A Vision of a Living World

by Ben Milton


As physical beings, we are closely attuned to spacial relationships. This goes down to very deep levels, levels that we are sometimes not consciously aware of. Most of us have had the experience of being disturbed by structural arrangements, but we may not have been able to say why. Most commonly, this occurs in building or cities, elements of the built environment erected by humans for humans. It rarely, if ever, occurs in areas shaped by purely natural forces.

This experience can be puzzling. Oftentimes we cannot pin down what feels “right” about one place and “wrong” about another, but the feelings are definitely present, and are usually agreed upon by the majority of the people there. Often the feelings can be quite strong. Chartres Cathedral or the Alhambra, for example, provide deeply moving experiences in their own right, and smaller works of architecture provide this as well; we all know of a house we’ve visited, a road we’ve walked, or even a garden someone planted that evoked a deep sense of rightness.

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