A snow block in an igloo

Here is a perfect example of the way awareness of the whole may shape the part. The part starts out as autonomous. But because the snow is malleable, moldable, cuttable, and shapeable, it is adapted to the whole as soon as it is put in place: the whole evolves, and the part gets shaped according to its position in the whole. Later, it melts into the whole, and becomes almost indistinguishable any more. […]
The blocks themselves are forming slowly, each one getting a more distinct more highly differentiated shape, according to position, Good shape and Strong centers emerge. The spaces between the blocks, being closed up, become coherent centers too, and they become more positive as space, and themselves more center-like. Not-separateness appears as they become inseparable.

If we analyze carefully what is going on in such a situation, we see two directions of influence:
First, obviously, the part is influenced by its position in the whole. The snow block is not modular, but uniquely shaped according to its position and contribution to the shape of the round, domed igloo.
Second, the part is made in such a way as to increase the life of the emerging whole in its large aspects. The igloo, as a shape and as a whole, gets better as the new block is put into it, has more living structure than before: It is improved. With each added block, the wholeness is extended and made stronger.
This is very different from construction of a warehouse from modular panels. In the warehouse you see more of the parts as they go up, but the building is not getting better.
The igloo gets better, since each new snow block creates opportunities for refinement and improvement as it is introduced. The small centers (snow blocks) are formed to help the life of the larger center (igloo), and in the process are shaped by the emerging whole.

#book/The Nature of Order/2 The process of creating life/10 Always making centers#

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