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Olga Tokarczuk Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

  • Anger makes the mind clear and incisive. able to see more. It sweeps up the other emotions and takes control of the body. Without a doubt Anger is the source of all wisdom, for Anger has the power to exceed any limits.

David Bohm Thought As A System

  • We don't need the notion of an identity, of an all-important identity on to which we are going to hold, because that gets in the way of the need to change our reflexes. Once we identify with something, our reflexes are that way - it's very important, 'necessary' and we will want to preserve that identity even though it may involve ideas that are false
  • …identity will give us a certain chemistry. And also we feel that we want to preserve that. The whole body gets used to it. The body itself can get used to a certain chemistry, and demands that that chemistry be preserved.
  • Attention is really a potential to take us deeper.
  • Things we consider real are stable, they resist, they have a kind of internal necessity that holds. The whole idea of reality is bound together with the concept of of necessity...
  • This notion of necessity is not merely intellectual. It involves everything. It involves the chemistry, which means that all the adrenalin you need will be released when you have to defend your assumptions of necessity. Whatever is needed will be made available. And then too, this may have a very valuable side to it. If you are ever going to accomplish anything, you need some of that sense of necessity. If you don't think something is very necessary you won't have much energy to do it.
  • We started out saying the trouble is that the world is in chaos, but I think we end up by saying that thought is in chaos. That's each one of us. And that is the cause of the world's being in chaos. Then the chaos of the world comes back and adds to the chaos of thought.
  • One of the most powerful thoughts people have is the thought of necessity. It is much more than a thought. The word 'necessary' means 'it cannot be otherwise', and the Latin root means 'don't yield'. It suggests the emotional-physical stance of resisting, holding. That's the other side of the reflex system: when you say 'it cannot be otherwise', in effect you're saying: 'It has got to be this way. I have to keep it this way'. You have a hold. Something that is necessary is a very powerful force which you can't turn aside. You may say 'I have to turn it aside.' Thus we establish an order of necessity, saying 'this turns aside for that, and this for that.'

