This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
an architect, an
a teacher, but above all a vision-
state of twentieth-century man in what he considers to be a time of transition
between an old
and a new
civilization struggling to be born. lives in Florence, Italy, but he has also
lived in Paris
where he was
United States, on archi-
tecture at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology. To the reader, Ricci will seem to be
either an idealist or a realist of the
precise dimensions, depending on one's own view of the meaning of his exist-
Certainly few men have been able to write as eloquently of their
their work, or of themselves in relation to the world. Ricci is a man of pas-
sionate convictions, but his convictions never descend to the level of argument;
they are the living stuff of his being.
and the obligation
sees architecture as a creative act, of the architect
make the actions The architect,
society, he says, and ultimately his work will be judged by the degree to which it satisfies the
needs of that society. Not the needs of profit or exploitation, but the inner needs of people living in the middle of the twentieth century, with all the wealth of technology at hand to build
and more meaningful
but the police cannot get lock me up. This means
steal the possibility of exist-
(continued on back
JACKET DESIGN BY SIGRID SPAETH
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Leonardo Ricci ANONYMOUS (20th CENTURY) GEORGE BRAZILLER NEW YORK 1962 .
Inc. 215 Park Avenue South New York 3. Y. George Braziller. N. FIRST PRINTING Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 60-5610 PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATUS OF AMERICA .Copyright 1962 by Leonardo Ricci All rights in this book are reserved. For information address the publisher.
Masters. Geniuses 6. 15. J Confusion 11 A Choice in the 2. Happiness and Unhappiness of Subjective and Objective Man 30 3. 8. Town Town Planning: Planning: Planning: A Criticism 168 11. 5. Planning: Practical Action 14. 16. 12. Farewell.CONTENTS Introduction 1. Intermezzo Raison d'fitre of Painting 127 145 9. An Analysis 184 198 212 221 Town Town The Vision 13. On Architecture Self-Criticism My Architecture: A A Testament 236 247 . Notes after a Convention on Town-Planning 10. Feeling Objects 7. Abstract Man: the Source of Human Errors 66 79 100 117 Farewell. 44 4.
words that signify see all the time. blood. I starting my . cold at night? After things things. heart." But. literary almost in spite of himself. honestly. all 77 can you see all the rocks in the world. I should know how to write. even worse. lungs emerge from words! A poet does not need an introduction." Oh no. things we touch. metaphysical terms like "charity. no! Nothing doing. do you hold tight in your arms all the earth under the vaulted sky? And when someone says "rock. because his own means of expression those of an architect.Introduction not a poet. at this time. before book I must write an introduction. the way it was when it appeared the first time in this world? And when someone says "earth. should find it difficult Just think of it: to make brain. There is no other way would be well. Then I should be able to take words into my hands. not a feels he must. put them on a stone. He steps directly into his story." do you have the sky in the back of your mind." Or "sweetness/* Or. everyday Imagine if I said for example: "love." or "justice. different in color and form." "rock. express himself in words. not even a man. think he must write. must try to be honest. if someone says "sky. He does not need a justification. But to be a writer today! At a time when even words are used up and have lost their living meaning! A man says the word "sky. blood. Even I if I were a to write poet or a philosopher. but who moment I of a painter are insufficient for of history? him at this particular out." He says "earth. and lungs out of them. burning under the sun. all. Therefore. heart. But I do. and hammer brain. I we am uttering simple words. is What can a man do who writer." If I were a poet.
on the other side am I. way it has to be. It's really a beautiful title. and. I who? I should like to answer: I. That the And name. at this particular moment of history. My whole I said effort in this book will be to try to explain who this strange type is." This book deals with a moment in man's history in which he is we to another. you rich man. But what is going to be beautiful and right and useful and important. And also: you sick man. I'm crazy about it. you sophisticated being. will have been written by Anonymous (2oth Century). Whether I like it or not. you American. you poor man. in truth." There is a shade of difference between the two. you rustic. and whatever does not make any sense in this book will be there because I don't make sense. it's who am only way out of this blind alley (20th Century). For in reality. In a bad fix. But quite a shade. And if he goes on this way. above all. nor pro- . he is going to get clobbered. you man. I can neither ran for cover in the artificial paradises of the past. ical I trying to pass from one type of civilization find myself stuck in this particular histor- moment. is going to be the title is of this book. Anonymous (2oth Century). If this book is silly. you Chinese. But I am going to sign this book with my name. When I say "you. But what does it mean? It means that. man is in a fix. you are all the "others. And that which in good conscience should have been the signature. you Englishman. And so this book is about the crisis through which are going today." I also mean: you woman. true. Because. I don't mean to be disparaging when I say "crisis. When I say "y ou >" I mean: you Negro. The thus it is right that I I sign my going to be silly. and it tries to indicate a possible way out." I did not say the is to become "Anonymous anonymous twentieth-century man. I am not yet in a position to be Anonymous (2oth Century).Anonymous (20th Century) 8 On one side of the page are you." But on the other side am I. "Anonymous (2oth Century).
In architecture I try to conceive a work neither in.9 ject Introduction my hopes into the I like it false promises of the future. acceptable to rne. This is fault (if that is the right word) and it is partly I because the contents of these books do not give me any satisfaction. in their endeavor They to break with style. It is also partly because the "form" does not interest me. my own raison d'etre. my duty to try my profession is them I shall life. To put it succinctly: I am happy to be alive. ture. Whether or not. or. my being happy and knowing why. Thus I have set out something that is in the air. In general. but from existentialist it has become plain existential. self-styled which I find modern men have found a thousand to find them is my own justification. It is somewhere along the existentialist line. and I know why. and many people it find themselves in the same situation or are about to enter Since the ideas are clear. This same phenomenon exists in the field of architection. or. to put it more precisely. it affords me neither pleasure nor satisfac- books today belong to one of two types. are either conceived as style. true for a piece of architecture must be no less true for a book. terms of style nor as a slave to style. that of architect and painter. Even more than that: I know that this. myself In their attempts to survive. Because I am . it is None justifications or non-justifications. to acts of existence a series of acts. or ugliness of life basically depends on the gracefulness or the lack of grace with which such The beauty acts are performed. is in no way a personal circumstance. and since it. even is What though I am not a professional writer. What I try to do is to make its form correspond to an act of existence. in expressing naturally emphasize this particular aspect of human These days partly my hardly ever get through a book. On the conof trary. Thus I am very much concerned about the form of this book. I feel to define and express them. they are enslaved by it. this situation in is as clear to me as daylight.
land all The of us are seeking. in other walks of is continuous. by other people. All this is dangerous. another that may end in the discovery of a splendid new world. the two are marked at the crossroads with identical signs: standard! A You have done. But I I to take your chance. expect you find yourself on the superhighway again. and the landscape is a bore. the desert begins. you take a secondary road. all have honestly got into the stream of history. but somehow you don't know where they're taking you. when you least it. And even able to be continued indefinitely life. in some parts the book will have a form. In the final chapter I shall explain what I mean by that. but at other times lack grace. the United States where everything off* in a process of evolution. I it's Just as life itself am going to drive into a totally is just like driving into certain parts of unknown world. In other words. The forest ends. And since acts are at times and to all. You get going again. but suddenly you discover a magnificent lake. to Therefore I shall try make sure that my book reflects my performed with gracefulness. in other parts this form will be lacking. . and with my senses I am already aware of the land I am seeking. Then. There is a fantastic rock in the middle of it. and you find yourself among the trees of a formless forest. I want it to be an "open" book. I want the form of my book to reflect both types of action. Open to everything this attitude.Anonymous (20ti& Century) 10 concerned about the problem of series of acts of how this act or this my existence translates into form. and it is a typically American danger: its vitality is such that you don't really know where it is road that may end in sand. This is what I I have think think I have made the right choice. and going to take you. when you are fed up with the superhighway. You start At times you find magnificent superhighways.
ANONYMOUS (20th CENTURY) .
They I wait for the beginning of the lecture. that is. and wait at them. paid many state of them are avid to learn. and say. there. 3X3 9would be simple." "Good morning. At least on this earth. I am by the to teach. miserably like rats. look their benches. If architecture have to teach them to design a building. What not even the sun and the moon. the cops can a thousand lire. I say it rather offhandedly. and a shame! I'll get away with it.1 A In the first Every year. for me. But as get after me and lock me up." and wait in silence. if I tomorrow. I enter the classroom. if I steal a thousand lire from no matter whom. 2 + it say would be simple. sit They It's answer. But I really = am in paid to teach them architecture. in which people me. down in my chair. They moment. wide open. "Good morning. yet the police cannot arrest I This means that I may steal the possibility of existing with- out being condemned. a difficult are young. Today I should teach For that matter. a child born in this of vital experiences: lie will not see grass or butterflies. For an architect. to create spaces which people must live. how to con- struct buildings out of different materials. there is an atmos- sit on phere of embarrassment. 2 2 =4 = 4. . were an exact science like mathematics it 2 +. Think what a responsibility! In the everyday world. when the students assemble for the time in my classroom in Florence. These unknowns arrive. live can build an ugly house. Perhaps Gocl or a delegate of His will clo it afterwards. But for the time house is going to be deprived being.
who. like must not be choosing 5 or 20 at the roulette . The moment has come for us to choice: a choice in the confusion. I same adventure! But I am paid by the have to talk to dl of them. or whose lives mon denominator. Socialists. Liberals. but not insoluble. some they of them are Communists. who have confidence in me. This is all pretty funny. And on if I am not able this to. everything is all right. outside our social and political position. in this eclectic and experimental period. make a young people. This choice casual. And I have to teach them As if architecture were something abstract. I look at their faces: all different. Some of them are Catholics. Democrats. who have embarked on the state. outside our feelings. others. I am It is about in mood a pig. the students. The And may be completely arbitrary. I see. Fascists. have a minimum comstill be But today. Christianbackgrounds: different. perhaps things would be a little easier. at a moment when values are so divergent. at believe in God. are there in front of me and wait for the "word. among people who have a well-defined civilization. I think of their least. who believe more or less shaped in the same things. If I what can I do? could just pick a group by selection. Just think of If I lived in a well-defined historical period. buried underground or raised ten yards above ground. are searching for the same path." There they are. I could talk only to those who are closer to me. Others don't. architecture. Politically. that I begin my first lecture architecture. the problem would probably difficult.Anonymous (20th Century) 12 I may produce a round form or a square one. red or blue. outside our biology. outside our Weltanschauung. in a period of transition. it. I tell them: Listen. and If my clients act accept it. and each one is different. they.
It dies only to be reborn from its ashes. As we you my reasons. in myths. . But I cannot take you by your coat tails and force you to choose one or the other of these ways. freed at last. as it joy.13 table. political. Thus it often happens that. my dear young people (I say "for a moment" because to classify means to make a mistake in any case). if You possible. Form is a consequence of the potential vitality intrinsic in an object. Here among you. But we shall come back to this later. If I me with surprise. A it Choice in the Confusion is but must be a choice that intelligent. humane. It's up to you. There are people who can think of the world only in terms of myth. then. on a myth. or social. It is possible among you university students the percentage of mythminded persons is somewhat lower than among other groups. for the that moment. indeed. are going to be architects. To construct a building means to make people live in one way rather than in another. inadmissible today. Others believe the world is absurd. Very few believe it is logical in the sense of "rational" but in the sense of "logos") . They don't may classify matters for a moment. I think that in this world there are three possible ways of living. what kind of myth: whether religious. again. After a little while you sit clown on the ground. But to be an architect does not mean is This attitude to design one form rather than another. It does not matter. you lift your eyes for a breath. and. happy to get some rest from your moment toward and your lungs are. Now look there: you sat down. genuine. Therefore I go on. But not much. (not None of you can get away from this choice. All I can honestly do is to tell I you that I go along shall gradually explain to have chosen the third way. almost everybody. For the myth is a strange animal. philosophical. are people who believe Most people do. What criteria will I you follow? see that they look at answer. But let us take it gradually. in harmony with the surrounding atmosphere. take a deep were. the freed sky. a sort of Arabian phoenix.
Not at all. gentlemen. or on shifting sands. The myth. One find morning you yourself floored. It is tradition.Anonymous (20th Century) 14 I said that I have chosen the third possibility. is really no fun at all. the same rocks. It is true. to go around in a sweater instead of shirt. of those who live in the absurd. praising. too. the same sun. You see the sun. Even today. or. to play a role in life. This not mean that to my mind those who still live in does the myth are necessarily crooks or fools. But even more numerous are those who fool around with maybe Sunday mornings in Church. I still can learn from the myth. to live in the absurd. Your head is empty as in a bad hang-over. groomed and cared for. In a spirit of humility. Everything. But that is not the point. God knows them. if you want to call it that. not depend on your will. There are a good many people. to stage a show. To consider the world absurd. the myth You may fall It does you in. tie. into the absurd gradually or all of a sudden. isn't there? It belongs to the myth. has created some pretty respectable things. that your you are still in the myth. Then there is the second possibility. you own work can have only a symbolic value. for to be modern. if you wish. No. There is some rather good stuff. at the zero point. I compare all that man has achieved my time. You see grass. there are people who fool around with the absurd in order to feel Big. All your muscles ache as if you had had a beating. Just look: at everything that exists on earth. hopelessly middle- But class or at any rate out of fashion. I study. It is life that throws This is the way it happens. who simply laugh in the face of those who believe in the absurd. mostly of the first category. . I look at before everything. fashion- able. the myth-minded. of judging But if must know. I myself have learned gradually to live through the myth. then. You look around. The same grass as always. You see rocks. and with hair uncut and uncombed instead of well coat. The only difference is in the way of apit. Perhaps because. belief in the absurd means why.
you must learn that. if the world is absurd. there are you don't commit many ways is of living on. all the thousand ways of surviving converge on one precise point: narcosis. To give pleasure. create artificial paradises. to drive it from the woods. too happy and too lucky as compared with others. You may become a moralist. an artificial paradise. if the sea just calm and the horizon clearcut and the sun has gone down and everything is splendid. nothing else. you who want to become architects must know that. It does not matter how you got there. must know you arc going to use paradise that is You may more build. no fun at all Before you there are only two ways out: suicide or You may escape. my dear young people. happy? and And why? And thus you If fall into the absurd. The person who finds himself in this situation has only one alternative. to create artificial paradises. in the apparent Thus. I again and say: "It's absurd/' It is no can you. that is. because the woman you love has betrayed you. you are in this state. You must that. And the object and the want. Or through a cold clear analysis of life. if there. too. more . Drown it peace of the sea. But whether you become moralists or not. To hunt it down it it is the mountains. your objects. I. To drive pain away. You may have the way I got there: because I had been gotten there. ble. your architecture.15 A tell Choice in the Confusion all You look around fun. crushed under a tram. into the sea and drown it there. Instead of cocaine or morphine. more whatcvcr-youbut still. this way. to chase to drive across the plains and along the river banks. which basically what has happened to a great existentialist writer of today. as much as possiTo hunt it clown as one hunts down a ferocious beast which has stolen the only things that mattered to you. architecture. suicide. an artificial intelligent. sophisticated. have gotten there because your son has died. Better still.
of strange words. There is the lexicon. as I said before. beat off. A sound which seems to become memory. And about this. To struggle to breathe. I swell green. -atum. is to believe that I want to be most painstakingly is logical. was still to evolve from the blood of beasts laboring to assimilate the oxygen from the air. reduce to pieces. it lacks the presence of others. beat upon. This clear the world last possibility. It lacks all. What is a darling Stroke her hairl Give her a smile! But where the heck front of last my still son who was right here in me with his Latin homework because he flunked June? His books are A book full and red-edged pages. I look at the young girl in my my . It seems like the sound of a giant beetle struggling to rise from the ground. Transitive. The air is vibrating. ~avi. Above the eyes of living persons gestures. Instead of watching the page getting filled up with black The leaves this morning are signs. the Latin-Italian. whip. will be nothing but "dope. strike." And now. White-edged pages. as though from prehistory. like kids at school over their Latin test. I curve The boat cleaves the sea. hardly stirring. and from far away. To struggle to rise. Writing lacks In front of you. "Everhew. remember. to cleave the sea with oars. cleave the sea with oars. To struggle. everberare cineres plausis alis7 to shake the ashes off one's Sea! Oars! Ashes! back by beating the wings/' Wings! Wings on the ! sea! To cleave sea the sea! Oars.Anonymous (20th Century) 16 form of your object. I is row. it is carrying the muffled muted sound of an airplane. The white-edged pages arc the big fat Italian-Latin section. everberare mare remis. -as. One grows listless. little face! That cute little girl. they look out at the sky. How strange. batter. The toclay chest. let us examine the last possibility. hit. after the storm. open. first conjugation: to beat. the red-edged pages. back. I pick it up. percuss. in the time when man did not yet exist. are. I open it just anywhere.
in the But enough now. it Wouldn't She is sweet. He is cleverer than L But I too am am fed up. She had been warm because of the sun. Get down to your studies! Get down to writing this cursed book which I love so much and which I feel I must write. And I too feel alive. Everything is amazingly alive. feel sun through her To hold her tight. Seven of clubs. King of diamonds.17 front of me." But where are they? I can't see them. grown-ups. is my days . There game a pack of cards of solitaire just one. But I know she is disappointed. And I am so fond of them! I am trying to remember some of them. one Maybe two or three. is alive. "My dear young people. it. But what a fool I am! do is to take the oar that cleaves the sea and splash some water on her. shy. My son is not coming. is on the table. and know I. I am be wonderful just to take her into my To arms. That is the way it goes among kids. Just to get back into my subject. And even among good. I A Choice in the Confusion am strong. I. She smiles. Now she shivers. Come on. So am I. I. With goose flesh on her arms. am doing iny duty. Four of hearts. who am not a writer. this Just to spur myself I on. Life is not absurd. the young! The oar cleaves the sea. Andrea! him real reality. Oh. To feel the sea To enter into her as into the sea! To feel All I can good together. Where is my son? That good-fornothing! Enough is enough. I give her a smile. being older. is with the girl. but he does not know it. it myself I am calling so furiously. Everything has its structure. But no. But he is shrewder than I. Ten . you mule! In Where I call is his self-respect! In furiously. . of spades. morning am getting is nowhere. Come here and study. The best among them. . My son alive quit. She smiles. skin. ! Andrea. Everything alive. The sun is too beautiful. Just to feel useful. He has And instead. The boy boat.
. It breathes in the mixture. It has something to do. And there are men and women. Be- am alive. Last year. And this ship rotates and moves very fast around the sun. and human beings. But what has this to to do with Anonymous (2oth Century)? What has it do with painting. She buys a baguette. itself. And on top. a spark-plug. as time goes by. mixture. Here she comes. And the Earth is like a great enormous ship suspended in space. mountains. Quiet. Quiet. Isn't it beautiful? Rendezvous. Then they calm There are mountains. a dozen oysters.Anonymous (20th Century) IS is There are rendezvous in the universe. Then it compresses it. And Then we go home to spend the night together. carrying with it trees. And then we go. Oh. The earth is good and fat and black. And they make love. And the brooks become torrents. who In two years it will bear two peaches. and the rivers flow into the sea! There is the earth. Two Pernods. Because there an earthly nothing economy and a universal can escape from these rendezvous. And on the mountains there are much snow falls on these glaciers. Perhaps I am not serious. And thus the brooks are bora. economy. Rendezvous at half past seven at des Deux Magots. But then there is the summer. The jack of diamonds after the ten of diamonds. cause I all right. And during the summer snow and ice melt away. I get up. In the cylinder there is a piston. One for my daughter has planted the tree. There is a cylinder. The game of solitaire does not come out. In the spring it germinated. And the piston moves. houses. with the serious life! things of You aren't serious. what a lovely lanthe Caf6 guage French is. with architecture. A peach tree was bom. The spark explodes the Then it expels it. in the summer. And from this ship we sec stupendous panoramas. my daughter dropped a peach stone. One for her mother who has brought my daughter into the world. And in the winter so down and become rivers. Thus the machine moves by is And there the Earth. I start all over again.
My wife calls the Big Dipper a buggy. to sleep in each other's anus. Stretch your legs while sleep comes clown upon you. and tomorrow there will be nothing. We wake up every morning. Here. It all is logical. and you arc always alive. so many is The children grow up. too. enough enough to find the relationships it is all is is that exist. we eat. it will be there tomorrow: and Heaven. Some parts in the shade. She really believes it. With the stones and cement you build a wall. Or else all this is born out of chaos. But what need is there of all this? Why detach ourselves from experience? And God there is no need of all justifications. you sleep. to work. sun. Even we don't know why. Mystery is the only possibility of being. It among the things to create new relationships among enough enough to create living things with living things. You trace a furrow on the ground. Here Here. Yes. We work. Here low. Tomorrow it will be another sunny day. so Hell. The wind usually comes from here. The wall rises and divides space. we live. has made this.19 A things. a priori. You breathe. Here it is high. Your foot touches hers. At night I live every we go sky. Here is the southern From here the sea can be seen. New and without memory. And the spaces divided by these walls come ever more alive. You take some stones. And everything is new. and morning we are reborn. creating a new space that wasn't there before. and your feet slide under the sheet. And the Milky Way. the world but not absurd. to exist. Every night can be different and new if we are alive. Choice in the Confusion. a house has been born. Purgatory. Pulled by two hippogryphs. to sleep. Others in the sun. Basically It is It is so simple. And do children are born. Thus with a woman. It things. it is nice to rest. . We look at the night So many stars. And they Then they grow old and flow into if death. mysterious.
You wake up In the evening you fight heavy. They are alive. Yes. doubts. have been able to follow me. very much them. one at a time. Space and lime into the composition in a fluid and free insert living way. I have doubt. I feel hands. Myth. To is logical my dear young people. Their eyes arc opening wider. Later they will ask questions. Boredom rales the day. fresh. Fear grips your heart strangers. their faces arc taking on a different expression. But I have got hold of their hearts. It would suffice to get rid of these errors. But even those who. one unknown to But this is during the night. The images are most precise. I've hit the mark. this third part is the clearest. I note that. They take fewer notes. still live in the myth. There rain life. Part III: The World as Logical. Their brows are more wrinkled. the working. There is no their heart is muscle in my hand on my surprised. Fll answer them. of them perhaps have their as I can tell from their faces. The fault is ours alone. You sleep in the same bed and yet remain the other. as I go on. with your wife. Like a surgeon. And life is a delusion. They are surprised. as The World Some Routine Part stuff. and the world would be new. I have been clear. and clean. As I said before. As fur as I am concerned. The them- structure selves and modern. logical. it's we who This means that errors must have been committed somewhere. Their faces are tense. They arc sprawled on their benches. I feel it pulsating. . II: The World as Absurd.Anonymous (20th Century) 2^ not always the way it goes. Here too. I of the blind Have Part I I: been clear enough? look into their faces. degrading errors which rain our existence. Tension has risen. The is perception of the objects is right. I have been clear enough. Everything is all right. is no excuse. the world is to the point of believing that the world is get tantamount to saying that we are able to get out alley. pump Also about Part II they will ask questions.
I try to gauge matters corI That young lady there. But maybe this is not true at all. It does not matter. A world of relationships. the girl. look at that blond boy there. They are still in a state of shock. Open face. In the meantime. be both. Simultaneous immersion and emergence of vision. look at their faces. that the "logical world" has hit the mark. self-composed if not flirtatious. incidentally. His blue eyes daytime sky is blue but The sea is blue but you can't see the algae or the coral. I have been honest. it's her own business). Something must have happened to her." A in the sense given to this word by Dostoevski. Partly an intellectual. I realize and look them over. The shock has been violent. She's got big legs. partly "Idiot. But I realize also that a misunder- standing is about to arise. Dynamic and static balance. Oh come on: Fd bet my come to this school of architecture to find a husband. the oars. Even though I have but hinted at a few things. High forehead. my son. around the platform. she has she was pretty. Their expressions are wide open. posture is without grace but also without artifice. Now his eyes are defenseless. An architect. I shrewdly walk light a cigarette. Very well. I She is natural. to restore silence and to rekindle their interest. head. Measure. and Fd lose my head. the playing cards. in. When she came rectly. The you can't see the stars. but together with the others. She is resting her elbows on the table. nice boy. Her skirt is somewhat tight. toward all the others. am very well pleased with myself. Even if she has not come to find a husband (besides. too. The sea. Objects which are not isolated one from the other. what is sure is that she is sitting there. I can see the stars in his eyes and the algae and the coral.21 A Qioice m the Confusion Things have their weight. I and so on. . Not just from this chair. to catch my breath. They ought to have understood. Some have tears in their eyes. on that bench. in the air. with the closed fists at the temples. Now her No more theatricality. needs to were impenetrable at first. You can pass through the blue.
While I was lecturing. The poor guy has to go home. either. "He's wacky. You know a myth when you meet one. Fll pat his back affecknow that this means more to is him than the I cold soup and the yelling wife. The world mysterious. when I was a boy of My own my eighteen. you over- wife has finally got used to this kind of thing. Or perhaps and myth. If. I go on lecturing. and another one. but not absurd. You're a sucker. the questions that you will the intensity of the myth. instead. But it's the presence of the others that bothers me. and when poor fellow is he gets home going to be his wife is going to yell at him: "You nitwit.Anonymous (20th Century) 22 But when they walk out of this hall. you will probe the possibility of identifying reality and myth. It is 12:40. this professor/' one of them will say. "Darn clever. An head. that's all/ coming home what do you mean. I My dear young people. But the state pays me. When and he I will smile. the possibility of distinguishing between reality if you are more subtle. I leave the room. Fm no goody-goody. I am a kind of tricheur. I am afraid their impressions will be unfortunate. More or less consciously. there bound quite a dilemma. Even if in the onion and the cat there is a . watched owed you some explanations. But. you Cod. in this same school. roughly all know that an onion is not speaking. Part I you understood perfectly. Just trying to be truthful. you closely. concern observations. at this hour! If at least they paid 7 time. light another cigarette and go on. This doorman used to inspiration flashes through see me here. The doorman has already showed up to let me know that the lesson is over. What shall I do? This is is this point. this late for his lunch. nor a cat. If I stop at to be a misunderstanding. The myth has been dominating history for thousands and thousands I And saw that I still of years. The address to me afterwards. tionately. Perhaps. Scruples? No. "What poetiy!" And the third one will say." No my dear young people. Neither clever nor poetic nor wacky.
John Doe? Or abstract painting with the cripple you met on the square? There are really absurd things today. in a filthy. The basic concept is clear. Trinity. To put it briefly: you have legs. if you replace the symbols in disposal. are. a so-called "realistic" magazine-covcr and. you your- And I selves live in the absurd. A Choice in the Confusion What's more. in this old Europe of ours. in only one color on a black ground. and you can walk on it. not so which it is expressed by less complex ones. and a pseudo-Gothic house side-by-side with an ultra- modern one exhibition in concrete and you may see a style. There may be obstacles. wittingly or unwittingly. instance The of our time. sophisticated. there may be scares. even though stretched to the limit. for traditional low- what has right it got to do with the cost housing project for a three-story building that you are working on now? What has the Great Wall to do with the evening dress of Mrs. there may be surprises. right next to abstract painting. simpler and more elementary. rocket to the moon. In one and the same quarter of Los Angeles you may witness today the birth of a colonial house together with that of a Victorian one. just by sniffing your way. may say that the second part also should be clear to you now. greasy. at least. the road is open. It is the life In the most absolute sense. for the sadness of a look from wine-happy eyes with a reflection of some lost . quarters. you have the development of the myth at your Even the most difficult things. It is clear. You know perfectly well what the absurd is. In one and the same painting. in our now "uninhabitable" medieval joint. that. First of all.23 coincidence with reality. after all. after all. But you can go ahead. hunting for an affectionate gesture. glass. or Christ become obscure. historically classified even not clarified. by now the myth if follows such beaten paths. like the mystery of the man. and depressing perhaps. One solid point has been established. because. used to the "perfect" home with its gadgets and comforts. You see supermodcm Americans. like those of certain primitive peoples. pulpit.
and you can find them even in the design of a dress. more exactly. when she washes afterwards. with ten thousand-lire bills. if she was lucky. Camus' strangers have by now passed into the blood of men. picked up by a pimp on Thursday night at eleven o'clock in the public gardens. Kafka's metamorphoses. Picasso's monsters. spicing her kisses with sperm of dirty-words. are. left with child by the boss or his adolescent son. Dostoevski's possessed. thrown out of the house. And you need not even be a man of culture. that aspires and compresses. around your body. maybe. outside and inside. a poor peasant girl come to town for a maid's job. because if you listen to yourself from inside. even in the last neon light down the avenue. the testimony of will those who jectivated its reality. head-on and from the side. of her people. history we are feeding on to demonstrate the absurd. and she and the prince and their children will live happily and peacefully ever after. or hunting for the flesh of a thousand-lire whore. into . it makes your flesh creep because it is so true. And then there is culture. so full of nostalgia. Yes. The cows on a Van Gogh com field. singing a song of her village. when the golden prince sophisticated come and kiss her. into the sad business of cashing all kinds in return for a black patent-leather purse or a half-length coat of cat fur. That is. perhaps even in the fashionable bodywork of the latest American car. half pleased. half disgusted. Between your lungs and the fireplace bellows. above and below. inside too. you really no longer know who you are or what you There is no longer any difference between your heart and the pump of the central heating system. You are in a state of hallucination. Sometimes it under is enough to step into a new bar to hold all the absurdities of this world in your hands.Anonymous (20th Century) 24 paradise In the background of dilated pupils. your feet. Or. You look around. of hope for her future. lucidly fell into this state of absurdity and obMore than a century of history is on hand history we are leaning on. put. Between your brain and the electronic calculator. But then.
At one time was possible to say this. You must pass through those coffee. You step out and look at the moon. The earth. the only world in which we can "exist. if you find it. Useless. too." and "necessary" world. nails still nails. That world in which life is worth while. To the other side of it. round nineteenth-century No wood. even if he is a it prodigal son. or whether it. through that little red plastic table. even. Either you are stuck in the absurd. My dear young people." "organic. wood light. cardboard. for the time being. The future is there in front of you. You must go through it. all you have in your hands is the absurd. to find a brick that is still a brick. But ." It was possible to say so because it was also said that there was a Father." But this is not easy to explain. even the son a Father opens when a son knocks at the is a good-for-nothing. where you will find the logical world. A They is Choice in the Confusion are in a state of hallucination. One time it was possible to say: "Knock. you must pass chrome-plated through those white neon tubes. shedding a yellow use looking for a dark corner in a crooked little medieval street. Your body weight is no longer subject to gravitational forces." "structured. It's just like the earth no longer the street lamp. to cry desperately like a There is no way of return. through that brain of yours that has become a machine. or you pass beyond it. No use crying and despairing. that "true. in And now which your acts have meaning. You must pass through that bar. I see that you have understood me. to cry. through those lungs that are bellows. And if door. and it shall be opened unto you.25 the faces of the others. But. Let's pass on to that "logical" world. that matching machine for ice cream. has become painted still little child. More than that: you must pass through that chrome-plated machines for espresso heart of yours that has become a pump. The future is not behind you. Useless to sit down on the ground in a corner and look up to see whether if s still the sky up there. to our world.
