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    • AMMDI is an open-notebook hypertext writing experiment, authored by Mike Travers aka @mtraven. It's a work in progress and some parts are more polished than others. Comments welcome! More.
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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 Bret Victor
from Weird Studies/Request List
  • Christopher Alexander
    • Alexander's last masterwork, The Nature of Order , called for both an architecture and metaphysics with radically different assumptions than modernist materialism, one in which "centers" and "life" were fundamental aspects of reality. That sounds like a WS sort of thing.
from Weird Studies/Tarot/The Tower
  • Alright, that is the malatheism interpretation. A MotT interpretation would be something like, humanity can be the equal of the divine, or at least participate in the divine, but not by the techniques of the Tower (construction out of parts), but only via more organic procedures, involving growth and cultivation. It's very Christopher Alexander.
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.
from Patterns of Software
  • This might be one of my favorite software books, the only one that talks about the things I care about. He integrates Christopher Alexander ideas on a deep level (rather than the superficial level of more popular books on "software patterns")
from re-enchantment
from Aliveness
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 Patterns of Refactored Agency
  • I have a lot of quarrels with the design patterns movement in software, but I have to admit that the pattern people (and Christopher Alexander whose style they have somewhat crudely appropriated) have invented a uniquely useful way of speaking and thinking.
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 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 agency
from Technic and Magic
  • The idea of centres brings to mind Christopher Alexander's monumental late work The Nature of Order, which really pairs well with this book, they are both efforts to remap all of reality from the metaphysics on up. Interesting discussion of Centers from Eliade and others. OK this is something I can at least begin to understand; something geometrical about it appeals to me.
Twin Pages

Christopher Alexander

16 Feb 2021 10:06 - 25 Mar 2022 02:41

    • 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.
    • Random

      • 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)
      • Ooh Someone made a web version of A Pattern Language, very useful APL - Home
      • On occasion of his death (March 2022). Here's a good one: 43 University As Marketplace
        • At Any Given Moment in a Process - by Dorian Taylor
          • Really nice overview of Alexander's career and thought.
          • Ooh:
          • Those who are familiar with such matters will note that Alexander is describing an algorithm. The fundamental differentiating process is an outer loop, and the fifteen properties/​transformations are primitives. Alexander treated the building site itself as an analog computer, using the information embedded in its current state at any moment to compute the next step in the process. In a way it reaches back to his earliest mathematical work, circumventing the problem of gathering and partitioning a snarl of design concerns, by performing the computation in situ.
          • In construction, the convention is that the blueprints are the supreme authority on whether or not this or that constituent of the process did their job. In many jurisdictions, this fact is actually enshrined in statute. Alexander’s method eschewed committing to the precise geometry of the intended outcome, because that was precisely what got revealed throughout his idiosyncratic construction process. In other words, any drawing of a building Alexander drew was only ever a suggestion. Subcontractors and planning authorities, accustomed to authoritative blueprints, simply couldn’t understand it.
          • Above are very interesting and resonates with the situated action distinction between plans as programs and plans as recipes to guide improvised conduct. Alexander is advocating jazz architecture!