Moves or patterns
Dieter: This is my dilemma: on one hand I think one should think in patterns. At several points in the game you stop and conceive the patterns that are to follow. Then you choose one, and if the opponent goes along, there is no point in reflecting every move of the pattern. On the other hand, I think it is interesting to think in moves, because it prevents automatic play. In an experiment of mine, I pick three moves each time, that seem to fit my purpose or are interesting in another sense, then pick the one which gives the best result. Ordering myself to stop at each move has helped me to unlearn a couple of bad habits and develop alternatives for standard moves, sharpening my technique.
Jurgen: At the moment I think I'm rather using moves instead of patterns (and I distinctly remember that experiment, as I was the lab rat :-). I do not yet grasp enough of go to think in patterns. And also, I don't have any wish to learn joseki yet, as I'll probably use them wrongly anyway.
mAsterdam: Both are absolutely necessary. Syllables or words? Bricks or walls? I don't think there is a dilemma between different levels of construction. You have to use the parts from the different levels at the same time to create something - sometimes you create a thing that has relevance on several levels. "Yes." One syllable, one word, one sentence, a complete answer and sometimes the start of something big. Level switching might be a problem sometimes.
Velobici: Patterns, definitely. Until recently, I played only moves...each one weighed and considered with similar care and time, but for clear situation where deeper reading was needed. Now I am playing patterns. Choosing how I want to proceed in an area of the board and playing it out, such that play has acquired a clear rhythm, considering followups to a given situation (slow) followed by playing out the continuation rather quickly (fast). Automatic play is avoided by running through a checklist before each move: self-atari, snapback, liberty shortgate, connection problem, base problem, etc. This is not to say that the plays in pattern occur immediately in sequence, often a little of the pattern is played in one area, then another area of the board, and another area, finally returning to the original area. At that point the choice of pattern may need to be reconsidered in light of the rest of the board. The board has become smaller as understanding of the game and recognition of these patterns has increased.
Moves! If a pattern is acceptable, obviously each individual move must be as well (see tewari), but a move can be great without necessarily being part of a sequence or pattern at all. Don't be focused on just the current move though, seeing the follow-ups and whatnot is important as well. ~srn347
Bob McGuigan: I think most moves are parts of patterns. We have to include patterns made by both colors, of course, such as joseki, shapes, etc. I'm not sure how a move can be great if it doesn't fit into a pattern of some kind. Even the first move of the game is likely to be part of a pattern. It is generally accepted that skillful play requires making your stones work well together. That also suggests a pattern, though maybe a large scale one. Tesuji moves must be part of patterns since they take advantage of shapes and arrangements of stones; the very fact that we have "dictionaries" of tesuji suggests that there is some organization or pattern to them. Of course we have to think of moves by themselves sometimes, but I think the most effective thinking involves patterns. It's like two people speaking a foreign language. One has to formulate sentences by translating word by word from the native language, the other is familiar enough with the target language and knows the patterns of sentences well enough to "think" in the foreign language. Which one is the more effective speaker?