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from Patterns of Refactored Agency
  • Some other interesting perspectives on pervasive agency include Christopher Alexander’s Nature of Order (which is more about a pervasive aesthetic of life than agency per se, but since Alexander’s work formed the basis of the software pattern movement and thus is in the background of refactoring and patterns, I thought it deserved a mention here.
from Patterns of Refactored Agency
  • When a place is lifeless or unreal, there is almost always a mastermind behind it. It is so filled with the will of the maker that there is no room for its own nature. – Christopher Alexander
from Aliveness
from agency
from Technic and Magic
  • Also reminds me of Christopher Alexander, another thinker who hates industrial modernity and thinks of it as anti-life, and requires reconstructing an entirely new worldview with different metaphysics to combat it.
from re-enchantment
from Christopher Alexander
  • There are thus two worlds in our minds. One is the scientific world which has been pictured through a highly complex system of mechanisms. The other is the world we actually experience. These two worlds, so far, have not been connected in a meaningful fashion. Alfred North Whitehead, writing about 1920, was one of the first philosophers to draw attention to this modern problem, which he called the bifurcation of nature. Whitehead believed that we will not have a proper grasp of the universe and our place in it, until the self which we experience in ourselves, and the machinelike character of matter we see outside ourselves, can be united in a single picture. I believe this. – Christopher Alexander, The Luminous Ground, p13
from Francisco Varela
  • Realizing I have an instinctive sneer to all holism-talk. Picked that up at MIT of course. Yet I find myself attracted to it, eg here or with Christopher Alexander. Probably deserves a page of its own.

Christopher Alexander

16 Feb 2021 10:06 - 08 Jan 2022 10:04

    • Architect and design Theorist. Best known for his book A Pattern Language which introduced the idea of design patterns, later picked up on by the software field.
    • Later he released a four-volume set of books on his radical conception of the universe, Nature of Order. Alexander's search for quality of life in architecture led him to a new theory of everything; of the universe itself as a system of living centers.
    • The books offer a view of a human-centered universe, a view of order, in which the soul, or human feeling and the soul, play a central role.
    • Taken as a whole the four books create a sweeping new conception of the nature of things which is both objective and structural (hence part of science) - and also personal (in that it shows how and why things have the power to touch the human heart). A step has been taken, through which these two domains - the domain of geometrical structure and the feeling it creates - kept separate during four centuries of scientific thought, have finally been united.
    • This kind of thing is quite a challenge to my materialism. Alexander's case for something closer to vitalism – that life is not an accident of evolution but fundamental to the structure of the cosmos – is made compelling through the sheer beauty of the examples he gives and the thoroughness of his exploration of the questions.
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      • There are thus two worlds in our minds. One is the scientific world which has been pictured through a highly complex system of mechanisms. The other is the world we actually experience. These two worlds, so far, have not been connected in a meaningful fashion. Alfred North Whitehead, writing about 1920, was one of the first philosophers to draw attention to this modern problem, which he called the bifurcation of nature. Whitehead believed that we will not have a proper grasp of the universe and our place in it, until the self which we experience in ourselves, and the machinelike character of matter we see outside ourselves, can be united in a single picture. I believe this. – Christopher Alexander, The Luminous Ground, p13
      • ... It is this ongoing rift between the mechanical-material picture of the world (which we accept as true) and our intuitions about self and spirit (which are intuitively clear but scientifically vague) that has destroyed our architecture. It is destroying us, too (p18)