Kevin Lynch What Time Is This Place
  • If we examine the feelings that accompany daily life, we find that historic monuments occupy a small place.
  • To attempt to preserve all of the past would be life-denying.
  • An environment that cannot be changed invites its own destruction.
  • An environment that facilitates recalling and learning is a way of linking the living moment to a wide span of time. Being alive is being awake in the present, secure in our ability to continue but alert to the new things that come streaming by. We feel our own rhythm, and feel also that it is part of the rhythm of the world. It is when local time, local place, and our own selves are secure that we are ready to face challenge, complexity, vast space, and the enormous future.
  • If forms are standard and do not change, we experience déjà vu. The world recycles endlessly. Pervasive novelty is even more disturbing. We experience jamais vu - we see nothing we have ever seen before, there are no connections, the present is perilously small.
Pono Shim
  • An aloha response seeks relevance and significance for others and transforms the individuals and problems or issues. It’s continuous presence, awareness, and reflection. It’s not like throwing water on someone, it seeps and creeps thru the crevices in our lives and others until there’s no more Ahonui, Haahaa, Akahai, Olu olu, and Lokahi.
  • Like a martial art we learn a move and practice, learn a new move and practice, and practice and practice and practice until one day there are no more moves, only movement. They are learning the moves and one day my aspiration for each one is that there are no more principles or moves, someday there’s only aloha.
David Kirsh Changing the rules: architecture and the new millennium
  • In a good interface, every effort is made to provide users with the feeling that they can directly manipulate the objects they see. The truth, though, is that users never actually interact with any digital object directly.
  • Because in the digital world there are no intrinsic physical constraints, causation is simulated.
  • When telepresence is coupled with rich media capture of activity, time, as well as space begins to lose its structuring power on how we must prepare to do what we do where we must.
Audre Lorde The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action*
  • For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.
  • ...we fear the visibility without which we we cannot truly live.
  • ...that visbility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.
  • ...it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.
Maya Angelou Desert Island Discs (1988)
  • Because of the routines we follow, we often forget that life is an ongoing adventure…and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art...to bring all our energies to each encounter, to remain flexible enough to notice and admit when what we expected to happen did not happen. We need to remember that we are created creative and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed.
  • There is the ability to submit to feeling. When you submit to feeling, embarrassment is not in it. It doesn’t even arise. You admit that you are submitting and feeling lonely or happy and allow then that particular, or those conflicting emotions, to inform the expression.
Murray S. Davis That's Interesting!
  • ...all social theories which are found interesting involve a certain movement of the mind of the audience who finds them so. These theories implicitly articulate the routinely taken-for-granted assumptions of the audience who finds them interesting, and then deny these presumptions in the name of some higher–or more fundamental–truth.
  • ...it is not the inner development of a theory which makes it interesting, but its outer relation to the assumption of its audience.
  • ...an audience finds a proposition 'interesting' not because it tells them some truth they did not already know, but instead because it tells them some truth they thought they already knew was wrong. In other words, an interesting proposition is one which denies some aspect of the assumption-ground of its audience...
  • Those who attempt to popularize propositions which experts had found interesting often must resort to jargon in order to obscure the fundamental lack of inter-translatability between the universe of discourse of the intellectual specialty and the universe of discourse of the common-sense world.
James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games
  • The most elemental difference between the machine and the garden is that one is driven by a force which must be introduced from without, the other grown by an energy which originates from within itself.
  • ... our imagination does not create within its outlines but creates the outlines themselves
  • ...infinite players prepare themselves to be surprised by the future, they play in complete openness. It is not an openness as in candor, but an openness as in vulnerability. It is not a matter of exposing one's unchanging identity, the true self that has always been, but a way of exposing one's ceaseless growth, the dynamic self that has yet to be.
  • Only that which can change can continue: this is the principle by which infinite players live.
  • At its root all language has the character of metaphor, because no matter what it intends to be about it remains language, and remians absolutely unlike whatever it is about. This means that we can never have the falcon, only the word 'falcon.' To say that we have the falcon, and nothe the 'falcon,' is to presume again that we know precisely what it is we have, that we can see it in its entirety, and that we can speak as nature itself.
  • To be powerful is to have one's words obeyed. It is only by magisterial speech that the emblematic property of winners can be safeguarded. Those entitled to their possessions have the privilege of calling the police, calling up an army, to force the recognition of their emblems.
  • When most effective, the technology of communication allows us to bring the histories and the experiences of others into our home, but without changing our home. When most effective, the technology of travel allows us to pass through the histories of other persons with the 'comforts of home,' but without changing those histories.
  • If to operate a machine is to operate like a machine, then we not only operate with each other like machines, we operate each other like machines. And if a machine is most effective when it has no effect, then we operate each other in such a way that we reach the outcomes desired–in such a way that nothing happens.
  • When we look into a story to find its meaning, it is always a meaning we have brought with us to look at.
  • We are playful when we engage others at the level of choice, when there is no telling in advance where our relationship with them will come out–when, in fact, no one has an outcome to be imposed on the relationship, apart from the decision to continue it.
Juergen Schmidhuber Driven by Compression Progress
  • ...a better explanation of the past can only help to better predict the future.
  • Good observer-dependent art deepens the observer's insights about this world or possible worlds, unveiling previously unknown regularities in compressible data, connecting previously disconnected patterns in an initially surprising way that makes the combination of these patterns subjectively more compressible (art as an eye-opener), and eventually becomes known and less interesting.
  • Neither the arbitrary nor the fully predictable is truly novel or surprising—only data with still unknown algorithmic regularities are.
  • During interaction with the world, store the entire raw history of actions and sensory observations including reward signals—the data is holy as it is the only basis of all that can be known about the world.
  • In principle, any regularity in the data history can be used to compress it. The compressed version of the data can be viewed as its simplifying explanation.
  • Newton’s law of gravity can be formulated as a short piece of code which allows for substantially compressing many observation sequences involving falling apples and other objects.
Masanobu Fukuoka One Straw Revolution
  • People think they understand things because they become familiar with them. This is only superficial knowledge...Discrimination, a fragmented and incomplete understanding always forms the starting point of human knowledge. Unable to know the whole of nature, people can do no better than to construct an incomplete model of it and then delude themselves into thinking that they have created something natural.
  • Nature , or the body itself, serves as a capable guide. But this subtle guidance goes unheard by most people because of the clamor caused by desire and by the activity of the discriminating mind.
Yi-Fu Tuan Home as Elsewhere
  • The word routine suggests the humdrum and the inconsequential; however, unlike the routines of workplace and office, those of home are not inconsequential for they're dictated by the cyclical requirements of biological life.
  • Here and now are still privileged. Here is where I am or where we are are. There is where you are and yonder is where they are. Here is now, here is then, and then is either the future or the past. Yonder is fonder away are far away is the unknown and scary.
David Kirsh The Intelligent Use of Space
  • In having a body, we are spatially located creatures: we must always be facing some direction, have only certain objects in view, be within reach of certain others.
  • The implication is that if we want to discover important new elements in a structure, particularly if this requires looking for novel interpretations, we are better off depicting it externally, or consulting some pre-existing external representation of it.
