On Crowns and Communication (30-08-2008)
By all accounts we seem to have built an extraordinary monument in our midst.
It is another matter that the radical shift from the original vision of a sheltered, central sanctuary, harboring the richness and beauty of Material Nature, to this highly visible golden affirmation reigning over its own controlled environment – not a weed or a wild flower to mar the calibrated, enhanced green of its lawns – remains to this day unexplained.
Be that as it may, this uniquely remarkable monument, which we decidedly tend to claim as our very soul – and, sipping our coffee or consulting a file on-screen we like to gaze out the plate-windows and verify it is safely there – has now attained celebrity status and become the bonanza for any number of industries.
By most accounts it now seems that we are about to build a crown around it, perhaps to further underline what may not be sufficiently evident.
It is not an easy task to try and apply on the ground the logic of a master-plan which has hung for 40 years over the life of the collective and largely inhibited it, like the sword of the Ten Commandments, while the territory was, as a concession to other unextinguished logics, parceled out to various architects and builders.
But, we are told, money – and its magic – is there for it; therefore, let us go for at least a section, a sample of it.
Alright, then. Let us not forget, however, that we are talking of a road.
Any road, as any path for that matter, is an organ of communication. Wherever one goes, one needs it. And wherever are paths and roads, one is given the sense of the society that built them –of its ethics, of its priorities, of its ‘drive’.
In our area of the world, roads are nowadays hybrid and confused expressions at best: the larger society we live in is indeed confused and torn between altogether different sets of priorities and values.
And in our specific locale, roads that lead to our sacred monument through the neighboring villages are worn out, congested and misused by the increasing traffic that it attracts, not to mention the visits of those of exalted office for which blind machines clear the express way, throwing people’ front yards into benign chaos (are we not just a little bit responsible for this state of affairs and what do we propose to do about it?...).
Paths and roads of old used to gracefully carry history and testify to the mutual care shared in the present: there would be time, first and foremost, and space, and welcoming shades and stone benches to sit and rest on near open wells, and shrines and spots to retire.
If we are going to build a whole new road, we obviously must make sure it is worth it; that it is going to be not only of good practical import, but meaningful as well to all its eventual users. It must be an example to be emulated anywhere in its basic principles.
The means we choose to build it, the materials we select, the modes of circulation this road will promote, all these aspects of the task have been debated for years, and the condition of the earth today dictates the law of sustainability through all the steps of its materialization and usage.
But something more is required: the road we build must communicate some of the mode of physical existence we aspire to reach and open to in the future we aim to manifest, this future we are moving towards, this future that is on the road ahead of us.
And one crucial aspect of the spirit that alone may move us towards it is that of wholesome and constant participation: just as the simplicity of the method advocated by, for instance, wikipedia, everyone must be able to improve upon the features of the road we wish to travel, in a constant progress towards integrality of realization.
This is the only way to build a living road, a road that replenishes rather than depletes, a road for every inch of which care is given rather than one that aches under a litter of refuse or a pall of tar and concrete, a road every sign of which is a joy, a road that meets.