What are patterns? Are they essentially spatial? mathematical? analytical? sensory? Or what are they? Of which aspect are they a major theme of the kernel, and of which are they analogies?
Many have taken an interest in patterns. They are important, of course, in architecture, and Alexander has written a notable book entitled A Pattern Language, in which he suggests patterns that should guide land use and building. Then Gamma, writing from the standpoint of information technology, tries to place all programming into just a few patterns, in his book Meta-Patterns. In the realm of biology we find the classic book, Of Growth and Form by d'Arcy Thompson, in which he explores the many and varied patterns one finds in nature.
There are patterns in mathematics, but maybe these are analogical of other aspects. We might argue that to be aware of pattern we must distinguish a thing from its background, which places patternness in the analytical modality. But here is a test: can pattern exist without someone having distinguished it? If so, then it is not analytical; if not, it is analytical.
With this question, I tend towards the idea that pattern is really spatial in its essence, but that there are many echoes and analogies of pattern in all other aspects. But there is also an important element of matching in pattern.
Alexander makes much use of this, in that he invites us to match our context and needs against his statement of context and problem, and if the match occurs, his suggested rules for the pattern pertain. In this sense, there is a strong element of the juridical ('what is due') in Alexander, in that he is discerning what is 'due' in or to a situation.
Copyright (c) 2010 Andrew Basden. But you may use this material subject to conditions.
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