The class of living processes
Most living processes are of one of three types:
- A single use of the fundamental process.
- A string of steps, each one an instance of the fundamental process, the series strung together one after the other, so that the process may be seen as the sequential creation of living centers.
- A nested hierarchy of steps, each one an instance of the fundamental process, so that these steps are carried out not in a single precise order, but in a general broad order, each one then calling upon further steps, until the whole is finished.
A living process may occur in a person’s mind while conceiving the idea of a great building. A living process may happen in the cooperative work of a group of people making a park or a building together; it may happen in the actual fabrication or creation of a building element; it can happen in the peripheral processes which govern aspects of buildings, plans, and the environment.
A living process always preserves a certain natural order, and happens in a certain natural sequence. Typically (though not always), we may say that the process moves from larger wholes to smaller ones, first allowing the largest ones to unfold from the context, then growing or filling in smaller ones within the context of the larger whole.
At other times, though, a process goes the other way, beginning with a small thing, which then grows larger, and extends, preserving or developing a larger wholeness. That is what happens when one particular plant grows in a forest. The forest does not first establish a larger plan for the forest as a whole. What happens is that each small process acts to contribute to a (not yet perfectly defined) emerging larger whole, and keeps developing the wholeness in that way.
#book/The Nature of Order/2 The process of creating life/7 The fundamental differentiating process#