Last revised: Sunday, 2 September 18 11:18:56 Europe/London
In the context of this wiki, 'Life-like' has a specific meaning, derived from the attempts by Christopher Alexander to guide people to developing their own capacity to recognise the deep 'Quality without a Name' which he identified as the fundamental quality of value (introduced in depth in his book 'The Timeless Way of Building', and elaborated in the four volumes of 'The Nature of Order'.
In this wiki, whenever the term 'life-like' is used, the implication is that the entity or procees referred to has, or should have, a particular quality.
This quality is not 'life' - as in living, breathing, reproducing. It is not life, as in 'evolving', or 'dynamic'.
We are looking for somethong deeper, a quality which we can learn to identify, for which we can say (with more or less confidence perhaps) ythat 'this' choice has more of it than 'that'.
A quality which has to do with wholeness, which has to do with a deep kind of connected order, which has to do with a dynamic kind of resolution of forces / fields.
Christopher Alexander maintains that itis possible to train most people, within a relatively short period of time, to become reasonably good at assessing relatively 'life-like-ness'.
That this is possible because in reality, our bodies recognise this character, and respond to it - that although such recognition is pre-verbal, one can learn to recognise the feeling it engenders (see the quote in the heading 'The Timeless Way of Building'), and indeed attune oneself to this feeling.
To guide people in developing this capacity, Alexander proposed asking oneself one or more of a series of questions, always in a context of relative judgement. Some of these questions are;
The point of these questions, taken together, is that none of them actually mean what they say - that taken together, one can begin to get a grasp of the underlying question that is being asked, which cannot be conveyed using any specific form of words.
In the end, for myself, the 'looks like life' question became the one that worked best, and so that's what I use. Feel free to use whatever works for you - but do what you can to increase your own confidence that you are answering the deeper question, not getting hung up on 'God' or 'me', any more than you might be on 'life'.