  • Every time we serially decompose a complex task by dividing the space in which it is performed into functional stations where specific subtasks are performed, we create a production line.
  • …space is always present, and the need to place objects somewhere is a constant fact of life. This makes space an invaluable resource to exploit in order to facilitate everyday problem solving and planning.
  • Good designers are forever looking for ways of contracting the number of decisions users must make: not just in the number of actions they must consider at any point but in the number of times they must make a decision at all.
Annie Murphy Paul Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain
  • Learning is moving in new ways.
  • When thought overwhelms the mind, the mind uses the world...
Jacques Sojcher
  • ...everything that speaks, makes noise, passes by, touches us lighty, meets us head on.
G.K. Chesterton
  • The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving things behind us, has obscured the real idea of growth, which means leaving things inside us.
Clay Shirky Listening to Napster
  • Once a definitive label is applied to a new phenomenon, it invariably begins shaping - and possibly distorting - people's views.
  • Definitions are useful only as tools for sharpening one's perception of reality and improving one's ability to predict the future.
Michel Foucault
  • Maybe our problem now is to discover that the self is nothing else than the historical correlation of the technology built in our history. Maybe the problem is to change those technologies. And in this case, one of the main political problems nowadays would be, in the strict sense of the word, the politics of ourselves.
Haruki Murakami What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
  • To deal with something unhealthy, a person needs to be as healthy as possible.
Dave Weinberger Transparency is the new objectivity
  • Transparency prospers in a linked medium, for you can literally see the connections between the final draft’s claims and the ideas that informed it."
Dave Winer Narrate your work
  • Twitter is at least a dress rehearsal for the news system of the future. A key component of this system is that it is used both as the back room for narrating news work and for the finished delivered news product.
Robert Winter The California Bungalow
  • A study of floor plans is one of the clearest indicators of the style of living in a period.
  • In the midst of a society that was becoming increasingly organized in industrial patterns, it was important for the conservative forces to counter the major social tendencies of the times with a plea for informality, neighborliness, the sanctity of the family.
George Lakoff Metaphors We Live By
  • Once we can identify our experiences as entities or substances, we can refer to them, categorize them, group them, and quantify them—and, by this means, reason about them.
  • Since communication is based on the same conceptual system that we use in thinking and acting, language is an important source of evidence for what that system is like.
  • We typically conceptualize the nonphysical in terms of the physical—that is, we conceptualize the less clearly delineated in terms of the more clearly delineated.
  • What makes it possible for many of us to see this metaphor as true is that we usually comprehend our life experiences in terms of the LIFE IS A STORY metaphor. We are constantly looking for meaning in our lives by seeking out coherences that will fit some sort of coherent life story. And we constantly tell such stories and live in terms of them. As the circumstances of our lives change, we constantly revise our life stories, seeking new coherence.
  • New metaphors have the power to create a new reality. This can begin to happen when we start to comprehend our experience in terms of a metaphor, and it becomes a deeper reality when we begin to act in terms of it.
  • A metaphorical structuring of a concept, say the JOURNEY metaphor for arguments, allows us to get a handle on one aspect of the concept. Thus a metaphor works when it satisfies a purpose, namely, understanding an aspect of the concept.
  • ..emotional concepts, which are not clearly delineated in our experience in any direct fashion and therefore must be comprehended primarily indirectly, via metaphor.
  • There is no natural structuring to our experience. Any structure that we or others place on our experience is completely artificial.
  • To negotiate meaning with someone, you have to become aware of and respect both the differences in your backgrounds and when these differences are important.
  • You need enough diversity of cultural and personal experience to be aware that divergent world views exist and what they might be like.
  • You also need patience, a certain flexibility in world view, and a generous tolerance for mistakes, as well as a talent for finding the right metaphor to communicate the relevant parts of unshared experiences or to highlight the shared experiences while deemphasizing the others.
  • Truth is always relative to understanding, which is based on a nonuniversal conceptual system.
Aristotle Quoted by George Lakoff in Metaphors We Live By
  • ...ordinary words convey only what we know already; it is from metaphor that we can best get hold of something fresh.
Marshall McLuhan Understanding Media
  • Slang offers an immediate index to changing perception.
  • To live and experience anything is to translate its direct impact into many indirect forms of awareness.
  • Language, like currency, acts as a store of perception and as a transmitter of the perceptions and experience of one person or of one generation to another. As both a translator and store-house of experience, language is, in addition, a reducer and a distorter of experience.
  • A square is the enclosure of visual space; that is, it consists of space properties abstracted from manifest tensions. A triangle follows lines of force, this being the most economical way of anchoring a vertical object.
  • ...personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, of any extension of ourselves – results from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.
  • All media are active metaphors in their power to translate experience into new forms. The spoken word was the first technology by which man was able to let go of his environment in order to grasp it in a new way. Words are kind of information retrieval that can range over the total environment and experience at high speed. Words are complex systems of metaphors and symbols that translate experience into our uttered or outered senses. They are a technology of explicitness.
  • It is the framework itself that changes with new technology, and not just the picture within the frame.
  • Everybody experiences far more than he understands. Yet it is experience, rather than understanding, that influences behavior, especially in collective matters of media and technology, where the individual is almost inevitably unaware of their effect upon him.
  • Since our new electric technology is not an extension of our bodies but of our central nervous systems, we now see all technology, including language, as a means of processing experience, a means of storing and speeding information."
Alan Watts The Wisdom of Insecurity
  • Belief clings, but faith lets go.
  • The power of memories and expectations is such that for most human beings the past and the future are not as real, but more real than the present.
  • The human body lives because it is a complex of motions, of circulation, respiration, and digestion. To resist change, to try to cling to life, is therefore like holding your breath: if you persist you kill yourself.
  • “I”—is really a stream of experiences, of sensations, thoughts, and feelings in constant motion. But because these experiences include memories, we have the impression that “I” is something solid and still, like a tablet upon which life is writing a record.
  • Ideas and words are more or less fixed, whereas real things change.
  • The more we try to live in the world of words, the more we feel isolated and alone, the more all the joy and liveliness of things is exchanged for mere certainty...
  • A less brainy culture would learn to synchronize its body rhythms rather than its clocks.
  • If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I am wanting to be separate from life.
  • We suffer from the delusion that the entire universe is held in order by the categories of human thought, fearing that if we do not hold to them with the utmost tenacity, everything will vanish into chaos.
  • By holding his breath, he loses it. By letting it go he finds it.
  • So long as there is the motive to become something, so long as the mind believes in the possibility of escape from what it is at this moment, there can be no freedom.
Marshall McLuhan The Gutenberg Galaxy
  • The highly literate and individualist liberal mind is tormented by the pressure to become collectively oriented. The literate liberal is convinced that all real values are private, personal, individual. Such is the message of mere literacy. Yet the new electric technology pressures him towards the need for total human interdependence.
  • An age in rapid transition is one which exists on the frontier between two cultures and between conflicting technologies. Every moment of its consciousness is an act of translation of each of these cultures into the other.
  • Our extended senses, tools, technologies, through the ages, have been closed systems incapable of interplay or collective awareness. Now, in the electric age, the very instantaneous nature of coexistence among our technological instruments has created a crisis quite new in human history. Our extended faculties and senses now constitute a single field of experience which demands that they become collectively conscious

