Posts Tagged ‘community’

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Philosophy Tuesday

July 10, 2018

Something in image form…

… full of mirth and insight

(and even deep, profound, recognition and realization…)

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Philosophy Tuesday

July 3, 2018

“I don’t even know them… why should I have empathy for them?”

I heard this quote during an interview on the radio the other day.

I would like to answer the question.

Beginning with that empathy, and its cousin, compassion, by its very nature is a generous act, one given freely.  It is not transactional.  ‘Knowing’ someone is secondary.

We interact with and pass by and come in contact with and inhabit the same space as countless people in any given day.  Many, and sometimes most, of them are people we don’t even know.

Empathy is what has it work (and the more empathy, the more it can and will work).  It is what has our daily lives be orderly, safe, courteous, striving forward.

It is what allows them to aid you when you are sick, or had a fire, or were hit by a disaster, or are grieving, or are just tired and frustrated at the end of a long day.

It can be the outpouring of support that gets you back on your feet.

It can just as easily be that smile and little bit of service, so you can get home and put your feet up.

Empathy allows us to build communities and build all the great things that come from working together.

Empathy is strength.

Empathy allows people to take us as seriously as we want to be taken.

It allows us to be related.  To feel connected.  To be generous, loving, laughing, giving, collaborative, and all the ways of being that we want and make us feel great.

Empathy is the pathway to discovering our spirit, in the grandest sense of the human spirit.

Empathy downright feels good.

And here’s the big thing.

You can’t ever ‘KNOW’ someone without empathy.

By your question, you clearly want to ‘know’ people.

Just as you, very much, desperately, like all of us, want to be known.

If no one grants you empathy, you will never be known.

And vice versa.

Being empathic allows that knowing to flow, and with it comes being touched, moved, and inspired.  By others and by ourselves.

Empathy begets empathy begets empathy begets empathy.

So the why I would assert that you should have empathy to those you don’t know is because you don’t know them.

 

* And, of course, this is not to say you shouldn’t be empathic to those you do ‘know’ as well!  Friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, lovers, significant others, business relations, whomever.

** And the reason I keep putting ‘know’ in those quotes is because thinking we know someone in the same way we know arithmetic or grammar is not really empathic, for we are no longer interacting with the person in front of us, but with a story we have in our head about that person…

 

 

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Happy Canada Day!

July 1, 2018

Joyeuse fête du Canada!

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Architecture Monday

June 11, 2018

This, I would say, is really an architecture of place.  A terra cotta workshop in Vietnam, placed on a vibrant riverbank, it is a spot of community, of tradition, of gathering, and of art.

The need is for a spot to place traditional terra cotta pottery to dry and cure.  Created with terra-cotta like brick, this three-story tower is perforated with hundreds of gaps to let the air, light, and views through.  Inside, a repetitive wood framed system provides plenty of cubby holes for storing terra cotta works.

As a bonus, the ground floor doubles as a tea house, with a central table and recessed seating area that allows for a moment of rest and conversation, gazing upward towards the clouds as they pass by.  I also really like how the stairways and pathways are integral within the wood shelving system.  Walking becomes an experience, with pottery above and below, the sky above, and vistas through the brick out to the river and landscape.  A lovely play of light, material, and movement.

This is a sweet design, grabbing what’s local and available (and hence inexpensive) and creating a wonderful space to play in for the whole community.

Terra Cotta Studio by Tropical Space

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Architecture Monday

April 30, 2018

Story Pod is an apt name for this wonderful little jewel of a book box that unfurls to become a lending library and reading room all in one.  It also does a great job of showing just how a quiet, secure, and intimate space can be created with just a few elements.

Like a lantern at night, the books in window motif, coupled with the two thin strips of LED lighting, leave no question as to what this pavilion is all about.  It’s simple, elegant, and a great community builder, letting people grab a read while lazily viewing (and hearing!) the river nearby.

Lovely.  Story Pod by Atelier Kastelic Buffey.

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Architecture Monday

April 9, 2018

I first saw the Strawberry Vale school while I was in university, and I fell in love with it immediately.  There’s a lot of great stuff going on here, an inventive take on the idea of an elementary school that creates an amazing array of spaces that I certainly would have enjoyed the heck out of during my primary school days.  A playground of geometry that, if it seems like it erupted from the ground, it is because, in a way, it did; situated near a rock outcropping, the school follows the forms and contours to organize itself in a nifty way.

The key to the whole composition is in that winding hallway (although it almost feels pejorative to call such a big feature a mere hallway) off which classrooms, libraries, gyms, and more jut out into the landscape.  Full of level changes as it follows the land outside, it’s a visual treat and a logical way to organize a school.

The images speak well for themselves.  Ramps, stairs, corners, and more make for niches and protected alcoves that can be taken over by teachers and classrooms, while at the same time encompassing larger and enclosed spaces for many of the school’s shared functions.

The creative geometry of that central spine also allows for an abundance of light to enter every room, often in multiple ways and from multiple directions.  This is a dynamic building, with all the angles and jungle-gym like structure and the changing light throughout the day.  In addition, there’s a focus towards the woodlands that surround the school, tying nature back into the learning experience.

This is one cool and exciting school.  I don’t doubt the kids here gain a whole lot from the building and their environment as from the teachers themselves, there’s enough here to keep the mind engaged and amused.  Really great stuff.

Strawberry Vale Elementary School by Patkau Architects

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Philosophy Tuesday

March 27, 2018

“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”

–Fred (aka Mr) Rogers

 

(I love this quote, for it reminds that everyone has as rich an internal life and story and dialogue as I do.  It reminds that despite all rationalities, sometimes we pilfer in actions and things that are weird or rash or poor.  It reminds that there are foibles, and then there is authenticity.  It reminds that even when face to face with someone of seemingly intractable unworkability, or unproductiveness, or even where there’s just plain disagreement, that there is a core to speak to.  It reminds vilification isn’t necessary.  It reminds that communication is massive.  It reminds that we can say I love to you – not the actions, whether “good” or “bad”, but to you.)

(And it reminds that Mr Rogers was a remarkable human being who saw deep into the heart of possibility.)