What it means for a center to be being-like
Alexander describes his experience of relatedness to an African head sculpture and the typeface on a diskette cover.
Here I feel that Alexander uses different words than I would use to describe this. Therefore I find it hard to connect to, and fully understand, his description. On a basic level, I know what he is getting at, but it still seems strange to me; I suspect because of his choice of words to describe it.
The feeling of relatedness — the being-character — lies in the geometry. It is in the space.
To be an I-like center, a center must also be composed of centers which are themselves I-like. To be a being like center, a center must also be composed of centers which are themselves being-like. Beings can only be made of beings. If it is not made of beings, it cannot be a being.
[…] There is no a priori reason to expect this to be true. It is an empirical result, and one which we must remember again and again, as a fundamental aspect of the nature of centers which come to life.
Most of the argument that follows depends on your willingness to understand this, assimilate it, make it yours. If you are to grasp the argument, it is imperative that you concentrate on this idea of beings and thoroughly understand what it means. In that way you will have access to your own intuitive knowledge, and you will develop an uncomplicated ability to tell when centers are beings and in what degree each center is a being, by knowing when they are related to your self — when they are truly I-like — and when they are not.
The I-like character of living centers is crucial; it is at the core of everything. And yet, although it could be easy for the reader to nod agreement, and could also be easy to dismiss it out of hand as absurd, actually to understand it, to grasp it, to experience it, is hard. It takes perception, care, and a willingness to be connected with your own feelings. And it takes concentration and effort to make such a structure appear in space. It requires, too, an operational willingness. It is easy enough to say to oneself that it is clear: but immensely hard to transform that intellectual understanding, into a daily operational willingness to make this I-like structure appear, in every center, throughout the vast fabric of a building or something else which you are making.
[…] After years of teaching I know, only too well, how long it takes for a person to reach a point where this understanding is thoroughly assimilated, familiar, and understood so that it is really understood, and almost second nature.