Edward T. Hall The Silent Language

  • In fact, all man-made material things can be treated as extensions of what man once did with his body or some specialized part of his body.

Hermann Hesse Siddhartha

  • Too much knowledge had hindered him; too many holy verses, too any sacrificial rites, too much mortification of the flesh, too much doing and striving. He had bee full of arrogance; he had always been the cleverest, the most eager–always a step ahead of the others, always the learned and intellectual one, always the priest or the sage. His Self had crawled into this priesthood, into this arrogance, into this intellectuality.
  • Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal.
  • Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.
  • These are things and one can love things. But one cannot love words. Therefore teachings are of no use to me; they have no hardness, no softness, nor colors, no corners, no smell, no states they have nothing but words.

Robert Wright Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny

  • Information is what synchronizes the parts of the whole and keeps in touch with each other as they collectively resist disruption and decay
  • ...governance: the voluntary submission of individual players to an authority that, by solving nonzero sum problems, can give out in benefits more than it exacts in costs.

Samuel Mockbee

  • Physical poverty is not an abstraction, but we almost never think of impoverishment as evidence of a world that exists. Much less do we imagine that it‘s a condition from which we may draw enlightenment in a very practical way.

Keller Easterling

  • Culture is well rehearsed at pointing to things, calling their names, recognizing their shape, but under rehearsed at describing the interactivity or chemistry between things. So infrastructure space is productively imponderable because it's not a thing. It's a large socio-technical system...it's too large to be in any one place. it can not be assessed by its name, shape or outline.

Robert Axelrod The Evolution of Cooperation

  • People tend to resort to the standard of comparison that they have available to them – and this standard is often the success of the other player relative to their own success. This standard leads to envy. And envy leads to attempts to rectify any advantage the other player has attained. In this form of Prisoner’s Dilemma, rectification of the other’s advantage can only be done by defection. But defection leads to more defection and to mutual punishment. So envy is self-destructive.

Sharifah Alshalfan The Aftermath of a Masterplan for Kuwait: An Exploration of the Forces that Shape Kuwait City

