Philosophy Tuesday

The thing about hidden biases is that they’re, well, hidden.

They don’t even occur to us.  And we don’t realize that we have them, because we all tend to walk around thinking that we don’t have these blind spots, and that we’re observing the world fully and then acting rationally.

Except that our observations are not complete.  They’re filtered by what we “know” (in other words, by our contexts and biases and expectations) before they hit our consciousness.  It’s already created and presented a particular reality, a limited story about who I or they or the world could be and is.

Therefore, our rationale is, at best, tainted by this incomplete view.

As the expression goes, “garbage in, garbage out.”  And our biases go on being hidden.

It takes something to break out of that very efficient and quick engine to pause and get present and ask, “what bias is going on right now?”  (Note, not if a bias , but what bias – if we have a brain, we have biases!)

And once we begin to see it/them, once we get present to them, they cease to be hidden.  We get into a position of power.  In the moment, we can choose to take an action that defies the automatic bias.  In the long run, we gain the opportunity to examine them, shape them, and to reduce them.  (Note, not eliminate them – again, if we have a brain, we have biases!)

With that we gain both freedom to be as well as agency to align ourselves with our most authentic selves.

Architecture Monday

At this rate, I’m kinda wanting to go back to kindergarten… they seem to get a lot of great design!

This one uses a skeleton of beefy wood frames, interspersed with glass, to create its intriguing amorphous shape, with the repetition pulling you forward.  (I might even name this the “portal vortex”, though it’s actually and aptly named “the whale”)  It’s a nifty and creative space, and with glass walls not only to the outside but between rooms too, nearly the whole building is connected together.

Very neat. An inventive way to do something engaging and out of the ordinary while maintaining a standard rhythm for construction ease.  Great work.

Kindergarten in Guastalla by  Mario Cucinella Architects

Wonder Wednesday

The crazy amazing thing that is the lantern shield.  It feels so much like a hyper-fictional invention, bristling with sharp bits of a (retractable?) sword, a gauntlet with spikes for weapon trapping, a pointy bit on the shied for bashing, and, yes the titular lantern to dazzle your opponent in the dark.  And yet, it was an actual thing, with writeups in fencing manuals and everything.

Kung Fu clearly doesn’t hold the patent on odd weapons!  (And like many of those, how much the lantern shield was used in practice is perhaps very little…)


Architecture Monday

Thorncrown chapel is a classic, at once both visually striking and yet somehow ethereal at the same time.

The striking part definitively comes from its repeating set of very expressive structural frames, marching into the distance that creates not only a pull forward but also complex sets of overlapping patterns and voids as you move around and through it.  The frames themselves are straightforward (and were designed such that every piece could be carried into the site by hand by no more than two people), but they seem anything but simple when arrayed like they are, one after the other.

The ethereal part comes from the lack of walls.  Not that there really aren’t any walls, for it is enclosed in glass.  But that transparency allows the frames to blend and merge with the forest that surrounds it.  And through this the visual interplay multiplies, between the frames and the trees, and especially how light, shadows, and reflections all begin to dance, with everything taking on a different look and feel as the sun, or moon, or seasons, move and change.

It’s a classic for a reason.  Great work.

Thorncrown Chapel by E. Fay Jones