"Knock. in such a way that I it can be used as a measuring Take an example.Anonymous (20th Century) 26 how can you say today to anyone. better than oneself. make understood in the course of one lesson. because you shall kingdom of heaven. "There is a Father who will open for you"? And yet that old saying is still true in a way. if. mind this you. not in the son who kills his mother. not even in the cruel and imbecile dictator who scientifically murders millions of for sin. All this even without having hope. more more intelligent. people in gas chambers." But how can you say it today? If you look it anywhere. or within one chapter of a book." But how can you say to"Suffer. yet this is not because he had been thinking nothing at all. But how can anyone act. alive. One did not succeed. you won't find river bed. . already dead. All this even without having charity. it. That is where faith comes in. not outside of rod. and yet. at here at this table. in good conscience. in the banal meaning of words. you are unable to say. not just any person. The standard is intrinsic in the act committed. perhaps exceptional and yet. But what faith can a man have who lives in 7 the absurd? inherit the At one time you could say: "Suffer. maybe. but you won't have any reward at all"? At day: one time you could say: "All the world's evil exists because man lives in sin. And yet. one has labored years and years to make one person understand it without her being able to get it? And. Quite the contrary: a person. not because there are no standards in the logical world. for is him who lives in the logical world. Everything logical. certainly more it true. without having faith. And all this even. that his deed may seem in contradiction with his thought. and it shall be opened unto you/ if. nothing fixed. not in the stone in the not in the big fish who eats the little fish. nothing unchangeable. Because may happen. even the most immoral even the most absurd act. stupid. banal. even this is logical. And nothing. when one does something. am But for me they arc. vain. wicked. Tilings arc the same time.
become fireballs in space. Forty-two years old. That. And glad to be alive. But What meaning they are years that hold no more surprises. Even the bones have been squashed. existing. yes. know her body as if she had been your mistress for ten years. lies I know all that is ahead of me. is A already dead. my daughter here next to me. man's taboos arc destroyed.27 Outside the sun A is Choice in the Confusion What sense is shining. a calcium shot for a delicate child. all the dualisms of history done away with. and you have finally become you. try to make that comprehensible. and . And yet. sorts of pains will begin. Oh. while death comes nearer. Try to explain that it is possible to look into the eyes of a woman and have her completely. By now. it is all foreseen. for me. The worms have long since eaten away my rotted flesh. even though after millions of years? My daughter Milena is sitting in the armchair next to me. for me she is already dead. She is a very pretty girl. She is six-* teen. between the warm sunlight and my closed eyes. Not happy about anything. it is dead. All of life is still ahead of her. on the other hand. just because the gates of death arc broken clown. and I too dead? Really. do you still believe in those silly and meaningless apparent realities of life? Dead. without any problem. And yet I am alive. they have become. you could go to bed with her all night. between my flesh mine and the sweetness of a kiss! And all tins because there without reason. Decadence bound The cells of my body are growing old. But what meaning can death itself have. there in the life of the sun if I know that it must die. And yet. to set in. egg shells. All slow and gradual loosening of on life. She is reading a book. slowly on my grip if the sun rapidly. And I don't know how many more years are to come. just is the mystery. but I exist. dead and buried. maybe. can her life have for me if it is sure to be all over in a given time? Here I am. Try to explain the relationship between my hand and the sand that slowly runs through my fingers. dead as well. fit to live and nothing else.
we are about to land on it like a ship on a continent. Possible substances of this new world. it is yet to come. easily assimilable. and with nothing excluded. when I shall try to explain to you how to project those silly and still-mistaken things which we call houses. up to this date. still full we have to start again from Try to explain succinctly that thought has entered law like blood and that man has landed finally in that paradise which people. I shall try to show you at least some possiPossibilities of space. new And Later on. Whereas you may betray everything and everybody with another woman. in reality. Perhaps this "logical world" is not yet clear to you. since time immemorial. on this planet called Earth! yet. which for external reasons cannot become objective or belong to the earth. As for today. I have told you all that I could tell you. my dear young people. within the numbered pages of a chapter. It won't hurt you the way it has you leave the school. Try to explain that the whole world. Vivaldi. saying as much as a kind word to her. is still curled up and contorted scratch! of fear! Try to explain that in the entrails of primordial chaos. Try to explain the meaning of generic flesh and individual flesh! Try to explain the meaning of new virgin flesh at the age Without of forty! Try to explain what you mean by the pure perception of the world! Try to explain that in that state of pure perception the music of Bach. have projected upon the beginning of time. But I can tell from your eyes that the poison of clarity has been injected into your blood. later on.Anonymous (20th Century) yet try to explain it 28 you wouldn't betray anything or anybody. there is nothing else to do but try. without even smiling at her. within the limited possibilities of my existence. it will seem to you When . nay. Only a minute hurt me. Try this new world. within the measured time of a lecture. dose. Perhaps. that a painting by Cimabue or Piero della Franceses becomes a picture postcard. Possibilities of materials. but can only be planked clown on it bilities. or Beethoven becomes simple noise to your ear. while.
Only then will your architecture be a testimony to an action you have lived in a world where people can engage in vital and conscientious actions. But while I am driving home my head begins to spin and nauseated. You'll go and you'll go on living as usual. too. At any game at all. What matters is that you understand that. Nothing has changed. so great the strain has been. "Goodbye. The doorman comes back say anything. We are a little less alone. On the square you will meet the usual people and will exchange with them the usual home and eat phrases. have their being on this earth. I go and get the car. I into the classroom. completely unknown to me. that will become a wall. that is what matters. if you put a mark on a white sheet of paper. I have earned my salary. What matters is that that mark must not be a symbol. For a little while at least I have been Anonymous (2Oth I feel Century). I smile. What sort of truth do you want in a logical world where no lie can exist? Don't cheat at the game. Yes. He doesn't "Goodbye. And I know why. And no deus ex machina has descended to bring you the truth. young people. And the truth does not exist. look at him. I feel like crying like a little boy. the state has paid me. Nothing apparently will have changed." They answer. it must be a conscious mark. because the truth exists only where the lie exists. I tell myself." Something has happened! The air around is alive. My students are no longer complete strangers. I walk down the stairs.29 A Choice in the Confusion that nothing has happened. . He smiles. a narcotic. it must be nothing but an existential relation with other things that live.
No one should be . parts that seemed definite and sure are changing under my hand. But I had to wipe the whole thing out of my mind and tear up the pages already written. a sort of essay on human happiness or unhappincss. As though I stood outside the argument as a kind of arbiter or judge.M. I timed it and adjusted I its man rhythms. I notice that I am working the way I do when I am a piece of architecture or planning making a painting. she is lying on her bed eleven A. At the moment am and trying to rest. mentally did the shooting of so many feet of film.Happiness and Unhappiness of Man how book Strange this is coming into being. freely loaded with the that I carry within me. its composition. And yet. I Even those face a blank sheet or a canvas. The starting point Fll start with me I must be the living and my wife. This is what is happening with this second chapter. I have thought about it for years. on the moviola. say: We arc not happy. and the reality thing comes into being and develops by itself. and flesh. I don't know how many times I have organized its structure. In my mind it was to be an abstract chapter. it is not coming out the way it was planned. Then. I have studied some of Like a camera its effects as if I were a stage director. It is writing tin's.
from the moment when he first appeared on earth. one man on earth in whom one trust.31 sleeping at this hour. I write this chapter. under a bower of and the grapes table. in one or another. or whether it is everybody's fault and no one's. happiness and unhappincss. There are serene people. wife and I are not happy. Others illusions. although destiny has given us all the reasons for being so. we quarrel sometimes. will probably judge the case according to your own personal state. dog who watches am A over the sleep of his mistress. are through But there no really is the condition for happiness happy persons. You will judge it differently. Just like everybody else. it would be so entirely different. can put absolute and total are lonely. there is not understand that these conventional words. a whipped dog. art. I on a marble are beginning to ripen. science. Because not to be lonely. are all in the same boat. Yes. If such a person existed. contain man's whole existence. Others who have found live a who. at the same time. and. politics: every field human action is contained within these two banal and rhetorical terms: the happiness or unhappincss of If I man. dear reader. And men That is. vines. hoaxing themselves. Now whether I must it is find out why: whether it is our fault. Yes. are not happy. I writing feel like a dog. As a matter of fact I don't know one We any single happy extra- person. I Happiness and Unfaappiness of Man am in the garden. You. They contain everything: good and evil. We My we quarreled. will You of Religion. That is a Last night pity. one's trust will be way betrayed. Sooner or later. or not anyone's personal fault. philosophy. life and death. ordinary that life would be certain peace. But that does not matter. it is because I honestly think have in my hands a certain key which will a new open way . heaven and hell. here and beyond.
After that you take another cup of coffee. Because happiness or unhappiness does not depend merely on how you make love. this reading of the paper in the morning is for me a way. No. I said key. This is not a simple matter. to be to maintain an equilibrium with the world. one-sided. or at the gray clouds. We are not happy. of course "Coffee! Coffee!" until someone hears me and brings me a cup. or truth. transcendental nature should be read into these words. you bless this . simply. of being with the others. It is only what life itself. if That does not matter. You look at the sun. The morning paper can be read in a thousand different ways. magic. with hot milk this time. Of course I know what a lot of baloney. You can read the paper in an offhand way. Perhaps this getting out of bed. I read it in order to begin life with the others. I did not say rule. is now to see whether and how we can get out of this unhappiness. I begin to shout just jokingly. has sug- gested. take your shower or bath and brush your teeth. in all its aspects. I wake up in the morning. whether there is spiritual and physical satisfaction. or. indication. is a genuine need. What matters I said. Then I go to the bathroom and read the paper. then get up. But even though I know it. or concept. I think. exaggeration.Anonymous (20th Century) out. or solution. Before I need a cup of it is coffee. I want to make it quite clear that nothing of a divinatory. metaphysical. has gotten himself today. is The fact remains that my wife not in the room. I could equally well have said testimony. unobjcctivc reporting is written up every morn- ing in the papers. whether you are polite to each other. I 32 dogma. want life that I said key. happy means Take an example. perhaps a conditioned reflex. hunch. through the experience has given me. a possible way out of this dead-end road into which man. or to say only that I can see. as I said.
that morning. impotence. a charge of abominable suffering explodes in your face as a morning greeting! human You might this effect If I rightly say: If the reading of the paper has it's all it up! don't read the paper. The day after tomorrow it is a racing boat whose screw tears the of an unit is fulness. There are certain days when the news. set. read and when you get for And then. go! Looking forward to the day's regular work! But to How beautiful life me this never happens. unfortunately. with my eyes open. She has to wake up the kids and get them off to school. What happiness. when you get up in the morning. Routine stuff. taken all makes up a masterpiece of together. is! reading of the paper. there is only one remedy: an equally strong charge of vitality and of positive human truth. It is a simpler and perhaps more truthful way to start the clay. So I don't go out. in the paper there is none. give I the same. In these. on you. and . all I have to do is to look at the faces of the people walking in the streets. to outweigh this negative charge. is busy with other things early in the morning. and the effect is exactly the same: the same load of to swallow. That's what it. Today dazzlingly the brute that rapes a fourteenyear-old girl out in the suburbs and leaves her with a trauma for the rest of her life. has another it is an act of political bad faith that obstructs something of general and obvious useeffect The on me. But she too is an in- suffering breakfast. right after waking up. And now. idiocy. the whole day is still ahead of you! To keep my balance. Tomorrow up body fortunate vacationer during his peaceful morning swim. the artist finds meaning. wickedness. suffering anxiety will grip her guts too. She telligent human being. Brutally. inadvertently. In one way or another.%$ Happiness and Unliappiness of Man day. My wife does not read the papers. Simply none. in comparison with which the works of Dostoevski seem pale. ready. and take a good long stretch.
transcendental nature. softly the heart can be felt we were beating as if The air is alive. Men are sleeping. Softly. Because happiness can no longer be related only to two or to several persons in a moment of grace. All We We don't need anything of a another. The sweetness. within the we have to do is face one human condition. it is evening and night is falling: 6:45 P. Men are being born. as if we saw each other for the first "To feel time. dying. To look into each other's eyes. to outweigh the negative charges. together. intelligent After all. Men Men are . Life is beginning. human beings. . Men arc living. With lightning and thunder that were simply marvelous. It be alone. now beyond the reach of our eyes. The Not to trustfulness. when of near coma. our incapacity for happiness. Now let us try to be happy What we need.Anonymous (20tl& Century) 34 together. Men Human all And cactus! too. is two charges of vitality and truth powerful enough to last the whole day. of The daisies in that green flower vase! And the sea. individuals locked in their personal or partially collective egotisms. In a virginal state. Sometimes. I confess our powerlessness. And the stars." beings the rest. The eyes.M. I throw up my hands. A state of watchfulness. our feet against the solid earth. I this anxiety has driven me to a state wife and say: "Darling. * . All we have to do is to feel the place that each one of us occupies in the air. Of constant readiness. There has been a thunderstorm today. Just as we are. don't need states of face my We divine grace or of euphoria. A smile. likewise are working. . To fulfill. . does not happen because something has changed. This marvelous sweetness. fulfill existence together. out sight. As if already dead. Quite an exceptional one. for instance. the blood were melting. it is not impossible. But that docs not happen. There is something new in the air. What more do we need? Nothing. we are can get out of this impasse. Those floor tiles! That potted . Now.
If only we could at last love! If only be two together outside of we could put total . his And he a crowd. in such a situation: am and beautiful.35 Happiness and Uniiappiness of Man Take an example. I am the chief. the leaves are green this means that the tree is healthy. this means that the tree is unhealthy. but unable to moment that they are capable of up the tree. If the leaves are dry in the spring. Way down below. who If is is outside the tree. he loves them. I am high up. detached thinks like a single leaf. he will the organism. is I imagine. Deep in his mind man branches. a sad sick thing. is easily aware of this. his trunk. not out of a collective consciousness. trunk. And all the tree of mankind is very ill today. the tree But try to cure it. Dried and withered. by any chance. for instance. They are inside unhealthy." And another: "Poor and hapless am I. from the others. God "Green I has not been kind to me. Let us suppose for a thinking. If. and I hold a privileged position. When I am in amuse myself with strange sensations. you'll see one single tree. that the air is colored the air that circulates through everybody's lungs. Man's reasoning about the tree is not that about himself he reasons just that stupidly. But Man Free. branches. is not aware of his yet own roots. why he doesn't give a hoot for the others. together. have a look at a its With If roots. He believes is That he is alone. tree. in the shade. Here is realize that. The first drops of rain that fall are mine. they make what a leaf might think." Thus every leaf has its own thoughts. Let's An obvious example. the leaves are not aware of it. sometimes I nothing but a leaf. The tree of mankind. and leaves. In the sun. That's why of us feel miserable and alone. silly. Man. he does so for ethical reasons. If you think of that.
But the unhappiness of other people dilutes our own happiness and cancels it. But an everyday life. my children street on the meet. and watch the sea. it is true. mean.Anonymous (20tli Century) 36 If and absolute another human being! could cease for once to be alone! trust in only we Sometimes I think: Christ on the cross. an embryo. I sit am the pig that down. A flat and livid If anybody should happen to fall from the sky onto this surface." is You You turn around in amazement. each day made up many hours. . Love I. My friends and and I. how could he redeem human- bring mankind the happiness of existence. you can of so arrive at a state of truth that brings life is happiness within reach. I not enough to create happicould just as well have said: I. barefoot. I and I. But ity. scrunched up sea. In certain moments. like is meant. I is My wife and said. can be happy. or your girl friend. that by saying that my wife and I are not happy. not lonely and not desperate! earth! Then man could I really believe in happiness on That's what ness. I am capable of achieving happiness for a moment. The others and The people those I I meet I don't even The same is rium. you can reach an equilibstarted out is. Inasmuch I is no one on the beach but me. if he died alone and desperate on his cross? But what if a man and a woman had died together on the cross. I think he'd surely be smashed to smithereens like a sheet of glass falling I am on a rock. there I can be no doubt but that stop. and all of a sudden you hear a We It is really voice: "You pig! pig. Walk along the sea. nobody's fault. overcome by certain sensations. walk along in sweet beatitude. There as there no one. true for you and your wife.
the smile of become al! 7 to some the handclasp . Dear old heavy on our personal happiness. the voice of the dead. reality airplane crash. All that is ugly is the fruit of man's suffering. to be are not happy. But I feel the reality of the others. all we can do is to share our hours with hours in the image of the those of the others. The truth of the matter is that no one at all has said "you pig. Dear old wife. I should now hear the voice of spirits. of modern slavery. Every unhappiness the result of the suffering of all mankind. Apparently everything is calm and sublime. because I am all alone. we don't hear their lamentations. our smile." Nobody could. the condition of all Only in that case can it happen that our embrace. perhaps. may extent the embrace of all. No one can get away from this reality. a romantic. if I were a mystic. Human piety no longer adequate. I be human. It belongs to everybody. Fve dragged you into this as to you and me. and try to be happy by fashioning our human condition. this lies heavy on our chests. the voice of the Lord. on earth permeates every pore of our skins. I feel the reality of the face-mask of the village idiot. but all I am is a man cowering on the beach. of the millions of Jews in the gas of the motherless child. I. I feel it just at the moments of happiness. like everybody And is said at the outset that we But we must not let that get us down. but the thoughts of all the others We are wandering through the air. I feel the reality of the is news the paper brings me every morning. Just so else. don't see the others. nor even Christian charity. But collective consciousness hangs in We the air.37 I Happiness and Unnappiitess of Man If were a heathen. Collective suffering lies My wife and thing. either consciously or unconsciously. I feel the of an chambers. may stretch out on the roof terrace and look into the sky and feel happy. wife. our simply holding hands.
as I begin every clay. Every man's individual happidepends on the average measure of happiness reached by mankind on earth. it From what I seems to me that one basic thing unmistakably follows: If a man is conscious of this present epoch. Now the sun is penetrating my body. Any suffering or unhappiness of another or of others has direct repercussions on the individual. Personal happiness in daily life therefore will be attainable only when mankind is able to live in a harmonious its world. not empty. The vines needed it to ripen. The walls. Less rhetorical and absolute. This is one of those moments of between the suffering of all and the happicompensation I feel and ness of I all. egocentric. to feel better. charging it with truth and vitality. it is linked to the collective consciousness of man. felicity. Man. in a state of ness. exists. More Since gentle and human. after so many days of rain. But canceled. this state of equilibrium with all the things of this world perhaps it should not be called "happiness. The happiness of every man today is conditioned by the happiness of all. have said. by reading the paper and being hit by the world's suffering. The sun that everybody had been longing for. he knows that there is no such thing as individual. This is the only way left for us to try." would be even more exact to To be full. well. This state of well-being." The French word banheur is perhaps more precise. and it has nothing to do with ethics. the other is then this will become a problem of . I have begun this day. we should any longer of happiness and unhappiness: two other dialectically opposed terms. to dry. solitary happiness.Anonymous (20th Century) 3S of all men. stop and think. one might say. This morning the sun is shining again. we not really talk are dealing here with natural things. If one of the terms One is exists because the canceled too. It call this state of mind "fullness. Personal happiness is conditioned by collective happiness.
or that of the Christian." It is therefore not the happiness of the heathen. Not I and just any table. something rather "Sister water. that is. I and the others. One dies. we die on this earth in order to get our body back this here on this earth. I think of St. why not? I and this table." I think of St. But while I aware of one detail that makes it St. I might say that St. but erred about the dimension of time. Paul who said. on earth as . He was Anonymous (i4th Century). and not only man. But I am not. The "I" exists. for example." The whole creation. I believe that when Christ spoke of the resurrection of the body." Humanism has passed over this earth. Francis on that particular morning is was happy the way I am. Only that he was still abstract. I am a specific creature. It is a table on a terrace. I can call myself. "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. "happy/' I am clad in this particular. similar happens." "Leaf bathed in sunlight!" Today we are all am in this state I am one family.39 semantics. that. There the "I. not incarnate. What have reached a rare state of equilibrium with the world this morning. modern happiness defined as "the happiness of Anonymous (zoth Century) . It is the happiness of the man who is simultaneously subject and object. inasmuch in vulgar terms. and romanticism. All relatives." the "ego. different from that of Paul or that of St." "Brother wind. According to him. Francis. he said a very true thing. I can say more: "For we know that the whole creation fulfills itself. Instead. too. and so to speak. And yes. I am Anonymous (zoth Century). sure is Happiness and IMiappmess of Man is Among ourselves. that could be specific. as I we may talk plainly. He was just one of God's creatures. and something Francis and of his Praises of the Creatures. This particular table on this particular terrace. This state of felicity is like it. we die in order to get our body back in the beyond.
therefore.Anonymous (20th Century) 40 Anonymous Anonymous (i4th Century). If a sketch could not stand this comparison. That is the secret of any happiness to come. when I I am. to have overcome the absurd. or wash might face. who would never dare come near . At this particular moment. Man's problems are not metaphysical. So true is it. or of the torn body of a woman in labor. The I might also get screwed. Perhaps the biologists will say some day that it is all a matter of differences in the nervous system. that meant that something was At this moment I can bear the thought of a skull. for instance. this possibility: to have stepped out of the myth. well. to be happy How within the logic of this world! That afterwards matter. which the world differently. I should do well whatever to do: plan a piece of architecture. that really is the key. elementary. happiness. nothing exalted. docs not only thing that matters is that this possi- bility exists. Man is thing that will no longer be man. I used to compare my drawings with a skull. and to know how to use To have a different nervous system. marvelous. wrong. so set to speak. in order to be reborn as (2oth Century). nothing arbitrary. What it comes down to is that you have to make good use of yourself after having got well integrated in this world. It is natural. It is just this preparing another that gives this tool fulfills To be a tool. When I was still a boy and I wanted to gauge the reality and truthfulness of a piece of work of mine. But that pecially neither lowers nor raises the level of the problem. Esinasmuch as I believe that man has only an instrumental value on earth. natural. out my There would be nothing about any of my gratuitous. nothing intellectual about this state of happiness. or of my father's death-agony. happy. actions. that our is There cleaning-woman's boy. and thus I am sure that my state is real. They are simple.
Planning there will always be. a different way. at my side: bothersome as the flies that are humming around me. ceilings. . Or to make a little train of floors. is here right now. It would never occur to them to think. In this state of mind let me now try to turn my thoughts to problems of architecture. No. and the problems are posed in plan. ham. they plan in general. going to lay his magazine right on my table in a minute. this . slices of bread. of the happiness or unhappiness of man. Later on. To imagine the on this topic. or to medicine if I were a doctor. good does it do to make sandwiches of human unhappiness? One slice of bread. according to them. The way I should turn them to economic questions if I were an economist. of the architects approach certain problems. For now. to look at these mountains and this plain. but now we are planning human happiness. This may seem just a joke. To bility feel like To plan human unhappiness. I think of the way town planners and way a town or a borough should be conceived. in the following chapters. whether there should be one-family houses or many-family houses. one slice of bread Or put them horizontally: a little train of slices of bread. three-story buildings or skyscrapers with many floors. he is If this "state" per- reading a Mickey sists. Whether the buildings should be high or low. I think. for instance. ceilings. one slice of ham. Mouse comic book. To them it seems a logical problem. I shall have something more specific to say is enough for me.41 Happiness and Unliappiness of Matt I me while am working. To look at the sun. but to me it is is he important. I just don't going on this way. Perhaps it is The way a rational problem. unhappy human beings. all in a straight line. but certainly not a logical one. That's what it comes down make a tower of the floors. does it matter if the house has three or twenty floors? What What . . unhappy human slices of to: to beings. Let us start from the possiof human happiness. for instance.
spaces. modern man is intelligent. but still walls against someone. or prophets. we can really create in our minds a happy city built for happy men. including the made things by him. All the things that man will sec. such as have never existed before. existing and immutable like all things that are born. just a without being futurists. if you want to use an academic term: a composition made of hills. Intelligent. or houses. our I am staying now. our architecture all this intelligence seems as yet a barbarous. harmonious walls. . Nor is it the happiness of medieval Christians.Anonymous (20th Century) sea which is 42 few hundred yards away from where and to visualize the future city. but not sufficiently so to notice that men today are un- happy and that we must begin from scratch. where men live free. as though they were existing. and colors. And I assure you that. forced as they were to defend within walls their felicity in the beyond beautiful. to put it in still simpler terms: a city that takes the possibility of happiness into account. applying itself to things that are merely experimental but not yet true such as our painting. I implant the roots of what men used to call houses. Or. All that we have today are merely means formidable means. What we have to do now is roll up our sleeves and begin anew. yes. secure within the walls of their perfect acropolis built at the cost of the lives of millions of slaves. walls. will be so natural. that it will seem as though they had always existed. a city fit for us to live in. The city is being born: simple. Sure enough. vain thing. but still only means. city. or villages. And this time it is no longer the apparent happiness of the Greeks. so true. pretentious. whether brigand or infidel. organic parts of the landscape. and happy. This time nothing will be detached from the earth. but a single composition. If you look at it this way. truthful For him who looks at it from a distance. it is not a city that appears. of trees. all this human intelligence. to him who comes from the sea. anonymous. This is the earth. I furrow the earth.
with the white sailboats pulled up ashore. Happiness and Unhappimess of Man and die. or even a Martian.43 live. . or the face of the woman who walks with yon along the beach. without being surprised. the way you marvel when you look into the starlit sky. Odysseus could land here. the way you marvel at the sight of the black sea in the night. or Orpheus. At most they might marvel.
a platthemselves. But let us leave liberty aside for the moment a word that assumes a different sound in different ears and swings between poles so distant that the alternating move- ment past. to live together on a reconciled earth. among mutually all. whether in a world divided rales.Subjective and Objective The problem ically. of its pendulum has covers all the civilizations of the none excluded. The question is whether men are able to establish outside of myth a common basis. there is one rule that summarizes them or one non-rule that all. The moment has come when we must be able to live outside the wonted use of words. really able to live as a free man and no longer as a slave? History unfortunately shows that up till now only slavery has been capable of imposing order and making life possible. men can find a More minimum common denominator among than that. To and put it in different words. that incarnates them makes a free existence possible for Is man. . looking out for the first time from the window of what is called liberty. even. within the very ambiguity of the words. Certainly not liberty. form. in this spiritually. polit- world of ours. geographically unified but and divided as it socially still is. the question is. contradictory norms all. is to find out whether. The moment come when we must try to under- stand one another within the words. on which to build together.
friends are architects Thus and it happens that many of my painters. Everybody has his friends. and more existential.45 Subjective and Objective it outside any form of communication. The market-woman hasn't ever heard of such a thing as "objective" and "subjective/' but when she gives an apple to the little boy with the running nose. that is. This is the reason why painters and architects today. she performs a pure existential act. where are we to start. while the architects. do not understand one another well. What I tell these children. if the attempt to demon- Now new attitude is not to be conceptual. try to hold an objective position. perhaps. not to originate from a center. too. unless act of existence. in their arc much more avant garde than the architects. The architects say that the painters are frauds. Dangerous because it may easily become abstract. But this. painting. on the contrary. most of your friends. is dangerous. if not the best of your friends. In general. on the whole. whose life is at that basket of fruit. we may talk in terms of subjectivity be the worth just as much as that of the greatest philosopher on earth. lest the function of any such center be dictatorial in some way? I could start with the fact that I have children. belong to the sphere of your job. who strate this if it is represent life in ascent more than I whose life by now is on the descending part of the parabola. than any act that that great philosopher has ever been able to perform. do with A . If be the pure we want to use the jargon of the philosophers. Generalizing. purer. but that psychologically they arc more conservative and art. understandable also to and market-woman. The painters say that the architects are people who have nothing to critic might say that the painters. I had better start from my job. I might say that my painter friends are today in a subjective position. How I educate my children. who has been looking rapturously say should But what we objectivity.
if we want to use a fashionable word. Nobody. hoslive and low-priced "popular" housing projects. pitals. they take to try dope and merely is to exteriorize their subconscious. in better or worse taste. is forced to buy a painting or to look at one in a museum of modern art. them out Sometimes it is enough to look at a joint exposition of architecture and painting. or worse. There are architects who want to remain faithful. because what they produce not painting but only advertising. after all. is an art for the initiated. is housing project for the relationship between a low-cost working men. or is simply their sex urge. What. above all. in general. but posters. to become aware of the enormity of the dlcalage that exists between them. who is boast of their social responsibility. Architecture. Painting. There are also. It is around this double. The And. that the errors in interpreting the words subjective and objective gravitate. on the other hand. All of us architecture. do not possess even one of the characteristics that mark what can be called a modem building. constructed no matter . It not dictated by chance. almost equivocal. And there are painters who don't give a hoot for their responsibility toward the "others". effects of their personal belly-ache. is after all. to their position of social responsibility. but of course." whose products. Not paintings. is a more social art. without bothering to question whether this subconscious the truly subconscious. 46 and painters defend their position of liberty subjective creation. the architects renounce any freedom. and thus they renounce architecture altogether and fall into the metier commonly and wrongly called "contractors and builders. in my opinion. must among the products of modern Everywhere we look there are schools. if we want to use a striking word. including even the freedom to be objective. the so-called realist painters we can leave of our consideration. position.Anonymous (20th Century) romantic. there is some logic in their attitude.
you might that. But it has always been a position of unstable equilibrium. the Christian God. or personal opinion man the fact remains the same. or. who. through this subject exist at that time? It and it gates of death. But it not. without any possibility of proof. of God or man. the crisis. incarnate in Man. this is God. Even if it were true. One might say that there have been moments Men when they have reached an apparent equilibrium. they have never reached an equilibrium. More than He is truth. truth revealed by God. But was not an objective one. say. say that there existed in that town a The most you can minimum common denominator. is the impasse in which man finds himself today and which is due to just this lack of stability in all the positions of equilibrium he has ever reached. more dictatorial than a God. Did the most certainly did! The subwas the most gigantic. inating subject that ever appeared on earth. promised a paradise to the good. apart from which there is Man's voice has destroyed the nothing but eternal night? Has anybody ever given more absolute answers to the mystery. the objectivity of the town has been paid for by the price of the subject. and who has given precise commandments. and during those moments they were able to found magnificent civilizations. the most domject existed. and have always been see-sawing between an objective a subjective position. and the red blotch on a red background that avant-garde painting? It is necessary to try to understand what an we mean when we say objective or subjective. entrenched behind the dogmas of Revelation? But truth. Let us take a medieval town. not man. There is an imposition .47 Subjective and Objective is where. It was God. He "possesses" That does not change the picture. The most beautiful medieval town is in the world! You might it is think it legitimate to call it an objective town. if you prefer. Could there be anything more subjective. The consequence. a hell to the wicked.
He received the faithful in His house. a city built And is It Let us have a look least militaristic. aristocratic. Instead of death. is. I would say still more: if the Christian God was absolute. The price of this imposition is fear. they even had one "Unknown God/' of whom St. and even more Only the Athenians were cleverer than the Chrisone God. than that? almost say that it was the ideas' of men that Could there be anything more subjective An idea that becomes a gocl to be worshiped. but equally strong. the city in all now at a Greek city: Athens. the Greek gods were the personification of Greek concepts. In the temple there is priest. beings. Take a Greek temple.Anonymous (20th Century) 4& from outside on the "others. custom-made for the Greeks and for no one else. A God with Unknown. tians. And his outside. Paul speaks in the Acts." An imposition which men must obey. The most serene. in the last analysis. What more do you want? But pearance. in human more direct contact came down to earth to sleep They with women. But still fear. Cleverest of all. perhaps. God instead of on fear is not a city of free men. not an objective city. they had many. One might became gods. democratic Greece. And defeated enemies were slaves. open to all. Those gods were easier to reach. . Fear of fear of a dictator. A door. Did the subject exist in that city? Certainly! It was more hidden. and perhaps in the entire world. Compare it room only to a Christian The faithful have to remain for the god. The Christian God at least had charity. And occasionally men were this able to rise to Olympus. was only the apChurch. even if they obey of their own free will. and who saved Paul himself from cruel. The others were enemies. it not a truly spontaneous city. it is not an existential city.
What us. lies its The city of Humanism. one might say. It is Himself. If I think of a man who lived I Florence. I before the i5th century. And there are slaves. look down on it from above. Nothing else is for me so .49 Subjective and Objective But Socrates must drink the hemlock. when we talk of the Greeks! One fine day in Florence. suffered. let's not talk of objec- when we think tivity. let's not talk of democracy. man himself." my soul. Humanism was bom. a strange thing. torn up and laid bare to the light of the sun. geniuses. which up to that day had been projected outside man. My There is nothing that I can see as clearly as this rela- tionship: subject and object. think of the freed subject. Humanism has not yet reached except as a cultural notion if I descends on the "I. I think of the good and the evil this city has brought to the world. free Just think of it: man trying to break his chains to feel on this earth! Trying to be himself. think of those men. or even if I think of a man living today but among those peoples and nations whom. The subject. that poor Leonardo. It was the birth of something extraordinarily important. it is Western man beginning. I think of at my feet. as compared to man What do we mean by as ant or man as num- ber or man as son of God? Just think of Leonardo da Vinci. my "non-possibility to exist/' is rooted in this very terrain. finally entered man! After the thousands of years that had elapsed since man first appeared on this earth. ground broken years ago. can the perfection of a Greek temple mean to of the lives of the slaves? No. How he must have The modern At least for era is beginning. a profound peace How much simpler life was then! prior to the discovery of How much less ambitious life was personal tragedy.
