Human growth: the movement of the self towards its origin

The process by which a person comes in touch with wholeness — as it is in the world and as it is in the world around them, and as it is inside themselves — the more, then, that person actually discovers the meaning of their own existence, sees himself accurately in relation to phenomena, and the more that person becomes aware of the real structure which exists inside him and which links him to the universe.

“Aren’t the properties just an intellectual thing which gets in the way of the feeling?”

There is a muddle here between cause and effect. […]

Now, what effect did writing [the Alcove pattern] down really have? First, of course, it gave people permission to do something which had been forbidden. It gave legitimacy to something which people had forgotten about. And it gave information, the information that life might increase within a space if there was a smaller space within, looking into it, yet slightly, delicately separate. This was a valuable insight, and an important fact.

But something far more important was also happening. The piece of information unloosed the possibility of feelings which people had, but were not aware they had. Many people do not experience what they feel, because they are cut off from it. The deeper and more vulnerable feeling that arises in them as they approach the I, especially, may be unavailable to their experience. They do not necessarily recognize it in themselves when it is happening, sometimes do not experience it at all. But, with an intellectual focus which places attention on the alcove pattern, a person could become aware — in thinking about an alcove, or seeing one, or experiencing one in use — of the subtle feeling of this one kind, which wells up in those who are related to the existence of the alcove, and make them aware, too, of its non-existence, in a room where possibilities of intimacy are missing.

The effect, then, is an awareness of intimacy as a feature of space, and an awareness of the link that exists between this feeling and the physical geometry of the environment. Thus the person becomes conscious of a more rounded and deeper relation between the shape of the physical world, even the existence of the physical world, and the evolution of their own emotions and feelings during daily life.

It is possible — even probable — that a growing, evolving awareness may hold sway, and a society may come to exist in which the integrated, unified relation to the world, and in which individual feeling, the form of the world, and the feelings of others, are woven together in a less and less broken whole.

Of course, to start with such awareness is likely to be hardly more than a trace. A small trace-like feeling rises, and falls away again. But by being recognized, it is allowed to exist and, like a shoot of a seeding plant, it pushes towards the surface. Next time, that person experiences the same feeling more clearly. The time after that, the possibility of this sort of feeling grows stronger — it is on the increase.

Gradually, what happens is not only that people feel more deeply, become more aware of the vulnerable feeling in them, but their self-knowledge increases. They become more aware of what is in them. They become aware of the more true nature of their own existence. So, what starts as an almost mechanical thing — the writing down of an alcove pattern, and the writing down of other comparable materials — slowly becomes a deep and true thing: the opening of the person, the budding of a deeper self arriving at the surface. And true feeling, the knowledge of what it is to be a person grows, increases.

This is a strong indication that Alexander knows exactly what he is doing in writing NoO and in particular Book 4 the way he did. It doesn’t seem an accidental feature of the books that they are so scientific and fit almost into the mechanical worldview that I suspect he assumes his readers will have. To most impactful change their thinking, he needs to leave them with a glimmer of a new experience, accessible to all, so that experience can be picked up, intensified, experienced repeatedly, until this new awareness grows in them. I can only speak for myself, but… he succeeds.

(Pages 265-267)

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