Human feeling is 90% the same across people
Alexander’s theory rests on an important perspective about human beings: that compared to each other, we are much more similar than we are different.
We are all mostly the same and feel mostly the same things
Human feeling is mostly the same, mostly the same from person to person, mostly the same in every person. Of course there is that part of human feeling where we are all different. Each of us has our idiosyncrasies, our unique individual human character. That is the part people most often concentrate on when they are talking about feelings, and comparing feelings. But that idiosyncratic part is really only about ten percent of the feelings which we feel. Ninety percent of our feelings is stuff in which we are all the same and we feel the same things. So, from the very beginning, when we made the pattern language, we concentrated on that fact, and concentrated on that part of human experience and feeling where our feeling is all the same. This is what the pattern language is — a record of that stuff in us, which belongs to the ninety percent of our feeling, where our feelings are all the same.
Our shared human feeling has been forgotten, hidden in the mess of opinion and personal differences. […] Honor and respect the reality of this huge ocean — this ninety percent of our self — in which our feelings are all alike.
How timely! This is a great message in a time where individualism and polarization are the default mode of operation fueled by technologies like social media, pushing us further to focus on the wrong 10% while losing any sense for the remaining 90%.
This book, at root, is about the core of that ninety percent of our feeling which we all share. It is about a more realistic conception of the world and the universe which comes into existence — and can come into existence — only when we acknowledge that to a very large degree we are all the same.
Connection to embodied cognition
This connects to embodied cognition and metaphorical structuring, where a lot of the basic structures and patterns we use in language are universal across languages and cultures and deeply rooted in our bodily experience with the environment. The research in this field, which has mostly occurred in parallel or after Alexander published The Nature of Order, possibly holds further proof and deeper understanding of how his theories work in the context of our perception and cognition.
#book/The Nature of Order/1 The Phenomenon of Life/Prologue#