An implicit assumption I have made repeatedly is that each one of us has, within us, a “best” self, a deep self to which we may appeal, where our sense of harmony and right comes from.

In the language I have used earlier, this best self which lies within us, is also that I or great self of which we are a part, and it is that self to which we appeal when we ask which of two things is more like a picture of the self. It is a constant reservoir, within us, of all that is good.

It is significant, too, that living structure may be identified empirically by the extent to which it is a picture of one’s self. Here again, it is this reference which each person can make to a nearly universal entity, existing within all of us, and it is this reference which provides us with the surest guide to what is living structure and what is not.

In order to create living structure, we must please ourselves.

This single prescription covers the whole environment, covers everything essential. If you want to create transcendent unity — true living order — in a building, you need to please yourself. And you need only please yourself. But you must please yourself truly. And to do that you must first discover your own true self, come close enough to it, and listen to it, so that it can be pleased.

Does this sound absurd? And does it sound too easy? It is not absurd. And it is that kind of “easy” which is so hard that on most days it is almost undoable, because to do it we have to break down every resistant force that remains in us. To reach the ultimate I, the transcendent ground of all existence, you have to reach yourself. To make the great work, you have to do that thing which lies in you like a small child, not hidden, just waiting there, and pushed aside, every day of your life, so that you never realized that it is, after all, this which waits, this which is the ultimate of which we are capable.

Having grown up in an era of moralistic prescriptions, of laws, rules, theories, regulations, prescriptions — all well-meaning, but all ultimately incapable of creating living structure — it would be astonishing, truly amazing, to find out that if we can only learn how to please ourselves, that prescription by itself will always create living structure.

(Page 272)

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