A stone. three. they were anonymous in the ety- mological sense of the word. all of a sudden. he would find this opinion confirmed. if you want to call it that: God and the gods were the subject of the ancient "Subjective civilizations." the author speaks of Florence. said: stone. the subject. The apparent objectivity of these civilizations was paid for at that price. be anonymous when there is no name because there is no "I"! It It is easy to Then the "I. so natural." inasmuch as the "1" did not exist." An interesting chapter. Which means that all the civilizations that preceded Humanism were falsely anonymous. Then I have examined an animate object: a butterfly that was fluttering from flower to flower. Yet I don't succeed in taking the bull by the horns. butterfly. The reader notes the ter: of this chap- and Objective. he inverts the order of history (dealing first with the Middle Ages.Anonymous (20th Century) SO Intimate. Then. Then if And this reader lastly I have thought of another I human being. had not come out into the open daylight. man. objects of different kinds. First the author speaks of his painter and architect friends. I. which discovered stops. I think of the reader. so much paid for with my own hide. He deals with a mediaeval city. saw me now as I am writing. Strangely enough. and of his reactions to what I title have been saying. Then he This is indeed a strange author. saw me this morning. For two hours now I have been walking up and down mulling over thoughts and ideas. Thus Those . In fact all I have been doing is to take up an inanimate object. Or. if you wish. by God! Then he reads. because in fact they were "without name. he adduces three examples of cities and civilizations. then with Greece). I think of what I have already written and what remains to be written. and then with Florence. He makes a basic discovery. in relation to me. with a Greek city. Or at least it lay hidden in the darkness of each man's breast.
the object. shall we be able again to realize wood. A rhythm A that grows packed. I There. Suddenly he rises. and swelling out his lungs with terror and anger. rhythm. The savage is not an imbecile. Neurosis over- comes him. always a stone. but in a new way. the savage of ten thousand years ago. but this time he says: "stone. my palm. and the stone. stone. lets the stone bounce on his palm. stone. What matters is that he gives 7 a name to some thing. He hurls the stone into the sea. his After that. He is only a savage. The apple of consciousness. Perhaps no one realizes the existence of the stone as directly as he does. He lets the stone bounce stone The on his palm. "Stone!" At last he rises. He too. stone. intrinsic in man.51 Subjective and Objective What on did I do? it First I took the stone. And so the "whys" The legend of a lost paradise. he hurls the stone far out into the sea. frenetic. But questioning was were born. stone!" lie screams. stone. He is crouched on his knees. its form. Man is has a stone in his hand. . for example. nor does it exist today among truly savage people. "Stone. more carnal. this odd example means is that the relationship between object and subject really did not exist at that as wood What time. a different kind of man takes the stone in hand. His arm becomes a lever. like the first man. beginning from scratch. at that time. an object of wood. There is savage man. the subject. Perhaps only now. For the first time he calls it ''stone/ or "gfuglu" it docs not matter which. He feels its weight. as though released. and the savage of today. All you have to do is to look at something that is perceived by a savage. I thought of all the different relationships that were possible between myself. Letting bounce once in a while thought." Like a litany. Maybe those were happy times. It was a life. that raised no questions. but man changes. and you will understand that the wood will never again be so really wood as it was for him.
and stones. the stone is for something. Another day comes. animals. ship between subject and object begins to first The connatural to man. and then even a god. like all of you. 1 too still let the stone bounce on my palm. fish. The stone becomes personified. not because it is without name. and another man takes the stone in his hand. butterfly. in their various fields. it is unimportant. a power. but because." Or "I with the others/' ants. full readi- . is second example means that the relationcrystallize. a new relationship is about to materialize on this earth." All of us. Men. work at the ness most advanced points of human experience with and freedom in their research. today as always. The "I" is no longer "I and the others . Let us try to see what this new relationship between subject and object really means for men. to the organic world flower. The man is angry. even though having a name.Anonymous (20th Century) 52 He really is What stone. or man and man. It has become "We. the rea relationship ality of I new should like to the stone and the reality of man: the relationship. of Anonymous (2Oth Century). Anonymous at last. Through the different relationman has had with the stone throughout could show the evolution of the subject-object relationship at different If moments we now pass from the inorganic in man's development. and a relationship exists. The stone serves to becomes And history. or man and animal. The entire history of man is contained in this strange story of man and stone. other man these different stages of relationship would become so evident that they could almost be touched. call it. detaches itself from him and becomes another thing. cat. it becomes an object. kill first good an animal. but he makes it a discovery. is Thus the taboo of the stone born. between subject and object which will cancel this subject-object dualism and create that finally kind of existential relation between two realities. at this afraid of the stone. or at least for some of them who. so I ships which we could go on. But the fact remains that even today.
I could restate them thus: Everybody is worried. I have tried to adapt my ways of speaking to theirs. men as All the analyses of the world. with philosophers. Because from semantics. I have talked also with taxi drivers and store clerks. Nobody has a precise reality in his hands. Let us try to draw the conclusions. something that I believe to be going to I really feel that. The am going to ask are these: What do you mean by subject and what do you mean by object? What do you think is is subjective. of life. We We . which is today. The most interesting answers. the farther the ultimate limit of knowledge recedes. The harder an analysis is pressed. And the experiment has been quite successful. or from any quite apart value judgment with regard to these words. have come to a point where the object itself is transformed through the very act of observation. with have talked with scientists. something way down below is changing. have talked a bit with everybody. I got from some of the scientists.53 I Subjective little and Objective fashionable want to make a questions I inquiry. then came a certain number of philosophers particularly interested in social problems. Summarizing all these answers. and of matter. a reality that he could offer to his fellow a rule of life. I must admit. are sinking as it were into a bottomless well. and what in your particular field of work? objective. which seemed to have arrived so close to their ultimate conclusions. anyway. I of view. We shall see what very important. from an intellectual point I Thus artists. do you think Do established which objective? you think a new relationship between things can be would be no longer either subjective or is come out of this. have come to a point where it seems theoretically imwhatever possible to get down to the elementary particle.
In the last analysis. or the rich and the mighty. to find a justification for his existence. a myth. you or I. Whether women should work as men clo or not. heads of government or street cleaners. Whether children should belong to their families or to the collectivity. To make it short: there is no possible norm. . the mystery remains. beyond these probes plunged into the universe. men of faith or empiricists. at ease.Anonymous (20th Century) it 54 is may be. We have arrived at a point where physics rejoining metaphysics. When we come home at night. the gates of death. no guide. a veil of mystery spreads out. even though in a different way. Man seems lonely and orphaned on earth. is apparently a failure. no standard of judgment. Again man must ask himself: is Who the subject? And face of God? is what is is about to appear again the Thus our knowledge in such a desperate state that we feel a hero. The sum total of man's millennial effort to tear down us. whether we be geniuses or poor devils. these steel blades that have quartered. into a metaphysical experience. by their very method of research. Whether the family should exist or not. failure. at least for A who a are living today. now as always. Whether sardine fishermen and beggars. clinging to ancient positions or sticking out Whether we be our necks on the ramparts of an avant-garde culture. None of us ill knows how to behave. analyzed everything. have been thrown back. are the happier human beings. day. We don't know whether man is monogamous or poly- gamous. Beyond these drills that are boring into our knowledge. Even those who had fallen back on humbler and simpler type of knowledge of an everymaterialistic sort. we find ourselves in just the same state. one thing is sure: we don't know where we are going. almost tempted to create once more a god. We feel sceptics or optimists. dissected.
The road that leads back to the position of the savage. There is no metaphysical or physical paradise at the end of any of these roads. in whatever form or disguise. is is his history. All roads are Also in the realm of politics. bigger all the time. Roads that we know inch for inch and by heart. Do we really have to try them again? Do we really have to repeat all these errors? If we want to have something secure in our hands. where the objective the price of slavery. Personally insecure. and the subjective exists only in the funcexists at . open. There is no greater danger than being insecure. but the pillars of Hercules are still there. Roads. if you want are pushing the pillars of Hercules that way. insecure. What does that mean? it The heavens are silent. Roads that are no roads. ever farther back. all The road toward a new roads are open to all. or the road of despair and suicide. Really passing through a dangerous moment in we are living in an epoch of transition. The and the road to anarchism. Roads. looking around: that man is much more likely to first be hit than the one who throws himself into the hole he chances on. The world is becoming to see We That man and man secure. walks or thinks of the things of this world. towards the first charlatan who presents himself is road to revolution on the public square. open to the insecure man. so many times has man tried them and so many times has he arrived at the impasse. or the road toward a god to worship. dictatorship. it is true that we must fall back on some old position. And collectively in- The insecure man who does not know where to hide when the bombs are dropping from the plane. Because we know that they lead nowhere. concentrated on himself.55 Subjective and Objective When each man. and stands there upright. there is no voice that answers.
What should I think of this world. The cars are abandoned on the streets and squares. a glass of milk and a glass of orange juice on my stomach. all. and tomorrow to begin? What's there First of to do? finish this cigarette. almost all the stores were closed. at last. capable of offering a new rule that might replace all the existing and mutually contradictory rules? I What do not think so. buried under the snow. free within the new human condition. And here I am. snow-packed. do I think. to look at a freed sky and a freed earth. People didn't go to work. projected outside of us.Anonymous (20th Century) 56 tion of another subject. then? It's snowing outside. in a reconciled universe? What must we do then? Are we really in a position to snatch the rosary out of the hands of the poor old woman who has found in the church peace and hope and a rhythm to her existence? Are we in a position to kill the rich man only because in his wealth he has found his own kind of artificial paradise? Are we a dose of lies in a position to inject into the enabling them to survive? blood of men Are we. in other words. This city of three million inhabitants is paralyzed. like flies to be eaten by the spider of death? Or shall we be able. When I went out this morning. all by myself in my room. the sun to come back. just waiting for the blizzard to stop. For exactly twenty-four hours it has been snowing incessantly. whether we want to call it god or devil? Must we really get tangled up in the net. with five cups of coffee. let's then shave. and go to cat a bite in the first . para- lyzed. apparently without any scope. have dreary place I a whiskey.
Then go into one of the few caf6s that exist in this city. too. . This morning am at my desk. making is driving it. A steam shovel an ear-splitting noise. a warm grill over the subway. Indeed it's noisy company. is what I mean. Perhaps not. We We work freely only if we accept our condition. I called didn't go to the restaurant. other mouths. until late. hell always find an open waiting room at a station. At the cafe I shall find other people.57 Subjective and Objective find open. I said "together. A man is at work outside. I shall is shiver with cold. other noses. All this is pretty far-fetched. And perhaps you'd be right. and finish this chapter. And the earth. within the condition in That which you are reading this book. feel that the air exists for all. but I bless the noise. as usual. What matters is that you and I should be reasoning about our existence together: within the condition. is This. after the key to this chapter. even the most wretched outcast. or a roof of straw and tin on four posts dug into a vacant lot. Anybody. If I were at home instead of being here. you might say. Last night I To caf. within the condition of the words themselves. The only thing that matters is not to be alone. for example. But for me it is essential for my brain not to have to work in a vacuum. this chapter would be different. I shall get soaking wet. For me it is essential for my thoughts not to become abcan are conditioned one way or another. other eyes. If I were at the seashore basking in the sun. It enables me to feel the man's presence nearby. And we spent the evening I together. I don't have galoshes. What matters is to see the face of another man. it would be different still. And if he has no money at all. stract. all I have the snow a pair of fairly heavy shoes." all. has a few cents to go to a caf6 and seek company. or even to the up a friend. even his muscular force. I shall sink into up to my knees.
man and woman. without being enslaved to anyone! can project into these two people We all the possibilities which man today has What would they That is at his collective disposal. How would they justify their existence? How would they break their solitude? How would they behave towards each other. who set out from the opposite ends of the earth. And let us assume that they have assimilated the past in such a way that they do not have to recapitulate history because they carry it within themselves. lone survivors after an atomic war. The story of a man and a woman. without wounding each other. . They do not have to toil. do? the heart of the problem. History is inside of them. Let us assume that these two people are highly advanced culturally. driven by an instinct to begin life anew. they walk until they meet each other. without doing harm to each other? Would they have rules to follow? Would they start from scratch like Adam and Eve? Would they beget sons like Cain and Abel? And would it go on like that. I up to this day? it think would be different. are putting these two people into an ideal Here you have two human beings. What is important in it is the fact that these two human beings can start their existence again without bumping into anybody else. generation after generation. today finally. they are free to use all their time the way they please. that all the tools of technology that man has ever invented had miracu- assume that they have lously Thus we position. naked again. It is a little story of no importance. endowed with all the means.Anonymous (20th Century) 5$ So what do I think of this world? At this moment a little story comes to my mind. without creating complexes. And let us all the technological knowledge of at their disposal Let us assume. been saved from atomic destruction.
exist. Because this my own experience. How they eat. men have merely lived (more say that. At I this point I might write a Utopia. It my dictatorship. on the contrary. man has found his At last. and nothing night else. poetry. Reconciled. and nothing an amorous night. last. or the devil. to expend themselves well: . cannot do that. at own human dimension. I cannot because I really do not know what these people would achieve. No one need fear any longer. and then died. prior We or less badly). not from would be born of all but which I able to satisfy. could try to describe their daily actions. Breath with breath. air. But this would become It would also become poetry would arise from theirs. Brain with brain. they might even manage not to eat at all but to transform . Heart with heart. they would begin to exist might even to these two. It would be born my desires: of my I But person. They need neither prayers nor curses. How they wake up. They do not need so many things to live. men would begin A gesture in the air is a gesture in the else.59 Subjective and Objective differently These human beings would be able to organic. They no longer need God. at last. because they have no taboos. in other words. within the limits of my biological nature. These people. What gestures The way they make. and even unsatisfied those that I have been more those which have remained long to satisfy. After centuries of history. skin coincides with skin. Itself and become so just like blood. live because their way of thinking has once again become Because thought. Bones with bones. can no longer detach gratuitous as to create gratuitous actions. An amorous is to make good use of themselves. And fear does so much harm to man. Their own masters at last. they sleep. For them there are no questions.
perhaps. To wake up. the condition described in my little stoiy. they would be able. They will will at last have reached an equilibhave found their dimension. Beyond any revealed truth. their instru- mental value. perhaps. the possibility of existing outside and beyond the rales. is of no importance. with a woman at your side.Anonymous (20th Century) 60 and would not would be able to fly take airplanes to fly because they without planes. When and is What is important is to understand that there a possibility of existence beyond any rale. perhaps they ships. With the next-door neighbors. To wake up one morning. With the milkman. Nobody knows what man could achieve on once he had arrived at this condition of existence. or oxygen masks. the baker. see. African. others are going to sleep. one over there is Chinese. woman with whom you are living. But the little story had there is its importance. the mailman. And while you are waking up. All they have to do is to begin. where they are. That To be Not able to wake up I in such a condition every day. Man reconciled with the earth. These are things that others may how. and at last begin this existence. yes! But with a woman at your side. With all the human beings on this earth. Beyond any problem. it is night rather than day. Perhaps. That was merely an abstraction. With a because. To be able to wake up! To be able to wake up. in a realm where the words subjective and objective no longer have any meaning because subject and object have become simply two moments of the same state of . To wake up with all of them. Beyond even discovered truth. Because men rium. to leave this earth and travel through space without rockets. With the children who live with you. the other one. is The important That thing was to try to show that there a possibility. earth. space assimilate matter directly.
stone. All of them. in this our joint adventure. Questions arise only when with grace. this right? Or is that other thing right? Or that third one? For the human being who finally completes his action is no questioning." I say "The mystery that way. myself and the stone. in the third chapter. if you really need a name for everything. if I again take a stone in my hand today. and all men move and act and live without hurting one another. without offending one another. "The world is mysterious. without having tormenting questions themselves into your chest like nails. Thus. is. and let bounce on my palm. with compare you. stone! If I all apt for me. and without taking away from anyone his own personal possibility And thus it does not basis of existing. Stone. that of those that arose. outcome of abnormal conditions. there nate. with the exception our will: acts which at other times were by chance. If you wish to put it existence.61 Subjective and Objective existence. poor devils. Or even stone! Stone. just as the act of breathing consists of breathing in and breathing out. I can't find one among them to arouse a sensation similar to the one existing be- . Stone. the way you are today the things created by men. like ourselves! But it is when the poor devils will be able to accomplish their actions with grace that man will have achieved his I plenitude." offers said in the the only possibility of first chapter. because everyone has found his own vital place in the world. There can be no quesan action is unfortutioning. beyond taken together. an objective make sense any longer to look for on which to found the rule. in a synthesis. I feel that there is peace between osmosis. were the given other names but which. companion of my daily existence here on this it earth. you may say that the mystery is the only rule. stone. but not absurd. not the work of simple men. Thus our badly executed actions are all unfortunate. hammer Is To exist.
The way the Christians won their day because they bore the signs of a serenity unknown to pagans. The others are not wrong. after all their first meeting. and God hurls his lightning from there. But the other things are there too. with this Nothing is objective. all it may well be firs. The mountain is all glaciers and snow! The mountain is all pines and firs! The mountain is all rocks! Different points of views. They are. And no one can change the sensation that each one of us may have toward the stone. all may well be pines and rocks. The mountain is God. the mathematical average of the subjects compared to the object. If the mountain for us all glaciers is truly the it mountain. everythat exists exists also for us. There is a mountain. It is as though the earth had really emerged after a deluge. and they have a right to be. and nothing is alien thing to us: not one of all the credos. Not even the sum total of every subject's Not Not viewpoint toward the object.Anonymous (20th Century) tween us. it and snow. someone said. To compare and confront. because fire. even when facing the lions in the arena. If we have . viewpoints. little new and a new Adam and a new Eve just as in my story were to set out on their way together. because the mountain is the may well be mountain! finally landed on this new world. 62 Nothing that has ever been expressed on earth has the flavor of our colloquy. and opinions of other human beings. it spat But the mountain is nothing but the mountain! So what remains for us to do? To walk together. And new road. nothing remains to be done but to walk on this new stone in our hand. But they are not right either. the subject that has become object.
aware that those who expected great things from have been disappointed. But how long did it take me to arrive at this conclusion! Am I in a position to say things of this sort when often I am not able even to answer the questions children ask me. The only thing that matters is to begin and to under- A not know when stand that after cause I it is all everything that happens is good be- am necessary. But how much time did it this: is man one. unfolds. We do or how this march will end. there may be no men left on earth. Sub- and objective are nothing. Because. and concludes in the very act I accomplish? If there is someone who believes in polygamy. have no rule to hand out. "No. "Be a Christian"? Am I the one to tell them? The most I could say is me monogamous. believe that take me to understand that! I could also say that in this world there is room for the Chalice and room for the Koran. give How difficult it is to . except the expression of an n tn opinion? Did they expect one more rule to regulate life? But I know absolutely nothing a priori. do you think I am in a position to tell him. How many And jective to those who ask me I questions. I. because my knowledge is born. by the time it ends. how difficult it is to answer: "Gentlemen. "Be a Mohammedan"? Or a Mohammedan. for you may be monogamous and polygamous with one single woman. but also polygamous.63 Subjective and Objective march of mutual rapprochement has begun. how many houses more will have be built before the one that will no longer be a house! How many paintings will have to be painted before those that will no longer be paintings! Thus I have come back to my job." an answer to the questioner. except by talking to them in terms of their particular need of a particular moment? Through my how much trouble and effort man will have to go before arriving anywhere! to houses. you must be monogamous"? Should I tell a Christian. But what could they expect of me.
That is the condition. have architects ever worked in the abstract. And not one of them has said: If I am really honest. All of I them believed they could be I honest.Anonymous (20th Century) 64 AH I can tell my students during their question period is this: "What do you want. all white. Sunday. and I. explained so Not a single one. a theme where it is necessary to define what is subjective and what is objective. I have many things to them. Because that's the way it is. That is. you can't plan a piece of They would give me a dirty look. it is not useless. Above how to be honest. am writing all wrong. What does it mean to when they do not have in their hands all the city? elements needed really to create a yet they go on working. except in this absurd time in which we arc living? And yet. That not the way to do architecture. must say that they cannot. where they are used to paying something like two thousand dollars a year to study at a good university. and could not either. When. This year I have given them a difficult theme: the project of a village. to master all the elements on all. on paper. which they were working. in past history. and with- out bricklayers? When could they have clone such a thing. Even today. on the lower floor. And that they are tell either. To pay two thousand dollars just to hear a professor architecture?" cially in the say that this is it is all wrong to make abstract projects. Well. EspeUnited States. I cannot make any project at all. here are the universities. that is. Why don't I just run upstairs and them: "Boys. We must . without a precise budget. if I make a city were in their place. stop it! There is all that snow outdoors. after all? Don't you know that to plan a piece of architecture on paper is all wrong? Don't you know that without a client. without the materials. some of them are working. Get out into the snow! What you arc doing here does not make any sense anyway!" But even if it does not make any sense. So many things.
always together. Gradually the solucome nearer. no. I hope you will walk with the stone in your hand and say to it: Stone. stone! Stone. boys. We cannot stay outside and play tion will Gradually the errors will diminish. You won't build cities. the stone on your palm will become something very different. Together. nor a subjective city.65 Subjective error. It will be then that the true city will come into being: not an objective city. . And the day that you leave this place and go into the world and really build. slowly. but truly our city. and Objective work within the big. my companion on this earth in this our joint venture. So keep working. slowly. keep working! And peace be with you. But.
human. with their precise rules. because each of us has sensed by now. Because certain things are impalpable and can be expressed only with a smile. . how they are saddled with the problems of a world that is coming to an end. that has failed in a certain way: a world in which values are changing. not theoretical. I have taken this question of educating my children as a pretext to explain a certain number of human errors.The of This new chapter should be simple. for could be answered in different ways. too. anxious to learn and to experiment. the tiresomeness. without exposing them to the kind of beating life has in store for all of us. easy. We would like to bring them up in such a way that their experience of life is real. that life should not wound them as it wounds everybody. has its difficulties. Yet this chapter. in his own flesh. This is body. questions they ask us arc often embarrassing. or with a caress. Because the children no longer believe in such rales. Even a difficult problem. Yet to educate them. Sometimes my wife and I are at a loss as to These youngsters arc open-minded. more or less familiar to everyto those parents who cling to old-fashioned systems of education. they My wife and 1 would like to do all we can to make sure that nothing bad should The happen to these children. of existing. I have three children. the fatigue.
even though it is perhaps closer to me than the cypress tree because I can reach it with my thought. sunk as it was in the bog of instinct. My older daughter is drawing a kicking colt. Far away. I don't know. not more. I see it as far away as the cypress tree. too. Thought may hit reality or miss it. instead. I see the moon behind the cypress tree. But when I feel somewhat look at the like a dog that bays at the moon. they see. and the earth Once upon thought more and more. There I my children live.67 Abstract Man: The Source of Human Errors At this moment of writing I am a long distance from home. The youngest child. with my wife. Animals. as time went on. occurs and pretends to be knitting. means. man was bom. began to think. and dogs bay at the moon." as the popular saying has it. Instinct does not pierce the atmosphere to pass beyond. because for months now I have been seeing this same am My color of wool. is still a puppy. a time there was the earth. head and the belly of a . thought can and does go wrong. on a hill above Florence there is a house I built. after all. it may be tuned right to the universe or it may be off-key and imagine anything at all even a woman with an elephant's turtle. tonight going to talk to you about abstract man as the source of errors. Because not to think. I say. So be good now and listen to am my story. Because this earth had not yet given birth to man. she pretends. rubbing himself against his mother. wife is happy when this talking with them. The younger one is playing with the cat. or perhaps just a little bit farther off. An earth that could not think yet. Then. not to use this marvelous tool. But while "instinct never goes wrong. but don't think they can detach the earth from the stars and the moon. I and I tell them: Children. And it new adventure I stars. Thus we are all together. I feel human. almost at the antipodes from where I am. who should be the strong man of the house. I see the moon as remote. Thus a began. When. It does not reach the stars. to remain within the earth's circuit.
had to offer itself. little step and well be making a woman Just one more out of plastic. that means that this detachment is now complete and total. models to be imitated. and thus he had to give himself a new rule. who will even give us scientifically selected and controlled children. that we pluck it. niy dear children. always more thing abstract. prophets! . whose beauty ceives only when he sees them reproduced on a movie of abstraction which screen. the earth These personages. found himself face-to-face with an object. not of real things. fault. just to be able to survive. to the point of no longer seeing the flower. Instead of is quite another power he himself has become abstract. saints. he realized that he had lost his natural rule of life. But then something else happened: whenever man. This means that using his man has become abstract. personages who the best that represented. It just happened. a man gets to the point of making flowers out of colored plastic. no he perlonger seeing the clouds in the sky. that a continuous line of personages appeared on this earth. instinct into the apparent ejected from the safe realm of freedom of the apparently boundless realm of thought. And so it happened. though. They became the rale. a woman with a sweet plastic smile and sweet plastic caresses. And when out of atavistic habit. Thus walk through the fields and find a flower. my dear children. and it's not the earth's nobody's fault. to adorn his house. but are unable to realize the flower. any rale whatever. became the archetypes of human perfection. It's or a flower or an animal. whether a stone It's not man's fault. always fresh and beautiful. this means that we human beings often live in a world of imit may happen that we aginary. men and women. each in a given historical period.Anonymous (20th Century) 68 If thought is able to do that. How many forth! marvelous figures the earth has brought Heroes.
You see. Just know Joan of Arc. emperor. then it will seem to you as though you held in your hands the keys to human history. in a round glade opened up by human labor. each of whom has embodied. At other times . these heroes. used to love them so deeply that I would search for them. . And But we could say just as true. . My wife still Penelope's it unravels web has her knitting in her hands. This has grown a few rows.. With some of them I have I tried to identify myself. and when have known all of them. in the middle of a great forest. black. Sometimes sorcerer. in life. we could spend a splendid night of our existence in observing these personages. has evolved. perhaps. About still others you are going to hear in the future.. some of these personages. really known them through you and through. know Antheus. on a moonlit night. up to his death. red. which would be We could say that these personages are the result of the everybody. children. so that nothing will remain obscure. I have been a saint. the chain will lengthen. Because we could say that through these men and women the earth has moved forward. stalk them as if stalking a prey. Socrates Sisyphys as well as Orpheus. White. you have heard about at school. Or a prophet. if then we could hide behind the trees and watch them. and all the colors in between. Tantalus as well as I know Buddha as well as Christ.69 Abstract Man: The Source of Human Errors If we could assemble them all. go hunting for them. Because I too had to learn how to live. About others. at other times I . an effort to justify his existence in order to live. itself. I have known them. yellow. Or a Or an . toil of I also the contrary. could tell you stories about so many of these heroes. I know as I and Leonardo da Vinci. At night. and blue. It will lengthen.
of these personages. That is. trot. children. What happens? A little creature is born. an eagle-man. It is born as a squirrel. and try to see their virtues To see the border line between abstraction and and love But this road is dangerous. The What can we parents are deeply worried right away. up to the point of identification. But what would people say of a colt that tried to climb trees? So the poor thing is forced to kick. That is his world. walk. Because perhaps you some of these personages. by my story. reality. but easier to understand. While the colt-children are romping in the meadows. or a cat. There. be less personal.Anonymous (20th Century) 70 has gone into hiding.or frogman. So there: here we have a lion-man. and can- . its symbol of perfection. kids look at me. Each one. instead forest glade. bored The The cat has gone. maybe. more precisely. about a lion.or frog. or. seeing them no longer in that moonlit but in quite different situations of life: one. the other. Now my story has come to a fork. That is his truth. now. The sun perhaps. a third one. the poor squirrel-child would like to climb trees. I shan't speak about personages. Instead of the noble knight. perhaps. Therefore I've decided to follow the other road. I could take some defects. Ill speak about animals. going to the toilet. can a squirrel-man clo in a do with this offspring? What is world of horse-men? There teach him to be as much as possible a only one solution. of the saint. and could take either of two roads. as its archetype. the other more analytical. Thus the life of this new being begins. we must horse-man. has had his turn as king of mankind. and you would suffer at seeing them belittled. the lion-man or cat. One would be more historical. about a butterfly. brushing his teeth. holding his aching tummy.or sometimes even a snakeIt will man. Let's assume we live at the time of the horse-man. a horse-man.
71 ter. What have I done. All wrong. is To hurl all illusions headlong into the abyss. And in this identify sense. injured. dying. not the crying of orphaned children. he begins to cry. none excluded. I see. because it was spent without the possibility inely real of ever being what it was not. any possibility of rising through a "hero". glimpses his mirrored image in a river and discovers that he is really a squirrel. a sad story! Their faces look bewildered. Until this failure of a horse. I have really taken away from them any mythical possibility of existing. what really remains in our hands. Abstract Man: The Source of Human Errors is This way of moving so unnatural to him that at night. after all? I have bereft them. without the possibility of resisting? What remains to us in this desert made of houses and trees and flowers and animals and human beings? hurl. a failure. To To uproot. I This what see the world as is if at war. all the stories of all men. I feel embarrassed. and such the horror and fear and skin that nothing cowardly concern for one's own any longer impresses the hearts of the survivors: not the screams from the torn and dying bodies. to some extent. was a life expended in the attempt to with the hero of that particular time. at least with words life fortunately is stronger than all these things of any possibility of imitation. The exhaustion is such that nothing impresses any more. But within this story. All his life. Even the most beautiful of lives was not a genuis That life. is Now What that the story finished. The night has been long and the day their . frustrated. unable to recognize even the faces of dead parents. there are. when he goes to bed. But what should I do? Cheat them? I go on. What remains to us. after a night of carnage. A squirrel that never existed! the end of the story. of this failure of a world? less night. I look at my children. To uproot from the earth all false hopes. in a world in What remains to us in the endwhich men are being humiliated.
