April 30th, 2012
Spending two weeks in Paris, I was immersed in the past. Architecture of bygone times poking through from a dozen historical eras as I walked the streets. There’s a kind of sublimity that’s the experience of being overpowered by the object of contemplation. The size, scale and beauty of the cathedrals and chateaus take the breath away.
I was never so conscious of being born and raised in a country that never had Kings, a country that was never dominated by the Church. These monuments left by Kings and Cardinals just aren’t the kind of things that could exist in my country. We’ve had our industrialists and captains of industry, but the power of capital simply isn’t at the same level.
Stewart Brand wrote a book about how buildings learn; even these monuments created to glorify royalty or the institution of the church have adapted to the new environment of the Republic. We preserve the sublime without regard to its origin. We experience its beauty and turn a deaf ear to the raw power responsible for its being.