FRIDAY NOVEMBER 26, 2010
I’d like to think that everything lasts forever, and in truth a part of me believes that everything does. But the practicality of the space time continuum procludes the possibility of this truth in any meaningful sense of the word while i exist inside this mortal shell. The fact of the matter, if you can dumb truth down, is that there are very few things which are bigger than the simple relegation of a footnote in space and time. The odd thing which Plato knew all too well was that “the beautiful” which gave rise to the world of shadows would outlast those shadows in importance, and in time. A chair in idea is of far more significance to the ethereal and non-transitory reality than whether that chair had a fancy name like, “the dragon chair,” or a fancy designer named Eileen. The truth is that the simple heart of the chair is not found within its form or even its progenitor. There is a spirit to that chair which resides in something greater which denies the constraints of time and space and resides in the deepest parts of every human imagination. The world may not know Eileen Gray, but they do know what a chair is. If something so normative can have such lasting and impacting hold on the mindshare of the populace, imagine the power of ideas which are truly astounding in there implication. Sitting down has its place, but next to an idea based on literal altruism such as green peace, peace corps, or even a less worldwide and more centralized social reform on which massive scale outworkings were predicated like orphanages, hospitals, and schools, sitting down doesn’t seem so substantial. I believe that it is the cosmic goal of every person to achieve something substantial. This can be an aggressive and far reaching in scope undertaking such as mission work or social aid, but can also be something far more intimate in its breadth like the invention of the chair. Either way, what is found when this type of ingenuity is brought to the tables of time is an impact which is far greater than the actual object or group created by the hands of its founder or maker, but instead an idea which can permeate a society and forever alter its idea of what is relevant in the heart of the matter. I believe that people were made to house and distribute ideas of this grandeur and magnitude. The artists were in touch with these ideas who brought them to the public who in turned inspired the artists. The artists of old seemed to have enormous ability to take from what they saw and draw out the impossible. This magic was perpetrated by the likes of Michaelangelo painting in fresco the most prolific stories of the bible with an attention to detail that had to have been recognized before the wall dried, to the comedic timing of Conan O’brien miming his way through a monologue. Putting my personal distaste for mixing two genres and barring the discomfort of comparing a late night comedy talk show to the Sistine Chapel, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that on a personal and communal level, both things are recognized as artistry. Both deliveries of art appear as magic to those with their predilections toward one style of artistic delivery over the other and both things inspire the world. This magic is not magic however, this magic is technology. A finely tuned, if not sometimes difficult to maintain or build, machine with a genius engineer in the background. Not unlike God in this sense, mankind has shown itself to be capable of performing such parlor tricks. But unlike God, mankind rarely does it on purpose. I fear that we are sometimes more mechanics than engineers. Rather than creating, we maintain. Rather than imagine we listen. Rather than build, we add-on. Adding on, listening, and maintaining all have their place, but like Eileen Grey’s chair… what are they without the idea that first derived them? I am one who prefers to create. What i strive to bring forth are ideas which blend social reform and spiritual health by intent. Over the annals of history, I can see that I am not alone in this endeavor. From Moses, to Francis Schaeffer, I can see pioneers who rose up from where they were and created new institutions which would forever alter the fabric of their targeted society. But when i take a closer look, when i pull back the veil to reveal the wizard behind the curtain, what i often find is that once they are gone or dead… the idea dies with them. This is not to say that their isn’t reform and resurgence, resurrection and rededication to that ideal sometime in the future, but the direct lineage from creator to the idea seems broken, lost in the wake of history like a bad game of telephone. The transitory nature of design contains within it entropy, but a simple truth never loses its hold. A chair is a raised platform that has a back, love God and love your neighbor as yourself, there are four lights. Simple truths never truly die. How can we take the simple truth and pass it to the future with apostolic authority… creating a line of unbroken lineage? Without the engineer of that truth, i fear that all we are left with is mechanics until another engineer comes along. Is it responsible to leave our legacy in the hands of a mechanic who simply maintains the machine but doesn’t have the slightest clue as to why that machine was built? The Spirit, the idea which exists veiled behind the form of the machine and propagated by the engineer seems to easily lost to the parts used to make it and the men left to maintain it. Why? I find myself wondering if this ghost in the shell will still be there if i leave it with only a mechanic. One of my worst fears is that indeed, it will continue on, like a zombie with no soul, or a vampire with a demon inhabiting its dead corpse. What lies in wait for my creation if I go? Yet, through all this, i still feel the need to create, to engineer and to design. It seems to me that the only way to ease a portion of these fears is to make sure that the essence of the truths brought to form do indeed carry a veiled reality behind them that is pre-existent to myself… In touch with the very essence of God. It is a daunting juxtaposition, to balance on the apex of bringing into creation something which you cannot possibly hold, knowing that if you do not hold it, you are priming it for destruction. Insert Uncle Ben here. I take great joy in knowing that what i have sought to create is creating me, that in those things that i bring forth with intent, there is a deeper magic at work. But i would be lying if I didn’t note that joy and comfort seem a world apart to me as I think about the future of my legacy. As I look out at the handiwork of God himself left to the hands of the mechanics within the institutions of the church, I can’t help but shudder as I ask myself where all the engineers went?