  • By failing to consider other aspects of welfare such as quality of life and the creation of sense of place, neighbourhood design becomes sanitised of the underlying principles of building communities, and instead turns into a pure exercise of maximising the number of units and their amenities within a predetermined set of parameters.
  • Throughout history, cities have developed incrementally and grown at a steady pace that revolved around particular social, economic and political constructs, and spatially developed to reflect their community’s building knowledge, availability of materials and particular locality.
Martin Luther King Jr. Letter From Birmingham Jail
  • We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
Sep Kamvar Syntax & Sage: Reflections on Software and Nature
  • So how do we decide what to make?...I would begin, instead, by tapping into our well of feelings to see what makes us feel peaceful, feel sublime, feel alive, to see what fills us with wonder and hope.
Brian Eno
  • We are convinced by things that show internal complexity, that show the traces of an interesting evolution. Those signals tell us that we might be rewarded if we accord it our trust. An important aspect of design is the degree to which the object involves you in its own completion. Some work invites you into itself by not offering a finished, gloss, one-reading-only sufrface. This is what makes old buildings interesting to me. I think that humans have a taste for things that not only show that they have been through a process of evolution, but which also show they are still a part of one. They are not dead yet.
Stewart Brand
  • I always thought tools were objects, things: screwdrivers, wrenches, axes, hoes. Now I realize that tools are a process.
Dee Hock
  • Far better than a precise plan is a clear sense of direction and compelling beliefs. And that lies within you. The question is, how do you evoke it?
Kengo Kuma Anti-Object
  • Objects freeze and fix spaces that are otherwise indeterminate and ambiguous, they compress information – and that is why people continue to construct them.
  • All ideas come from sensation or reflection. Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas. How comes it to be furnished?
  • ...now able to alternate spontaneously between metalevel and inside space for the first time. That is the greatest contribution that computers have made to our culture.
  • ...no matter how freely gardens may be arranged, they will still have paths that are determined by their designers. Interaction is still prearranged, and designers still exercise control over people.
  • Instead of stepping forward, designers need to remain completely open to visitors’ needs. Only then will we have a space without boundaries and paths. The space may consist only of an unprocessed cluster of particles – scattered rubble and grass – none the less, countless places will emerge and a network of relationships will develop the moment someone steps foot inside.
  • It is often asserted that, though music and literature are sequential, there is no sequence in architecture. With a work of architecture, one is free to look at the exterior from any direction and at any time one chooses.
  • Le Corbusier and Mies achieved positions of leadership in twentieth-century architecture by defining objects that were ideally suited to the contemporary approach to bridging matter and consciousness, which was to reduce both to the status of objects. Matter was reduced to ‘products’, by which I mean objects that are distinct from their environment, that assert themselves and excite the subject. Meanwhile, consciousness was reduced to objects called ‘existences’.
Jon Hopkins Interview with Hrishikesh Hirway
  • It’s not about guiding a track anywhere it’s just about knowing what the next step is..." John Hopkins in Song Exploder
Jane Jacobs Quoted by James Scott in Seeing Like a State
  • To see complex systems of functional order as order, and not as chaos, takes understanding. The leaves dropping from trees in the autumn, the interior of an airplane engine, the entrails of a rabbit...all appear to be chaos if they are seen without comprehension. Once they are seen as systems of order, they actually look different.
Unknown
  • Sometimes people use ‘respect’ to mean ‘treating someone like a person’ and sometimes they use ‘respect to mean ‘treating someone like an authority’ and sometimes people who are use to being treated like an authority say ‘if you won’t respect me i won’t respect you’ and they mean ‘if you won’t treat me like an authority i won’t treat you like a person and they’ think they’re being fair but they aren’t.
Masanobu Fukuoka One Straw Revolution
  • Eventually I decided to give my thoughts a form, to put them into practice, and so to determine whether my understanding was right or wrong.
  • Nature , or the body itself, serves as a capable guide. But this subtle guidance goes unheard by most people because of the clamor caused by desire and by the activity of the discriminating mind.
Michell de Certeau The Practice of Everyday Life
  • Dancing on a tightrope requires that one maintain an equilibrium from one moment to the next by recreating it at every step by means of new adjustments; it requires one to maintain a balance that is never permanently acquired; constant readjustments renews the balance whole giving the impression of ‘keeping it’.
Steven Johnson Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
  • Without any recognition of other thoughts to measure our own thoughts against, our own mental state wouldn’t even register as something to think about.
Stewart Brand The Whole Earth Catalog
  • A realm of intimate, personal power is developing - power of the individual to conduct his own education, find his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whoever is interested.
Kirsten Dirksen fair companies (about)
  • One of the most elusive goals in life is determining just what you need to live.
Martin Creed
  • The only thing I feel like I know is that I want to make things. Other than that, I feel like I don’t know. So the problem is in trying to make something without knowing what I want. [...] I think it’s all to do with wanting to communicate. I mean, I think I want to make things because I want to communicate with people, because I want to be loved, because I want to express myself.
David Gauntlett Making is Connecting
  • The best tools are not merely ‘useful’ or ‘convenient’ additions to everyday life, but can unlock possibilities and enable creative expression which are essential components of a satisfactory life.
Clary Shirky Cognitive Surplus
  • ...people don't behave in ways they don't have the opportunity to behave in.
  • Lowered costs in any realm allow for increased experimentation; lowered costs for communication mean new experimentation in what gets thought and said.
  • ...we increasingly learn about the world through strangers' random choices about what to share...
  • Now that we have tools that let groups of people find one another and share their thoughts and actions, we are seeing a strange new bybrid: large, public, amateur groups.
  • Groups tolerate governance, which is by definition a set of restictions, only after enough value has accumulated to make the burden worthwhile.
David Weinberger New Clues
  • ...conversation requires a common ground: shared language, interests, norms, understandings. Without those, it’s hard or even impossible to have a conversation.
Albert Camus Create Dangerously
  • Great ideas, it has been said, come into the world as gently as doves. Perhaps then, if we listen, attentively, we shall hear, amid the uproar of empires and nations, a faint flutter of wings, the gentle stirring of life and hope.
David Bohm On Dialogue
  • Communication can lead to the creation of something new only if people are able to freely listen to each other, without prejudice, and without trying to influence each other. Each has to be interested primarily in truth and coherence, so that he is ready to drop his old ideas and intentions, and be ready to go on to something different, when this is called for.
Christopher Alexander The City is Not a Tree
  • There are virtually no closed groups of people in modern society. The reality of today's social structure is thick with overlap—the systems of friends and acquaintances form a semilattice, not a tree.
Ted Nelson
  • A document is not necessarily a simulation of paper. In the most general sense, a document is a package of ideas created by human minds and addressed to human minds, intended for the furtherance of those ideas and those minds. Human ideas manifest as text, connections, diagrams and more: thus how to store them and present them is a crucial issue for civilization.
