Bezalel's Compass

March 31, 2011

The Sublime

Really? The romantic notion of the sublime, granted, with all its Kantian connotations and Burke-ian baggage, can’t be re-appropriated to describe something redeeming in the classicist’s notion of architecture? Blah, the problem of the romantic sublime is similar to the problem of classical beauty. Namely atheism. There is no ground. When we dis-positioned God as central to understanding (i.e. Kant) we lost all standard of reference toward propriety and decorum. That is the problem of the sublime… not its emotive locus but its misplaced expectation. We love the sublime for illegitimate reasons. Prayer, on the other hand, confronts the terribly awesome for the sole purpose of personal gratification. This confrontation fuels the architect’s vision of the infinitely, though still limited, possible. I admit, I’m a latent romantic and christian hedonist at heart.

March 4, 2011

The Government School

Filed under: Drawing on Life, Education of an architect, Kids These Days, on idolatry — Eric G. Ivers @ 5:17 am

So hear lies the heart of the problem. With whatever intention, the public school founded an institution that offered free education to a class of people struggling to live an American dream. The carrot poised left only a small choice. Specialists would provide the best education while unloosing the bonds of an implied domestic slavery. Here is the rest of the story… When those shackles fell to the floor, the family de-nucleated. The parents whose responsibility it was to maintain a fore-understanding of their own children’s cultivations, left it to others who were pronounced more adequate. Instead what has occurred is an educational system of under-qualified specialists attempting to provide a generalist education to a society of disenfranchised children of parents too busy masking the duty of actual upbringing with consumer competitiveness. Once upon a time, parents continued to educated themselves !so that! they might best educate their inheritance. In this era, the elders were wise.

October 16, 2009

Poiesis and Ecclesiatical Architecture – How to Speak about God

Filed under: on idolatry — Eric G. Ivers @ 6:25 pm

How does one situate the project of building houses of worship in light of the strict prohibitions regarding idolatry and graven images set forth in Exodus? How does on justly speak of God who is by definition ‘unspeakable’? Heidegger, it is well-known, has a lot to say about idolatry, philosophical gods and Christianity. In our attempt to speak of¬† God do we define Him in our own image? Can we help but to do anything otherwise? Heidegger suggests that instead of comprehending God and re-presenting his Being in a faint trace of an unjust concept, we should think of God otherwise. “All art is essentially poetry” says Heidegger and “poetry is the founding of truth.” For Heidegger, art is a means in which that which has become ordinary in its everyday use can be shook up to reveal the unfamiliar and awe-inspiring of the hither to unrevealed nature of a being. Here poetry does not aim at defining in totality but uncovering an aspect of what has yet to be seen. It formally indicates an understanding rather than circumscribes a knowledge of an object. If this is the case, then can such a change in our ways of speaking of God allow art a method to sidestep its prohibition against representational art? An if so, what would such a methodology¬† look like?

September 30, 2009

Heidegger on Idolatry

Filed under: on idolatry — Eric G. Ivers @ 11:03 pm

“those in the crossing must in the end know what is mistaken by all urging for intelligibility: that every thinking of being, all philosophy, can never be confirmed by ‘facts,’ i.e., by beings. Making itself intelligible is suicide for philosophy. Those who idolize ‘facts’ never notice that their idols only shine in a borrowed light. They are also meant not to notice this; for thereupon they would have to be at a loss and therefore useless. But idolizers and idols are used wherever gods are in flight and so announce their nearness.”

Martin Heidegger, Contributions to Philosophy (From Enowning) (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1999), p. 307.

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