Philosophy Tuesday

Delving further into the realm of last week’s post and flipping the focus a bit, there is this great quote that is rife for exploration:

“To have great pain is to have certainty.

To hear that another person has pain is to have doubt.”

–Elaine Scarry

Perhaps we can never, ever, fully, know the experience of others, nor can we ever, fully, express our own.  Thousands upon thousands of poems and songs have been written about love or misery, each trying mightily to capture the entirety of even what may seem like the most uncomplicated of emotion.  Yet thousands more will still be written, ever trying more mightily.

And despite all those songs, when we first fall in love, or have our hearts broken, or experience loss, or victory, did it ever truly prepare us?

The real question to ask in our pursuit of being alive, is what is our default thought when we hear about the experience of another?  Or see their actions without further context?  What lens(es) do we bring to bear?  How much generosity to we bring?

More importantly, what do we want our default to be?

It’s easy to be dismissive, to try to fix, to explain, to deny, or, well, simply to doubt the experience and rich context and background of someone else.  Even if that someone else is a friend, or family member. *

And while we may never be fully able to fully know their experience, we can go a long way towards it.  We can turn on our listening and our imagination and empathy and play the game to understand and to know.  Whatever gap is left, we can fill with generous  consideration and dispensation.

It is, after all, what we ourselves want when we are in pain, are feeling thwarted, stomped on, rejected, overwhelmed, without agency, under duress…

We want to be heard and to be known.

In that space, we can all center ourselves, grow, and begin to create the future we all want.

“Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Plato

 

* I wonder if maybe it is even easier to dismiss if they are a friend or family, as it becomes easier to project onto them:  you are my friend/family = therefore we must share the same history = therefore we are the same = therefore your actions or feelings can’t possibly be right.

Architecture Monday

This one’s not completed or open for “business” yet (I say that in quotes as it’s a library and so not really a business) so we can’t see inside, but I do like what I see with the exterior!  Take the corners, pull them up, and insert glass.  Nice.  A straightforward move that, pardon the pun, reads well and really projects the public space within outward to the community it serves.

Not every corner need be pulled up to the same height;  I’m guessing this corner is the children’s wing, and they get their own right-sized windows.

I really dig the black panels that ring the structure.  Ribbed and folded, from a distance they read (again, sorry) like the pages in a book.  It also really contrasts nicely with both the vibrant green of the entry and, even better, the planted roof that’ll help keep the building cool in several senses of the word.

Best of all, check out how the leafy shadows from nearby trees plays across those irregular folds.  Two sets of textures that combine for double richness.

Great stuff.  Kew Gardens Hills Library by WORKac.  Photos by Field Condition.