Jiddu Krishnamurti Freedom from the Knwon
  • Freedom is a state of mind–not freedom from something but a sense of freedom, a freedom to doubt and question everything and there so intense, active and vigorous that it throws away ever form of dependence, slavery, conformity and acceptance.
  • The mere intellectual acceptance of an idea, or the emotional acquiescence in an ideology, cannot free the mind from being dependent on something which will give it stimulation.
  • There is only one desire; there is only desire. You desire. The objects of desire change, but desire is always the same. So perhaps in the same way there is only fear. You are afraid of all sorts of things but there is only one fear.
  • It is one of the most difficult things in the world to look at anything simply...the [kind of] simplicity that can look directly at things without fear - that can look at ourselves as we actually are without any distortion-to day when we lie we lie, not covering it up or run away from it.
  • A dead thing has a path to it because it is static, but when you see the truth a something living, moving, which has no resting place, which is in no temple, mosque or church, which no religion, no teacher, no philosopher, nobody can lead you to– then you will also see that this living thing is what you actually are-your anger, your brutality, your violence, your despair the agony and sorrow you live in.
  • The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking of reality ppromised by another.
Alive E. Roth Who Gets What and Why
  • But the reason natural languages aren’t really under our control is because they emerge from the interaction of millions of users.
  • In person, you can also send costly signals of your interest. Flowers and other forms of attention, from remembering birthdays to sending Valentine’s Day cards, signal that you’re devoting your attention—a valuable, costly good in itself.
  • One concern is objectification, the fear that the act of putting a price on certain things—and then buying or selling them—might move them into a class of impersonal objects to which they should not belong. That is, they risk losing their moral value.
Dominique Foray The Economics of Knowledge
  • There is a big difference between the existence of knowledge in some other place and its availability to the right people in the right place at the right time. The crux of the matter is knowing how to integrate and organize fragmented, scattered and thinly spread knowledge.
  • What makes a repairer good is that he has internalized some of the logic of the system he is repairing and can use this in drawing the analogies he needs when faced with new situations.
Denise Scott Brown, Steven Izenour, and Robert Venturi Learning from Las Vegas
  • It is all right to decorate construction but never construct decoration.
  • We look backward at history and tradition to go forward; we can also look downward to go upward. And withholding judgement may be used as a tool to make later judgement more sensitive. This is a way of learning from everything.
Charlie Kaufman BAFTA Screenwriters' Lecture
  • What can be done? Say who you are, really say it in your life and in your work. Tell someone out there who is lost, someone not yet born, someone who won’t be born for 500 years. Your writing will be a record of your time. It can’t help but be that. But more importantly, if you’re honest about who you are, you’ll help that person be less lonely in their world because that person will recognise him or herself in you and that will give them hope. It’s done so for me and I have to keep rediscovering it. It has profound importance in my life. Give that to the world, rather than selling something to the world. Don’t allow yourself to be tricked into thinking that the way things are is the way the world must work and that in the end selling is what everyone must do. Try not to.
Yaneer Bar-Yam
  • Too much constraint can suffocate natural systems. They never become more complex than the person that designed them: “A hierarchy, however, imposes a limitation on the degree of complexity of collective behaviors of the system.
Michael Pollan A Place of My Own
  • Certain architectural configurations...survive simply because they have proven over time to be a good way to reconcile human needs, the laws of nature, the facts of the human body, and the materials at hand.
  • A house that welcomes our stuff–our furniture and pictures, our keepsakes and other 'horrors' is one that we have been invited in some measure to help create or finish; ultimately, such a house will tell a story about us, individuals with history.
    • A frame always implies a point of view, the presence of some order principle or sensibility.
Anne Vernez Moudon Quoted in Stewart Brand's How Buildings Learn
  • Small lots will support resilience because they allow many people to attend directly to their needs by designing, building, and maintaining their own environment. By ensuring that properly remains in many hands, small lots bring important results: many people make many different decisions, thereby ensuring variety in the resulting environment.” And many property owners slow down the rate of change by making large-scale real estate transactions difficult.
Joel Spolksy Founders at Work
  • I think what makes a good hack is the observation that you can do without something that everybody else thinks you need.
Alfred Whitehead
  • Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.
David Fincher Interview with Elvis Mitchell
  • I've always been interested in the idea of how do you photograph the mundane in order to kind of underline what you need the audience to take away from it because...especially if you're making puzzle movies or movies that have a lot of clues in them there's a real point of exhaustion that the audience can reach if they're over-cataloguing, over-indexing everything.
Simon Nicholson Theory of Loose Parts
  • In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the possibility of discovery, are directly proportional to the number and kind of variables in it.
Christopher Alexander The Timeless Way of Building
  • When we know those moments, when we smile, when we let go, when we are not on guard at all – these are the moments when our most important forces show themselves; whatever you are doing at such a moment, hold on to it, repeat it – for that certain smile is the best knowledge that we ever have of what our hidden forces are, and where they lie, and how they can be loosed.
  • This is a fundamental view of the world. It says that when you build a thing you cannot merely build that thing in isolation, but must repair the world around it, and within it, so that the larger world at that one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature, as you make it.
  • We define organic order as the kind of order that is achieved when there is a perfect balance between the needs of the parts, and the needs of the whole.
  • I slowly learn that blackbirds have a million subtle forces guiding them in a their behavior. If I don't understand these forces, there is simply nothing I can do to make the table come to life. So long as the placing of the table is inexact, my image of the blackbirds flocked around the table eating, is just wishful thinking.
  • When a place is lifeless or unreal, there is almost always a mastermind behind it. It is so filled with the will of its maker that there is no room for its own nature.
  • The pattern of relationships we call a "freeway" is just that pattern of relationships required by the process of driving fast with limited access to and from side roads: in short the pattern of events.
  • ..each bad pattern in our environment constantly reduces us, cuts us down, reduces our ability to meet new challenges, reduces our capacity to live, and helps to make us dead...
  • ...the town slowly gets its structure from the incremental aggregation of their individual acts.
  • Any existing, functioning urban area has structure and identity, even if only in weak measure...A frequent problem is the sensitive reshaping of an already existing environment: discovering and preserving its strof
Marshall McLuhan Understanding Media
  • Plainly, to store is to expedite, since what is stored is also more accessible than what has to be gathered.
Albert Camus
  • ..freedom is not a gift received from a state or a leader but a possession to be won every day by the effort of each and the union of all.
