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Good mind and matter



In architecture we inscribe mind on matter (Alberti). Matter, when ordered, becomes an expression of mind. Ordering is what mind is. The seeking of order is the mind’s business. We pursue mind by appropriating matter and ordering it. But in ordering it we fail to see the order that is already there.

We pursue our dreams, probably not without fear. Our fear describes that which we think we see. Our dreams describe what we hope to see. How do we find good goals? Good is that at which all things aim. (Aristotle's Ethics 1094 a 1) The good is the centre around which the rest arranges itself. Are there no misguided seekers, who aim badly, or who aim in a mistaken belief they know the good? Is everything that is aimed at good? Only in the narrowest sense surely, only in the sense that it is good in the mind of the person in pursuit, the person who aims without having thought things through carefully. That could be messy. But would it be bad?

If we are all allowed to pursue our own good what would happen? It would tame us. (Rawls) At least it would tame us if we make that rule sacred. If I pursue a good that stops you pursuing your good, I take away your freedom. That is not good and should stop me pursuing my good. I should seek out a better good, one that at least does not get in your way, or even better I should pursue a good that benefits you at the same time it benefits me. When there is a conflict, we should talk, to find a way out. This talk has no space for cynicism. Cynicism destroys. But how to get rid of cynicism? We don’t we have to live with it, but we must try to keep it from doing too much damage. In this way we order the world and it becomes mindful of us, because we are mindful of it. The world’s mindfulness expresses itself in our mindfulness. A mindful architecture will help society, it contributes to that society, just as kindness, generosity and justice form the society they institute.



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