Philosophy Tuesday

“Some of the thoughts you have inside your head aren’t even yours…”

Abigail Thorn

(A great reminder about how much of our world view, our reality (which we experience as capital-R Reality), is formed by inherited contexts, picked up through osmosis because that’s just what’s “normal“.  Our brains are amazing pattern-making machines and are always reading between the lines and determining what’s “true “and what’s “real”.  And what we’re immersed in we tend to become and believe.  And thus, we thought it out all the time.

But it isn’t ours.  We didn’t create it.  We didn’t examine it.  We didn’t even realize there was anything to examine — so seamless was our automatic adoption that it seems to come fully formed, as real as the hand in front of our face.

Except it isn’t real, in the way gravity or rocks or water are.  It’s just a context.  And because of that we can examine it, reflect on it, meditate on it, and bring mindfulness to it.

If it’s useful, we can keep it.

If it’s not useful, or productive, or nurturing, or empowers us and those around us, we can put those thoughts and views and beings aside, and, in that clearing, create new possibilites.)

Architecture Monday

There’s a lot of nifty things about this community centre and nursery that are pretty cool, not the least of which is the way it organizes itself around a courtyard and gardens, or the many sustainable features (including an underground labyrinth for natural air conditioning).  But what I’m going to fixate on tonight is its brick.  It’s rugged brick, which creates a rich base texture, but it’s also used in extraordinary ways to create patterns, layers, shadows, and remarkable sculptural forms, both inside and out.

There are so many nifty techniques used here, from the simple shift of horizontal to vertical courses, or a shift from running to stacked bond, to stepped depth and the turning of bricks to create projections that explode into 3D and catch the sun in brickly delights.  The many circular openings that jump out from the rectangular walls and patterns.  And then there’s the form of the building itself, big and boxy but using the depth of its walls, revealed by recesses and openings, to create something feeling comfortingly sturdy.

Grand work.  Brick can be very banal, but with some care it can be quite an impressive and wonderful beast.  I love it.

Storey’s Field Centre and Eddington Nursery by MUMA

Philosophy Tuesday

We need to watch out for, and push back on, and resist, those who perpetrate the “Siblings in the Back Seat” ruse.

You know the schtick:  where one sibling will poke and prod and annoy the other until, understandably, they push back, and then it’s all “MoooOOoOooooOOOOooom, they’re hitting me!”  And thus the instigator turns themselves into the victim, and the actual aggrieved is the one who gets punished.

It’s a depraved and cruel way of behaving, though it is most certainly cunning.*  Cunning enough to become adopted and carried forth through life, where the stakes become much higher than that in the back seat and where the effects are felt not only interpersonally, but through families, communities, companies, and even to the level of countries.  Where the stakes are very high indeed, and where this trickery is used to delegitimize and dehumanize, as a pretext for theft and persecution, to justify highly asymmetric responses, and, in general, to excuse and even try to legitimize all manner of deleterious and harmful behaviour.

But it is possible to see through this deceit.  Once we observe enough back seat shenanigans, we can begin to recognize the pretense.  We can stop falling into the trap. We can call it out, and align ourselves accordingly.**

Even on ruses that have been perpetrated for 73 years.

 

* This is, in many ways, a variant on the DARVO technique.

** We can do this even if, once, we bought into them.  Perhaps even bought into them fully. Unquestioningly.  Gleefully.

*** Said another way is simply this:  We need to be very wary of and verify the stories of enthusiastic aggressors.

Architecture Monday

Oh this one’s awesome… (and kinda close to my hometown!)  An over 125 year old romanesque post office brought to new purpose to become a ‘bookless’ library, filled with creative labs and maker spaces and more.  And it’s not just the stately post office building, it’s a new wrap-around glass pavilion that reaches out to engage the adjacent canal and make the whole shebang a part of the community space.

So, yeah, that gallery that hangs out over the river pretty much sells the whole thing.  I mean, the original (and restored) post office is also lovely, with its arched windows, half turrets, towers, steep gable roof, and the brick and stone.  All of that is enhanced with the new glass and steel surround that cantilevers not just once, but twice, hovering first over the water, then above over a patio/deck.  And the undersides of which hasn’t been neglected, with polished aluminum and integrated lighting that speaks towards a future river walk.  It’s dynamic and playful and though a very different language than the original building that contrast enhances each other, even more so when they are reflected off the water whether by day or, glowing like a lantern, at night.

Lots of light, lots of great views to the river and city beyond, and more interplay between the crisp new and the rugged old are what awaits within.  These two languages combine in a culmination in the third floor maker space, inhabiting the cathedral-like space under the old high-pitched roof amongst the old support frames.

For an added bonus, there’s the glass ceiling that looks up into the old clock tower, putting the mechanisms on display!

Very cool project, another example of taking something already existing and, through re-use and a clever set of additions, turning it into something even greater.  Plus public maker spaces/etc are a great addition to a community (I loved the one at the new library in Helsinki).  And if you, like me, still love traditional book-filled libraries, there’s one right across the river.

Ideas Exchange by RDHA

Snowy Rails Thursday

In the mood for a little bit of train porn this evening?  Then this video is perfect, a serene transfer run, starting in the lowlands and moving upwards into the mountain and snow….

And while the whole video is great, this segment here is the climax, in a wonderful mix of sun, bold clouds, icy lakes, white mountains, and snow blowing across the tracks all during a high speed run with the soothing monotony of the engine.  Lovely.

Philosophy Tuesday

“Vermeer celebrated real people.  Doing ordinary things.  He offered the radical idea that you didn’t have to be special, or important, or magical, or legendary to be worth being painted or thought about or remembered.

So it turns out there are two ways of explaining history.  We can be like the early Romans and invent these magical, wonderous, brilliant people who gave everything to us.

Or, we can be like Vermeer.  A bunch of ordinary, everyday people built Stonehenge just by working together and putting time and effort into it.  A bunch of ordinary people make video games by working together very hard for hours and days and years to make it.  A bunch of regular, ordinary people built Rome over the span of a very long time, contributing to what would later be remembered as the exploits of one man.

This way is no where near as magical as we like to imagine put our worlds together.

The truth is often very mundane.

But maybe that’s OK.”

hbomberguy

(from a totally fascinating documentary about the arcade game Dragon’s Lair!)