Anonymous (20th Century) is 72 dawning. the rains. ." And this because in this vision it is as if the whole earth had lived through a night of carnage. But I could visualize the others: those whose communiques the city of quite some . . said. The living are counted. He handed me those socks with a dead-pan smile. Someone digs up some bread from under the ruins. Even those who roam through the night trying to help. but scarcely has the golden apple of the sun floated up than something happens. sockless cellophane-wrapped black silk socks and so swollen that I had had to cut a couple of slashes in the boots. and the children are asleep on the ruins. "In one night we have destroyed satisfaction. This is dawn. There True. All mankind together at the dawn that rings the earth with new light a snake biting its tail and the light sees all of us together. I get up to count my soldiers. A few are busy already patching up the houses so as not to have to sleep another night in the shelter. walk with bent backs. The blood is stirring and life resumes its course. Almost everybody is sleeping. The dead are buried in the mortar holes. is now. What was there to do? . A woman walks toward the child. The screams who knows whyare stopping now. there was grounds for they thought But in the vision that I am having not even the hopefulness of the other side. my one of pairs of my still whom I have given the strictest orders not to came one morning bringing me for two my wretched feet. But what do you expect? Even soldiers to steal. there is also an occasional jackal scavenging among orderly. These are the things I have seen and lived through. stooping. Just a few yards away a child starts sobbing again. are even people tuning up in a timid song so as to take heart again. During the last war. their eyes buried in the holes that have been torn in the earth. eyes buried in the holes in the torn earth. not seeing the sky. The weight of fear has been such that there is not a man whose shoulders do not sag. At dawn dying people die.
each one must be enabled freely to develop his own possibility of existing. take off my put on both pairs of socks. because story tale contains within itself its own conclusion. there were couples Within a few hours. men and new city can begin on earth. In the previous chapter on "the subjective and the ob- . Lions and lions. I could just as well stop. spontaneous and true. And this more tangible thing I want to expose to the light. at last. was born. too fond of you. too close to the fable of Phaedrus you recently studied. in the tool niches of the train him on the tunnel. more truthful and better than the one in which we are living now. A natural city. True. other. without heroes. There are only horses and horses. And. its soevery men. clap boots. Without myths. where each one simply tries to be what he is. I assure you. to grasp truth within the ambiguous. without imitation. after the carnage. often it is just in the ambiguous that truth exists. This is the only possible starting point. Full stop. Simply men who tried to live once more. Frogs and frogs.73 Abstract Man: The Source o Human Errors Just smile back. This is why I want to explain my fable and its moral. children? This is life. The moral could be summarized thus: To live well on this earth. True life The is called moral. a making love again. Squirrels and squirrels. children. one on top of the following night. All of a sudden men had again become what they really were. There are no more lion-men and frog-men. but these days people fool around too much But I am with the ambiguous. at last. together. But this statement contains within itself something more tangible. You see what I mean. it was an extraordinary experience. and The shoulder. These simple acts of existing that occur. Nor squirrelnor horse-men. And you are still too young. You must not be left in ambiguity. ended.
carry my own weight and my own . mental blocks. but simply because I responsibility. it should appear per- you prefer.Anonymous (20th Century) 74 jective. except at the price of anarchy. of the group of human beings who must live together. moments. cars. demagogic rule of the collectivity. self-evident. or on an objective position. and a hardening of the I to come positions. inasmuch as the subjective and the objective are merely aspects or. not the way we wish to be or others wish us to be. It is easier to understand. at a relational fectly clear. This conclusion was that nothing solid for me is the on a subjective position. better. that our life has no meaning unless we live it the way we are. no matter whether they be statesmen or economists or even people not specialized in these duce something: corn. In a way the conclusion of that chapter is that human life has only a relational value. that is. Difficult only insofar as this kind of reasoning may hurt the susceptibility of those unable or unwilling to accept niy conclusions. At the point we have reached by now. save at the price of dictatorship. nor does the Perhaps it would have been logical to run the present chapter on another equally dualistic track: that of the One and the Many. fields but Not because I think I am exemplary. my who simply proor whatever. Fd rather speak of myself again. On the contrary. if we have arrived at an existential world world once we have brought ourselves to the point of admitting that the relation must be spontaneous and not coerced by rules. future can be built of the same reality. have chosen instead to speak of abstract man in order to the same conclusion. But once or. Arbitrary subjective opinion does not count. until today coerced by rules. Not as if it were a difficult argument in itself. dear children. buildings. And here the matter becomes thorny. Merely in order to avoid useless polemics. and natural. it becomes inevitable that we speak of society. So. It is a relationship. but henceforth free of them." we had reached a conclusion which for basic. and to make others understand.
take me for a dangerous. as he does. sociability exist? social being? I in the crowds. the collective hero. But then. But the truth seems to me Two antiquated concepts of . half- to be what is "social" are rampant in the world today: on the one side. on the other hand. I a social being? I feel the others. I said I try. If I I'll may generalize. In fact it has already happened. To put it in terms of a social context that is. on the crazy. I find myself in neither a subjective nor an objective position.75 Abstract Man: Tiie Source of Human Errors It seems to me that. nor an imitator of the hero: not even the collective hero. revolutionary. nor to accept rules imposed from outside unless I am intellectually convinced that they emanate from a true common basis. I try neither to have a personal opinion to impose on others. unless I make the mistake of falling back on obsolete and inadequate historical attitudes. in other words. children. and you were hungry and thirsty and interrupted the sleep. Soon enough this is going to happen to you too. and tried the patience. lated to other men I speaking of myself as a man retry to be neither the hero to be imitated. even But let's go on. the liberal concept that sets up the individual hero. Am you have estaband them. It has been happening since the day you were born. playing hide-and-seek. at that time. lished a relationship between yourselves if. asocial leanings. That is. the rightists or the moderates. who assumes the guise of the may be true that the worship of a collective hero a historical step forward from the worship of the individual hero. and to what they say or write that I am caught between two fires. say that those who are politically and leftists consider me a romantic individualist with socially If I listen to about me. to what degree does I or am my Am I not a so-called Fll try to explain what mean. of your parents. something else again. you did so involuntarily. but the error remains the same. It man. semi-anarchist. or is happening now. perhaps the is collective hero is even more dangerous inasmuch as he is less easily identifiable.
which is that of an architect and painter. the (20tla Century) 76 communist concept that sets up the collective hero. stupendous. So lets take architecture and painting. one thing should be noted.Anonymous other. I am fed up with masterpieces. This. the paintings of a time reflect a state of things which for us today is no longer adequate. don't . my dear children. of the crisis modern men. the buildings. we feel somehow that there is something about it that doesn't work any more. But these concepts are both contained within a social diagram that seems to me obsolete. I when I am facing a temple or a palace. when I look at a painting in a museum or a fresco in a church. I love them. First of all. I leave it to the politicians and sociologists to examine the same phenomenon from their own points of view. but there is some- We thing about it that is irreparably lost to us. one of the of In relation to the others. that does not interest us any longer. Perhaps the spell of the "masterpiece" still weighs on you and influences your judgment. But for me everything has changed. I am on longer intimated by them. the world has not yet produced a new concept of the body social in which everyone is an integral part of a living organism within which he can freely act and express himself in function with the others. does not belong to us. If what I have said is true. is aspects. this means that the cities. But can't love them. that is alien to us. If we look today at an old work of art. even sublime. cities. This analysis might lead the various nations and to say my say about their different ways of conceiv- me ing society. Today. But I try to see things from my own point of view. any longer. perhaps the main aspect. don't feel at case. children. I don't know exactly how you feel about that. paintings. admire them more every time. may say that the work of art is beautiful. not only as individuals but as a collec- tivity. I and architecture They arc beautiI ful. when I walk through a city. These are not for us. Save for some rare and exceptional persons. I agree.
not for man. within the myth. In a certain sense modern men have not yet achieved this greatness. This church here is a house built for is God. a man belonging to the past. But all this belongs to the past." by this ambiguous word after all. means nothing. "Do you know modern cities. for our everyday life. hen houses. But this is just because what is called "modern man" is in reality still an ancient man. to the end of the which. less of anything you want. less intuition. horse bird-of-paradise paintings. Today. Sometimes find more beauty and. modern paintings. I agree. If by "modern. in comparison to the ancient ones. I can't get around that. all these images. modern architecture. and so on. past. they can only make pig constructions. the churches. There is less thought in it. this painting is created for a hero. this palace is of the Madonna. when they or mosaics. or in a decorative painting. Whenever I can.77 Abstract Man: Hie Source of Human Errors There is always something that disturbs me. for someone asks me. and a time there were eagle churches. Once upon palaces. more truth. to be able really to see their frescoes But it's useless. I have to say. Everything I the house of a prince. there is more freedom: these things are us. that are more beautiful than those of antiquity?" what should I answer? It is easy to answer. in this mechanical era in which everything is made for comfort. are empty. in the house of a peasant. it is logical that it should be much harder for modern man to achieve a masterpiece. when modern does not falsify the feel of them. Almost all men still work all. this nobility. are petty middle-class heroes. All these forms. I don't. but made for men. we want to indicate . and canary paintings save for a few exceptions that merely confirm the rule. I try to see a thing under the best possible conditions: traffic the cities. at night. And if after No. dear fellow. or in a bridge. above all. displeases me. they still search for a hero. And since today's heroes. I agree. have their point of departure in something that is no longer real for me.
within reach of your hands. If the people of antiquity were able to create those stupendous things for the "others. it is works will be more beautiful if logical that their you still want more but to use this equivocal real termmore beautiful because at the than the objects of the past. when they have dropped their personal ambitions and work as integrated parts of cosmic life. since they are constrained by a society which does not yet permit the creation of something really new.Anonymous (20th Century) something that I is 78 outside the myth. men and sculptors really to express the whole life of man. but within life as real existing relationships must say that everything cause even those who among men. in such a way that we shall no longer be abstract men. as free men. Nothing all of a sudden. painters. But when it is possible for the called architects. same time they will contain all the values of the ancient heroes. for it is impossible for man him. then you may be sure that the objects which these men will make will have nothing to fear from a comparison with the works of the past. including the gods. for that matter. When I say this. are really contained within man. behave understood the problem have still not yet had the possibility of genuinely expressing themselves. Not only that. this true civilization you must be of Anonymous (2Oth Century). beyond the hero. we must look toward our future with hope and confidence. then remains to be done. at no one's command." then we shall certainly be able to create even more beautiful things for ourselves. that is all. When men have finally succeeded in being more truthful and more real. That's the to give anything of himself that does not belong to way full it is. On the contrary. All of us finally shall be Anonymous (zoth Century). So we must get rid of our inferiority complex. I am logical. because all those heroes. And therefore of hope. This splendid future is within reach. . they will gain from it. my dear children. who were projected outside himself by man. changes Every innovation needs time. I am not a prophet or a visionary. but real.
harmful to our future. to our least. quite apart from the way you say it. It is difficult to find the right tone. In a moment of uneasiness or of anger someone might scream. anyway. esteemed. especially during these last hundred years. some extent at say farewell to genius means. the most important men of our time. the right angle. admired. who have taught you. least of all against those who are the most vital. is to explain why those masters and geniuses are no longer useful. the most authentic. or kindly. no longer necessary. To write against those you have loved. have made this earth what it is. but are. these geniuses! We are fed up with great masters!" In a In a moment of terror: "Death to the geniuses!"' moment of gentle acceptance of our human limits: this "Who And are the geniuses?"' can be said in so many ways: proudly. wickedly. on the contrary. "They have fouled things up for us.Farewell^ Masters. But the only thing that matters. after all. because he who tries to be anonymous cannot write against anybody. To own youth. To "write against" is the wrong expression. humbly. to to say farewell to ourselves. the right measure. Farewell^ Geniuses not easy to write against those who have brought you up. Against those It is who. to life any new possibility of among men. For . Depending on the state of mind.
simple. Because seemed ugly and I felt that it could be I saw that life was evil and I felt it I felt ill at ease among men. and logical. Because it contains a substantial amount of truth. And now we owe you an explanation of the reasons for our error. full of life and hope. this does not say the genius of the past. And we say we no longer believe in our masters. an exalting. I personally know the reasons for I believed in the geniuses because my error. How can we answer. It was automatic. if it was you yourself. Who should he blame for the stupidity of this world? could be good. a monotonous. changed. when young. tired world.Anonymous (20th Century) if 80 we mean no longer believe in genius. That is the way it is. obtuse. who made us believe in them? And this is really quite an embarrassing question. And the earth all beautiful. on the other side. That is the only possibility. who imposed them on us. We were wrong. a flat adventurous world. For the war. the possibility of a new world. We owe to the man in the street this bitter admission: You are right. he just cannot help looking for someone to blame and for someone in whose hands to put the possibility of salvation: for the scapegoat and the savior. who wanted them. without ambitions. world. after that things The I chose genius. choice was obvious. Because a When Who This but the stupid? is inevitable. On one side. especially during And other questions arose. It means also that we only longer believe in the possibility of our being geniuses if we no ourselves. the earth was tired. young man is in this situation. You might ask: What's all this uproar against geniuses. But me they changed . it is tantamount to saying that we no longer believe in our fathers which means that we remain lonely and orphaned. we who try to be Anonymous (2oth Century)? The answer must be truthful. bored.
when you can't promise him a beyond or even the end of everything. Take your tools and work. up there on the hill. rising above us who were without sense or reason? dying Sure. You may kill an enemy in order to despoil him and save your own children from starvation. Not even Cimabue. in such a night of slaughter. and that their means of destruction were more ferocious than the atom bomb of Hiroshima. Or ideals. You may say that all wars are the same: that the invasions of the barbarians were much more ferocious than last war. when you don't know whether in killBut you can't kill is there in front of you. when mystery is the only sovereign law. go home after a night of slaughter. the barbarian who destroys your houses carries your women off into slavery. over forlorn and lonely children? Where were the geniuses during a war? Were they able to raise their sovereign heads Were they able to stand the comparison. or they fought in defense of civilization. You may even kill out of patriotism. geniuses: go back home.81 Farewell Masters. at least they involved some People fought to assert the right to life of the stronger. when not even the cross of Christ who died for man made sense any longer. . But those were holy wars. would have been able to make a studio painting of a crucifixion. one was a war without any sense at least For what and for whom was I What justification could I find in a battle against an enemy whom I should have killed but was unable to kill? It is useless. You may You may and kill kill the infidel to defend your God. sure. And you are the right. when you don't know who the fellow when you don't know why he was born nor why he should die. Farewell Geniuses in a night of horror above the rotting bodies of men. But the fighting? last for an intelligent Italian. go ahead and make your personal masterpiece.
objective. what he stands for is always is No matter and subjective opinion. A genius is an objectivizer of the collective unconscious of a people. But if you want is me to. All those who believe in myths are able to kill.Anonymous (20th Century) 82 ing a person you kill his possibility of fulfilling his existence for better or for worse. this transmutation? It is not a question of cruelty or kindness. this become is. The trouble is high position from which this opinion voice wants to a personal that. perhaps because the suffering I went through has left me with a complex that I can't get rid of. simply for one reason: because sure I am not what life is. then. for that matter. that there are other definitions. genius is a recipient of grace. can you stop anyone from accomplishing this transformation. a dictator. to pass from one state into another. a question of ethics or non-ethics. I have talked about war. I can tell you in still other ways who is basically a genius. cannot commit an action as total as that of killing withIt is a Not A out knowing what it may mean. Someone might object that my definition of genius is wrong. what have geniuses to do with war? This is the crux of the problem. If to live own means merely to transform oneself from one thing into another. Even if he dictates only ideas. A A genius is an interpreter of history. The genius after all. is. To me the confrontation of the corpse and the genius seems so real and evident that I don't think anything else has to be added. A genius how great he someone who asserts an opinion. . man today simply question of not-knowing. kill. because of the uttered. or better. I cannot kill. But Anonymous (2oth Century) cannot But.
Farewell Masters; Farewell Geniuses
expands the subjective into the universal until
becomes objective. But the problem does not change. Because, in the last is a analysis, the problem is always this: either the genius that is, not a man but something else, or the superman,
genius is a man like others. If the genius is a superman, not a man, but something else, he does not interest me; just as the angels do not interest me, because I do not know them. Or, if he is a
about time to stop
rhetoric about genius.
urinates just like the rest of us.
Not only that; but without the others he dies. Without the peasant who sows the corn, he would die of hunger; without the miner who digs the coal, he would die of cold; without the shoemaker he would have to walk barefoot.
genius does not exist. It is only that some men have certain qualities, and others have other qualities.
a question of rediinensioning things, of setting their proper limits, of giving them their cor-
future civilization, the civilization of Anonymous (2oth Century), will be a civilization without heroes, with-
out geniuses, without paladins, without gallery-gods. It will be a simple civilization, made by men who work together with their different qualities. The fruit of this work must be the fruit of all. Ours will be a world of real actions,
not of personal
vision of the world
the synthesis of
visions of the world.
not a vision imposed by some on others. And I said a world of aversynthesis. I did not say average. Because would be a mediocre world; it would be inadequate ages for the many who are below, and the few who are above,
that average. It would be inadequate for everybody, because even the mediocre would not feel well in a mediocre
Anonymous (20th Century)
mediocre people, for that matter, who need geniuses to survive; it is they who worship these supranatural figures, who for them are symbol and screen. Symbol, when things go well: "You see, he represents us, we are he." Screen, when things go badly: "Not everyjust the
iuses." Yes, it
may commit errors. Or to know what is the error.
Because there are errors which amount to stealing, murdering, enslaving: in other words, to taking away from others
the possibility of existing. And there are errors which amount to going wrong in the other direction: an inability
to give others the
possibilty of existing.
These mediocre people may look around today, and, thank goodness, they will no longer find especially among the younger generation (I mean the people between many so-called geniuses, with thirty-five and fifty today) their heads sticking out above the others, hors de la melee.
so they ask:
more geniuses are being born?" As
try to pay, at last,
are simply people hides.
Nothing can be done about
Dear geniuses and it. loved you, respected you, studied you, are thankful to you for what you have
But now there has been a break between us taught and you. A break which we hope will never more be
We We know everything about you, we know your virtues and
necessary, and that you have a historical validity. attitude does not interest us any longer.
hope, in other words, that history will not turn back, in a process of involution. know you well.
your defects. You have been neither good nor bad. You have lived, and if you have lived, this means that this was
want a world made from the periphery, not from We want a world made by osmosis among all
men, not a world made by the imposition of We want a world in which all men feel at their
Farewell Masters; Farewell Geniuses
the intelligent and the stupid, the ugly and the handsome, the good and the bad. Because in reality everybody is at the same time intelligent and stupid, ugly and handsome, good and bad. There is not so much difference between the first and the last of human beings (assuming, for the
moment, that there
such a thing as the first and the beings), compared to the immense distance that separates the human dimension from the other dimensions that are being discovered as time goes by and who knows how many more dimensions will still have to be
discovered before the whole universe acquires full conno longer have any use for this sciousness of itself.
arrogant, self-secure, self-sufficient air of the genius! want to begin all your masterpieces for yourself!
against the genalso necessary to
was necessary. But
take a closer look at these geniuses. erroneousness of their attitude.
must prove the must sink our teeth down to the marrow of their error, and not let our prey and watch out, escape. We must keep our eyes wide open
or else they might easily counterattack.
Let us take three recent geniuses in the
and three in the
to the others,
of painting. Without offense hope. But, in order to exemplify, we must
set ourselves limits.
Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Picasso,
Wright is perhaps the one most deserving genius by antonomasia. American by birth, remote from the living center of world culture (which at that time was Europe), he
Matisse, Klee. Of these six,
nature that succeeds, represents a real force of unfettered
from an inner impulse, in breaking with a traditional architecture derived from old European models, and in
creating an autochthonous,
and, so to speak, virgin
under closer scrutiny
Anonymous (20th Century)
ture too reveals
Now he is
had the good
fortune of knowing him. He was what you call a marvelous man. He had an incredible charm. He was sure of himself,
elegant. I remember him, for instance, roaming the streets of Florence one night, wrapped in a splendid coat, as though he were an inhabitant of another planet. Such was
he did not belong to our
To me he
best in the States.
was the prototype of the pioneer, the finest fruit of that America which I love and which, I expect, will choose its
today that destiny
what America represents to me: a people of who have remade their lives. I say this with the
greatest admiration. Because I believe that only the man has failed individually can become Anonymous (2oth
is being born from this zero point, from which you either rise at last, free and ready, or die. Well, is there another people, born from failure like the American people, consisting as it does of individuals who had to flee from Europe for no matter what reason? This collective failure is intrinsic in the American people. A failure of which they need not be conscious but which acts on them. Hence the pioneers. It is logical
civilization of the future
this state of failure,
thing to do, after the failure,
to try to
survive; to look for the material
America, aiming at nothing but the highest possible standard of living. Today America finds itself at a crossroads: either the Americans will again become pioneers, searching for the savor of existence; or they too will be engulfed, they will destroy themselves, and shall have nothing to say any longer. But Wright was the first example of pioneering
in the field of the spirit
an expression which, to equivocal, but still perfectly befits the figure that Wright was a frontiersman of the spirit, ever
plow them and to sow
ready to with his
gun ever within
Farewell Masters; Farewell Geniuses
Sometimes this gun, loaded with outbursts of maxims, could get on our cross old European nerves, but it also indicated the presence of a real force and, above all, Wright's confidence in himself and in man.
Now that he is
dead, we can examine with colder hearts that he has left us. An enormous inheritance in the face
which we must make our choices and use our judg-
Wright was a romantic. He was unable to exercise selfOf the things he made, four fifths must be repudiated, but the one fifth that remains concriticism or self-control.
veys teachings of a profound importance. Faced with the works of Wright I have been full of admiration, of disgust; I
exalted. In the case of the
Kaufman House, Falling Water, when you have swallowed that lump in your throat and disregarded certain elements
which today can no longer
interest us, certain facts re-
main: incomparable fantasy, the destruction of the closed Renaissance form, the invention of a new space, the principle of a continuous dynamism, the creation of new relationships among the materials. In front of the Johnson Wax Building in Racine once you have overcome your astonishment at sometimes incredibly bad taste, and at the uncontrolled and gratuitous way of forcing various materials to an unnatural use the wonder at a new conception of the city overwhelms you. The last projects, which were never carried out, like the one over the Bay at San Francisco or the Lake Building in Madison, Wisconsin, convey, apart from certain formal solutions, a new geographic feeling of architecture.
Taken all together, Wright's contribution is enormous. But what I should like to point out here is that aspect of it that no longer makes any sense today. I'll take an example that elucidates most clearly his
error in posing the problem: the Guggenheim Museum. Let us leave aside the form, for a moment; let us leave
and the important things which, in
conveys to us.
about the space and the dimensions they require. That's up to the forgets Thus he about the function is of the building: the reason why a thing born. are all clear. So why should he bother? Museum no paintings.Anonymous (20th Century) 88 Let us merely look at Wright's attitude toward others. his equals at is least. Kandinskys. and it is all the same to him how they will who be exhibited and how they director of the gallery. in one climate or in another. a narrow street. the client. at the way he laces existence. The place. on the one side. facing Central Park at the corner of 89th Street and Fifth Avenue. In front there are trees and be three hundred twenty-five yards of free space. There are Picassos among them. But Wright ignores the the place. Modiglianis. on a plain or on a mountain. city. Chagalls. It could in the desert or at the North Pole. within a And museum. he ignores the inhabitants. an existing collection. which means. The problem was for to create a museum of modern art. the function. His idea is fixed in his mind: a free space within a spiral. in New York City. Point two: he does not care about the function of the building. those paintings have been painted or no by great painters. on the other the building is oppressed by an adjacent higher building. Wright does not is like modern painting. whose genius. this spiral. might have been spected. in the rear it is almost growing into another building that has no character at all. has been confirmed by history. He doesn't give a damn about the light they need. will be hung. Some paid with a life of misery and a tragic death. in a number of cases. suffered in the service of this art. . People who paid with their own hides. But Wright those indifferent to the paintings as well as painted them. Thus this "form" is born. their true needs. paintings or a great occasion for him: a free space yet. People of re- magnitude. What does Wright do? Point one: he does not bother about the place.
invention. Mies fantasy. It is certain. with their Doric and Corinthian their red plush walls. Instead of diving into the adventure of the great masterpiece. what strikes you is the attitude behind its conception. heart. Where the latter the former represents If I have loved Wright. But that Anonymous (2oth Century) presses on our hearts and revolts against a state of things that must come to an end. Farewell Geniuses Point three: he doesn't give a hoot about the client. So Wright forgets about the going to visit the building. Apart from whether or not you are impressed by the beauty of the building. new life in peace. You leave the museum in a state of bewilderment. they won't lacks ing pavements. if we want a simple. economical. . for almost all the other spectator. intelligence. In a certain sense he is at the opposite pole from Wright. museums columns and are even worse. calculation. He forgets about the visitors to the museum who will come to see the paintings. client: And he the person who is forgets about a num- ber of other things. Mies van der Rohe I could merely admire. His search is of quite another nature. that the between artist and setting does not encourage the colloquy It does not matter. irritating. method. It does not matter they that they are going to have stiff necks because of the slantbacks. Distracted by the void at their be able to look at the paintings the way should. know. but that does not matter. Does this attitude represent the kind civilization we want for the future? of I And yet Wright is the architect whom in certain respects love most. Mies van der Rohe. It may be offensive. anyway.89 Farewell Masters. it does not matter that the place the intimacy you want for looking at a painting. I hope the reader will forgive my brusque way I of writing these pages. is all would seem to strive for a mass-production architecture: clean. that people will stand in line and pay for their tickets in order to see the museum rather than the paintings.
at exceptional we have he designs forms that can be derived logically from those called by some critics the structural carrying cage. he might turn out a romantic. ture be born from the earth In as fact. new method. One might say that Mies van der Rohe's greatest contribution to architecture has been the German Pavilion in Barcelona. 90 acrobatic structures. And from an architectural point of view this is much less important. to a social function. as he has been defined by many. inasmuch the beams security regulations prescribe that the steel must be sunk into cement or be masked with non- combustible materials. It would be more exact to speak of a self-supporting fagade than of a structural cage. I believe. so would his drawings. perhaps it is even harmful: structure any type of facade could classical attitude on one and the same be grafted. Instead of a classicist. here elementary structures. Beauty does not rise from spatial and formal invention as much as from the total mass and from the detail.Anonymous (20th Century) Instead of labor cost. His symbolic way of writing would show him to be such. which are almost expressionistic. not so pure. Even more than that: by searching for a pieces which instead of newly invented forms. still moreover. is hidden. after all. difficult. which constitutes an attempt to create a new . anonymous that civilization of the 2oth Century to which I feel anonymous bound to pledge A detailed and critical examination of the works of Mies van der Rohe would bring many surprises. In certain aspects this type of architecture seems to respond. that to speak of facades reveals a neo- toward architecture. Perhaps we should discover that the so-called purity of the structural cage and of the detail is. tion to that it seems to afford a more important contribuarchitecture. in general. to a higher degree. way how he of posing certain specific lets a piece of architec- and how he brings it to its conclusion. so is his problems of architecture: my efforts. fire the structure. made of industry furnishes in mass production.
which might have given real life must be searched for. it serves only to put the monument in better evi- dence. on Park Avenue. is somerestaurant to the plaza. It's something to live in. Farewell Geniuses architectonic space much more so than his more famous skyscrapers. It is purely monumental and decorative. what the building appears to be. somewhere to feel at ease. sophisticated and closed in. in which the typology is antiquated. The future of architecture.91 Farewell Masters. But now the grand occasion has come. But it is worth it. Space is terribly expensive on Park Avenue. The problem was: to create a skyscraper for office use in the most central area of New York. As in the case of Wright. we shall therefore omit any general examination and concentrate instead on one building in order to try to individuate the designer's attitude. Here instead the plaza has a quite different function. They are at the side of the building. of a gigantic and taciturn one. and open space. They are much different from other skyscrapers and normal many-stories houses that have a central staircase around which the apartments are laid out. What we proposed to do was to examine an attitude. Mies van der Rohe arrives and hurls his challenge. apart from Central Park. For a long time he had been dreaming of such a skyscraper! Those he built in Chicago were different. even though of glass: a building without internal space. Something cordial. . Let us take the Seagram Building." Point one: Mies wants a plaza. what a blessing a plaza But a plaza must have a meaning. and he gets the canyon of skyscrapers. In this is! fountains. Even the ground floor has only a monumental function. not But the topic of this chapter is not a critical dissection of the positive and negative aspects of certain architects in this case. straitjacketed as he then was by the exigencies of apartments that had to be sold or rented. Mies van de Rohe's most conscpicuous and most famous work. Now this is New York. "Steel and glass. Embellished by plaza. and the and the cafe. for this it is all To is create a better perspective for this monolith.
From the offices. Suppose the general taste changes tomorrow: you might change the whole facade. were not taken into account. test-tube. the elevator man spends his life going up and using it to me down as though within the dark earth. Employees seated at a certain distance from the windows have no feeling of living at all It is as if the internal space simply did not exist. Completely disregarded. you cannot look out at all. As in every skyscraper. a plaza and make of it a monument rather than urbanistically to enrich the lives of people. The different conditions that should have determined different ways of insulating toward north. And to me it is an evil. eyes and overpowering thing. You cannot open any window. original building But what concerned Mies was the monument the most beautiful skyscraper in New York. There is not one mass-produced piece. And so this skyscraper was born. I step . in this situation. and west. where you might enjoy the sight of a stupendous panorama. Mies chose to have the I-beams especially cast in bronze rather than to use the standard iron ones as would have been in keeping with his own principles. seems something inconceivable. The remedies that have been tried have failed to improve the situation. south. To take. dumfounded. One of the glass walls never sees the sun. In order to give the aesthetic effect of a warm light from the outside rather than a cold one. turning my once more toward it. human life is conditioned by a certain a priori ideal of beauty. and nothing would remain of the not even the memory. east. All the rest was sacrificed to this idol. The other is roasted by it. A masterpiece! out of the building. The lives of people. Everything industrialization. You are living in an air-conditioned glass The exterior is all decorative. the color of the reflection prevents glass is such that its your sight from passing beyond the windows. cruel. economy.Anonymous (20th Century) 92 thing almost totally unknown to people.
But my desire of human life was such that I really man would be enumerate here the merits of Le Cor- busier. in the field of the plastic arts) almost said. When I met him the first No for time in his studio in Paris. I was really moved. Nothing was overlooked. in the same city. behind his forehead. so rich and so profound are his interests. case of The Le Courbusier may appear I different. If I have loved Wright and admired Mies. Faced with the plans and sketches. But where is the truth? Le Corbusier. the clairvoyance necessary in a time as proble- matic as ours. space existed. longer an opinion. behind his big glasses. and I no longer believed in myths. to be a synthesis of our time. that this able to open a new way. built during the same period. Farewell Geniuses The same day. I expected from this housing project a positive answer to the problem of our living. but the truth. the wisdom necessary in a time so turbulent. It is useless to me so deeply Le Corbusier who had imwhen I was a student. humanistic does his cultural formation seem. The material existed. at last. we have seen two opinions. the importance of his inventions in every field is universally and rightly recognized. in spite of all misgivings. During those years the "Unite cohabitation" was being created at Marseilles. The structure existed. The Even the problems of integrating archi- tecture with sculpture and painting. The city existed. through the Guggenheim Museum and the Seagram Building. I really believed. This tall thin-faced man seemed to possess. Not even in that of pressed for a new possibility hoped.93 Farewell Masters. With my heart in my throat I was awaiting the miracle. exemplary European (Latin. even though the war was over. which he illustrated with a voice that was both enthusiastic and calm. and hoped. Le Corbusier I have both loved and . This splendid. Everything was comprised in that building. that he was right. Two sublime opinions. so might appear.
not just studied through photographs. in spite of the novelty of the forms and the interpenetration of the volumes. But as for his attitude. in the foothills of the Vosges. an attempt which becomes form. It is the one that rise has been most discussed by the to a number of polemics among has given architects. free as it was from champs chapel the practical needs conditioning normal buildings. For me. this critics. Ronchamp. critics and To as a surprise: they even considered it a betrayal of the principles that had inspired his earlier works. If I had to criticize Le Corbusier through one single I would choose the complex at Chandigarh. a synthesis of the artist's life work. this church has some extremely positive aspects. with touches of genius. even though this space remains psychologically traditional. who am familiar not only with his architecture. for I think that it is most important and most complete work. the arrival some of them it came at a final goal. Here is at a synthesis of all the arts. all his Let But me say right at the outset that I love also that I cannot accept it. But I prefer to speak of a thing that I have seen and experienced. . Among the positive aspects I should mention the invasiveness of the space. The Ronwas a building which. it the artist the possibility of creating a synthesis of experience. In critical terms. So is the composition of the materials.Anonymous (20th Century) 94 admired. I could not help noticing that in him too there was something wrong. new his political capital of the Punjab. gave also with his painting. I this malady by selecting another work of Le Corbusier's for analysis. his orientation. but was no surprise at all. Therefore I choose the Ronchamp chapel. including the word. Still others have seen in it a triumph. Of all the works of Le Corbusier's. What can describe was wrong was the malady of a certain period. The play of the plastic forms is both wisely calculated and fanciful. but also some negative ones. the work.
