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The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe, Book 4 - The Luminous Ground (Center for Environmental Structure, Vol. 12)
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Top Customer Reviews
Those who know me know that I am not prone to making either quick judgements or vacuous statements, so my friends (at least) will know that both the title of this mini-review and the few words that follow are far from whimsical: Alexander's Nature of Order, and in particular this fourth volume which I have recently received and simply cannot put down, are in my humble opinion, destined to rank as one of this *world's* great literary/philosophical achievements. What Alexander has produced is nothing short of a brilliant vision for the transcendent reality that lies beneath and beyond conventional categories. I write this as a Ph.D. physicist, with two graduate-level mathematical physics texts under my belt (both on complex systems), and semi-pro photographer with 30 years of experience of trying to capture "beauty" in nature. Alexander's work has provided a tentative -- but oh so deep -- glimpse of an answer to my own philosophical struggles as scientist and artist: physics and art are but two sides of a vastly richer coin, and are merely pointers to an infinitely rich *life* that pervades this universe; indeed, the life that *is* this universe. Every human being who has ever sincerely pondered the question "Why?" when looking up at the sky, while admiring a pretty flower, or looking into a mirror, can do no better than to curl up by a fireplace with a hot cup of tea, open up volume four of this incredible set of books and start using the musings lovingly offered here to look within for answers. Truly a remarkable achievement. I have never met Christopher Alexander, but can honestly say that I have been deeply touched by this preternaturally wise soul.Read more ›
Christopher Alexander is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an architect, a builder, and the author of many books and technical papers. He is the winner of the first medal for research ever awarded by the American Institute of Architects, and after 40 years of teaching is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He trained in Physics and Mathematics at Cambridge and was part of the group of scientists who developed systems theory along with Herbert Simon. He has been investigating the interaction between science and architecture all of his life, and this beautiful four-volume work contains the results of his research.
Although many of Alexander's ideas are subtle and require thoughtful reflection, the basic thesis of these four volumes might be stated: everything that exists contains "life," and the degree to which "life" is manifest in any particular can be "objectively" determined by probing one's "subjective" world.
Book Four describes a new cosmology uniting matter and consciousness. In order for us to make the changes that will preserve and extend the beauty of the world (in the midst of trucks and prefab), we must change our world-view. As one reviewer said, Alexander gives us "an effective theoretical basis with which to combat the billboard." First he discusses the weakness of the present world-picture, listing its ten tacit assumptions.Read more ›
How can you "feel" non-separation or nonduality? By knowing that you exist. This is your sense of "I" that Alexander speaks of throughout this book. Or call it "I Am." Since everyone can know that they exist, their most fundamental nature is this "I" or "I Am." Valuing that you exist, valuing this "I" brings a sense of unity with all people, their creations, their appreciations, their failures, sadness and tears. It brings a sense of union with humanity.
This feeling of existence is the crux of this book. It's not just feeling existence, but valuing existence. It almost sounds silly: "valuing existence." Such valuing leads to wonder that never ends and all works being done as a gift of existence to existence, or to God. It makes you focus on existence so that you create something that communicates multiple layers of meaning, the totality of existence, in a building or an artwork.
Religion, art, physics, quantum theory, and mostly the "I," the true you, come together in this unusual, delightful, beautiful to hold and read, art book full of vibrant color photographs, pictures, and illustrations.
If there is another edition or another volume, perhaps some of the more direct teachings of nonduality can be included.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
grat finish of 4 book series
a must for any designer worth their pay
if you can not think outside of the box that architecture school traps you in then this in not for... Read more
Alexander is one of my favorite writers about architecture (and design). This is one of five volumes that delve deep into the thinking and sensibilities of architecture and design. Read morePublished on November 12, 2009 by Keith R. Prior