The quote is from Christopher Alexander’s book A Pattern Language. It’s an introduction + 200 or so “patterns” (design principles from different levels of architecture, from cities to chairs), where the reader can consult patterns that feels relevant to them. He recommends A Timeless Way of Building for more of the theory, and A Pattern Language for a more applied representation.
re 1) I have thought of it as imagining a child whose arms has chosen to grow faster by becoming an adult arm before the rest of the child body. The decoherence in the child is represented by the fact that not only is the arm putting strain on the child’s body, the child likely awkwardly uses the adult arms in exceptionally sub-optimal ways to the dissatisfaction of the arm and the body. In addition, from the arm’s “perspective”, it’s likely to believe it’s altruistically helping the body by growing faster to reach higher and can feel defensive when feedback from the body is asking it to slow down. Hope this help illuminate the meaning of coherence here!
re 2) My understanding would be that this is extraordinarily difficult. Though as EA is a movement that puts good epistemics as a fundamental value, I also think we have one of the best shot at doing this well and learn from that process.
I really appreciate you engaging with the post the way you did!