The ground

A thing does not get its unity from being “beautiful”. The unity comes from the fact that the various centers are harmoniously connected, and that every center helps every other center. That is the great thing and it is this which causes real unity to exist. But above all, it comes from the fact that in the thing, throughout the thing, we see the I in every part, at every scale. We see only one I, the same I, shining out from every part.

In some cases this results in something which we may call beautiful in the ordinary sense of the word. In another case, the result of the helping between the centers is beautiful only in the sense that it fills us with life, reminds us of ordinary everyday things, reminds us of the messiness and goodness of everyday life — but is not beautiful in the sense that it would make a great picture in an architectural magazine.

The fact that everyday life, in the visceral, raw, down-to-earth sense, is connected to the physical coherence in geometry, which I have described in the red and yellow painting, is unexpected. The unity is not merely a unity in the surface, in the appearance of things — it is a unity of the most fundamental kind, which goes to the raw reality and which has, when it occurs, a highly unexpected, sometimes rambling, sometimes ferocious, sometimes friendly, even sometimes absurdly crude or comfortable character.

(Pages 257-258)

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