Christopher Alexander Making the Garden
  • To have something solid that I could be sure of, I started by examining the smallest particles of functional effect that I could discern in buildings, paying attention to small and sometimes barely significant aspects of the ways that buildings affect people. My purpose in doing this was to focus on the smallest particles of fact that I could be certain of: something that was extraordinarily difficult given the porridge of mush that then passed for architectural theory. In those early years, my studies were based on the most ordinary, miniscule observations about usefulness and the effect of buildings on the people who lived in them, always keeping the observations modest, ­reliable, and detailed—small enough and solid enough that I could be sure that they were true.
Bret Victor
  • ...[the] power of an idea lies in the form in which it’s expressed because that’s what allows people to think it.
Edmnd Leach 1967 Reith Lecture
  • This act of listening and understanding is an act of submission on your part.
  • If anything in my immediate vicinity is out of my control, that thing becomes a source of fear. This is true of persons as well as objects. If Mr X is someone with whom I cannot communicate, then he is out of my control, and I begin to treat him as a wild animal rather than a fellow human being. He becomes a brute. His presence then generates anxiety, but his lack of humanity releases me from all moral restraint: the triggered responses which might deter me from violence against my own kind no longer apply.
Tobias Dantzig Number: The Language of Science
  • The harmony of the universe knows only one musical form—the legato; while the symphony of number knows only its opposite—the staccato. All attempts to reconcile this discrepancy are based on the hope that an accelerated staccato may appear to our senses as a legato.
Susan Sontag Notes on "Camp"
  • Any sensibility which can be crammed into the mold of a system, or handled with the rough tools of proof, is no longer a sensibility at all. It has hardened into an idea...
John B. Jackson A Sense of Place, A Sense of Time
  • We fail to see "social uniqueness" because most of us establish the sense of place not by its forms, its spaces and structures, but by the way it tells time, by the sequence of daily, weekly, yearly events.
  • It is characteristic of the establishment, (the spectator, the tourist, the professional observer), to admire visible and formal relationships. But it is not a characteristic of the average citizen, and we have to be very obtuse, very remote from the everyday world if we fail to see how alive most Americans are to what seems to them the unique qualities of the town or city they live in: of climate, of politics, of cuisine, of perverse driving, of accent and dress and daily habits. In these respects each place is unlike any other. No one will claim that each is architecturally or urbanistically beyond compare, but all will recognize its social individuality.
Kevin Lynch The Image of the City
  • Any existing, functioning urban area has structure and identity, even if only in weak measure...A frequent problem is the sensitive reshaping of an already existing environment: discovering and preserving its strong images, solving its perceptual difficulties, and, above all, drawing out the structure and identity latent in the confusion.
  • Most objects which we are accustomed to call beautiful, such as a painting or a tree, are single-purpose things, in which, through long development or the impress of one will, there is an intimate, visible linkage from the fine detail to the total structure.
  • ...a distinctive and legible environment not only offers security but also heightens the potential depth and intensity of human experience. Although life is far from impossible in the visual chaos of the modern city, the same daily action could take on new meaning if carried out in a more vivid setting."
  • ...education in seeing will be quite important as the reshaping of what is seen. Indeed, they together form a circular, or hopefully a spiral, process: visual education impelling the citizen to act upon his visual world, and this action causing him to see even more acutely. A highly developed art of urban design is linked to the creation of a critical and attentive audience. If art and audience grow together, then our cities will be a source of daily enjoyment to millions of their inhabitants.
  • A landscape whose every rock tells a story may make difficult the creation of fresh stories.
  • Concepts of size may depend in part on how well a structure can be grasped.
Witold Rybczynski Home: A Short History of an Idea
  • Hominess is not neatness. otherwise everyone would live in replicas of the kinds of sterile and impersonal homes that appear in interior-design and architectural magazines. What these spotless rooms lack, or what crafty photographers have carefully removed, is any evidence of human occupation. In spite of the artfully placed vases and casually arranged art books, the imprint of their inhabitants is missing. can people really live without clutter?
  • A well-designed chair must accommodate not only relaxed sitting, but also having a drink, reading, conversation, bouncing babies on the knee, dozing, and so on. It must permit the sitter to shift about and adopt a variety of positions. This changing of postures has a social function–so-called body language.
Margaret Jane Radin Property and Personhood
  • If an object you now control is bound up in your future plans or in your anticipation of your future self, and it is partly these plans for your own continuity that make you a person, then your personhood depends on the realization of these expectations.
Bret Victor beast of burden
  • Interface matters to me more than anything else, and it always has. I just never realized that. I've spent a lot of time over the years desperately trying to think of a "thing" to change the world. I now know why the search was fruitless -- things  don't  change the world.  People  change the world by using things. The focus must be on the "using", not the "thing".
Brian Eno Interview with Rick Rubin
  • Ones tastes tends to propel you into the same areas over and over again.
Brian Eno Quoted in Stewart Brand's How Buildings Learn
  • We are convinced by things that show internal complexity, that show the traces of an interesting evolution. Those signals tell us that we might be rewarded if we accord it our trust. An important aspect of design is the degree to which the object involves you in its own completion. Some work invites you into itself by not offering a finished, gloss, one-reading-only sufrface. This is what makes old buildings interesting to me. I think that humans have a taste for things that not only show that they have been through a process of evolution, but which also show they are still a part of one. They are not dead yet.
Kevin Kelly Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson on Where Ideas Come From
  • ...we should think of ideas as *connections,*in our brains and among people. Ideas aren't self-contained things; they're more like ecologies and networks. They travel in clusters.
David Whyte
  • The ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone, and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them, and to have believed in them, and sometimes, just to have accompanied them, for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.
David Whyte Interview with Krista Tippett
  • ...one of the powerful dynamics of leadership is being visible. One of the vulnerabilities of being visible is that when you’re visible, you can be seen, and when you can be seen, you can be touched, and when you can be touched, you can be hurt.
Zadie Smith Interview with Jennifer Egan
  • When the life is seemingly-stayed, the mind is free. You are not asking for anything from strangers. Like, "Do you like me? Am I okay? Do you love me? Am I interesting? Am I smart?" It stops mattering. Whatever those emotional needs are supplied by actual humans that you know. And, so then the writing can…can really get liberated. Or at least, another way of putting it I think, it is has a responsibility to be free.
Yi-Fu Tuan Space and Place
  • A mere smile or touch may signal our consciousness of an important occasion. Insofar as these gestures can be observed they are public. They are also fleeting, however, and their meaning so eludes confident interpretation that they cannot provide the basis for group planning and action. They lack the firmness and objectivity of words and pictures.