Le Corbusier builds a church. Picasso is a Faustian and diabolical genius. in spite of its beauty. We now pass on to an examination of the three painters I mentioned above. got over your aesthetic enjoyment of a thousand interesting details. his head. therefore. in spite of everything. like the basilica. is not true. used Roman forms. that this church. and is not a Christian. such as the lack of clarity in the structural elements. Not only his body. But what is more disturbing is the fact that this If I am the artist's orientation. but out of the personal and subjective need of the architect who interprets in his own way a need that does not belong to anybody except himself. The early Christians. Farewell Geniuses There are also negative aspects. his eyes. it is on account of not because of the result. nonsupporting walls. once you have stepped out and find yourself on the lawn in front of the church and look out over the valley and the woods. as occurred during the Roman and Gothic periods. who creates a synthesis of values which are his own. unable to accept it. which are occasionally But once we have examined all the good and all the bad aspects. this House of God and of everybody. was not born out of a collective need. or by the justification. that is. there is something wrong. that it is false in that it is arbitrary and gratuitous.95 Farewell Masters. the imagination of the achitect. These are masked by false. not those of everybody. church. when I was genius as some of my living in Paris but even the hair on his legs bristles with . his hands. or at least to all Christians. too. brim over with friends used to say. the intelligence. We have mentioned three architects. it remains obvious that we are faced with a masterpiece. Let it pass. not always coherent. and this for a building which should belong to everybody. So once you have got over your astonishment at the novelty. you will discover that. at least from the viewpoint we are investigating today. of certain plastic emphases a bit literary.
he were able to do everything: transform things like a demiurge. here you must be careful. like a quartered ox. there there is is a common basis at root. cut up. this Cartesian analyzer of a world that circles around him while he observes it through his glasses. To see Picasso in his place of work is a unique experience. In this case. of the same historical period. in his sculpture studio.Anonymous (20th Century) genius. I 96 is And this testimony psychologically characteristic. seeks. But archy. People who really know what is what. other shores and other frontiers. in artistic evasion. a minimum common denominator. For him the world is no longer visceral and social. no common Here the basis is abstract. It becomes sensual. . to discover disenchanted. it does not mean originality. all. them at last in a world that finds in design its truth and Klee. The world's pagan forces have been concentrated on this typically French being. What he is can do is absolutely incredible. And we might go on like that. full of the joy of living. however. Design and color acquire the freshness of a midday hour. Optimism reigns sovereign over pain. one tempted to say. conduct a political battle. in Matisse. the first time in Paris. through his hands. remember him. arbitrary. testify to man's whole history. Personality means: different expressions of one and the same world. But does there exist. apart from the fact that they are all geniuses? You might answer: they are different personalities." the face of his achievements. His outlook is just the contrary of Picasso's. The poet its necessity. enter into the most hidden recesses of human psychology and bring his discovery forth into the light. It seems as if. of painting who. Down at the bottom. "Magic. among them. Personality does not mean anit does not mean just a personal opinion. crammed with the most incredible demonstrations of what man can do on earth.
of their history. at last. taboos. a world that for us? We sit down on a chair. neoplasticism. find ourselves in a kaleidoscope of worlds that have nothing to do with one another. universe. If we are their world. Is on like this. organiall its species and subspecies. A new civilization is about to be born. in this crazy world? our way back to earth? Shall we be able to find again the rhythm of our days? The feeling of the seasons? Of a child's smile. consistent. and men's talk? Shall we be able to find a world free of "dope" fit and of myths.97 Farewell Masters? Farewell Geniuses In conclusion. Testimonies. let's leave on the earth only the remembrances of men of the past. we may say that the earth has really been launched into space. cism. in order to begin a tence that will be reborn every day with the sun. These efforts that man is making are like efforts to sweep the earth clean with a broom. and has acquired anspace within the other dimension. . Let's sweep it clean of all decay and of all ruin. twisted world? Not one. man Before our eyes we let pass all has done during these past hundred years. means. of a baby nursing at its mother's breast? Shall we be is a world that able to find again the joy of existing in mysterious but free of ghosts. who among them has the answer for a world that is awaiting an answer? among them is able Who to give the right answer to this contorted. their loves. in In this explosion which has torn all ancient bonds. And We we are terrified. their existence. memories. a new way of existing. It floats free. and if we really follow them like into we find ourselves whirled around wind- blown leaves. What a marvelous effort! What a distance man has covered! The earth has been revolutionized. new exis- What has been has been. surrealism. confused. abstractionism in this truth? Can we go Shall we find Cubism.
won't even matter who will have made them. but individually. that is. the mountains. this day. his scope. Alone we shall not be able to build our towns. Individually we can still make discoveries. is Your works will be the example of the last personal effort made by man. Farewell. we shall not find what it is that unites men among themselves. and without which life is a non-existence. even if it is a new meaning. means. farewell. Means to build a skyscraper in three months. no room. Actions. each one will have his task. It may even be moving to look at them. as formerly. the actions of every day. imperfect actions ending in failure. But the savor of this new existence is yet to come. the deserts. which is about to come into being. and we can find it together. Actions accomplished with grace and not by grace. But we shall feel no nostalgia for them. In this new world there is no room for you geniuses. we can still make experiments. not matter who made the starry sky. Time will have a meaning. has been called a In this new world. still who will make interplanetary rockets. We must find it. masters. Actions accomplished spontaneously and not out of a sense of duty. Means to feed billions of people on earth. than those you There really geniuses! made. Means to go to the moon.Anonymous (20th Century) 98 Above all. this savor. Just as it does not matter it And just as it does . hence not. Perfect actions. others who will make houses. Alone we shall not be able to create what. until civilization. Means to fly. we shall not be happy. the sea. There will be those who will others again the single actions of men. will have acquired a new meaning: actions that serve life and make shoes. executed without the pressure of a previously existing archetype. we can still make wonders and miracles. much more important. Because the things which all of us will make together will be much more beautiful even from what you call an aesthetic angle much greater.
they . they are great.99 Farewell Masters. the butterflies. the ants. and they are important. the moss. Farewell Geniuses who made flowers. But above all they are anonymous and each And one of them has redly exist! its personality because they all exist. and the yet they are beautiful.
People knelt down before it. sweet. that crucifix. Everything was in it: suffering. But that crucifix remains there. crucifix. the beyond. "Beautiful"? This death fering? This pain-racked body? beautiful? This suf- What sense is there in aesthetics when you set it face to face with ethics or with magic. death. and prayed. for that purpose. And that Christ answered each one of them in his way. At one had a meaning for men. let alone with the of existence? why Today they have put it back into Santa Croce. "Beautiful/ What do 7 own they mean. Up there. untouchable. "Beautiful!'' that giant bird remains hovering there. beyond beyond magic. blood. Beyond aesthetics. all alone. racked. Today people walk into the church and say. If there are still any faithful left today. they say their in front of a statuette of painted terracotta: in prayers front of a santino.6 Cimabue painted a suspended in the Florence. Perhaps there was someone who understood that this crucifix was born for that church. prostrate. And time it ethics. hovering over the faithful. Croce in wings spread. air. But now it no longer has the same feeling. hope. All the meaning of existence A giant bird with was concentrated in that greenish. Even beyond existence. in the church of Santa its There it was. People looked at it and said. High up it was. . and suffering body. Yesterday Cimabue's Crucifix was in the Museum of the Uffizi.
marked an age of man.
day Picasso painted a neo-classical nude. Beautiful!
Then he looked
That same day he
painted the same body, cubist.
The critics say: a versatile artist. The critics say a lot of things. But the critics don't know what they are saying. The truth is very simple. Picasso, just like else
and, especially a Spaniard, strong and violent
really loves life.
finished his neo-classical
painting or drawing, he discovered that the body which he wanted to be alive was dead. He wanted it to be beautiful, and instead it came out without beauty. So he prealive to
ferred to destroy it. And now this broken-up body comes some extent. At least, there is some mystery in it.
touches on the sacred.
say of the second one as well, "Beautiful. if it were a question of beauty or ugliness.
quite another question. Man is transforming himself: prefers the vital to the beautiful.
Perhaps even Picasso himself does not
so important. It
is no longer aesthetic. Just because bares men's entrails, blood, and death. That is why Picasso is important. And that is the only reason.
ugly. Just because it
Now let us
let us take
take an Egyptian statue. To be quite precise, one of Queen Tuna at the Vatican Museum in
Rome. The They
decorated with horrid marble, in the rhetoriis full
cal taste of nouveaux-riches. It
of Egyptian statues.
The material is the same, by and large: granite or basalt. The iconography is the same. I look at the statues. From the plastic point of view,
as the other.
basalt just in front of
one, in black I can't
just about I come closer.
it. They always return to it. Yet the same as that of all the others.
This statue emanates an overpowering
are just presence. Magic. I come still closer. My eyes about level with the belly of the woman its represents. I can assure you that no other woman's belly, not even that of a pregnant woman, is so "full." This belly seems
to contain the entrails of the Earth.
Luckily there is no one else in the hall. So I can make some experiments. I pull up my trouser on one leg and compare it with the leg of the statue. My leg seems false, the statue's leg seems real. I raise one of my hands and compare it with the hand of the statue. The same feeling. A perfect balance between the dynamic and the static is
contained in this statue.
face looks at me.
statue talks to
We get so warmed
conversation begins beto record only some particular up, the statue and I, that after
But the questions
talk together like two old friends. I want to raise now are of another
authors of art books speak of stylization, of form, of death, and countless other things. But all of that has no meaning for me now. What has meaning for me is
to think of the sculptor
who made this statue. Of his Of the relations that existed
between him, the
I can't tell
certain things happen. Perhaps it is a matter of intuition. What is sure is that the artist talked
me through this statue. That great artist, He told me: I was a slave. Sculpture for me was forced labor. My master made me do it. The material was hard.
Bodily a slave. Spiritually a slave. But
an act of liberty,
can a slave be an
a powerful, true, and magical statue? And that the others are merely academic, seeing that
the conditions were the same: slavery?
Before then, not only was I unable to understand colloquies of this kind, but the problem did not even exist for me. Today things of this sort don't seem complicated in the least. It is enough to be truthful.
I look around. are in Egypt. Nearby they are building a pyramid. A teeming ant hill of male slaves at work. The sun is burning hot. Luckily there is the shade of the pyramid. Hidden behind enormous blocks of granite, the
slave-sculptors are at work. There are two of them, close to each other. There are two blocks of basalt before them, of equal size, equal color. Their iconography is the same. One of the slaves keeps working. Slavery has killed his soul. He
keeps working. With a kind of axe of hard stone, with chisels of even harder stone, he hews the basalt with heavy blows. The parts that have already been worked he polishes
with siliceous sand. First he had cursed the work. When his body was unable even to sweat any longer, so burning
was the heat, when
his toil-racked muscles hardened to stone like the stone he was working on, when the dry spittle puckered the skin at the comers of his mouth, he
stared at that piece of granite in front of
Then the guard walked up and whipped him.
all appearances, the other slave was just like him: the same body, drained of all sweat, the same stony muscles, the same dry spittle. And the whipper whipped him too.
But he did not stare at his piece of granite like an imbecile. Inside of him, there was silence by now. The mad pain of his slave soul and of his slave body had carried
new state. What he had
then rebellion, then the wish to die. But he could not even die. At first the memories of his homeland kept him comThen he experimented with faith in the future. Then pany. he tried even to have faith in the present, that it be a shade less cruel to him. But not even the present could exist
him who by now had become
Then, after the left but the void.
just a thing. silence within him, there was nothing
Anonymous (20th Century)
morning, at sunrise, he
alone and ready. Imagine: a slave. Free he was not: but
ready, yes. Ready for everything,
from now on.
even in slavery, that
That was how he touched on the roots of the real, became one with the world, and felt alive in spite of everything.
I said before that I
a colloquy with the artist through
his sculpture. Don't worry. I could not swear, the you swear in court and say: Your Honor, I swear
talked with the
not a miracle-maker, not a not one given to the spiritistic sciences. I fortuneteller,
just a plain
want to do
be honest. No.
could swear that this was the artist's condition he made that statue. I did not do any checking as to
whether some Egyptian sculptors really were slaves. Their not accord with job was toilsome at any rate and did
lives of free
intellectuals like the
Egyptian used at
care to check
that time were really stone axes and chisels
that "beautiful" does not
the form does not matter; a thing. That you under-
stand nothing unless you enter, through the work of art, into the state of the artist, so as to grasp its intrinsic
and speaks to
me who am alive. That is all, and only that is important. What is more: that artist has reached anonymity: he
Anonymous (14$! Century B.C.). Being Anonymous (zoth Century A.D.)
But here we
could reach, not through choice, but by dint of his
inner necessity, an existential state inherent in the cosmos
The Frescoes in the Etruscan Tombs. These Cities of Dead are as vast as the cities of the living. The Etruscans believed in death. They furnished and
decorated their tombs. Their painters painted for death, not for life. They were truly anonymous.
By this I mean quite specifically the position, the attitude, those painters took toward existence. Early in the morning the painter went to work, the way
underground. painted underground. painted on a humid layer of tufa just laid open by a pick-axe. What does it mean, to paint for the dead? What does it mean, to paint a tomb intended to remain sealed and
a worker goes to his factory today.
closed forever, a
tomb which never would have been opened not for the curiosity of modern men who break in on and plunder every aspect of the ancient mind? What does it mean to bury masterpieces together with the dead? The Etruscan artist certainly did not feel the way our
painters feel today, when they photograph their paintings as soon as they are done, try to get them reproduced and published in the most important or the most
magazine, ship them from show to show like rare objects, wait with their tongues out to be written up by famous
critics, sell their
hope to get them placed Vanity, ambition, and
painters of death. their reward.
paintings through agents in a museum!
glory were things unknown to the prize except their daily bread was
Perhaps, though, vanity, ambition, and glory existed even then; perhaps they were of a kind that we painters of today
do not even dream
of. Perhaps, at that time there was judgment of God, together with the hope of a beyond. Vanity, ambition, and glory in aeternis. have to content ourselves with the vanity, ambition,
even by a famous artist." "Touched by the Holy Spirit. but curios. I "speak those anonymous Etruscan painters. But in the reality of the daily action. like someone who gets up in the morning. "A miracle. Negro statue. who had not yet awakened to awareness of the ego in the modern sense. together with the dead.Anonymous (20th Century) 106 and sense. looks out the window. you realize And ." "Divine grace. which I think is the only one that should interest us today. Until quite recently it would have been out of the question to catch. until a very Those sculptures which few years ago were not even considered objects of art. perhaps earth. the ecstatic and inspired expression one on the faces of thousands of tourists when they look painting sees at a by Raphael. for ever and ever. or the Holy Spirit. in the existential reality of our being. at most. I give well my benediction of ( bene dico] They which means in Latin. and thinks of the shadowed side of the earth where the sun does not shine. on the face of anyone looking at a rhomme. then. for the various musees de ethnological and anthropological collections. and says "Good night and sleep well" to other I men. when you happen to see the truthfulness of a Negro statue next to the rhetorics of a Western painting of the i6th Century. stuff not fit for art galleries but. perhaps at sunrise. was destined to be buried in the earth. his body still heavy with the early risers who are sleep." The air is filled with echoes of such words whispered by people who really don't have the faintest idea of what a miracle is. created masterpieces with simplicity. and says "Good morning" to going to work. or grace. thanking those ancient painters of two thousand-odd years ago. In a philosophical glory of our short life on we are more modest. but who just feel like And because of this could labor with humility on a work which. scarce completed. Now let us think of Negroes and their sculpture. with naturalto ness.
107 Feeling Objects how is stupid and biased men's judgment has "been. because by now someone undoubtedly has thought about all the problems of life and death. I belong to an know ancient civilization. is the weight of life. immersed in awed by everyday occurrences such as and death. Nor do I know what exact connection there was between those hands and legs. is the weight of men more detached from the soil. and their own heads. who no longer pay the slightest attention to the truthfulness of their acts. and the howls of the hyena in the night. careful of truth in the act they are accomplishing and in the choice of the material which is to testify to this act. If only you follow some moral precept. Take one of those Negro statues. chiseled in one single same time waiting. but at the it has become a woman giving birth. hedonists pleased with their objects which are by now stripped of any universal truth. who have lost contact with the things of the world and with the world itself. Thus I don't for sure how they face the material. piece out of a tree trunk. In one pan of the scales. which have become one single vertical line. Between that round heavy head balanced on a skeletonlike body. in their immersed psychology. together with the Negro sculp- ture. the mystery of birth men still tied to the soil. and still today. I do not hear the exact colloquy that took place between them and the statue. about objects created by men. their block of wood. Those Negroes are too far away guess from me. the whole earth giving birth. big in the night like the . I am old and they are young. together with famed Western sculpture and painting. It still smells of tree. In the other pan of the scales. you may sit comfortably in your armchair and wait for future harvests of paradise and the beyond. Or A Man Seated: the whole world Why I and how I are these figures so different from ours? don't know. and they are primitive. chisel in hand. and everything has been solved.
London. Paolo Uccello's Battle. Sculpturing. For the odd fruit museum displays. I should get very angry. Here. their scared wide-open eyes stars. Paolo Uccello must have been rather wacky. for them. was not aestheticism. the National Gallery. 108 among the ritual Between dance imagine In it: this smooth drum-taut belly it. for those . too. was to propitiate God or the gods. I know the reason. The bed in Lorenzo's room in the Palace of the Medici. Sculpturing. me ancestral earth-bound impulses. were thus not objects to look at. If I were Paolo Uccello. the Uffizi. with the Madrid Prado added. In spite of the fame that goes with art. Otherwise. they produced facilitate or to wooden but useful things to accomplish the acts of their daily existence. walls or placed as knickknacks on chests. and the for maternity. reawakening the reason But. Too bad there were not four of them. skillful restorers have added bits of painting at the upper comers: festoons with and flowers in the space that originally was occupied by the capitals of the posts supporting the canopy. the Louvre. to make peace with the powers of nature. And they really were the canopy of a bed. the four Battles of Paolo Uccello would have dominated the Big Four among museums. perhaps to kill a distant enemy by piercing the What heart with witchcraft's fatal nail. Paris. Sculpturing.Anonymous (20th Century) vault of the sky. I don't even though I can even though basically the sculptures them- know selves explain it to me in clear enough terms. 7 lies wholly in the "act itself. it. Florence. it was the accomplishment of a magical act. was not the production of decorative objects to be hung on for them. And I'll tell you why. for them. on the rational level. Now I wonder whether it is permissible to tamper so utterly with the concept of value and utility of a work of Whether it is permissible to change the aesthetic concept of a painting so radically.
Crazy Paolo first the descriptive or scenographic. I was at the center of the three pictures. the liberty. that become spears that become rhythms. I. It stands out against the background of a horseman. Perspective has not yet been inThe object is at a distance from me. it is all around me. That was all perspective! a dynamic. times. even adored if you wish. and the converse. I should get angry. Uccello. has not yet been born. terribly angry. Paolo Uccello. what do they mean when they speak of different styles. or a glass. as the various mannerists did after him. A painter who works for time inside and not outside the painting. from an reinfinitely detached. unless they mean different visions of the world? Think of an object: a battle. In other words. hand. the "I" becomes a char- acter. if the object object mote point of view. had painted three battles. I breathe. Just think of it: horses that become form. contemplated.109 Feeling Objects sky stereometry transposed into plane geometry. These three spaces. Paolo Uccello vented. The is comes nearer. And this he does without "knocking a hole" in the canvas (as we painters say). focused on one point. living. the object acquires a value in relation to me. were something truly When It impressive. Also my hand is part of the rolling world. man at grips with his own But Unfortunately people always talk in terms of style. judged. I lift was a new world around me. Yes. my composition. My body . I exist. I expand my lungs. Perspective. But if I bring the point of view nearer. color. means that man has become the center of measure of things. I painted them. transforming his pure invention of space into something Wacky. God must take man into account. earth and What does that mean? Perspective things. Paolo Uccello is said to be one of the inventors of perspective. a landscape. but always outside me. As though seen from a remote point of view. I had arranged these three battles in a U-shape.
I could just as well have taken other names. the Cathedral of Chartres conveys one of From the greatest lessons architecture can teach. from the outside. this city that becomes the base for tremendous human sculpture. for the people of a certain period. look at this hill that becomes walls. I. Just as the hill. travel for the first time with the earth through space. and cuirasses of Paolo Uccello. in full consciousness. with my wife. similar pieces of architecture. I the sun and the sky in my eyes. these walls that this become city. instead. or others. look at this architecture from I stop on the road. Think of the man who lived and slept in that bed. My Paolo Uccello. in it We honor of a God. But if we want to under- Anonymous stand the history of man. Psychologically it must have been sheer madness. We. raised by men with an eschatological vision of life. we must place things in the context of their real meaning.Anonymous (20th Century) 110 body occupies a new vital space in the natural space. a distance. under that canopy. has acquired weight. leads. So I am traveling by car to Chartres. I said the Cathedral of Chartres only because it was the first to come to my mind. Mornings he would wake up looking. horses. I too am bound to a center. prefer to wake up with (20th Century). to . self-possessed. not measure this meaning by the yardstick of taste. the point of view of its relation to the landscape. Mystic elevation. but at three surrounding battles. I. measuring his own body by the spears. which has remained just about as it was five centuries ago. Not that I should care to sleep in such a setting. This is what undoubtedly was. has become a center of gravity. not at flowered wallpaper. Gothic ones. volumetrically. of another time. to the city. Then we enter the city. What is important to me is the "state" of the colloquy with a piece of architecture. He must have the felt "strong and lordly" and man who thus rose in the morning. of another style.
At last we stretch out on two benches. in the cal quality of color-matter become walls forbidding contact with the air. evoked by shadows and colored lights. still greater than faith. But it is still a mental space. Feeling Objects streets. of charity. We enter. too. within arm's reach. with our eyes glued to its walls. with the sky. They were is men of faith. carved from rather than built on it. stay there for a long time in silence. Who knows how much time must still pass before man will be able to emerge. The men who built this cathedral believed in the Christian God. certainty of the spirit such as you do not find even in a new type of space has been conquered. there is wickedness. turn- We ing to my wife. there fear in this church. planimetrically. to a rational analysis of the sequences of structures. Strange. and a vague un- totem. From emotional sensations. the magic of this immense sculpture presses on our hearts. the first detailed analysis. inside does the dynamic web of Seen from nearby. so. You can't see the moon from here inside. electricity. This Cathedral. This is a tomb. It's true. the lines of gravity that course along the ribs like life blood.Ill the cathedral. and of hope. the stained-glass windows with their physisay. is nothing but a great rock rising from the hill. let alone the stars. in physics. Until I break this silence. people A Gothic Cathedrals. Man is still in the earth. not "relationed" with natural things. Man when he has a concrete faith! But we see other things. Pinnacles charged spirit as you can charge points. detached from real space. And yet. saying: "Darling. We subject the place to a long. we are still underground. The chisel's contact with the rock. after all. How great is the city. to come forth into the light. From the total setting of volume to the detail of the glass panes as matter-color. and exist?" . anonymous act that rises from the with with human roots to the pinnacles. "When all is said. the presence of the choral.
still obstruct the seriousness of his analysis. He failed as a musician. philosopher. As architectplanner-engineer. sculptor! too gave a lecture. and his most imhe abandoned before finishing them. portant paintings His enormous importance. As painter. in the fact that he represents the first and greatest conscious failure in the history of man. writer. the absurd of striving for the sublime. sublimated. approximately what I said: No. by antonomasia! So they say! his birth. painter. To The Last Supper. lectures on him: the great A Leonardo I da Vinci! Scientist. his extreme genius. No specific discovery remains that bears his name. he has left us a few pieces of writing. Nothing remains of his sculpture. few years ago. where . probably. the thorough search for the value of existence. The genius. His method remained valid up till today. architect. but is it was of a very different kind. where love becomes idealized. he did Let us go to examine his works together. failed in everything. Leonardo da Vinci This. That is how he ushered in the modern era. lies. are negligible. with all its problems. Let us pass on to others. a few designs.Anonymous (20th Century) 112 The Experience of Leonardo da Vinci. The Adoration of the Magi that picture "impossible to finish. The works his youth. Rhetoric. And I don't have much use either for the overly famous oneslike the Gioconda. they celebrated the fifth centenary of And people came hurrying from all parts of the world to give. He failed as a scientist." which has remained bitumen half-shadow. incarnate in its disembodiment which testify to a Leonardo strained in the effort to achieve perfection beyond the every-day hour of existence. little. briefly. The contrary would be closer to the truth. And only today are we able to initiate a new one. after a failure of mankind that is no longer individual but collective. like the Annunciation. musician. Leonardo da Vinci was not the universal genius who succeeded in whatever he set out to do. the idle dream of perfection. and listen to.
and sky merge into a single existing reality. in all greatness. landscape. transcendental. human side. Let's go to the Uffizi Gallery. and you forget about all the other "treasures"' that fill On the halls of this museum. And there are days when. But if one day you walk into the Uffizi Gallery in a mood of indifference toward painting. Paolo Uccello's Battle keeps you nailed to the spot. in a poor light.113 Feeling Objects human bodies. or the birth of a child if. painting as awareness of the world as cosmic value. with their color. the remembrance of the war. earth. and all that interests you is the seriousness of the quest. The . you Venetian masters. and their texture redolent of flesh and immanent beauty. and the so true Sienese and Giotto. you want to stop at the primitives. in your own carnality and more human feel attracted by the canvases of the a thousand things that may have happened to you in your daily life-like the death of a friend. badly placed. the possibility of seeing the world after the collapse of all values as you stand stripped and naked in the face of the existence of every- thing and everybody. such days. especially Cimabue. All the rest are stupendous masterworks of painting. immanent. you don't give a hoot either for the metaphysical. the Adoration of the Magi will appear to you in all its its fulness and. divine aspect of painting or for its physical. And there are days when. and you feel that you cannot look at anything of a later date. just There are days in which a sense of painting overwhelms you: painting as an intellectual feat. if you want so to phrase it. their light. in such a mood. and nothing else would seem to you and natural and simple. you will feel drawn into that ugly room where. You can spend days and days in the Uffizi. And you'll stand there breathless. because of one of sensuality. caught by the directness of the relationship between content and form. Here it is impossible even to speak of painting. painting as a pictorial feat. sad and solitary.
the steps of these stairs. you are facing all humanity. between the garment and its folds. his enquiry ceases to it where communicate only through would become necessary to answer with personal opinions. Relationships. there are other analogous iconographic achievements. What would Where itself. brush. is finally struggling to light today and claims its right to existence. it mean. far more important than painting. its sufferings. Where the addition of an- other thing would imply a gratuitous answer. or blue. The relation between the knee that weighs on the earth and that earth. canvas and bitumen are but sharpened means of enquiry. after an incubation period that lasted five centuries. without the discernment of these leaves? The emaciated faces of the old men without the strength of the warriors? That sweet and serene face. between the shadow-absence and the light-presence. because the thing in itself does not yield any further answer. and that object itself. these hands. Leonardo da Vinci gives no personal answers. hold his attention. these war horses. to answer with a touch of red. between an eye that observes an object. or black. a world which. its reality. without the suffering and painful uncertainty of so many other faces? Certainly. these faces. nothing decorative. there Leonardo da Vinci stops. But he creates relationships. None. between the fire at the center of the painting. He is puts down brush and bitumen. and the body that breathes under it. There is nothing idealized or mythified any longer. There a whole new world opening up. and the circle extending round it. Could the Madonna without the bent heads of horse and rider? The child. Charcoal. Through these figures. between the leaves of the trees exist and the air itself. Nothing gratuitous. Leonardo da Vinci stops short. Not even the color has any meaning.Anonymous (20tk Century) is 114 but an instrument of search. with its questions. . but so evident and so serious a process of relationships as this has never been achieved through one single subject. with which Leonardo da Vinci searches the world. Other things.
with the Pazzi Chapel. But in the big one. of man's measure at that time. capable of having a center and taking a walk around it! And with this thought I can even leave the Cloister and betake myself to other works of architecture. of his prodigious equilibrium. am standing in a perfect square. What the meaning of this calm and serene geometry? What the meaning of this spirit of symmetry? What does it all my mean to break the outside in order to isolate oneself inside a this separation between Inside-outside. Not which I like less. for one's artificial own use. next to it. What a wonderful chance to think on a square piece of earth conquered by man! And if I roll back through history. I move toward the center.115 I Feeling Objects in am I Brunelleschi's Cloister at Santa Croce in Florence. a perfect square. which love much more. a beautiful but basically world? Is it right to separate a square piece of earth from the earth as a whole? Is it permissible to sublimate oneself in con- . Outside only the sky. freely. It is Hence it has a center. to survive. alone. of a sudden questions arise in my mind. in the small one. especially of the Renaissance: a domed church. Arrived at the center I feel attracted to the periphery. for example. Everything in here. according to the changing perspectives. I walk up and down. life-death? things? And then I put myself this question: In order to save What magic square? is the basic meaning of oneself. is Beyond and within there is everything. and put myself in the position of a man at the time of Brunelleschi. beauty-ugliness. I must admit that the people of that time were tremendous! Capable of syntheses. I I feel good. or a palace. So I get going again. And the square transforms itself. is it legitimate to invent. And I think of that beatitude. And I abandon myself to But is is thoughts. capable of dominating history.
perhaps minutes. an answer: Lucky? No.Anonymous (20th Century) 116 templation. way at least for How in a How lucky. much deeper . silence also within myself. Nevermore. Then I remain in my cloistered corner. at the same time. in silence. me. men of other times! Lucky that we no longer can be. a man of our time?" lucky you were. This dramatic epoch of ours holds a mystery. After some seconds. once the walls outside have created a barrier between oneself and the others? Is this the right thing. and. a question wells up within me.
so generic why my book is so want to put it that way. . obviously. collectively. I could. even in or oversimply: simply. to be sure. What meaning would a book have today if it were written only from the point of view of an architect or a painter? There are already so many books book must be different. I could have written more from the painter's angle. know good faith. But all. might say. I if risk of not belonging this book is to serve any purpose at that people. is the logical am- become universal. even though it bition of every writer to have his book If I say that I should like this book to be for everybody. A thing that sets of this kind! out to belong to everybody runs the to anybody. because this time My of ours is different. but the fact is that architecture and painting are This if the one and only reason too much under the influence of the historical process of a period. This is quite a risk. as a painter. book to be the modern for everybody. belong just to some people. it is want this only because. have written more from the point of view of the architect. anti-specific.7 Intermezzo I Not out of ambition. and it cannot. It must not. and I know it. that is it. you Being myself an architect. It must belong to all. crisis involves men in every walk of life and because everyone who wants to solve his own personal problems including even those of his own is job or craftmust solve them together with others.
Maybe way he his shoes. The smiles. without philosophical speculations and elucubrations. how you would erect buildings. I cannot and will not say what I should want to do. And what if I are opinions of so can. if you were free to do as you please. by now. That would be my personal opinion. No. of painting. him But assume that read: you have read that is. I read three lines here.Anonymous (20A Century) IIS you have got to be more specific. I look into his face. You have read the first partunless you are the type of reader I am. Out of an apparent desire for clarity (which. his necktie. is to we to make. As if I wanted to get acquainted with the person I have before me. . At random. The way he gestures. his eyes. create a new opening. if I you wish. which today comes all too easily. by God. who. AH word "together" is that everybody should according to what he is and do what he is matters is that every act of every indithe same value. and forget about the rest/' would be easier. Tell us how you would make a city. from your experience. is nothing but ambition). a new way of solving the problems together. before really digging into a book. starting book the way normal people from the beginning. and let it go at that. after all. of town-planning. I've actually mean by this be free to act been accused of being one. let's of ourselves. a theoretical piece of architecture. It would be far more useful if you told us. vidual should have able to do. Perhaps you could design for "My dear Ricci. But this is just what I cannot and will not do. Then I observe some other details. does some exploring. I am an aristocrat. my let's contact with that person. And I don't mean this "together" in a demagogical way. ten there. of all these personal many individual men? No. This. Let's narrow down the My book consists of two parts. That's what It is true: we it want. us a theoretical city. What talk But circle. what you think of architecture. is my only ambition. I When read this I have thus made altogether. what I must do.
