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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Luminous Ground 

Christopher Alexander
These 15 properties, were at the beginning, the underpinnings of the whole theory. Later, I realized that these properties were not the most fundamental aspect of the theory, and that they occur as consequences of an even more fundamental structure -- the system of living centers, and are simply the ways that centers support each other to create more life.

... Later the dynamic aspects of wholeness and the idea of structure preserving transformations became even more important. It turns out that centers have to be understood dynamically in order to be understood at all, hence as results of unfolding and structure-preserving transformations. And it turned out that living structure, which I had first identified statically, is more profoundly understood when it is understood as a product of dynamics.

... I now embark on the most ambitious, and possibly the most thought provoking chapter in the four books.

To make the reader share with me my sense of what is really happening in the architectural examples where life appears.

...When I look at a thing which has a living quality, sometimes I am aware of it, almost as if it is faintly glowing. I am aware of something like light -- not actual light itself, but something softer, something very like it -- in the thing. The more it is alive, the more it seems faintly to shine.

In my later years, as I have encountered this sensation more concretely, and with more and more certainty, it seems to me, that I am seeing God, in the glowing of all things, shining out from that old brick wall, or from that bush, or from that face, or from the flowers in a vase.

... a huge , single Self, underlying all the matter in the universe. Some reality, more pure and more fundamental than the one we are used to in our everyday world. ...This actual unity cannot be described as a structure. Yet it is this unity which is the source of life in the things we admire, and the goal of all our efforts when we make a building or a work of art.

Topics: design | life | Christopher Alexander


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