Zen and the Principles of Construction

A koan about three schools of thought.

An image in traditional Japanese style, generated by AI, depicting an architect, a landscaper and a constructor in discussion
An architect, landscaper and constructor. Image generated with AI by DALL-E.

It was the end of a beautiful Summer day when a worker came to see a Master, and said: “Master, we are building this new house, but our superiors are quarrelling over the order in which we do things.”

“What are they saying?” asked the Master.

“Well, the landscaper says that our work should be guided by philosophy. But the architect thinks philosophy lacks precision, and believes we should use mathematics. The constructor though has yet another opinion. He says decisions should be based on practice. He is very experienced, you see.”

“A truly fundamental difference of opinion,” said the Master.

“Could it be resolved, Master?”

The Master looked up at the sky, where the stars Bega, Denebu and Arutairu became visible, forming a large, splendid triangle.

“Three stars, in a perfect geometrical setting,” muttered the Master.

At that moment, the worker was Enlightened.

Follow-up post

In the next post, we are going to dig a little deeper into the art of creating more value by doing less work.

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