But unfortunately this is just what is happening even in architecture. more realism in this attitude. whether conscious or unconscious. and so they remain stuck in the sphere of the decorative. of . or to what ex- tent I have succeeded. there exists a sort of taboo. thing which is not ours. fool around with problems of detail in a sophisticated manner.119 I Intermezzo don't know whether I have succeeded. the small change of parently more humble every day. but it is overlooks the basic fact that problems of detail can exist only after the over-all problems have been solved. civilization A is problem of detail can arise only when a can work well established and formed. the trunk from which these details hang like leaves. and an artisan securely only when his taste coincides with that of an entire epoch. many architects. It would seem as though man wise and wary of the various cure-alls that history has of the tree proposed at different times only to discard them each in turn as harmful or at least useless has now adopted an apor timid position. True. It is useless to perfect a detail when the building in its total aspect does not yet exist. it is human impossible to speak of certain detailed aspects of activity without questioning the roots. which has not become a daily an almost automatic gesture of our everyday way life. Perhaps this is a vice of mine as an architect. Instead of facing the basic problems. like ours today. And if it is true that it is true also that we live in a period of transition. we cannot go into the details of a habit. was to explain that in a period of transition. number of points of view I share it. in the best of cases. at any rate. Yet the matter seems so obvious. there and from a more sanity. but my intention. There is fear rampant today. against facing problems in their basic aspect. putting the big metaphysical problems aside in order to come to grips with the little and more specific ones. but I am unable to study an architectural detail unless I have mastered the mass of a building.
and sometimes representatives of other arts. man has made this to find solid ground on which to build. Childish questions. Or else we remain captives in a ghost world. or else whatever we do is arbitrary. less successfully. in the tribe must be sacrificed when there is a drought. for inthe prettiest girl in the idol of the savage to stance. from the very fact that the acceptance of any value a priori has been shown from to be erroneous. And human actions were conditioned by the answers that men gave to these questions. before we can think of building. It is attempt useless to judge a posteriori whether he did it well or badly. must be decided before you can start on any work at all. certain values. must get out of these quicksands and find solid ground under our feet again. Something has changed. it seems to me. An not and cannot ask himself ques- . occasionally get involved in endless highbrow discussions without ever coming to the heart of the question: whether life is worth living or not which. We whom We If earth. What is sure is that we can no longer believe in and more or cannot believe any longer. Today intellectual today will things are different. The questions that have beset them are besetting us too. Now if we look back in history we see that time and And so it happens that and We again. today we are unable to find a common ground. Is there a God? What is the meaning of our life? Is there a beyond? These are the questions of all times and of all people. perhaps. On the other hand. this means that difficulties of a new sort have somehow arisen. The main difficulty arises. you may say. we are in no way different our predecessors.Anonymous (20th Century) 120 architects painters. can no longer believe that the sun turns round the And yet we must find a common ground. The questions we asked as children were the same our ancestors asked! to But they were logical and human questions: only thanks them could the civilizations of the past be born and live.
I am not able to identify myself with any of the existing and. If party I would yet don't abstain from voting. of wise human reality in synthesis. Or I might answer that I believe in God. but neither am I an atheist. when I vote at election time. I felt obliged. I am not a Christian. Or else we shall lose quicksands swallow up the players. I couldn't answer either. a specific God? statue of Jupiter. and yet be honest. that in order to justify the second. perhaps but ambiguous. An idle nothing intelligent. even though there is no party I feel either way. likely to add confusion to confusion. but it is not. it is the most "historical" of all possible positions: contingent on our really represent I I still feel me. This would seem to be an equivocal position. those spaces used in one instead of A way in another? It was these considerations that forced is. . Jupiter? those structures.121 tions of this sort. I am neither a theologian nor a philosopher. me to write a first part. There Intermezzo may be two reasons for this: have been answered by now or because they have become immaterial. If someone asked me whether or not I believe in God. I cast my ballot for the party I believe most up-to-date. Otherwould have made any sense at all. my of social awareness. In other words. How could I have talked of certain problems of architecture and painting without touching on arguments of this sort? either because these questions ourselves in a dangerous game of hide-and-seek. and that. An absurd game in marshlands where threaten to What meaning would a cathedral have without a God. game. On the contrary. without What sense would there be to those materials. so to speak. honest. And this is just the spectacle we are witnessing today. But as long as the questions exist. intellectual honesty demands of us to ask them and to find an answer. I could not answer him political someone asked me to what current belong or should care to belong. to show and explain type of religious feeling. official categories.
and then they answered affirmatively. It vital. seems to me that there is a marvelous new it. Just as. They would him. it meant. If a man lived really infused by the Holy Ghost to speak in terms of Christianity not exist for he would have no problems. or whether we shall have a life beyond death. I is dynamic.'" there's life. quite naturally. none excluded. by "grace. otherwise this would have been a natural and unquestionable fact. If it might not seem ambition or sheer is because should say that this position which is not mine I have not yet reached it. naturally.Anonymous (20th Century) past and suited to our present. hence eschewing questions and answers. but is the position of Anonymous (2oth Century) contains within itself all the positions of the past. I have tried to demonstrate that out of all the old possibilities a new one is being born. could modify the popular saying. simultaneous aspect. after all. If men have asked themselves whether God existed and then answered the question affirmatively. death-life." In a certain sense. if possibility of existence. when the dog is right there with us. because they would solve themselves. we should not dream of asking whether a dog exists. But how can I demonstrate the basic . I believe that one can live in the "mystery. no longer matter. and transformed with every passing day. that they were not with God and in God. there's hope. it meant that they failed to understand the twofold. If people asked themselves whether they would go on living after death. elementary things. a perfect Christian should be very close to this position. they are simple. Because both alternatives are contained in this possibility. or else they would not have been afraid of death. alive. "While there's life. than that. in a natural way. 122 and More folly." It is this mystery that Now makes us I live.'" It and say instead. These are not paradoxes. A possibility in which such problems as whether or not there is a god. not even those that seem to conflict with one another but that in reality are only two faces of the same coin. "While there's mystery.
before passing on to more the chapters you have have tried to make words give direct testimony about my life. When I speak When I of the happiness or unhappiness of man. But read. I hope that something comes through about the possibility of a life that man accepts in its totality and lives without the hedonism of happiness or the masochism of unhappiness. When I say farewell to the masters. will understand through these words. jects/' in the chapter. just as you cannot deny is Intermezzo that you cannot assert What can be done to con- vey this new possibility. is show "Feeling Obtry to how the "value" of things subject to change. I I And specific problems? so I have tried. I hope the reader understands the impossibility of a life regulated by norms established by authority.123 characteristic of this possibility it? it. But I have tried at least to do with words what you do with a caress when you are in love. I have used words. speak of choice in the confusion. When. to convey action. I hope that it clear that both the subjective and the objective are nonsensical and impossible. so it can be felt. I know that words can never fully do so at least not as they are today. large. When man I becomes position is speak of subjective and objective. whether small or as every other dimension. these phrases which cover up a situation. because there no longer live exists any fixed parameter. I hope that something comes through concerning the existence and non-existence of God as the only reality. that is. through these situations which cover up an existence that there is today the possibility of a new form of existence: a possibility which I call the existence of Anonymous (2oth Century). through some examples. and has the same value I each dimension. . lastly. inasmuch as a resultant of relations. Since words can never replace acts. I have lived am naive enough still to believe that the reader who has read these pages in good faith and with good will. I know that my attempt was doomed to failure from the beginning. Each person can but within his own dimension.
town planning. These four books are really important. that is. more obvious. but a new attitude of man toward painting. But on the other hand. it is too sub- Wright's book it is jective a book. occasionally Its main interest stems from the fact that he elucidates the process that leads from man to architecture. all four of them have grave shortcomings if you read them. part of this book is more specific. or rather the books. gratuitous. by Neutra. too. For this very reason most beautiful and poetic. But in his writings. point I books by four major architects: Collected Works. the Messianic tone of one "anointed by the Lord. of Le Corbusier are of a quite different character. is autobiographical. with reference to the quest of our generation. architecture. The book. because more closely linked to as an architect and painter. by Le Corbusier. They have taught me something. Planning for Survival. Diary notes. they have interested me. I classified and well hope the reader becomes aware of the how many are the new attitudes." able to solve all problems right off the bat. or at least a more complete one. they are perfect books. visionary. by Gropius.Anonymous (20th Century) even in cases where established it 124 had seemed by history. Integral Archiclarify this To should like to cite four tecture. the new possibilities^ new roads. even moving. .. that lie open before man today. What is important my job to me is to reveal. An Autobiography by Wright. And yet. from thought to form. This is an attitude inconceivable today. For their own generation. from my point of view. and that is the only thing to do to explore them. but for the most part controlled and rationalized. not a new norm for painting or more architecture. Perhaps they convey a more powerful lesson. The second technical. the voluntary. What is even worse is the book's tone. concepts and ideas about architecture. unprejudiced.
have nothing sure to propose. in today's jumble and turmoil. and nothing else. when is to reconcile metaphysical attempts a fusion of the all is said. just for this reason We have been licked. and are to detect the errors. After we have analyzed everything. In the last analysis they think that if their own proposals were carried out. Perrooted in the fact that these are men who belong to the First World War. He is more a researcher than an artist. But here. And. that may be faced sitting behind a desk. different from each other as they are. something is missing. It consists of the texts of various lectures. He and physical experience. in some aspects. is haps the difference however. the cause of this analyzing. aloof and They know the remedies. The problems he faces are those that may come up at a convention. In conclusion. They are the books of men who make feel men who. they do not comprise the problem of existence. they feel secure. Our own situation. all four of these books. history. we are we have analyzed. what a sort of theosophy of architecture. Neutra's book is more professorial.125 Intermezzo is and flect dictatorial act all too manifest. show traits which I think are no is reached longer admissible. Rules. He tries method of research rather than a personal intuition of the historical process. He the scientific endeavors to find his place in the machine age. His writings re- the age of the superman. history crisis. outside. what remains . beaten. we can We offer neither plans nor rules. Gropius' book is at the opposite pole. he rational and the irrational. is totally different. for us. tries He tries to define a philosophical system. His attention is captivated by the details before he establishes the general mass. too. we belong to the Second. He tries to reach an objective rather than a subjective position. Gropius shows himself to be the most modern of the four. are just plain academic. every problem would be solved. But. which is at the root of the matter.
are very deeply inand pseudo-revolutions. But our way of facing problems is different. Or not even that. and we cannot stop it. and never must we pose as judges tions We We We outside of it. use also those men of the past. work. for us the old problems no longer exist. We are within the melee. and conclude within this movement. This is our point of departure.Anonymous (20th Century) to us 126 is a handful of flies. Ours is a dynamic world. Do not misunderstand me. And so we terested in the past. It is not that we intenare fed up with revolutionally create a tabula rasa. want to use this past. and thus there can be no solutions either. and many of our tools have come to us from them. to be more precise. Our hands hold emptiness. see. not above . it. We must analyze it. Or. nothingness.
with a different sort of temperament. Or I want to admire the decutting sign traced Sometimes feel like at other times like by a is fly in the is air. my own condition I is also variable. But the it state remains. It hurts like a head-splitting toothache. is not a state of perfection. some- . the condition variable. It hurts. did they live in a Paradise Lost or in an animal-like state. to think of it. I said: What was the origin beings appeared on of painting? When the first human earth. or caress the grass. or simply to lie flat on your back. with sky. I want to smash one rock against another. Instead want of hurting. it does not make the slightest difference which). It cannot stay in there. as they call it. Or I feel like taking a razor blade and a snail into pieces. On a different body. remember what in a lecture some time ago. or through a slow mysterious evolutionary process (and. as far as I am concerned. weeping. howling. the effect might be different. the way I said has always been. it is not a You paint because there is something inside your chest that wants to get out. I more. It must get out. the thing inside your chest might make you to throw up. your eyes turned to the As if the earth were a ham- mock Come rocking softly through space. The solitude is there to stay. this is What Always. Yes.8 >*v Raison dPEtre of Painting Painting state of grace. whether they were born of a touch of God's magic wand.
less hampered by complexes. then. for. into what may look like a wild guess: believe that the rebels were painters. let Now me venture I Therefore the painters were later accursed. to write. I don't believe that. change with the changing seasons and the varying constellations. We are unable to talk. according to a unknown to him. Perhaps they were more at peace.Anonymous (20tlt Century) 128 not make a bit of dif- what like monkeys (and this does ference to me human beings at that time obeyed rhythm. for a moment. are these first maintenance. But it is also is What either)? sure is that some sort of sure that mankind upset tells this equilibrium in order to pass first on to a higher level. of so beastly in so many of our ways that difficult for us to roll the first men. This may sound like a tall story. or if you prefer. Even though God-knows-how- many thousands of years have gone by since man's first appearance on earth so many that there is no memory of what we looked like at that time we have remained it should not be back through history and to put ourselves in the shoes. sleep when we feel like it. or to do practically any of the things people can do today. just as animals do today. in the skins. The Bible us that the human beings disobeyed God's commands. Relations with the things around them were more spontaneous and simple. and in accordance with natural laws rather than arbitrarily. and hence they were driven out of paradise. But there are many things that we can do far better than modern men. Or. We We . I believe that the disobedience was an act of obedience. man had to leave this animal plan paradise in order to pass or at least to try to pass another one: that of knowledge. two of us men. We make love more naturally. that the here. one facing the other. We work only when we have to for our Let's pretend. it was the art of painting that drove men into rebellion. Let's try to see why. consciousness. but it is not far from the truth. if you prefer.
in the same way.129 Raison d'Etre of Painting do a number of things which today only a few people can afford to do. God must have jumped with punished us. I am walking barefoot. in philosophical acceptance. When. if he ever really was because we believed we had beand heaven. And God punished him. The imprints of my feet remain behind me. for instance. feelings the animals also share and show: anger. point that Adam ate of the apple of taboo of mankind. man discovered fire. so was at this knowledge. means to be sick have ever done. or. The sun is shining. considering that it is said that we were created in His image and likeness. projecting my shadow on the ground. We call. have been really pleased on seeing His own creature performing such cute and endearing actions as that of trying to achieve knowledge. whether differently. if you wish. But not men. want to do. but we have no idea of how really We our fellow-man sees the world. Granted. I can assure you that God did not punish us for that. then joy. how no position to know how but if I He thinks and may take the liberty of comparing His ways to mine. If it he punished us. a dog who carries a newspaper. Those banal chance observations became important to men him. in fact. I look at the water. All that know what others it the way we do or think of the world. Just imagine. they pass on. on the sand. men. God's nature is different from man's. they did in order not to feel lonely. The that I am in He acts. But this is come masters of earth an argument that carries us off the track. pain. The animals also do that. are intelligent enough to do. what he thinks of It it. good or evil. jealousy. I see my image reflected. Man was born headstrong. who obeys our God must. But after a first shock of wonder. are thrilled to see an intelligent animal. Something inside him did not function any more . beautiful or ugly. Not to they see with solitude. how it appears to him. We give expression to our innermost feelings.
not in the Leonardo da Vinci really believe this: Sight is the most sensitive. But how could any one of them know whether the others saw exactly what he saw? And then someone comes upon the place where another man has drawn the moon. a painter. To articulate sounds. or trying to imitate the form of a running animal. had to be consciously shared with To human being. And moon and called painting. so it came about that one man looking at the began to talk with the others. to philosophize. that language which trying to refashion its form on the wet sand. or rather. to pass To look at the sky and the actions. and he sees the moon He looks at the drawing. means to make music. to regroup and arrange certain order. he performed acts quite similar one to the other. them some human judgment on living beings being born and die. or a third one a musician. It was true that they could all see the moon and hands and running animals. observe facts. means to found creeds or stars. must have today is before any other. not separate as they unfortunately are in our era of technology and specialization. opened the way to pass to the other! .Anonymous (20th Century) another 130 and had to be expressed. another a painter. Thus when men tried consciously to express themselves to one another. things are different: for one has smashed the door between himself and another. Therefore I am not raising any question of superiority But what sense is human activity. they tried. you can imagine that at the beginning. But since it is absurd to think that God created one man a philosopher. Now. or a scientist. whether one was a philosopher. of the human senses. and to express means them in a in concepts. to try to pass before the Before and after the After and to objectivate this. to watch religions. or dipping his own hand in color and pressing it on a stone. the among these various forms of I most evident. to connect them. the way the other saw it! He feels like shouting man with joy.
On become empty and the night is warm and dry. Even if you can't tell your own leg from that of the loved one. An attempt to break the solitude. All I have to do is to stretch out on a white rock in the black night. is nothing but a means of expression. I "do" nothing. A thing The ugly because it says nothing. I don't make paintings. as far as I am concerned. Skin against skin means nothing. the sun has burned up all the vapors of the earth. alone. enough Love is a marvelous drug. derived from an archetypical world of Platonic ideas. A is say "beautiful" or "ugly" does not mean a thing is beautiful because it says something. when a colloquy takes place between me and the other. And during the day. I accomplish action. rest does not matter. To thing. so distant from life that they have no meaning for me. And the rocks still hold the warmth of the sun. Useless maladies. mountain peaks around: so black that they weightless. then. I When don't have to. is the only valid concept of what the philosophers call aesthetics: the possibility of talking to another being through a language of forms and colors. a means of understanding one another. And Your right elbow barely touches the near you. I feel well. Or. All I need is a white rock in the midst of a valley. to put it more precisely. Further abstractions from this basic concept are useless. when I feel at ease with someone.131 Ralson d'Etre of Painting And since that time. left is woman simple. It existing Everything elbow of the perfect and woman It is does not even matter whether you actually love the there at your side. when osmosis occurs. nothing has changed. it still means . Painting. This. But in reality you are still to realize this existence together. It enough that she exists and that you exist. Nor does it matter whether she is loves you. if you want to try to break the solitude and pretend to exist together. alone as always. and its validity depends on this possibility of communication.
within your breast. to feel at last not alone. And used to those being born or sleep or those who wake. of those call feelings. and the light of the young moon which has just risen casts its black shadow on the leg of the woman who exists near you. and your breathing sketches a dance in the air. if you wish. with all the feelings and all the thoughts of all men. And finally. even more than sublime. They who feelings. and you feel that the light of the dead star is on the inarch and is alive. The only thing that matters is truth. of are with the thoughts and those who are dying. Your leg is pulled up. as big as the universe. They wander about in space. is not . and your eyes see only. And the white and the black of her eyes are as big as the universe. and it appears more than beautiful. Because space is no longer measurable. And still nothing. But it is enough to stretch out on the white and warm rock and to watch the sky while your right elbow barely touches the left elbow of the woman who exists near you. To exist together! You look at the sky. For it is not a matter of beauty or splendor or sublimity. what men used to so enter into call thoughts. Nor does love's ecstasy mean not to feel lonely. they are with space. are now outside you. because nothing is fixed and we move together with the shadow. But the shadow that moves does not mark the hours. Or perhaps less. even of Him who used to be called God. the face of the woman who exists at your exists side. your smile meets the smile of the woman who near you. like the shadow of the style on a sun dial. To touch the heart of the earth and the heart of the universe still means nothing. And space too becomes organic. more than splendid.Anonymous (20th Century) 132 nothing. time becomes so organic and and are with time that you can really you see the stars move. instead of being kept within your head. Everything is in such perfect balance that when the rock makes your back ache and you gently turn on your right side. to have roots in the earth and branches in the sky.
What's more. For whom. So why try to cheat at nothing but a coarse joke! But. Where is the colloquy that should take place between me and them? At a time when the artist was a genius and the rest were just poor devils. True enough. There are hundreds of around me. do I paint? above This is the public. even at this moment when I'd rather write than waste my existence as so many others do. Their voices reach my ear blurred and people confused: a sort of muffled and formless bellowing. do I that painting is no longer a symbol of but a demonstration of my imperfection. But just imagine what would hap- these people here suddenly realized that they exist. which perfection means that my acts are not yet accomplished. Imagine what a panic of joy would break loose on this sea-side sun-scorched beach! pen if all But I What must put the problem it comes down to is in exact terms: this: the relationship be- . there was sort of stronger link between the two parties. can today when I I I really afford to disregard the "others/' am no longer a genius and they are no longer poor devils? that of I might say then that I paint to attest my existence. slices such as it is my life. in spite of everything. I cast.133 to feel alone. really forever and all the time. in this crowd of people. then painting would be really We to exist together. am writing. on the canvas or on the wooden board. Life. Once I am in a while the high-pitched cries of children project it. I also know at the seashore for a rest. then. then some But today. and not capable of integrated acts every minute of the day. If one could exist. is Raison cTEtre of Painting the game? exist must not cheat. still making pictures? I paint them because I am still alone. this separation did not matter. what does painting mean to me? Why go on painting.
And we go together to the sea to look for shells. His scream projects sharply above the muffled and formless bellowing of the crowd. Play together. Let us assume for a moment that I wish to communicate with this "other. I would look at the "other. That I is to do. if I were truly genuine and used to being simply natural. to tell him that for I make him a picture? But what me he really exists? Shall would that mean to him? the only possible thing Ridiculous! Play. ' Then I would give him a smile. I want to paint a picture." Since I am not able to break the solitude. looks me with reproachful eyes. strokes which signify. But not in the ecclesiastical sense. I child cries. to something for him. Or else we are not human old I beings but merely abstractions. my feet in the . and. in front of me there is a white page and on this white page there are just some strange pen-strokes that sort of miracle.Anonymous (20th Century) 134 tween myself and the others. If I were not an imbecile. is the "other" across from me? Who A young woman? Or to Or an know who the a child? man? Because it is very important "other" is. mother gets up. There is one of the "others" here across from me. What could I make please him. for good or I for evil. The screams. Miracle. Let us assume first that it is a child. his down at And he is happy. Just like me. the relationship between myself and painting. takes the child by his hand and pulls him away. But I ani 7 armored with solitude. he is bored with lying on his belly and writing on the sand. He remain alone. suppose. want to make for him. But that I let us assume that am unable to. sitting on the sand. Sitting at a table. that I stroke his head and take his hand. without saying a word. But then. Let us assume get up from my chair and walk over to him. walks over. Miracle means: a thing to behold. Nothing else. said. So.
The child is in bed. so many ways from home made of broad squares. A splended October sun. the near future. should think of his everyday life. But there is not one that really corresponds to our existence as modern men. But they Does it . to their existence as Some routes to school are ugly. I if on his way from home little Sometimes alone. In a little while he will go to school. home to school. in fast cars. to school in the industrial suburbs. Raison d'Elre of Fainting is What I I there to say now? What could I possibly paint for this child? Perhaps to school. some are pretty. is still There. the way to school is the most natural. are still those of an earth without human life. It would seem as though nobody really ever thought of the child. primitive children. by now. a and squalor. True. or. baroque fountains. The rabbit. is a bit worn and shabby. Outside the sun is shining. He will have to He walk from his to school! There are There is the way to school out in the country. in this particular case. Often think of these things. with his schoolmates.135 water. And thus there is bound to be. As he goes should calculate the exact space he traverses to school. but the impressions that the child receives on his way to school are in any case wrong and behind the times. I have just come in to wake him. There is the way way made of smoke. modern children. in form. somewhere. it offers some vital sensations. But it still resembles the way of savage. There is the way to school in the fine big city. a way made of seasons. But no longer painting. sleeping with his toy rabbit in his arms. shops. meadows. and cows. All these routes to school may vary in length. the way to school of Anony- mous (2oth Century). and sadness. If then I would and could paint really it is you still want to call that painting. in degree of authenticity. In the countryside.
Anonymous (20th Century)
contain any part of our life of today? It is wholesome. But where is the tension of a mankind that is trying to
earth's gravitational forces?
with ice and snow, flowering trees under spring Bare rains, green trees under an implacable summer sun, yellow and red trees in autumn mists. But what kind of world does this way convey to the child, unless it be the savage
made up of nature alone? tyrannical world still The way to school in the fine big city is richer in aesthetic it is a man of former times. impressions. Man is there. But
On his way, the child is oppressed by the stone mass of the church with its ungraspable mystic powers; the palace crushes him with its brutal civil power. Even the founare fountains not of water, but of symbols, of masks, and their water does not come from the earth. Corroding myths, like subtle poisons, infiltrate the life
this elegantly dressed little child, with his bow who walks to school in this "better" part of town. They clog the pores of his skin. He is already a slave. Out in the industrial suburbs, the way to school is sad.
But perhaps it is the most modern and truthful one. It is made of human tragedy. If the human condition today
modem and truthful. tragedy, then this way is the most child will at least learn rebellion along this route.
let a child live in this inferno, face to
But why must we
face with tragedy? Tenderness, motherly tenderness arises in even a father, tenderness for this child who walks to
school as though in a postwar realistic film, himself a son of this war; war which today may drop bombs, tomorrow perhaps only words of hatred and partisanship, but which
remains always war, whether cold or hot. But why do we not think of the children? Why do we not think of the way each of them has to
walk from home to school? It would be enough to think of it, really to think of it, and things would get going by themselves. Then it would be worthwhile to be an architect, or in this case, a painter. Then this way to school would become something really
RaisoM d'Etre of Painting
To carry the sea to where there is nothing but arid plain. To carry the mountains to where there is only sea. To carry the sun to where there is only a dark valley. That the child's foot may know that the earth is made
that the sky
walls rise against the
wind from the north. against the parched summers.
Carpets of color are spread against winter's cold. Color-crystals emerge from the snows Mineral flowers, where today the sun singes the grass! A stone wheel round the holly, and now we go round
the mulberry bush New forms, new materials.
Free, liberated in space.
painting, transformed from museum pieces into objects of life. What used to be called painting has become relation-
ship with things.
truth! This means really to be a painter. as painter, to feel that one is part of, that
turns back to the child
on the beach.
young woman over man. Or all the "others."
the "other" had been this pain-racked old
I don't know whether you have understood what I mean. I don't know whether I have been clear. Whether I have put the problem in exact terms. Part one. The relationship between myself and the "others."
Enthusiasts will say it is stupendous. Pessimists may say that it is just a lot of words. The rationalist will say that I am romantic.
romantic, perhaps, will say that
Anonymous (20th Century)
yet to me, everything seems clear, obvious.
practical man, perhaps have a convention on this
Agenda! Agenda! Haven't they understood that what matters, at to live, and not to classify and catalogue?
I shall try. I shall
do my best. tomorrow morning's meetAgenda ing. The topic: Relationship between the painter and the "others." Points on the agenda: Point one: The end of easel painting and studio sculpturing. Even if they were masterpieces of incalculable and ever-rising value in the art market, paintings destined to be embalmed in some museum or in a collector's apartment no longer make any sense at all.
Let's get going.
painter must belong to
re-integration of the artist into life. society. He must give useful
objects to all, objects suited to enhancing man's vitality. Point three: The integration of painting and sculpture with architecture and town planning. This integration
must take place in a creative sense and must begin with town planning, not in a decorative sense as in the best
of hypotheses is happening today. And miscellaneous.
This would be
tainly I am no specialist. Perhaps it would have been better to go to some friend and ask for help. I have so
are specialists in
our problems. Let us come now to the relationship between myself and painting. After an absence of two months I have returned to my
let us return to
in Florence. Here,
top of this
floor, in direct
The study contact with a
natural rock cave,
my architectural study. Above, like the
Ralson d'Etre of Painting
top part of a duplex, is the studio where I do my painting. For more than an hour I have been wandering up and
the two studies. The architectural study Five drawing boards, with nobody at them. empty. This afternoon my assistants will repopulate the room.
empty and sad. But this is just a passing thing. Upstairs, where I do my painting, it is a ghastly mess. A boundless desolation. Paintings and paintings. Years of work, of struggle, of suffering heaped one on top of the other, senselessly. They might be masterpieces! All mastera hundred thousand dollars each! pieces! Stuff worth
Instead of being mine, they could have been painted by the greatest living painters. feeling toward them would not change: a haunting feeling of uselessness, of
hangs in the
Why? For whom? No getting round it. Even
the earth has ever seen since
self in painting,
he were the greatest painter to express him-
indeed a poor wretch, a displaced person, without roots, without society, alone like a dog in that world of his own that does not really
a painter today
interest anybody. It's true. I might as well get
up from this chair, turn around one of the paintings I used to love most. Look at it for a long time. Let myself be immersed in it and forget the rest. Enter into this world per se as though I were
new, only recently discovered, planet; and satisfied, perhaps even happy.
Suppose some people walked in right now people who knew what it is all about, sensitive people who understood the new idiom of painting perhaps we should walk together on this new planet, overwhelmed by the discovery, filled with this new reality which is besieging
the gates of a
dise, or, if
Perhaps, in this
mankind unwilling to see. way we should enter
an inferno, where
a kind of para-
you prefer, among men.
Anonymous (20th Century)
individual, then collective.
Turn the painting back toward the
over. All that remains
pieces of board
and it's all and messy can-
Junk. Junkman, junkman!
has rubbish for
If I heard him shout now, out in the garden, the way he shouts through the city streets, in a blue moment like this I might sell him all this stuff for a few lire. What sense does it make anyway? I might also burn it up, burn the whole lot to ashes. Get rid of everything once and for all and become a
man moment I
again, without false pretenses. my eyes and look outside.
into the sunlight of this splendid early October day, swept by the rhythmic gusts of a powerful north wind
outlines of all things:
houses, trees, towers. I look out and see across
the fagade of the
Badia of San Domenico. A crust of white and green marble on a wall of stone. As simple as that; and not even finished. A basically unimportant thing, almost academic, a thing made naturally, perhaps just out of habit, so clear
style at that time. If I think of
a painting, that fagade appears to me a naive thing, a childish thing. And yet it is alive. It lives in the sun. It is truthful. It lives for all. For all those who
pass by while my paintings here in this room are dead; made for the initiated, they lack the truthfulness of every-
blows and you would like the wind would come in handy.
in stone, in steel, a wall that
wind blows. When the wind to be in the sun, a wall against
living wall of glass set
teeming with life and which would serve me, my wife and my children, my friends, and whoever else wants to stay in the sun when the wind blows, sheltered by a living wall.
then indeed I feel at ease with myself. without great pretensions. again. there is color. but merely a herd of us. they must under- been saying today in a studio stand at last that. he must become again a tool of life. in the world. it is alive. Yes. true. also all right. and in the barren winters to gladden the heart by reminding us that. must understand that there still exists even though in a different form such a thing as was once called beauty. They must understand that painters can really be useful. above all. true. Our politicians. The painter must be reintegrated into life. This painting on easels must be given up. We must make our pictures which will be pictures no longer the way others make automobiles and planes. seeming to consist of mineral flowers to play in spring and summer with the real flowers. It is a simple thing. decorative. but who are basically incapable of living who are more more or less rich. our temples. roam among the people and give them what we can. and roam the streets. But the others must help us. what once used to be called by various names: poetry or whatever. but without the "savor" that we know better and are in a better position to give. especially in a period which tries to give bread and butter to every man. Because I understand that. What I have I I What said is just as true. our ivory towers. they are nothing but experiences. we must sell everybody our poetry. is by 77 notes for the "agenda are true. just sketches of the . and enjoying life. after all. They must trust us again. there is life. they cannot create a sobeings human or less evolved. We must leave our studios. more or less intelligent.141 In this sense the mosaic that garage it is Raison d'Etre of Painting I made on the roof of the maybe is. if that is what you want to call it? the way others sell ice cream and shoes. without ciety. What The have been thinking for years is the sea. there is light. It's useless. in this very chapter. If I look at my paintings now. but there lit up by the sun.
shall with the gardens in the we they make. 142 the cities we shall make. But he is nothing of the sort. as it is worth nothing to him. This no time for joking.Anonymous (20th Century) real things that will live with with the houses we shall make. Nor painting-experiment. No longer painting enslaved to an idea. those new "form colors/' which will heighten the meaning of men's lives. are alive in space. No. or at least some of us. ing as free. but who suffer from feeling useless and dead in this who in reality are alive. I fervently wish. as loving. I hope. either . evil. he has been starved. painting-opinion. This is a grim fight. is true artist is a man who tries to live. I think. there's your gun. an Painting that has object. wherever they They need it and in the way in which they need it. unfortunate people. society. ready to start up and and organic in the lives of make all things that are useful is men. That functions as Anonymous (2oth Century). Nothing but sketches. Life. The artist This continues to try to live as best he can. everything is all right. Better so. painting-comment. Painting as creation. His real problem of which he may be more or less conscious can be stated in simple terms: "Is life worth living? 7' If so. No longer painting- No longer propaganda. or troublesome for other people. This is paint- Painting as living. The object of become object. But since it is frightening to shoot oneself. But out open air live. the forces of darkness. If not. is the reason why they all take to drugs. We live world in which the artist has been disqualified! He has been tracked down. people who risk their skins for what they are doing. emancipated and Painting act. that what I have tried to say here may convey to the reader the idea that we painters. It feels he represents anarchy. suicide is ruled out. eating. Like breathing. in a The now. are serious people. Society is afraid of him.
