Philosophy Tuesday

When we see someone (including ourselves!) exhibiting hypocrisy, especially that of the jaw-dropping kind, it’s not uncommon to wonder, “Wow.  How can they shift and switch their values and beliefs so drastically?”

But here’s the thing:  they didn’t, and they aren’t.  The truth of it is that they never held that value or belief in the first place.

No matter how much or loudly they professed, no matter how dramatically they thumped on it, no matter how righteous they were about it, no matter how insulted and disgusted they acted, it was all just theatre.  It was all an act, using their words and indignations as weapons all uttered in bad faith as a cover up to their real intent.

There’s an ‘in order to’ happening here, something behind the supposed value or belief that is the actual driving force.  A different value or belief, one that is usually non-virtuous in nature and that does not lead towards possibilities of a just, equitable, and loving world.  Instead it is a value or belief or ‘truth’ that is mired in identity, biases, and in rigidly narrow views about the world and those within it.

And often they themselves may not even be fully aware of it.  Cognitive dissonance, the fact we are rational vs rationalizing creatures, the whole nature of hidden biases (that’s why they’re called hidden, after all), all of these can be in play to keep it obfuscated from everyone involved.*

Of course, some are fully aware of it and just don’t care.  They willingly bear false witness to further their aims, trying to hoodwink everyone into missing their actual intent and harm(s).**

Regardless of its exact flavour, rather than get bogged down in engaging with their current value/belief of convenience we can instead step back and look at what their actions are accomplishing, and through that see what’s really going on.  We can discover what is the actual guiding force.

And then we can engage directly with that.

 

* Which is why it would be so refreshing if they were at least aware and honest about it, especially when it’s trying to justify really shitty behaviour.

** And it might be a combo of being partially aware and partially not – rationalizing it so supremely well for themselves that they feel it right even if they don’t fully realize or fully own what’s actually driving it.  Especially if this clashes with one of their morals that they also wield as a cudgel elsewhere!  Again, it’d be preferable for the pretense to drop and just say what’s actually there and actually going on.

Architecture Monday

There’s this local office building that’s been catching my eye as I’ve driven by it both while it was under construction and now that it is complete.  Finally stopped to take a walk around it!

At its heart it kinda follows the glass box typology, but in so many ways it is very far away from ever just being a box.  For one, it’s not just a box – a good half of it skews diagonally like a parallelogram.  For two, it is split in two – with each half getting a slightly different expression (while still using a similar language of black glass and steel with the addition of integrated sunshade blades) and the area where they meet being sculpturally demarked.  For three, it’s not just a mirrored surface of undifferentiated glass, with the steel frame being nicely detailed and sculpturally handled, using double mullions, different mullion depths, and those aforementioned sun shades to give it nice articulation, playing with composition enhanced by differing shadowlines.  (Similar in the way that the detailing of Mies van der Rohe’s TD or Seagram buildings make them lauded while other generic glass towers can easily be eyesores.)

All that is what caught my eye during the construction phases.  But what really catches the eye now is that remarkable glass artwork that sits prominently on its prow.  Abstract in its leafiness and rendered vibrant due to the black background, it really works well, avoiding feeling like a billboard or just some giant image slapped wantonly onto the building.  (Amusingly it is very much held onto the building like something resembling the support structure for a billboard!)  It’s a bit of art that manages well to feel like it’s a part of the building.

Architecture lives in our communities, and we live in it.  This isn’t what we might term a “major” or “glamourous” project, but it’s an err to think good design should only live there.  Good architecture is welcome everywhere and makes our built environment worth living in.  Good stuff.

223 North Mathilda Avenue by, unfortunately, designers unknown.  (I tried to find them but haven’t yet – I’ll keep looking!)

Gaming Thursday

Just received a game I Kickstarted!  Nunami, by Inuit game designer Thomassie Mangiok:

Looks lovely, a game where the intent is towards balance and harmony of the land and people.  I am also super excited that it comes with trilingual instructions.  I can’t read Inuktitut, but I love that they’re there!

Can’t wait to play, though, of course, given what’s going on right now… it’ll be a while before I can get together with someone to play.  Alas!  Until then I will dig into the rules and admire the lovely box (and maybe try playing against myself).

Philosophy Tuesday

We all have these its in our lives where,

Whether in the foreground

Or in the background,

We cannot escape it,

No matter what ground we go to.

 

We often say,

 “I’ve put it behind me…”

Yet when it comes up,

we react,

we resist,

we avoid,

we cry.

 

If we haven’t done the work

to complete it,

It is still there,

Like a monkey on our back,

Guiding us,

Hemming us in,

A barrier we constantly run into.

 

Even though we don’t think it is.

Architecture Monday

When there’s no room to put a town museum in the town proper… sometimes you can create new room!  In this case, by turning the building into a prominent and striking new bridge.

Overall, this is a nice fusion of the old surroundings with a new reinterpretation of form while also leveraging the country’s covered bridge tradition.  The ends securing the bridge are very much nestled within the existing housing stock that lines the river, which really lets the museum become a part of the town.  The galleries inside benefit from the unobstructed light and views, and as a nice bonus the whole thing also provides new (unrestricted, not part of the museum) pedestrian access over the river.