  • The world feels spacious and friendly when it accommodates our desires, and cramped when it frustrates them.
  • Two fishermen pulling in a net on the seashore appear natural, but two poets brooding side by side on the same strand would be ridiculous–one solitude too many.
  • Solitude is a condition for acquiring a sense of immensity. Alone one's thoughts wander freely over space. In the presence of others they are pulled back by an awareness of other personalities who project their own worlds onto the same area.
  • To experience is to learn; it means acting on the given and creating out of the given. The given cannot be known in itself. What can be known is a reality that is a construct of experience, a creation of feeling and thought.
  • Freedom implies space; it means having the power and enough room in which to act.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • The machine which at first blush seems a means of isolating man from the great problems of nature actually plunges him more deeply into them. As for the peasant so for the pilot, dawn and twilight become events of consequence. His essential problems are set him by the mountain, the sea, the wind. Alone before the vast tribunal of the tempestuous sky, the pilot defends his mails [sic] and debates on terms of equality with those three elemental divinities.
  • Things are not quite real until they acquire names and can be classified in some way. Curiosity about places is part of a general curiosity about things, part of the need to label experiences so that they have a greater degree of permanence and fit into some conceptual scheme.
William James The Principles of Psychology Volume 2
  • We think the ocean as a whole by multiplying mentally the impression we get at any moment when at sea.
  • We call the reverberations of a thunderstorm more voluminous than the squeaking of a slate-pencil; the entrance into a warm bath gives our skin a more massive feeling than the prick of a pin; a little neuralgic pain, fine as a cobweb, in the face, seems less extensive than the heavy soreness of a boil or the vast discomfort of a colic or a lumbago; and a solitary star looks smaller than the noonday sky.
Christopher Alexander A City is Not a Tree
  • The playground, asphalted and fenced in, is nothing but a pictorial acknowledgment of the fact that 'play' exists as an isolated concept in our minds.
  • Play itself, the play that children practise, goes on somewhere different every day. One day it may be indoors, another day in a friendly gas station, another day down by the river, another day in a derelict building, another day on a construction site which has been abandoned for the weekend. Each of these play activities, and the objects it requires, forms a system.
  • When we think in terms of trees we are trading the humanity and richness of the living city for a conceptual simplicity which benefits only designers, planners, administrators and developers.
James Scott Seeing Like a State
  • State simplifications such as maps, censuses, cadastral list, and standard unites of measurement represent techniques for grasping a large and complex reality; in order for officials to be able to comprehend aspects of the ensemble, that complex reality must be reduced to schematic categories. The only way to accomplish this is to reduce an infinite array of detail to a set of categories that will facilitate summary descriptions, comparisons and aggregation.
  • Changing the rules of regulations is simpler than eliciting the behavior that conforms to them
David Foster Wallace 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College
  • ...blind certainty, a close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn't even know he's locked up.
Robert Greene Mastery
  • If we feel like we know something, our minds close off to other possibilities. We see reflections of the truth we’ve already assumed. Such feeling of superiority are often unconscious and stem from a fear of what is different or unknown.
Andrew L. Shaprio Freedom from Speech
  • Though the Net empowers us as speakers, it empowers us as listeners even more. We need never be "captives" subject to speech we don't want to hear.
Kenya Hara
  • A city is not made by commissioning wonderfully talented architects. Instead, a city results from the competing desires of a large number of people … When people stop dropping litter, or spitting on the street, the city moves forward a step. When graffiti disappears, broken streetlights aren’t left unfixed, and public toilets start to stay clean by themselves, the city has moved one step closer to sophistication. Design can educate people’s desires and help cities grow in that way. This is not a dogma. Rather it is the ability to help people notice something special: like the instant when they use an unpatterned towel made from a material with a pleasant feel.
William Gibson
  • Today, there’s no specific need for a mechanical watch, unless you’re worried about timekeeping in the wake of an Electromagnetic Pulse attack. So we have heritage devices, increasingly archaic in the singularity of their function, their lack of connectivity. But it was exactly that lack that once made them heroic: they kept telling accurate time, regardless of what was going on around them. They were accurate because they were unconnected, unitary.
William Coperthwaite A handmade life : in search of simplicity
  • Initially what is important is to be able to successfully make a useful object over which the maker can exclaim, with pleasure and amazement, 'I made this myself!'
Steen Eiler Rasmussen Experiencing Architecture
  • We get to the point where we cannot describe our impression of an object without treating it as a living thing with its own physiognomy. For even the most precise description, enumerating all visible characteristics, will not give an inkling what we feel is the essence of the thing itself. Just as we do not notice the individual letters in a word but receive a total impression of the idea the word conveys, we generally are not aware of what it is that we perceive but only of the conception created in our minds when we perceive it.
  • Light alone can create the effect of enclosed space. A campfire on a dark night forms a cave of light circumscribed by a wall of darkness. Those who are within the circle of light have the secure feeling of being together in the same room. It follow, therefore, that if you wish to create an effect of openness you cannot employ concentrated light.
  • If we believe that the object of architecture is to provide a framework for people's lives, then the rooms in our homes, and the relation between the, must be determined by the way we live in them and move through them.
  • In good architecture, consciously designed, the small room appears small, the large room large, and instead of disguising this it should be emphasized by the judicious use of color.
Rick Prelinger On the Virtues of Preexisting Material
  • We’re often too quick to imagine that we’ve actually learned from the past. But new works often tend to recycle the same ideas over and over again into different media. To me this suggests that we might be more open to letting old works speak, that our task might not be so much to make new works but to build new platforms for old works to speak from.
David Foster Wallace 2005 Kenyon Commencement Address
  • Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.
Why the Lucky Stiff
  • When you don't create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. your tastes only narrow & exclude people. so create.
Arthur Ashe
  • Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
Donald Judd
  • Usually when someone says a thing is too simple, they're saying that certain familiar things aren't there, and they're seeing a couple maybe that are left, which they count as a couple, that's all.
Bret Victor
  • One's ability to articulate an idea always lags behind the understanding of the idea, and the understanding of an idea often lags behind the embodiment in which it is first given life. It can take a surprising amount of time to come to understand what a prototype is trying to "say", and longer still to say it oneself.
Italo Calvino
  • I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past.
Yaneer Bar-Yam
  • In order to survived, the organism behavior must reflect in some way the nature of the environment.
  • A group of individuals whose collective behavior is controlled by a single individual cannot behave in a more complex way than the individual who is exercising the control.

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