To be an at the disposal of is The artist the ever-readiness of childhood. if have become crooks and terms. all of us. You will see that it problem whether painters are going to return to figurative painting. the mem- disory of a paradise lost. way This is why they go wrong. out of your paradise. Senses. palates that taste. the drive toward adventure and the possibility of having eyes that see. useful. simply impossible to live this way.143 Raison d'Etre of Painting is This physical or spiritual. the reason why so many of them escape from of poetry. your own childhood. or do so many things which or another current morality considers bad. and well-made products. own Give back to the artist the possibility of being useful and integrated into society. You may cheat us. genuine." or tionism as to which will among is the various schools of abstrac- the true one. smell. your own lost adventures and discoveries. or why so many of them fakes. reality and ran for cover in the dreams This in one is why they don their coats of mail or lock them- selves in their ivory towers. metaphysical God. impossible to live in a world that swings between an unknown. means to exist. and an earth of fattened hogs or seven-pound ears of corn. but then you'll be cheating yourselves too. senses open to life in all its possible aspects so as to know life and grasp its meaning. or whether they will go on with abstract painting. No. noses that covery. and you will see that you will get honest products. hands that touch. you'll be cheating yourselves into the lives of fattened capons. into lives abounding in scientifically calculated vitamins. you want to use such But the genuine It is reality is different. You will see that an end will be put to all those absurd. beyond death. artist it is means to put oneself somehow existence. pseudo-cultural polemics between "realism" and "abstractionism. And it will no longer be necessary for some more or no longer be a .
it is as vital as daily bread. who owing to some slight special type variation in his nervous system or to a minor abnormality falsehoods The artist will of excess is or insufficiency in his endocrine glands better equipped than others to dominate the world of textures and colors. A of man. is not different from the farmer who sows the corn. we cannot abdicate from this. whatever the price. the physicist who discovers new sources of energy. perhaps. . which. This is all we are waiting for. Nor shall we need any longer the patronage of the state. wants to give the impression that it is interested in culture. Thus the artist. after all. proffering alms in the elegant guise of prizes and awards. Nothing more. But. whose imagination is better prepared than others' to create new and vital spaces. our function. nothing more. This is what we want. the shoemaker who skillfully makes a pair of shoes. once more be a man like any other. because it contains in itself the meaning of life and the justification of life. the biologist who finds new remedies against old ailments. who can transform inert lifeless matter into objects capable of arousing vital and useful sensations in men. of enriching the lives of others.Anonymous (2Oth Century) less intelligent 144 collector or some more or less capable art merchant to save artists from starvation. There will no longer be any need for all these lies and false and mistaken ambitions. then to heap absurd amounts of money on them in order to make still more themselves.
even though they might be of some use as forums for political and social discussions. which nobody even bothers to gather. Today the house is ruined inside. some gratitude. of an architect to certain to himself. through them. therefore. pulled off the highway between Bologna are the foundation. Where there was life. wrote these pages. But the facade must be conserved. But they can never create the possibility for a really I new opening. Its olives there was a house standing on a farm was around it. I should like to attest. The poetry. light. and so must the . at the end of a convention on town planning. and and destitution. value. after all. the substratum. the very act They of experience of what I believe today. there is now only squalor trees grow dwarfish olives. even to that convention. that night in sitting in my hotel I room and the next morning my car when and Florence. During that convention I suffered deeply. I was aware of an error at its very basis. and the olive trees grew which were made into oil. I and to his own work. If this book has any owe Once upon a time hill. to what can be the inner reactions official situations.9 Notes a Convention on Town Planning These notes were written in 1957. I was aware that the solution of our crisis could not come from congresses of that kind. divided into many gloomy little dens and added outdoor conveniences.
lean or fat as may be. like All this saddens me deeply. chrysanthemums or palms. refrigerators. or simply weeping over the miseries of this world. and dish-washing machines. wrapped On Sunday mornings. and the street square. because it is "beautiful. at a convention on town planning. Behind a screen of "picturesqueness" men's lives are undermined by tuberculosis. as if 146 they constituted a picture. Workshops opened on to the street. with the square in the background. not thinking about anyin his black cassock. saying their keep him company. and the church. perhaps. Others. Today the workshops are smelly storehouses. more it realistic say: "Surely can't go and clever. Craftsmen were busy. The square has been transformed into a parking lot. far as the it is!" leave the exterior as . the street is crowded with cars. talking. making an infernal noise. thing at rosaries. The church is deserted. Pedestrians huddle against the brokenplastered walls as though dodging gunfire. they don't have to live there. interior is concerned. they show projections of colored photographs of that street. except for a forlorn priest. but. On Sundays the square was a common living room for all. let's do something let's about it: let's renovate the place. and bargaining: it was all alive. as if they were decorative elements. Once upon led to a little a time there was a street. needless to say. And they say: this ought to be preserved. just there. People went to church for matins and vespers. The cares whether crumbling walls and the falling plaster are "colorful/ and the olive trees stand it 7 there. flanked by those rotting smelly houses. with a church at the center. a few bigoted old women. Then. come forward and on like this. or. more likely still. praying." Some of the town planners are so moved by their aesthetic feeling that they have tears in their eyes. alive. all. so but let's introduce plumbing. though nobody is alive.Anonymous (20th Century) olive trees.
cause they are all laughing. They for arrive in the city that trip." "restricted you find some descriparea. three stories. Beautiful! tive text: As you look more "historical closely. eat. There are smiles. movie star. Then he is taken out for luncheon like a court jester. After four or five sessions of this sort (or a few more. after all. The (scale . I might just as well have to prepare the plan for this town. he keeps thinking of the town before his compartment. He's got it all down if falling asleep in pat." Then he leaves. becelebrity. Let's have a look at it. or cyclist. very tired from an uncomfortable The way them at the station. center. He has to . Big applause. or at the periphery. two stories. he is entertaining. In the afternoon there is a conference. compliments. rather. he makes some witty remark. After three months he is back. He gets back to his hotel.147 Notes After a Convention on Town Planning is Now either I am crazy or they are. The city happens to be on the way to another place he was to visit. Nobody knows who the people are who actually live within the historical center. On a sheet of little paper. The urbanist takes a little rest at his hotel. "Come to think of it. the city is very big). "He said . nicely framed. You see rings. As though they were different races. who own little villas in the residential sections of 1:10). one does know men who belong to different sub-species: those or those who live downtown. There are certain famous and honored urbanists. . And so on. for all parts of the world. endowed with particular magic virtues. or in the "satellite town." He drives around the town." Or. the plan is ready. the authorities are waiting the crowds wait for a whether a football hero. On the train. like an abstract painting. They have dozens and dozens of plans to make." "man- agerial area/' "residential area": height. It is almost time for luncheon. four stories. I stop here. those who live at the periphery. At least that is what it looks like. is to be planned. and lines of various colors and thickness. and bows. In the evening he leaves. There no other possibility.
the pedigreed dogs. If the client is a family. without heart. that the client is beginning to become abstract. to do. it seems to me. my disposal. in that other section. the cats. But I am neither a romantic nor a classicist. when they eat. I try to make that family as happy they are tenants in a tenement I try.Anonymous (20th Century) 148 monkeys here. Or at least that is I am what I try to be. when they sleep. ties. I am only an architect. two professorships. within those spaces. and I fall into emptiness. But I don't understand the laws. and fifteen years of practical experience. there. and the problem is becoming so enormous that it frightens me. or worse yet. who are to live there. I it were I should envy these thaumaturgical personalinot for the fact that my heart shrinks. when to you. The reality of the others begins to elude me." Applause. These. over there. But I didn't tell anyI body: certainly not. The city has been "planned. at night. I cannot love these people any longer: they become like ants to me. It does not matter which: everything is fine. . I swear I have wept over all this. go to bed. That you is on like this today. the ants. because even though I have read the paper I did not notice that there was some new law or other making obligatory something I failed I say. If well as possible. in spite of a diploma. building materials. and with these few objects around: when they climb those stairs. They have told me that can't go am a romantic. That there some truth in what but that you can't stop at this level of discussion. of the individual people. The problem for me consists only of land. I am someone who tries to live. are old words. There have been nights when. like robots. that's all. And at this point I am already aware that the limits are getting beyond me. neither a lawyer nor a politician nor a public functionary. within the limits of the means at house. space. in contact with those trees. to see to it as best I can that the tenants live as as possible. I no longer see the faces of the people. Maybe they'll lock me up some day. and forms.
"life. blood. Then I make throw myself into "life/ I go and talk to the 7 lawyers. perhaps. If. I often tell myself that I am a I just can't go on like that. and what not. And sometimes I am aware that I am fascinating to some extent. Because at an effort. at it frightens me and I feel like screaming. And those concepts of absolute values in art seem to me rhetorical and mistaken. An object of art. it seems to me. and hold her tight. that is. Especially not when you deal with those of architecture. this does not mean that the object has no longer any value at all. etc. through that square hole I have broken through the wall so as and be able to see the sky and the stars. You have got to be hard-boiled. when I go to bed and look up. times. I seems that the others are right. that does not mean that modern man should take that picture and throw it away. that I have a grip on that. glory or ambition or some other druglike stuff that blunts their conscience. for example. I am disgusted with myself. and I could not smile at her. the others are right." But at night. and that you can't be like that today.149 without blood. And times it I crook and that really despise myself. or else their state of mind It must be could not be so different from mine. and feel to her heart. that Notes After a Convention on Town Planning is The feeling of discomfort such. But if the value of an object I changes. I attend conventions. But they say that I am a romantic. next to me. I try to enter the business world. Other values remain: values of culture and . have never believed in absolute values. which change and transform themselves along with life. that there is something go out of my mind. and take reality the way it is. alive I assure I you that sometimes I should don't know how these other fellows do it. changes its value as life changes. in a picture by Giotto. certain values which it possessed in the past are no longer of any interest to the spectator of today narrative values. and breath feel. And if my wife were not there. values of religious subject matter.
I like to imagine her as a city of gold. certainly. remains useful even to modern painters for the creation of new forms of expression. Especially now. I say "gold" symbolically. still ours. the imagined and the real one. To create city. may be alive for me. And it would seem logical and right to me to there city conduct our colloquy with the ancient relationships until this city. They have changed. when mankind should not live according to concepts and myths. but only according to existential relations. anremains other part remains alive. palaces of kings and lords. And the geographical configuration is such that it seems to be made to order for such a city. from on high. Can I give the same value to the same painting if for instance I no longer kneel in front of the Madonna it represents to pray to her in expectation of a token of grace? But in front of the same Madonna I may think and live other situations. and plastic values on valid historically. And appears such as she is. where people dis- Since this guised in costumes would recite roles whose meaning and reality totally escaped them. would be tanta- And so it is mount to forcing people of today to live in another time. It would be absurd to want to crystallize them in time. no longer serve us. But then the fog lifts and Florence magnificent city. this This morning the sun is particularly bright." city really becomes "our . even though in a different way. That object. and thousands more of ancient values. Thus. seen from on high. Perhaps is the effect of the pall of fog that covers the city of Florence. with the city. Here. pictorial 150 A part. become other. that is.Anonymous (20th Century) costume on the one hand. in other words. all that would remain would be a soulless organism without meaning. To crystallize them. A city made by us and belonging to us. With new spaces that belong to us. It seems to me that A is no conflict between the two cities. Churches. I like to think of her as a happy city. the other. is impossible. to leave them the way they are.
window. If he had more strength. artistic way of examin- And why at a those who ought to use This is it are fighting is it.151 Notes After a Convention on I Town Planning it But they say that paragingly. is alone. he wanders through the streets. is say: the stone-in-itself does not exist. Now man has invented a bigger and better sling. and the stone falls back to earth. as move . But perhaps she his ghosts. this stone without sun and this stone this seems to me far the satellites. it would become a satellite. a more important than more mysterious and an architect. of all times when seems most urgently needed the ing the world tends to disappear. is He is seems scared. And when I. when that cold. and. He. but in which the solitude of man has become most forbidding. A He does not even look around. and there is the artistic way. too. by day. after all. And they say dis- Apropos of artists. The man-made satel- up with his sling. There are various ways of examining the world. Necessity: take it or leave it. My son shoots a stone And he is not happy. Perhaps I his wife ugly. the stone would not fall right away. too. I feel I my hand it is and look at it. It is a deeper thing. But if I it is take a stone into night. He seems a gigantic Doctor Faust. am an artist. All mark the level of human civilization. I it of them together just can't understand why today. Most people are scientist in strangers to one another anyway. there is the philosophical. It's so simple. Then he leaves his laboratory. beautiful. Just look. and the absurd holds absolute sway over our lives. Forlorn. I feel the sun-heat in because there with sun. is what happening today moment which illuminated by the most sublime scientific discoveries. his laboratory. and. and the stone keeps revolving around the earth. All of them together make up human consciousness. There is the scientific. Alone with lites look out through the gyrating around the earth do not impress me. child's play. And it. more genuine truth.
But then we shall have arrived at a new earthly Paradise. That depends on the changing fashion and the changing fortune and esteem that the artist has enjoyed at different times. the artist must not die. many people today all over the world have a certain demagogical prejudice against the artist: against the artist-architect. implying as it does a condemnation of the antiquated figure of the genius-artist (which I too am combating). perhaps. And split if it is true. but in a new way: then it seems to me that the artistic way of examining the world must being.Anonymous (20th Century) spaces in 152 among of things can create relations themselves. I myself rather think so. And yet. when I use materials which live their existence with the existence of human beings. of the constructorarchitect or of the sociologist-architect. under certain aspects this attitude may seem ethically correct. in favor. long-haired and ragged artists. in the context of the history of our day. It means if Even simply to face existence in a special way. only live. or philosophers. All he has done is to create relations. There have been slave artists and court buffoons. and that I am a social Because the artist changes. as I believe. Perhaps there will no longer be any need for art in the future. because he will have learned to live. And there has been leeway for all. scientists. or statesmen have done. between the physical and the metaphysical aspects of man. For indeed it has been the historical function of the artist to try to bridge these two worlds. then it is also true that the artist is today more necessary than ever. The artist has never attested to metaphysical and physical truths. Today. when I life which the make forms that speak to the inhabitants of the building of the accustomed things of this world. it is really not acceptable. and artists in silk clothes and feathered hats. Because to be an artist does not mean anything extraordinary. that this dualistic world. . Man will live. still be valid and vital. The artist's task has been different. is finished. as the founders of religions.
And the city went to pieces. then blessed be this dedon't be afraid: we won't destroy the churches. The artist has never tried to explain the there has been freedom for ing. that would be the place to build. meaningless monuments. And what more do we want than a more vital earth." And then he added: "Furthermore. the possibility of receiving were concerned. There is room for them too. if it should mean that the whole earth that outside there are the walls should mean enemies and foreigners. become things that truly belong to us: new There was one man at the town-planning convention who. The earth is so wide. behind: because we have to be ashamed of ourselves. and the gates remained there. one house. or the palaces.153 Notes After a Convention on Town Planning all. To this point has human dignity been debased today. a city was gates. It even had walls and its And at night the gates were closed. world. there it is sunnier/' I let it pass. and we may not disturb what our remote . on account of the sun. or the monuments. has become one And they must things. A measure has been lost. only to make it more conscious. pointing to a townscaping project. so they won't spoil the view. certainly. But if the razing of no longer that the city has become something open that lives in relation to all the things of all men. if it should mean single house. should people be afraid of all artists? Once upon its a time. gentlemen. But struction. But it is this "behind" that gives me the creeps. The enemies and the foreigners stayed outside. At least as far as the readthe interpretation. Then people razed the walls. well put the new housing projects behind the ridge of the hills. more acceptable. If people really lived better in that place. more alive. that should give us more joy and the possibility of enlarging our existence? And with all that. said: "Here. To live there.
or to sleep in a hotel. example especially from the socio-economic point of view. if . Fourth. Third. God help and save first life. and speaking in sociological terms. and perhaps the best of building in an organized society. and how sweet the song of the little birds!" Historians of the present. these planners are capable of adding phrases of this sort: "How beautiful the green lawns are. As a critic. Sixth. lets keep things straight. often they don't even know one another. human relations among the inhabitants are nil.Anonymous (20th Century) ancestors have built. this form of life pertains to some species of capitalists who make these houses "comfortable" so that the workers efficiently after a good ness in this situation. In place. Fifth. Second. these people are traitors. 154 yet. represent I But the can point them out as exemplifying one way of I cannot imitate them. I'd rather go begging than end up in one of those garden-cities! man. show that the number of suicides and cases of insanity in this type of Nordic city is the highest in the world. And an outstanding town planner added this comment: 'That's what ought to be done! That's true humility!" For me. or else you have to return to the city to pass your time at a nightclub. those famous green lawns would be scorched by the Italian sun. if you come home at night and forget your house number as once actually happened to me you have to spend the night tell on the street. In support of their thesis. you compare his type of life with this. there is places are permeated by statistics no architecture. these boredom and anonymity. us. and they kept slaves. they too And were assassins. because it is impossible to one house from the other. may work more But don't speak of happiMore power to the Neapolitan fisherrelaxation. I may even agree that these housing projects the most up-to-date. The town planners English garden-cities are often held up by our as models to imitate. Seventh.
Because of the low fog that muffled sounds. as in the marble quarries. thing depends on how you use it." And so it is with the city. like an enormous beast of a thousand scales. But. It is not a question of being in favor or against This is what I said the other night at dinner planning. The great temple at Paestum. If a great surgeon uses it. for example. Since it is a holiday. were. away a slope. would be nothing. the patient recovers. at least. The placing here and there inches down the hill.155 This morning Notes After a Convention on Town Planning I went to the construction site. an "ordinative plan": a principle of order in the midst of chaos. What matters is who uses it. the name itself betrays the true meaning. formed of boulders. If architects. in comparison. pressure of the setting weight kept dislittle stones which rolled a few Looking intently and concentrating my view on one single point. It is is "regulation/' and regulation bom where life fails. there were no workers. Every- Planning. the patient dies. with some architect friends: "Take. such a plan would be welcome. It is only an instrument that serves for operations. If a quack uses it. a scalpel. you see. that matters. if it And But the right thing would be a town-creating plan. It is not only that. At my feet. . including myself. I was totally aware of the gravitational force that pulls us toward the center of the earth as though this center were a living thing. their buildings would be stupendous as never before. but the way of using it. It is not a matter of being in favor of or against the tool constituted by the regulatory plan. the silence was absolute save for an occasional creak in the there stretched stone mass. it seemed to me that I saw and heard the 77 whole gravel mass "descend into the valley. If the so-called "regulatory plan" were an act of creation. were always fully aware of this force while projecting and executing their works.
Anonymous (20th. we must first analyze and know." A housing project And on is born. and so on. Century) 156 And creating not once and for ever. A shrub of broom. which still belongs to the closed city. Here there used to be a hill. And I had looked for a site. new name. there will no longer be such a thing. daily I have used the word neighborhood even though I believe that in the future. I mean the nucleus that should concity: tain within itself all the elements of individual life. factories. were some old abandoned quarries. schools. the neighborhood should be taken into serious consideration. on the hills girding Florence. no road. I wanted to make myself a house. if we want to create a city that is to be really ours. here and there: the only tokens of life. apart from any rhetoric. This was the place I liked. even regional level. But it was so squalid that my wife was almost this hill there frightened. for months on end. Because the elements of creation keep changing. in the open city. and social This really seems to me the important thing. Only a mass of gravel. no houses. it was a very special place. I am not On the housing project. There were no trees. which are today the true values that establish relationships among men: relationships that in the past were so clearly expressed in the "neighborhood. This indicates the dictatorial nature of planning. In all these latest conventions they kept talking of planning on the communal ? intercommunal. covered here and there with briar patches. For me. Or let some philologist propose a going to steal anybody's job. But I had to use this term in order to make it clear that. It seemed to me he made some of his drawings sitting on this land. But the housing project. markets. They never talked of the individual housing project. . Leonardo da Vinci must have spent a lot of time there. I don't ask for a discussion of the single elements that make up a homes.
you find But to if other people too wanted houses like this. on the Roman. after all. At its feet. or fortune. The house was built. . are the houses of the Martians. the Roman. instead. I had to start. An aesthetic caprice. In order to be able to build. and when they pass by on the road below.157 Notes After a Convention on Town Planning I And then there were a thousand other things that need not explain. my house had remained the only one. intellectual fact. Here. of a village will A group. It has been publicized in all sorts of periodicals. Just like any other of those exceptional villas in this world. did the digging. Even the bus drivers know it. And I saw that I lived with well in it. Therefore lots of people others wanted to build houses there. the and on the year 2000. my wife and children. Secret and intimate things. a novelty. here and there. a society in miniature. intervened. All sorts of people from every possible country come to visit this village. even if it had been a masterpiece. they point out houses of the "Martians/' to their passengers these Facing my village is Fiesole. At dawn the sun shines equally on the Etruscan on the Humanistic Romanesque. you have to struggle hard. Romanesque and Humanist. By now they live together. Or else I should have lost my courage. I had to detach my head from my shoulders and cany it in front of me in my right driver We hand like a lantern. The fact is that I wanted to build. aristocratic. it meant me that there existed a minimum common was being born. Old Gino. I began building a little road. era. Florence. the Etruscan. The denominator. life Today there are eighteen houses. the cart carried the water up up there. came And For If it would have remained an isolated. Soon there be twenty. At that moment chance The house was to see it. me it was an important moment. era. on muleback.
In spite of I they put me through. I had made an abstract housing project prescribing heights and So. it if. after day. come when project always hoped. hope to go on. day even roof. Today I should be sad over the ruined have to run away from here. there joy and there suffering. Yet we are able to see the stars. And for the children this is a paradise on earth. and am still hoping. nor is it for privileged people. At a price not exceeding that of a low-cost housing project. And all this is achieved with the most modest means. . tomorrow a tulip bulb. the rain is filters a question of truth in through the by step. And yet life here is different from what it is And in other places. The fact is that these houses are familiar with the earth on which they were born. its Life takes course as is it does anywhere is else. without knowing anything about this piece of earth. not a question of beauty. plaster. But after all I should be grateall even to them. As anyat night where else. This is not supposed to be a New Thebes. My village still lacks certain elements. that the day will I shall be able to carry out a complete housing by these same methods.Anonymous (20tli Century) 158 With ful They make you the superintendents and with the municipality. iron fixtures. This I is And I should why I find certain types of abstract planning simply absurd. and glass. once in a while. Today you plant a pine tree. should have destroyed this landscape with meaningless might at best be "beautiful/' but not hill. It is And I have lived with them. step volumes without taking into account the needs of the inhabitants? I things: things that truthful. Now I ask myself: what would have happened if. Local rock. life goes on. like a school and shops. spit blood.
ready to jump on us and to shout that they were right. violated. disfigured. town planners and we had lavished such love on the two actions. famous town planner stopped my work. defeatists: And without hope it's There are days when a subtle malaise A state fit. But let bygones be bygones. gives me Because I want all of us together to feel this physical pain. was already dreaming of the marvelous trenches to contain the foundations. And something. The Earth appears to me like a living and all of one piece. And the taut ropes to align the streets and walls. And mutilated. it people without hope. especially of the second housing project. sensation of belonging to the Earth. Yet those people would have lived there in a new. has changed. impossible to be an architect. People who use their bathtubs to grow tomatoes. happy way. Even if something were to be done. creature. at any rate. I want all of us to to see it . open. Maybe nothing can be done any longer. had In cooperation with other groups of architects we started on another one. Alive It's caused by the sight of the Earth being ruined. simple. a should know that good deal of our ingenuousness. the inhabitants. their pistols loaded. I am afraid. And even if something could still be done. "others" would stand by to spy on us. And if we did not carry within ourselves the certainty that life is stronger than all of us. on one. like a plant or a child. In that case aesthetes stepped in.159 All Notes After a Convention on Town Planning I started A by myself. That naturalness is gone: that almost childish joy at planning. like a deep-sea diver's out- This strange. we should have lost. helped only by my assistants. of anxiety envelops is me gets hold of me. would have been humble people. we might all easily become skeptics and We Whatever happens. And to think that fulfillment of these too. And we were familiar with I the earth where those houses should have been born. certainly is a pity.
when we were children. would be a natural everyday fact. or. all of us to be aware of the collective importance of each of our individual It acts. then the inner satisfaction over the architects. Such is the strain of the effort of trying to attain certain things. Burning with pride (if that is what you want to call it) about building beautiful things. Something like grandmother's cordial. most the others that are wrong: the always gloat. There would no longer be two sides of the barricade: seems to me that and especially neither the It Army of the Vandals. and if it were not for the sleep emptied that overtakes us in spite of all pains. nor the Salvation Army. I. mistake of the others reaches sublime peaks. is an inhuman fatigue that leaves us sometimes and as if dead. roads. But if there were others to put into practice what I want to put into practice. Especially when I see those erring in whom we believed when we were young. I swear I would kiss their feet. with the trains passing in the rear. Or. with all the misery exposed in the windows. if this awareness were shared by by those who build houses. people see ugly things. bridges. I am not invaded by the spirit of charity. there would be a There . There would no longer be those outskirts. Far from it. succumb to utter sadness. with those ghastly houses: absurd and inhuman houses. civic engineering corps. or whatever. more simply. like a saint. And it would need no town planners. perhaps.Anonymous (20th Century) 160 grasp the value of this One House that shelters us all. the Earth would soon turn into an Earthly Paradise. all. better still. or the officials of the municipality. or the whole lot of geometers and petty trouble is The that when of them It's engineers. or bathed in divine grace. I would give them a smile and shake their hand. I am burning. famous they are architects. plus if And of a good glass of whisky or vodka. the holy fire Let there be no misunderstanding. instead.
metaphysical. and . when we wake up. I should put the same stress on the people's house. as a mother does the child in that then is born into the light. we have to begin raving in straitjackets. At our meeting. should reflect the true reality of these inhabitants. we flourish of trumpets. it would only be right that. we do. another. I. which is nothing but the result of the Lebensanschauung of its inhabitants. Just as if I were a Communist. an independent like myself. There we were. the hospital down there. who seek only to live. no one thought of this. the realm I don't know why. the managerial center up here. As if carry inside us. Magic wand. and Hence. Flourish of trumpets. And this was true for the city of the past. all over again.161 real Notes After a Convention on Town Planning danger of getting crashed: becoming like certain village idiots. planning. in making up the separate quarters and the city in third. it seems right to me that the form of a city. the so-called technical principle was all-determining. as in reality from her inside. Roll of drums. If I were a Christian Democrat. roll of drums. And we pass into the realm the "others" call unreal. One may have been a Communist. That is. something outside us. or like madmen Then. The architects belonged to various political tendencies. a Christian Democrat. the determinant was compromiseespecially compromise with their own consciences. I should stress the church as the generative element of the town structure. a liberal. As if it were just a new sort of game. And And they said: Let's put the church here. It seems right to me that each one should reveal in every act a consistency between his acts and his ideas. and magic wand. architects sat PoliticsTown Planning Architecture. was baffled. thought were an extraneous product. In reality. a a fourth. that womb. something that moves nurture. its entirety. instead. Some of us down together to study a plan. absurd: not something that we of utopia. the school there.
It is the ofEcer-of-thewatch. A few more seconds. to break the circle. We were commandos. exhaustion. because men at war are true. something that smacks of eternity or at any rate reaches so far back into the past that it touches the roots of man's appearance on this earth. But the attack does not come. I whisper into the general's ear that I should like to make an individual reconnaissance. and the circle is closed. barricaded within the house. Night. behind our lines. of it (the word is not exact. they cannot take prisoners. We We We But the all details belong to everybody. hears it too. as we do things we canyet we remember. and all of us are awake. more ways. And the photograms imprinted on our brains have begun to fade. and dreams. them were the same for all." The A hundred general listens. We are camping We Out in the moonlight the sentinels are pacing. and. And our fear is rising. Feverishly we are awaiting the attack. Against submachine guns! . "the commandos are here. in one house." he says. water. I grip my pistol. A few more minutes. The commandos! No from the sky. and it would remember. our ancient flesh. not forget because they have become part of our blood. It was then that the city was born for me. Slowly yards off we can clearly afraid of they are tightening a circle around us. But some of them are worth recounting. But by now it is so far away that it seems to belong to a remote past. They kill. Rained they are. remember even details. as joking matter. because the idea of orderliness) in an abandoned peasant implies are all jumbled together on the dirt floor. mess of sleep. I am sleeping next to the general. be good to tell them all. at the windows and doors. Just as the devil is afraid of holy and vice versa. I am awakened by a whisper. We step outside. "Ricci.Anonymous (20th Century) 162 There has been a war. I jam on my helmet. in different or less. discern some commandos. And remember.
At night. air is red. Whatever all it be. Something happensI don't know just what. Exposed As I remember around. Perhaps. me my head I climb up that one too. The whole island has been taken by the enemy. permitting our retreat beyond the straits. I They had seen the commandos. It is the last day. Their presence is confirmed the next morning by an item of news: a bridge near us. summer moon in Sicily. But that night the commandos did not shoot. All that remains to us is a bridgehead near Messina. Then I brush along the retaining wall of the next level. when they saw me take a walk up there. And the shadows drag under lights. top And I see the moon. with my eyes turned up toward of the next terrace. it. flabbergasted. The Bengal their guns. Perhaps a feeling of the ridiculousness of the situation. their along around me. No shot has been fired.163 Notes After a Convention on Town Planning country around us is terraced: typical of the vinegrowing parts of Sicily. . The general and the others look at me. moon A A that shines on everything and everybody. the stay motionless. was blown up to cut off our retreat. A little later I get back into the house. behind the hill. Perhaps the sense of a different dimension. the fact I I is that I get up on my feet. They have thrown away even their helmets. all And nobody has ever known why. put my pistol even take oi back my helmet. At the third level fear grips My legs buckle under me. God knows why it seems to that a burst of gunfire will get me as soon as I stick out. Exhaustion is stronger than knapsacks. fear. This is the last leg of our march toward embarcation. I The me. climb up to the next level and walk in the moonlight. I think. Like a cat I climb up to the first level. they took me for a local peasant who had remained attached to the soil and to his home. into its holster. I am calm enough to think.
I 164 the fellow I am don't even know who is walking next to me. impossible: so close is the enemy's watch on the I said that the "others" were indifferent to strangers. peron that night. as in the darkness of a nineteenth-century drawing room peopled only by shadows that emptiness was the same for of us. This is in fact what begins to happen. behind our backs. And beyond. all Never flesh as on that night have I so understood in my the identical nature of the human adventure. the only thing that matters the mainland. and complained. in fact. I have nothing them: neither thoughts nor feelings. Perhaps it was the light of dawn that saved us. That land that is before us. Never so much together. And. It seems. is the enemy. Its breath was like your breath. The emptiness in everyone's breast there where the heart seemed to beat as detached as a grandfather clock And yet we were haps. And in front of us are the straits. And the shadow next to you and unknown to you was nevertheless together with you. Its torn flesh was your torn flesh. The land that tonight so far away and so hard to reach. . and the same the shore yonder that we wanted to reach together. owing to the uncertain light. Gripped by panic. the mainland.Anonymous (20th Century) alone. With machine guns we have to set up a firing line to prevent access to the overloaded rafts and keep them from capsizing just to make these men wait for their turn. and "lived" together. are strangers to me. They Nothing. Because the strafing plane- gunners could not see to aim precisely. as I am to them even though we have to exchange with I fought together. to save their own skins. But now: here behind us. That is is to reach is what matters. close behind. for a place on the rafts. they would be able even to kill one another. me and together. And the same for all of us was the presence of the enemy. we had just landed. have nothing but indifference for them. own Miraculously. they could not fly low over the water. straits. The land that so easy to reach on a tourist jaunt.
