and building … Again we have geometry, but here we seek especially to derive from it, […]

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Christopher Alexander on a Gift to God

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This felt like a demanding excerpt to put together. “When the field of centers appears in something, its deep feeling appears and it is … spirit made actual, spirit made manifest … It is not an indication of God living behind all things, but it is actually God itself … As we understand this more, […]

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Christopher Alexander on Never Truly Beautiful

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“What kind of beauty could go so deep that a person would be afraid of creating it? … Working with architects, I have experienced it again and again. Many traditional shapes, especially the most profound shapes with deep and serious centers in them, for some reason trouble modern architects profoundly. Even when an architect does […]

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