This state of not-separateness in the yellow tower is not different from what we have discussed before. It is the same thing… just wholeness, or life. What is new now is only that I keep attention on the fact that wholeness is the state in which each thing is continuous and part of the larger whole. It is a state in which the world is melted. In this view, we finally see wholeness in the most helpful way of all, because here it is quite unpretentious and ordinary. The more any portion of space is unified, the more inseparable it becomes from all the rest. So, in the end, the intricacy and richness of a beautiful thing does not arise from the desire to make something rich or intricate, it only arises from the particular desire to make it perfectly one in itself, and with the world.
It is perhaps surprising, but necessary to recognize, that I cannot make a thing which has this not-separateness, unless I honestly want it. That means I must give up my wish to draw attention to myself. I must honestly want the thing which I am making to become part of the greater world, inseparable from it. In order to see, or feel, or listen for the glimmers of the I, it is necessary to be in a very definite state of mind. I have to want to be not-separate.
As I have described earlier, deep down in my heart there are usually subtle instincts which make me want to stand out, to be identified — instincts, in short, which make me want to be separate. But to feel the quality in the ground, to be able to be sensitive to what it is, I have to have my eye, my ear, my feeling, very finely tuned to listening to the possible conditions in which the feeling of real oneness could occur, what it would be like if it did occur, and so on. For this, I must lose my preoccupations with myself and keep it only with the thing. I must be open to this very vulnerable and subtle substance.
What I have found out is that I cannot be sensitive to this subtle substance unless I have a genuine desire for all things to be one — I myself, the thing I am making, and everything else as well. The desire does not need to be active. But there must be no desire at all for separateness. Any trace of a desire for separateness will destroy completely my ability to hear the one, whispering through, as I go through my trials and efforts in the making process.
Thus, to make a thing which is one, I struggle — myself, the maker — to become one with the world. This sounds nice. It sounds like religious stuff again. But I am doing it only to become better, only because I do want, in the end to make a perfect thing. It is terribly hard, because to become one with he world, I must genuinely want to become one with it. I have to catch each flash of “wouldn’t this little detail be great” and kill it. Instead I must keep on the hard work of paying attention, trying to understand what I need to make the deep feeling come forth.
This means that I must genuinely give up all the remnants of my desire to be separate. I must genuinely seek, and want, and open my arms to being not separate. Most of the time I fail. I fail because, to do it, I must honestly give up every last trace of wanting to be distinct, famous, separate, identifiable. That is one reason why I have to do so many experiments — trying, testing, failing, failing, failing — then once in a blue moon, one time in twenty, occasionally succeeding. I fail those nineteen times because I am trying to think something, I think I have a good idea. Then the twentieth time, somehow, when I am lucky, something perfect sneaks in, without my knowing it. But I have to be fast enough to catch it when it comes.
And that I can do best when I am looking all the time to make a gift for God. Because when that twentieth one comes along, even though I did not produce it, I am smart enough, and fast enough, to see it, to know that suddenly, this one is humble, this one moves towards not separateness — this one has a tiny chance of being a gift for God.
This is why, from a practical point of view, there is a connection between building and religion. The connection is not historical. It is empirical, because the religious disciplines are just those which have taught people how, practically speaking, to lose themselves. Not only how to become not-separate but — far harder — how to become willing to become not-separate.
Because a great work cannot be made except by a person who has become willing to be not separate, it follows that the great works of history are associated with religion. It has been that way simply because the great religions all taught an essential prerequisite for making works of oneness. Few other disciplines have done so.
That is a pretty fine argument. Another piece of the puzzle which fits in neatly and makes the theory more whole, and at the same time making Alexander look a little bit less religious and a little bit more scientific. Notable, though: it is not religion that is required, just the state of mind and desire to not be separate.
Not-separateness, like everything else we have discussed, is a physical attribute of order. It is something which is visible within any building that has life. But when we concentrate on the problem of creating it, it arises only from a certain state of mind. Thus not-separateness simply means that a thing which is whole will be made, in the end, only by the genuine desire, on the part of the maker, not to be separate from the world. In other words, it is the state of mind of the maker, in the end, which produces the deepest forms of order — and these deepest forms cannot be produced except by this state of mind. It requires the definite intention to become one with the world.
This idea cannot be realized in a building without a change, a quietness, in the maker. It requires absolute removal of the individual ego, because what is created can no longer stand out and be separated from everything else, and therefore loses its personal identity. And yet, paradoxically, in the moment where this absolute identify and not-separateness is attained in a thing, and it truly becomes one with the things which surround it, it stands out shining with an extraordinary power which could never be reached under any other circumstances.
This is, perhaps, the central mystery of the universe: that as things becomes more unified, less separate, so also they become most individual, and most precious.