Christopher Alexander

Christopher Alexander

The Nature of Order

An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe, Book 1 – The Phenomenon of Life

“…every form of order has some degree of life”

“thus life is not a limited mechanical concept which applies to self-reproducing biological machines. It is a quality which inheres in space itself, and applies to every brick, every stone, every person, every physical structure of any kind at all, that appears in space. Every thing has its life”

“…life is wholeness. Wholeness exists all around us and life springs from it.”

“…I hope to show that this deep and even holy conception of our lives, and of the life of are surroundings, turn out to be directly and practically connected to an identifiable structure. It is something which occurs in space. The deep order which produces life in buildings is a direct result of the physical and mathematical structure that occurs in space, something which is clear and definite, and something which can be described and understood.”

“The different degree of life we observe in every different part of space is not merely an artifact of our cognition but is an objectively real physical phenomenon in space which our cognition detects.”

“In physics, the local behavior of an electron is affected by the larger configuration of the experiment in which it moves–The local behavior of a gravitational particle is affected by the larger scale gravitational field that is created by the particles.”

“wholeness is the important thing, the local parts exist chiefly in relation to the whole, and their behavior and character and structure are determined by the larger whole in which they exist and which they create.”

“wholeness in any part of space is the structure defined by all the various coherent entities that exist in that part of space, and the way these entities are nested in and overlap each other.”

“We do not yet have a precise model of a structure we might call “the wholeness” of the built world…”

“…a center is a pin point of actual life, a center of life, in the every day and ordinary sense, which simply appears in space. Thus the geometric center which we first learn to see as a purely geometric thing is also a center of real life.”

“The life emerges from matter through the organization of matter itself.”

“All this arises from the pure recursive structure of the field of centers.”

“The sub-wholeness–or centers–are induced within the wholeness, and come from the wholeness. And because of this, the parts are adapted and modified in space and size, by their position within the whole. The petals of the flower are not identical. They are similar but each one is slightly different according to it position (in space) and history in the whole. When parts repeat we never have identical repetition.”