So I was hanging out on Twitter on Saturday night, as one does, and clicked on this lovely link from @sharislade:


Nice, right? So I stare and stare, because, DUH, the portion of this man we see is pretty close to ideal. Then I zoom in on the book beneath This is New York (which, on its own would have been enough to make him my dream man, but wait, there’s more!) I zoom in on the maroon book and it is The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander. I didn’t know it. I wanted to learn more. More delightful facts emerged. Then I ended up at YouTube and found this message from Prof. Alexander.

I loved what he said so I transcribed it here, in case you like to read while you listen. I like to read while I listen. So here it is. Without further ado, here’s the transcription:

Published on YouTube on Apr 10, 2013

“On September 5, 2011, Mr. Hiro Nakano, architect, interviewed Prof. Christopher Alexander, architect, at his home, Arundel, England.
Prof. C. Alexander said that many places are feeling a kind of “Despaired,” so the question is what to do about it.”

YouTube link:

“So anyway Hiro asked me to say a very short something, because his feeling is that Japan has been in a special rather very bad circumstance with, of course, the earthquake and the tsunami and that somehow people—I don’t know this for myself, I just I’m hearing it through Hiro—that the people are losing their confidence altogether and don’t quite know how to get back to a nourishing life. And, actually, it’s not just in Japan, I mean, in the United States it’s the same thing. No one really mentioned it yet, but it’s the same problem. And also in England. Many, many places are feeling this kind of…despair really would be not too strong a word. And so the question is, what to do? And I started, rather a long time ago, to take an orientation towards what is beauty and what is good. And it sounds almost childish to say like that, but I’m getting old now so I don’t care about making a fool of myself. My advice to you is to make sure, whatever you are deciding, or whatever you are doing, or whatever you are making—any action you are taking—make sure that it has inner beauty. Whether it’s an action or a thing or a saying or a picture or a poem—anything—or just helping somebody get on the bus… it should be… to have some kind of inner beauty, which you can help it to have. And if you take that seriously, it will change everything. Of course, when you first hear about it and somebody says, “What good is that going to do?”—it’s very easy to get deflected or to get somebody to tell you “Oh, it’s nonsense.”—all sorts of stuff like that—but actually when you come face to face with real beauty it changes you and it changes the other people who are witnessing it or thinking it and they will take a different road. And I think that, although this is so simple, it’s extremely powerful. Because it only comes from the heart (kokoro is the right word for heart, right?) so, I think if you take this advice—I know it seems almost trivial—but if you take this advice, it will change your own life. And if you’re always trying just to find the small beauties that exist in the world—all over the place, I mean, we were just talking about the sunlight coming through the leaves out there, and you said, “I really like the sunlight coming through the leaves.” It’s not a big thing; it’s a huge thing. And if you rearrange your life so that you are always looking for those kinds of situations, for those kinds of gestures, for those kinds of small touching events that happen in people’s lives, nothing can cut that away. Money . Money can be cut and made ugly. It is most of the time. So many things. But the sunlight shining through the green leaves there can’t be disturbed. That’s all. Thank you.”