Pattern #6


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Pattern Card

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Caring into Quality Card - version 1


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Caring into Quality

Wisdom involves taking care. So recognize, value and nurture art, skill, authenticity and mindful attention in all engagement with life, with each other, and in everything we create. Be rightfully proud when the beauty and functionality of quality co-creations enhance the quality of life for all, now and into the future.

Related: 2 Appreciative Thinking, 22 Enough Time, 24 Exuberance, 32 Integrity and Authenticity, 49 Quality of Life Indicators62 Universal Intelligence, 66 Well-Utilized Life Energy

Going deeper …

This is an edited version of the video on this page.

Caring about quality in this context involves caring about the quality of both ends and means. There is a sense of design and craftsmanship going on here. We want the things that we do to generate and manifest wisdom to have quality.

The care that is taken or can be taken in creating high-quality conversations can include having aesthetic spaces for people to talk in, spaces that have nature present, that have enough space and light, etc. You can include in your caring the design of powerful questions for people to consider, and the kinds of conversations that they are going to have with each other. There is an art to all this, and we’re going to take the time and attention to make that art and to celebrate it. That is quality of means.

And quality of ends includes having a beautiful space to live in, have life-giving wholesome spaces to live in. But that’s not all, by a long shot.  My late partner Karen talked about how beauty can be a whole social change movement because poverty isn’t beautiful, war and hate and pollution aren’t beautiful. There is a way we can just focus on beauty and the quality, the attractiveness, the nurturance of whatever we’re trying to create. So there’s a way in which the quality of what we do and the quality of what we’re trying to create is a big part of bringing broad benefit to many people and many entities.

So we recognize, value and nurture art, skill, authenticity of expression, and mindful attention to our engagement. We seek and appreciate a high quality, beautiful, alive engagement with our partner, with our children, with our neighbors. We take pride in engaging that way with each other and with the situations we encounter.

Some people are particularly capable of engaging with life situations with a certain presence.  They have an elegance about the way they deal with whatever is going on, they don’t get all upset and flustered, and they are there, really there. There’s something amazing, attractive, awesome about how people like that go about living their lives. One way of caring into quality is to have those people around, to celebrate them, and to try to imitate them as role models rather than imitating people who are violent and stupid. The is a quality of attention to them and from them that we value, that we want to model and encourage.

This pattern suggests a desire to have a vibe of craftsmanship in everything we do, individually and collectively. Of course we can’t achieve that all the time but it is useful to have that as something we strive for and celebrate when it happens. Beauty and functionality, the combination of those two, is part of the quality that I’m talking about. I think of the beautiful woven baskets and ceramics of certain civilizations and modern artists nowadays, that combine beauty and functionality.

There is a movement promoting good design in everything, design in architecture, design in magazines, design in creating computers. Apple products are famous for bringing design sensibility not just in terms of functionality but also in terms of elegance into the world of electronics. If our functional things are beautiful and our beautiful things are functional it’s almost like that’s the definition of the quality of life we are seeking for ourselves and for everyone else and future generations.

How do we make a world more beautiful for our great-grandchildren than the one we have now? This is a very interesting question to ask and pursue. This caring is not just empathy for people but caring into the quality of what we do and the outcomes that we are producing.

Video Introduction (11 min)

Examples and Resources

In meditation you train your mind and attention to pay attention, to be present, and to be appreciative. These are capacities that encourage this caring into quality.

Design consciousness in all public affairs as well as in everything else nurtures this pattern. To think that it’s just a matter of doing a process and that will create the result won’t work. It’s a matter of what elements can we put in place, how can we meet our obligations and the possibilities of this situation in a way that will generate this quality and not just go through the motions. So much in public affairs is going through rote motions without this consciousness of quality.

Imagine a society where these things are being supported and practiced. That’s a society I like to imagine living in. These are all approaches I can see supporting this. And it is all key to the broad benefits we want our collective wisdom to generate and it is also key to the means we choose to generate that wisdom.

Having aesthetic spaces in our workplaces, governance spaces, and conversational spaces supports this caring into quality. We promote aesthetics as in art or other forms of craftsmanship. People have gifts, they have certain capacities. Great artists, you could say, have a natural bent towards art. They more naturally create beautiful things of aesthetic quality. If people have a natural quality of leadership, they bring quality to their leadership. The word “gift” in the sense of a skill or capacity means that what they are doing and bringing to the world is a gift. There is some quality about that that is good.

Thinking about children and people who are ”disabled” or who are considered limited in some way, we can ask “What is their gift?” We need to recognize that, draw it out, mentor it, develop it and enhance it, so that people in general are expressing their best capacities all the time. To the extent that we can create social contexts which evoke and support that, we are pursuing this caring into quality. This person may not have gifts in this area, so we are not going to delve into that. We are not going to spend a lot of time focusing on shortcomings. We are going to focus on the capacities they bring to us and celebrate that.

Pattern languages themselves support this quality. This pattern language is only one of many. A pattern language looks at design elements that call forth what Christopher Alexander, who co-founded pattern languages, called “the quality that has no name.” When I say quality and meaning, I am referring to wholeness, spirit and aliveness, which is what Alexander was referring to when he said “the quality that has no name”, according to his later writings. Pattern languages look at a field or area of human endeavor and make it clear that you can do it in ways that degrade life, or you can do it in ways that enhance life. So let’s look at the things we can do to enhance the life in each particular realm.

This pattern language is about wise democracy and looking at how to generate wise democracy. The pattern language itself is a tool that guides our caring into activities that will generate the kind of quality I am talking about, as it shows up in our politics, governance and public affairs.