Pluralist view of value

A poorly understood balancing act

Discussions about value have become difficult, sometimes impossible, because each person is understood to have their own “view”, attitude, or value-orientation. People are allowed to express their view as strongly as possible, in the hope that a democratic dialogue will lead to an acceptable compromise.

But instead of lucid insight, instead of growing communal awareness of what should be done in a building, or in a park, even on a tiny park bench — in short, of what is good — the situation remains one in which several dissimilar and incompatible points of view are at war in some poorly understood balancing act.

We’re either not trying to balance different forces which are in conflict with each other at all, or use inadequate processes to try to do so.

Architects make different idiosyncratic choices because within the mechanistic worldview it is not possible to function mentally without making some private choices of this kind.

Arbitrary choices for the wrong reasons

With the 20th-century mechanical-rationalist world view building anything requires making at least a few decisions based on what is still considered opinion. We’re left with making arbitrary choices based on the wrong reasons — how powerful someone is, how loud somebody’s voice is, etc.

It also makes cooperative work, collaboration, and social agreement very difficult in principle. It has a superficial permissiveness which seems to encourage different opinions. But what is encouraged, really, is only the essential arbitrariness of ideas rooted in a mechanical view of how the world is made.

What we need is a sharable point of view, in which the many factors influencing the environment can coexist coherently, so that we can work together — not by confrontation and argument — but because we share a single holistic view of the unitary goal of life.

This is especially exacerbated in US politics where everything is seen as a competitive zero-sum game between effectively only two parties, where if one side wins, the other has to lose.

#book/The Nature of Order/1 The Phenomenon of Life/Preface/6 The destructive impact of mechanistic thought on the art of building#

Notes mentioning this note

Here are all the notes in this garden, along with their links, visualized as a graph.