Exactly: a point of view is the set of conscious constraints a design thinker adopts in order to make a specific statement. In the case of Anathem’s Millenium Clock, it is about a design which can be complex and nuanced because of a ready supply of labor to run and maintain its myriad mechanisms. Another point of view could have been to design a very simple clock with few moving parts, the extreme version of this point of view being a sundial.
I submit to you that, as a rule, things that are remarkable are born from a strong point of view. Those that are not remarkable are often the result of a muddled point of view, or no point of view at all. Having a point of view requires making choices among many possible alternatives. Having a point of view means having a vision of what good looks like as a means to make those choices. You can feel it when something was created with that vision in mind. And when that vision was not in play, you can feel the lack of it.
Inhale – Best definition I’ve heard for a NS reading experience. His best books “permeate” your mind / soul during their reading, and usually long after.
I haven’t read Anathem (not sure it’s available yet in Australia), but I understood the final part of the section you quoted:
“They were thinking that plenty of avout would always be here to maintain it. But I take your point. Some of the other Millennium Clocks are more like what you have in mind: designed so that they can run form millennia with no maintenance at all. It just depends on what sort of statement the designer wanted to make”
as meaning that the clock was designed to *require* maintenance. A clock that’s designed to run without maintenance doesn’t require a collection of followers to maintain it. That is, the millennium clock was designed to be a social object to be engagd with and a point of focus for the faithful, rather than something remote from the faithful.
Ben, you are right: the clock was designed to be maintained.