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Building Pattern Languages

Towards a Cultural Metaphysics of Complexity

- some seeds -

The few patterns you can find here are nothing more than sketches; a partial, single-pass approach from a single author ( Dil Green ) - in the hope of communicating the promise of what might be possible if a community became engaged in developing the culture of Pattern Language. This is not to say that such communities do not exist in a number of contexts, around particular scopes. The vision here is one of connection, of interaction, of cross-fertilisation - a context in which all sorts of approaches to Pattern Languages could come into lively relationship.
To read more about the ambitions behind this site, look here.


The Patterns

Pattern Language Culture

We begin with that part of the language that describes a living Pattern Language culture. These patterns cannot be brought directly into existence: all we can do is to gradually create and refine the conditions in which they can develop.
We develop Pattern Languages , not for their own sake, but because we wish to develop our capacity to live well within complex environments. Pattern languages are a tool which can help us map these environments, trace the flows within them, and develop shared understanding of these in community. But the languages are not where we want to live - if the languages are useful, it is as a learning and a practice that connects our unconsciousness - the most capable and flexible tool for engaging with complexity known to us - with our reality.
The domains that are appropriate for building Pattern Languages around are complex systems, full of feeedback loops and interconnections.When the forces at work in these systems are well resolved at each interaction locus, the system will approach the condition of a Melted Unity - where each aspect seems utterly implicated by the whole, and vice versa. Pattern Languages cannot in themselvs build such conditions - any more than dictionaries in themselves can build stories. Practice and develop skill with the Poetry of the Language with the aim of Transcending Patterns To foster Melted Unities.
Seeking to be Transcending Patterns , wanting to support the emergnce of the condition of Melted Unity , we hope to contribute to the development of the social capacity to use the Language as Poetry.
To achieve a cultural condition which understands that complexity is the most salient characteristic of life-like conditions, and which can engage assuredly with complexity in the furtherance of life, we need scaffolding. We need to build the frameworks within which intelligence, creativity, curiosity and love can develop such a culture.
Desirous of interacting beneficially with the Melted Unity that is reality, we build Pattern Languages. Through familiarity and practice with these, we hope to become capable with the Poetry of the Language , and in the end, become capable of Transcending Patterns.
In order for Pattern Languages to be viable, they must live - be seeded, grow, develop, respond, interact, and eventually lose vitality and melt into the background culture.
As we develop Pattern Languages and the skills of the Poetry of the Language , we need to pay attention to the processes which will keep it relevant.
We are building a Living Language , understanding that it must support the Poetry of the Language ; but this poetry cannot be 'written' by individuals.
Now that we have an understanding that all Pattern Languages must have the character of Living Language , we must understand that they will come into being, strive to grow and develop, gain strength and capacity, and at last be prepared to die. We need to understand that they have a life cycle...
We are working to develop a Living Language , fostering the Social Poetry . Now we can begin to think about the specific social structures through which this becomes real.


Pattern Languages

We now move on to that part of the language that describes the key structures and processes that can be sensibly built and used by small groups of people - the builders and architects of the Languages.
Although in the end, all Pattern Languages will be found to require each other, distinct characters of languages will be relevant in different domains, with different use cases.

A key use-case for Pattern Languages is in the contect of work to build new systems, or, more often, to improve existing ones. These are Design Languages.
As with any language, a Pattern Language has a structure
As we develop Pattern Languages we seek and discover all kinds of patterns. As we understand the Pattern Scope of a pattern we are working one, we can begin to understand its place in structure of the language.
A Living Language will contain many patterns, each of which will take the form it needs. At a first approximation, consider the scope of a pattern.
The next group of patterns helps us identify a Pattern and its basic characteristics

To build Pattern Languages , Language Gardeners need to be able to discover and identify Patterns with some skill.



Here we identify practices and actions that contribute to the quality, robustness and usefulness of a pattern
Process and mode Patterns. These are not specific to this pattern language, but are included here as the language which would be their natural 'home' is not yet in existence.

In complex systems, the only iron law is the Law of Unintended Consequences. When building a Pattern Language, we embark on a social investigation of a complex system.To maximise learning and minimise unintended consequences, start with the simplest, most obvious characteristics of the system, and attempt to document these.
Here we develop patterns that help us document and communicate patterns. Using such patterns rigorously helps us determine the robustness of the identification, analysis and understanding of patterns we work on.
Pattern Languages consist of patterns, broadly characterised according to a Hierarchy of Scope. But Patterns need structure, too.
We can hope to make this structure more cognitively assimilable by using a well designed Pattern Template.