A bold solution to a site constraint that creates new community connection both in the form of the museum and in the literal crossing of the river.  Great stuff.

The Jishou Art Museum by Atelier FCJZ

Gaming Thursday

Playing over Discord during these physically distanced times has been working out quite well, albeit with the occasional moment of hacking something together. To whit, you might get a kick out of this map of an epic assault the crew recently did, as annotated realtime by me in Photoshop as our ‘battle map’…

Rough legend:

  • Characters are in blue
  • NPCs in yellow
  • Structures, vehicles, and antagonists in red
  • Effects and actions are in cyan (and sometimes green)
  • Situation modifiers in the upper right corner
  • Map is not to scale! So it says in the lower right corner

It was quite effective and very fun to do, chronicling everything as we went forward.  And I am super amused at the end result in this crazy work of ‘art’.  BTW, that shuttle at the left side of the map?  It was sitting on the pad for the most of it, and I made great use of the layer transform tools to ‘animate’ it as the player inside piloting, fired the big guns (hence the giant cyan Xs on various bits), and then made their escape with all the kidnapped folk safely onboard…

Needless to say, a good time was had by all involved.

(Super bonus points to all who recognize where the base map comes from…)

 

Philosophy Tuesday

On What’s So

What’s so is always just what’s so. What’s so doesn’t care what you think, feel, intend or wish; it will not bend. You can be freaked out or driven over what’s so, and it won’t change what’s so. If you’re late for an appointment, getting freaked out about it won’t have you arrive any earlier. If you’re having a bad day, being freaked out won’t change what’s so. That which you seek will not bring you satisfaction – aligning with what’s so will. When you’re upset, you’re never upset over what’s so. What’s so is just what’s so, and you’re upset.

If your house burns down and you get upset, does it bring your house back? What’s so doesn’t care if you’re upset; it’s up to you how you handle what’s so. There is no confusion in what’s so. When you don’t know you just don’t know – there is no confusion there. There’s nothing right or wrong about what’s so. What’s so is always open to different interpretations. There’s always just what’s so, and then you have an interpretation. What scares you isn’t what’s so, it’s your interpretation. The interpretation is never true; what’s so is real, the interpretation is not.

Who you’re being is just who you’re being, and what’s so doesn’t care if you’re happy with it or not, so why should you? When you’re not being with what’s so, that’s also just what’s so. Why should you concern yourself? Other people should always be the way they’re being; if you think they shouldn’t, that’s your interpretation. Bring yourself back to what’s so about them. Until you can be with what’s so, you can’t be with anything or anyone. You may have control over other people’s what’s so, but none over their interpretation – give it up.

If you take action or not, it’s still just what’s so. If it works out well or not, it’s still just what’s so. You can never make a right or wrong decision, or take a right or wrong action. Whatever you do will always bring you more of what’s so, and then you have an interpretation about it. Whatever you don’t have, so what? Whatever you’ve done or thought in the past, again so what? Whatever happens in the future is not to be feared. It’s just going to be more of what’s so. The challenge is to spend as much time in what’s so as you can. The chatter in your head is more interpretation, and it has nothing to do with what’s so. There’s nothing wrong with the chatter, it’s just you listening to a fantasy.

The thought that there is something wrong is an illusion; there is nothing wrong, there is only what’s so. Notice when you’re comparing what’s so to some fantasy of how it should be. Bring yourself back to what’s so and it will be OK. Ask yourself what’s so, and align with that. Align with what’s so and it will not matter. That is the foundation of transformation and satisfaction. Not aligning with what’s so is the only thing that will ever bring you hardship or suffering. Life in what’s so will bring you harmony, grace, and balance.

Ask yourself – what’s so about your situation?

— Werner Erhard

(This is great stuff.  And a great reminder that we can never deal with anything powerfully or fully until we are straight with ourselves about what’s so, free from the bits of our interpretation, wants, judgements, stories, narratives, and etc.  We need to bone up, mindful, get present, and be straight with what’s so, right now, in a “just the fact’s, ma’am” kind of way.  Then we can breathe, centre ourselves, engage our central selves, grab the reins of responsibility, and make our choices on who we are going to be, out of which will spring our actions and steps to take all in line with and dealing powerfully with what’s actually so.)

Architecture Monday

I think tonight is a great night to swing by a winery… and wait, it’s designed by Tom Kundig?  SIGN ME UP!

There’s an elegant simplicity to the layout here:  two bars, one that follows the slope of the land, the other that juts outward to hover above it, both clad in weathering steel that grounds it visually into the surrounding hillsides.  The sloping bar contains the functions of the winery while the other contains offices and hospitality bits.  Where they meet, a large covered portico shields entry both for visitors as well as for the grapes, entryways for where all the magic begins.

This straightforward arrangement is accentuated by highlighting the changes of elevation and playing up where the two bars interact.  This is accompanied in no small measure with the hallmark Kundig-style precision detailing that embraces the best of industrial craft.  And  absolutely, a precision deployment of theatricality (which is totally appropriate here).

I’ll raise a glass to that!  And now that’s at least two amazing wineries in BC by Olson Kundig Architects… all the more impetus for me to visit sometime.

Martin’s Lane Winery by Olson Kundig Architects