165 Notes After a Convention on Town Planning But we did not even have time to try out our legs on the mainland. What struck me was. with my back leaning against the damp wall and my feet braced against the rails. on the contrary. It was not the lurking presence of death. So I got used to the place very quickly. They watched me silently. get hold of to eat. and exhausted by dysentery due to the figs and grapes which were the only things they could. The other half I kept. I know. I opened my last can of meat. to see whether it was solid. Nor the insuffer- able stench. without thinking much. With and existentiality. A little later we found each other again. inland. together with us. I sat down. all skin and bones with eyes dilated by fever as if they were delirious. in the darkness of a railway tunnel. took out my last cracker. I was vile. too easy a target. I divided the half I was eating and finished it together with them. And the faces of those starved children were imprinted . It was And here we came upon a strange nel's inhabitants was it not the skeleton-like thinness to which the tunhad been reduced that struck me. And those that had thrown themselves on the ground to kiss the gravelly sand under their palms. occasionally. It took but a few minutes. to find some shelter: because on the beach we were too much exposed. In that tunnel a utter naturalness new society had organized itself. Starved for who knows how long. I was about to give them half the stuff I had put aside. Then. had to jump up and run ran as fast as their legs would carry them. for who knows whether we should have found any other food? Two children came up. to the loneliness of children. As vile now as I had been courageous the night of the commandos. Nor the tattered state of their clothes. society. I meant to divide the cracker and the meat into two parts: half of it was to be for the next day. the sense of life. I was inured to the smell of cadavers.
nor was cursing enough for the miscreant. and the only possithe only society was to be bility. So the war was over. the fear of death. of recta to expel the waste products! As if the city were made only of objects that render these processes more comfortable! Was more more not that tunnel more a city than our cities today. man's solitude. And found in the feeling that we were all in the same boat. after all. right down It to means that we now. a housing project than our low-cost housing projects. it had been so beautiful to refind ourselves. as though the earth were a ship navigating in space. Nor staring solidarity. "But all that to do with the city?" "What has the war. that everything now But . And.Antonymoiis (20th Century) 166 retina for days and days to come. Nothing of all And this. Sometimes I still them even now. I too was all skin and bones. is for me the only justification for the existence of the city. human into the void for him who of that lived in the absurd. And yet I too had to survive. of digestive tracts to eliminate the food. Because the only law was mystery. so marvelous to start anew from zero. I was vile. to do with the city?" My God! As if the city were made only of mouths to feed. gathering all of us together in this one trip toward this one goal. was of any value to anybody. are not alone. what has "All right/' the town planners hint with their eyes. Yet despite everything it was magnificent to have those faces imprinted way back on my retina: so lastingly. sometimes. It means that we are together. to live in mystery. a home than the homes with refrigerators and dishis washers? Because the truth that there existed in that place a and prayer was not enough for the devout. exactly. I had given them something: on my see In spite of that.
and the rebuilt cities would be better and more truthful and more ours. for ninety percent of his time. if you go on like that. that. my dear colleagues. Let's come to the hard core of the question. . less exigent. than those that had been destroyed. man's idling in neutral. able to dispose of ninety percent of his time as free time. And thus we lost the peace. You make statistics. forget about philosophy. my notes on the national convention on town planning. Let's go ahead with your statistics. just to try to survive. his machine a dry run. and the city. or. Planning or no planning. and so would eco- has been my You understand that nomics. Naive. If man's needs were houses would be different. "But my dear Ricci. because he He works to numb paradises himself. the whole housing project would be different. making artificial He is works to create himself not happy. we the post-war period. lost we were. he would be rich all of a sudden. And starting And this human if experience. politics too would be different. in order not to see. we cannot follow you. Statistics show work is unproductive. consciousness were at a different stage of its evolution. the If man were not ashamed of having only one suit. necessary. How to conceive of a regulatory plan? to build houses for those who have none?" I is How beg your pardon. Leave metaphysics alone. if he wanted to use it for productive work. How different the city would be if the parameter were happiness rather than a bewildered sense of being lost. If he were happy. But some thinking from our own experience. This is what I And thus ended thought that night and the next morning.167 Notes After a Convention on Town Planning seemed easy. he would acquire a material wealth of quite another order.
to inexperience. or there where civiliza- tion has created masterpieces of art and shining examples of high culture. you don't even remember an extent have you lost contact with eaten or not. children. you find yourself alone. where you would feel at ease. you'll never find your city. perhaps to even hoped that this explanation was right. to such reality. whether the weather is good or bad. He could possess his earth as never before. so as to know the world. Traveling this way. the place where you would live happily. And yet man could create his city today better than at any other time. Wherever you go. tired men.10 Town Planning! A Criticism You may little travel the earth: cities become mountains and African village new go where skyscrapers landscapes. All you have to do is to take a plane. and dear ones. where your body would occupy it its specific and specified place. whether You it is don't know whether you have day or night. dragged from birth to death by other men dragging their lives from birth to death. All this. go to the made of huts. for the sole purpose of surviving. egocentricity. in a studio apartment in one of the cities of this earth. or to the desert of houses lined up square miles on end. men who work without definite I ascribed I aim. to fly and to see the sun continuously or . far away from wife. exactly where. immaturity. Everywhere lonely men.
one of the many cities in this world. But the same men who have built rockets that reach the moon live whether as strangers in the cities of their forebears. their stock is ancient and illustrious or whether it appeared just a hundred years ago. Because is I say to myself: . with one precise idea in mind: I want to discover what the basic elements are that bind people were together what they are today. And this should be enough to understand what new dimensions man has discovered. no matter whether you roam through the streets on foot. one single city: Earth-City. if you are lucky. I develop a strange capacity: the my thought. where long habit and familiarity with particular places do not swamp the memory with records of facts capacity of X-raying a city with but where everything appears new. and what new dimensions the earth. and most of the By night. or whether you are in a plane which.169 Town Planning: A Criticism the night: such is the speed of planes by now. when streets are deserted. whether you sit on the steps of a church or drive through town in a swift car from the center feelings. with the walls removed so as to reveal the life inside. Thus I wander through the city. Better . its little people are sleeping. the bell tower of San Marco to see the city from on high. for you wish. not what my they yester- day. I lived school work. the airport signals to keep circling around town a few times before a runway is free for the landing. especially stroll when its calle. This is a problem that has bothered me since my boy- hood days since the days I ran away from home and from in Venice my would and and climb through squares. Thus. and to the periphery or from the periphery to the center. this capacity grows. if his city could is have no longer a city. if man today is alone (and this his natural condition) it is useless to create cities. the city presents itself to your sight somewhat like certain architectural structures painted on medieval tablets. And in a strange city.
ventures on this earth: a man. Hence we must find our city. horseman. mail carrier. By now these new dimensions belong to all. Amsterdam. has gained new dimensions. And then I tell myself: if. this city is false. True. who faces things with a new attitude. Paris. old Boston. businessman. emperor. As I wandered about I felt like a king. the city of Anonymous (2oth Century). those associative values that kept men together in the past are no longer valid. or street sweeper. I have X-rayed so many cities: the great metropolises like Rome. like Florence. facing a certain reality today. farming But there is none that would suit us. some people are aware of them undergo them unconsciously. Venice. small villages. a man who flies in the sky. But I never felt myself to be what I really am: a man born in 1918. the one I call Earth-City. The village-cities States. I I who who has who lives who is ready a new and in mystery. One might say that some people are aware of them lucidly and spiritually while others notice them only because they can't move in the city streets on account of the traffic. in the existing cities. Copenhagen. for new ad- said: I never felt have been talking about myself. I have X-rayed even exist. And then: But man was not made to live alone. fishing villages. where peace Mountain villages. ragged seems to beggar. like San Gimignano. New York.Anonymous (20th Century) 170 the desert. villages. in short. villages. This is my personal experience. But by now everybody without exception also say that is in the same boat. London. could not have said anything else. who has discovered atomic energy. consciously. San Francisco. and one of the many that exist in the United Chartres. with a certain history behind me. on a more human scale. cart driver. Los Angeles. priest. Orvieto. specific justification for existence. who tries to reach the moon. I have myself to be what I really am. Dijon. great industrialist. then this city is no longer true for us. of the twentieth century. while others One might . the medium-sized cities.
one piled upon the other. . but in the process we even kill the womb. as you able to understand together. when I wander through the streets and my mind removes the walls of the houses. it. By night. Desperately we are attached by those old umbilical cords along which no nourishment passes placenta no longer transmits us any any longer. city has always existed. These cities. the but the royal-palace-city. the market-city. we kill those old centers. there are only bodies left to behold. And we die outside. those old hearts. where modem man cannot find either his dignity or his dimension. were true for them. A monstrous gangrene has attacked all the houses and the men who live in them. These cities are no good anybody any more. the tinsel of ancient times. man of our day. No. it may have been obedience to the emperor or it may have been trade or money: something kept those people Because. in cemetery-spaces. the stock-exchange-city. does not Bitter answers. those old truths. we inhabit and no one knows why. You find the fortress-city. find answers to those questions in the back of my mind. I am unable to find today in our cities the basic elements that might keep us together. Ours does not exist. We live on this earth. bitter conclusions for a Because these answers are favorable to the before us. the church-city. the old truths. The nutrition. therefore.171 It Town Planning: A Criticism for I make any difference. without being able to cut loose. the old heart. Not only that. in denlike rooms. But let us take it step by step. We camp in the old houses of our ancestors. the handsome facades of the palaces. It may have been fear of an enemy or fear of God. Our city is nothing but a formless boil attached like a cancer to the old center. in tents that are long since worn out and no longer suitable to us. you will be what it was that held men together at a certain given period. men who lived roam through the streets. When I wander through a city and X-ray it throughout.
won't enlarge on this. consequently. this unforeseen transformation of the city its self-destruction. an industrial revolution. is necessary perspective. And yet all existence today is from the existence of yesterday. only the technicians. Not We or better. and that. generalizing. could make a historical analysis of the remedies and solutions proposed by the architects. 1 see it differently today from the way men did in the past. perhaps. know about the means that have been employed to try to remedy the situation. the town planners. nevertheless. follow the development of urbanistic thinking through its ups and downs may do so by means of the written history of I men. that big factories have come into being. modern town planning. plenty of books on the histories of cities. Mechanically. For me it is sufficient to touch just on certain points. And yet the sun that warms me now warms me differently from the way it warmed the men of the past. just about everyone knows what has happened. besides. owing to the new different But let us see sources of labor. Everyone knows that man has invented machines. Here. in between. or. the documentation becomes more confused: so different are the ideas of different The story. furthermore. Let us look back into times that have only recently become history: the history of our fathers and grandfathers. Those who are looking for historical documentation may turn to these books. the town-planning architects. . and we lack the Those. therefore. the city has expanded into conglomerations of enormous masses. Everybody knows about the disastrous consequences of which led to so many people.Anonymous (20th Century) x 172 And yet when I look at the sky. There are. which analyze to everybody's satisfaction the phenomena that have led to the break-up of the city. what has happened. But by and large everybody knows that there has been a political revolution. who want to of too recent date. however.
. Also because these two different attitudes reflect. even of suggesting and inventing new which in part are still valid today. would in If these theoretical been put into practice. and there have been bureaucrats before. to state that there are two different attitudes toward town planning. in a certain sense. of breaking with certain fixed patterns of the past. two different periods of the town-planning architect: the one belonging to the period following the First World War. as always. The same totally historical very fact that the interpretation of one and the phenomenon may suggest solutions so different and contradictory among themselves. In between. but at the inter- same time they show the weakness of any personal pretation. for. naturally. which I might define as the planning of the masters and the planning of the bureaucrats. The proposals they forward may have had the great merit of raising the put level of urbanistic thinking. there are masters still living today. forced to live according to a fixed diagram imposed from above. attitude of the masters is self-evident. certain architects of great critical been. This is the first aspect of the problem. which. imposing his personal opinion on the evolutionary life-process. who have tried to solve the crisis of the city through a personal analysis of the problems and The who consequently proposed solutions. obviously.173 Town Planning: A Criticism For me it is sufficient. There would be people. of trying to adapt our thinking to modem solutions dimensions. after all. the difference is not as clear-cut as all that. There have and there still are. that is. however interesting or ingenious it might be. town plans or housing projects had we would today see people living in surroundings that have no common roots among themselves. the other to that following the Second. Even though. and creative capacities. there is the attitude of the agnostics. the last analysis always remain arbitrary. demonstrates the impossibility for one individual man to interpret all of history.
Anonymous (20th Century)
my opinion, which these plans, these theoretical cities, have in common. None of these plans is based on the search for the fundais
another one, basic in
mental truths for the sake of which
Things are accepted the way they are, the way they have been handed down to us. The fundamental problems are simply left out, or their solution is taken for
granted. All the plans of the masters are idealistic plans. are of an idealistic nature is proved by the very
fact that they are theoretical: envisaging ideal towns, after
asks the question: What has happened to thought? tangled in the gilded schemes of a latenineteenth-century idealism, in the rhetoric of die-hard
But no one
Is it still
possibilism at any price? But are these positions not long since obsolete? Is it not a quite new brand of human history that
unfolding in the various fields of man's activity, no longer renew this sort of bill of exchange
after the latest discoveries in the field of science?
forget the real crisis of modern man, which, basically, of a very complex order: of a religious order, if that is
what you want
of customs, of existence?
of a social order, if you prefer; want; or to put it succinctly, a
The asset of these masters was and still is that they men of faith, men who believed in mankind, who
believed in the future.
But then came the Second World War. caxne back from the war, we were no longer able to believe in the noble efforts represented by the masters' ideal cities or at least, that is what happened to me. Together with our hopes, we had to lock up in a drawer those abstract sheets of town planning that we had secretly drawn: because, at that time, every one of us, perhaps, had an ideal city planned and designed in the secret recesses of his heart. Even though a reaction against this attitude had been in the air prior to that time, it was
took on form and consistency. It was then that the ufbanism of the bureaucrats was born. Even in the schools at least in the Italian schools
town planning was now taught differently. In a more humble way. It was an urbanism based on the concrete reality of the facts, on research, on statistics. The townplanning architect transformed himself from a masterarchitect-creator into a technician-architect-sociologist. It was an interesting experiment, if you want to see it
that way, at least from the human angle. But let's take it step by step. said: the urbanism of the bureaucrats. It
sort of urbanism. Strange,
comprises the stupid
and banal urbanism
of the little municipal employee towith the intelligent, well-documented, statistically gether justified urbanism of the avant-garde planner. Let's have a look at this latter. Who is he? No longer
the urbanist-creator, shut up in his ivory tower. He is the citizen-urbanist, engaged in the politics and in the social
of his country. Hence he is no longer alone. The town planners joined together, first in a squadron, then in a phalanx, and finally in a whole army: an army of
an organization with ranks like military officers. Conventions were held, at first, and then ever-growing congresses, congresses of two or three thousand urbanists. This, at least, is what happened in
urbanists disciplined within
town-creating act was supposedly replaced by reguthe ideal city-plan they moved down to the
that such an instrument did not
academic. It was an arbitrary basis or justification. In Italy,
at least, it was a fascist act. For that matter, living in that sort of climate.
the regulatory plan changed aspect. Rational and
was attempted: interregional plans, regional plans, municipal plans, detailed plans. Planning had become the password: planning from above.
Anonymous (20th Cenluiy)
In planning, it seemed, a cure-all had been discovered; a method, at last, had been found. In a certain sense this was good. A new urbanistic conto the collectivity, science was being born. It was felt that urbanism belonged no longer to individual thaumaturges.
But what remained to us was a handful of flies. one of us was commissioned to make a regulatory plan at least that is what happened to me and, faced with the city that was to be planned for, put himself to work, he realized that he was helpless. It was like operating on the body of a patient whose disease you
don't know, without a diagnosis, without sufficient knowledge even of his true.-a:hatomy. An operation in the dark:
documentation you wanted; you might indeed draw on all branches of man's rational knowledge. It was no use. The
body you had to operate on remained
to you, a stranger.
into being, accordingly, were paper regula-
tory plans: abstract, and more arbitrary even than those of the masters. For the latter, however mistaken, at least
invention of form, invention of new factors, invention of organisms. Here, instead, there was nothing of the sort. The end product of a regulatory plan is a pile of sheets of
diagraming more or less men. Here, the residential quarter. There, low-cost housing project. Over there, community center. And so on. Not only is there no analysis of the
paper, with so
really vital elements that make up a city, there is not even a financial plan, a budget. Nothing. Pure academicism. A number of doubts arose within me.
These urbanists proceeded with great assurance. But I know on what they based this assurance. It seemed
though they carried the solutions to
modern man in their pockets. It seemed they knew what life was
the raison d'etre of the
true nature of
forms, of space, of matter. Then you discovered that their pockets were empty. culown educational background was different.
and human education was of a more solitary, less public species. What was of interest to me, from the war years on, was to sink my mind into more basic questions, for example, whether life was worth living and why. I
not through congresses, but
Roaming through their streets by night. At dawn, seeing people waking up, workers going to work, women going shopping. Watching the children play or go to school. I watched the life of the old folks. Even that of the beggars. I remember how I followed them around in
by living in them.
long time, those with the beards. I tried to see they managed to get along and survive. I went to the slums, to the ill-famed sections of town.
Paris, for a
say, is somewhat more literary, that. But that is what it is. And
Naively I asked myself: How can they be so sure of themselves if they know nothing about these matters? How can they operate? As if the problem of the city were a
population, so large an area for the community center; and so on. I began to express my doubts all the more so as I began
streets; so large a
to find out that they were not mine alone. There were other architects who saw the problems just about the way
But every time,
found myself looking up an unthese active town-planning I simply cannot stand pergo-getters,
architects there are
sonally. I don't trust
them. They are
make they a good speech and put up a good fight. But there are others for whom I feel esteem and fondness; who, I feel,
gogues; they are shallow, even
are close to
Anonymous (20th Century)
was the same!
of man's imhappi-
ness, of his solitude, his enslavement, they
funny way as if that was all beside the point. They thought I was way off. As If the city were not the sum total of these men, of their existences, of their problems
it any longer. And so, some years which I wrote in the previous chapter, I exploded a bomb. I really did nothing but express these doubts publicly. But it was as though it was the crack of doom. They accused me of I don't know how I just
ago, at the congress of
things: of being antisocial, of being an anarchist^ of not understanding the historical situation. During the following four years I tried in various ways
this initiative of
mine. Once, at a preparatory one of those congresses, I delivered a lecture:
the impossibility, of creating a city on wrong premises by consequently, postulating, as it were, a non-solitude. They didn't even
the Solitude of
Modern Man/ On
let me finish my talk. There were some men who boyishly and demagogically exclaimed, "We refuse to go along with this. What mankind needs is houses." As if I had said anything to the contrary! True, some of these same
then raised very similar problems during the official many of them have since then changed their minds on a number of points. But these are meager com-
good. Bureaucratic urbanism, uncreative,
with os. People dodge fundamental questions; they do not want to look into themselves; they shun any failure, lest the
general failure imply their personal failure as well. They try to change the laws. And the laws really are antiquated, inadequate, mistaken. But this is not the point. It is in
my dear urbanist-architects, that we must first of find our city. And if we do not find it there, all our efforts in other directions will be wasted or, worse, will be
harmful, inasmuch as they will delay the development of a genuine new urbanistic consciousness.
though apparently not produced any fruit at all. no. No one notices that it would be enough to observe (I am here engaging in a ratio per absurdumyet not so absurd after all) that the family. at least it had yielded certain positive results. is still very differit is just as true that in no coun- have people had the courage to get down to a final analysis of man's problem: to see what this man of today really is and what he needs. a mistake... . insist produce any.179 Town Planning: A Criticism Perhaps this discussion has become too personal. . It would be enough for one of these hypotheses to materialize. . that man has not found his city but got lost in should come to the conclusion that if the quicksands* former attitude. In a book. is wrong. such as it is today. aggravating the problems rather than solving them. less involved in everyday life. in spite of all efforts new cities are nevertheless to make it ent in different countries try a universal science. that of the masters. or that the relation between work and home. In other countries . that in England legislais more adequate and the government kept totally separate from architecture. whereas the We second. true that in certain Scandinavian countries is is town planning itself tion in this sector more advanced. and we should see how all the efforts undertaken. though it true that in Russia problems of this order are presented in a totally different way. have no meaning: money thrown out the window. if we more genuine and humble. is though urbanism really is being created. was questionable. all the millions and billions spent on the expansion of cities which have more than doubled during these last fifty years. loftier. in other countries. perhaps this discussion should have been more detached. that in the United States. has nor will it ever be able to on this approach which is bound . that urbanism. takes a part in planning. Because. is. finally. as we know it. or that the settled way of human life has come to an end and mankind could become nomadic again. as an institution. Perhaps I should not have touched on things which are peculiarly But Italian. In other countries the situation though it is the same.
Right. What is needed today is mental clarity. reasoned analysis. remains in our hands? How can we architects really operate? are our tools? can we do in the immediate future? What What Some down may seem pessimistic. if by life we mean also the conscious and creative act of man. All that is happening around us. to conceive of a so-called spontaneous urbanism. of impossibility. But what Are not thought. the masters kept intact and taught and bequeathed us. leaving But let us not fall into polemics. today. Nothing that happens is lost. But would it be worth while? True. rather. the stakes are too if it high! What. is life? men's creative possible. nor is good will. seems to confirm this state of And in this old Maybe nothing. the situation seems to be coming to a head. And it is right that it be so. except going to the cafe to seek intellectual faction in defeatist criticism? satis- I really do not think so. life We who have sensible and profound things But they are people of the old stamp. non-urbanism) of the agnostics. except at the price of the destruction of all the values of the past and of the ancient cities. except at the price of continuing a chaos it acts. that men at last are becoming aware of so many things. sort of fatality. Life is not that enough we understand it merely as a sort of fatalism to time to take care of things. But . at least. Europe. architects of high repute belong to this category. Everything that is happenor about to ing happen has a reason. after all. squeezed as it is between two giant worlds. What remains to us? everything and everybody. part of life? How is reigns sovereign over all things? Good faith is not enough today. negative. True. beginning with the events in international politics. should also allude briefly to the urbanisrn (or. architects to say. life is enough. seems to be weighing conclusion The things. after all.Anonymous (20th Century) 180 gradually to undermine our faith and our hope for the future which. who believe that by itself is capable of solving our problems.
accordingly. Would this not be a fixed point? Would it not be better to have established this than to go on building spurious cities. So deep-seated is. not merely here I To critical. part of the chapter. the habit of the great industrialists who reason always with an eye to the balance in their bank account. And have to open another personal parenthesis. politics. In the world of research. an error. once my criticism has torn of theirs. Once we have sion. and that. Let us. The medicine will come. that he has not found the real reasons that bind this the past. things are In the world of thought you may demolish a defect. spurious plans? would . based on old. Just as in him to other men. and once they have had to give in and admit it. different. the constructive. the pivots for forming cities should revolve. this bankaccount atttiude. some of my friends remain perplexed and ask me: "And where do you go from here?" "Go from where?" I could answer.181 Town of the fact. then. of And science by itself you might discover the etiology of an ailment without yet knowing the medicine capable of curing it. And consequently they will find out how important it will be to search for our city. it is something positive to have established the fact that man today is lonely. spurious It housing projects. without offering any remedy. on which the motives do not exist. in our age. on the other hand. that even so-called intellectuals have taken over this way of reasoning. arrived at certain points in our discusdown certain positions to avoid any possible misunderstanding. After all. pass to the second part of our discussion. the city today cannot exist. and that this is the only way that is left to us. is already a positive result. A Criticism They are becoming aware must no longer be ran by that the world but rather on the basis of a serious attempt to find out how men can live better on this earth. But it is a step forward to have found the causes of the ailment. that the associative elements. Planning: first.
because what have created are only fragments: fragments of space. of who says. temporary housing-machines. together. less There tions is also another one. and let us instead build only barracks. programs. fact. your buildings are successful. you teach. In a world in which everybody has acquired the habit of drafting manifestoes." and so on. after all. Therefore. Throughout this book I have been affirming that solumust not be personal. but . because there are basic not really Anonymous. that the attitude of "the master" is wrong.. would it not be wrong on my part to reveal it? And this is the second answer I could give. . only then shall we build our This is the first answer I should give to my friends.. . let's drop ambitious programs. Therefore I effort. and nothing else until we really know what we need. on wheels. our monstrous houses. It won't be architecture. value to errors. one materials. more truthharmful to man. And yet I understand their position. ideas. solutions. so what? It will always be better than a lie become ful This would be a way. tents. that we must not create new rules.Anonymous (20th Century) 182 be far more honest to say: "We really don't know what we want. new dogmas. I'll try to explain am going to make an how I would . we shall have found new and genuine reasons for living cities. and yet. and yet. like trailers. Comfortable. new "isms. new tendencies. Tomorrow." Let's ments. and tomorrow I could easily do without them. But often they insist and they say to me: And yet you go on working. a humbler. even assuming that I had the solution. except my attitude." "I really have nothing to offer you. must seem ridiculous. when way. you build houses. But these fragments today have no other meaning. tomorrow. of new tactile sensations. and yet But don't you know that I give a merely experimental . I all that I I because am have done. meaningless experistop plastering the earth with our monstrous housing projects.
I am going to know whether I am know whether you will be disits don't Let's begin with a clean slate. try. . I will try to put down not rules but rather working just principles. appointed. An attitude that may be convincing. if I Planning: A Criticism out to build a had to the ambitious and humble Earth-City. as I already said. to elucidate not axioms but only premises an attitude. don't maximum. if expressed to I even though I really going to succeed.183 set Town city.
or what can we contribute? thing is sure: none of the architects prior to my generation ever had to face the basic questions that I One keep repeating in this book: Is life worth living or not? ingly. I basis of convictions. lies the difference: the architects of the generation preceding from doubt. accord- worth while to build housing Here. these questions have not been asked. It would seem to act or else his fore unable to he is had been heretononexistent. An Analysis with some questions: What are the differences between the architects of my generation We can start and those who preceded us? What is there new that we can give. to build houses? Is projects. me beset by the questions that have during the war and the postwar years. mine started from certainty. after all. to build cities? it Is it worth while. make use of certain tools of research which as though the is architect. forced as work . Not even in Russia.11 Town Planning. I start They worked on the basis of nothing. And yet it was in that country that Kirillov sprang from the brain of Dostoevski. on the never found them kept assailing Even in those countries where revolutions in thinking and in economic systems have apparently changed the way of life. I.
or in the incantatory Greek temple or in the Christian church. there was another important and decisive element: the palace of the emperor. therefore. I from the to explain non-a-priori- want now. because there was a rule. markets but they too revolved around these two prin- Then the cipal powers. I must base my work on certain established values. the civil power. stadiums. As long as exist." value. but the relationship between church and state is always evident. If we want to generalize.185 Town Planning: An Analysis were at the disposal of other men. the earthly and the heavenly kingdom. The form of the is city has varied accordingly. changing changing times theaters. But if man is free. Besides this. the city could could be ordered. in one guise or another. is And this we look at more what exactly. especially of the philosophers and poets. whatever rule it may have been. it is to discern the root of their formation. we may say that one of the motive centers of the city has always been the fear of the metaphysical: hence the invention of god. If Or. the houses of the nobles: in other words. The formation of our cities can no longer originate from anything a priori. As long as churches. and so accessible the history of the inhabitants' life through a reading of the city that for every phase we could write a book. Whether in the circle for the magic and propitiatory rites of the savage. The weights and measures of these powers varied with the varying time. the royal residence. this can no longer happen. except at the price of its self-condemnation. easy the structure of ancient cities. In essence. it man was a slave. You can start from the "non-value. This seems self-evident. one of the weighty factors determining the city has always been the religious power. with there were other generating elements. If I have to build. or government palaces or army barracks or party headquar- . arenas. or a chapter of a book. And yet you can start from a different position.
has aroused himself from this Earth-City. But you will say: If you destroy all pre-existing values. I say. Let me try to explain. There is Anonymous (2oth belong only to that man who Century). though bewildered and dazed. the chaos of our cities. and. and you look once more at the sun which formerly had lost its meaning. there dropping is no possibility for a new world to be born. The disorder. slaves. to live in the mystery and outside of myths. This this: is the The crisis the impossibility for man. you suffer. and that's that. create the context that When though by a knife. whether they be made of words or of stone? Would not you be basing yourself on the absurd. these cities will not be constitute ours. for which we find a thousand explanations sudden growth.Anonymous (20th Century) 186 to put it in modem terms ters or managerial centers the ganglia of our cities. the imponderable. Look. all those mythical values are destroyed and extirpated from your flesh as words. quite the contrary. will state not even any hope in sight. etc. you succeed in surviving. The city of the future. mechanization. on what will you base your constructions. finally. up of our city lies in to now. is caused in reality by the progressive destruction of the obsolete like values of a slave society. beyond the meaning of words. try to understand me. As long as men are undecided this and hesitant about ancient burden from their shoulders. You . the vague and void? Or have you perchance become a mystic? might seem as though I had arrived at a position of But it is not so. lend me a hand in doing what I cannot do. is missing. has teetered on the brink of suicide for want of values. the city of and is ready for anything. Perform for me the integration of those meanings that are hidden behind the It faith.. they will be nothing but prisons for critical point. and. my dear friends. one morning.
the clerk. they gain new meanings. Town Planning: is Am Analysis And it longer to help you eyes. and more au- All we have examine to do To to understand the course of our day. You open at things again. You don't approach these things any longer with that mask on your face. Set in relationship with other things. that the same phenomenon must not a question of organizing a series of pre-established values. this alone is life. and lo. who base their certainty on the merely rational and positivistic aspect of things. as such. you will understand you materialize there too. and you look the smile of a child is the smile of a child. It is world. within the things themselves. And seems that there yet it is not nothing any true. the kiss of a woman is the kiss of a woman. The thentic. the actions of our day the day of every- body: of the old folks. Not not a metaphysical the world of the mystic. after all. look now at urlbanism. houses. green spaces. nor that of the savage. And here the problem takes on two aspects: one. to analysis from your desk. in a certain way. the professor. accessible. nor it a physical world. is and intuition for demonstration. Things exist in themselves. the peasant. churches. At last you really is touch things. virginal. The day of the mailman. Meaning is intrinsic. of the children. the grass is grass. It here. innocent. There are no longer any values. more its secret. more hidden.187 feel like dying. even the most intelligent among them. they are your new. made of a priori judgments which divide us. more evidently logical. Because the bureaucratic town planners. the bricklayer. Of all those who together make up the collectivity. schools. at last. but the stones at last are stones. And It is if This. All this won't help us any more. of the young. or of inventing new ones and throwing them on the market. hospitals. It is no longer a question of organizing squares. live. operation now is is much simpler. the needing some other. that the main difficulty of the problem resides. are utterly .
or painfully and or a blessing? It in a detached manner? If it is to be done joyfully and with participation. And since some factories obviously produce fumes.Anonymous (20th Century) 188 unable to perceive the other aspect. get The workingmen up in the For the others. If it is a necessity. I said: let us examine the actions of our day. which for me is far more important for man's life but which does not become tangible unless experienced personally. and a relationship created somewhat like the old one between workshop and home in the ancient city. and so on. for example. must this work be done with joy and participation. Let's see the difference. they had to build streets wide enough to contain the traffic of public and private means of transportation. Almost certainly there will no longer be industrial zones and residential zones. but an osmosis will be attempted between factory and home. and what must be its position in the city? What should be the relation between work and rest. instead. between factory and home? From such an analysis. something of the old city scheme is bound to change. My problem is is: Is work a curse a necessity. when the workman was a craftsman rather than an industrial worker. from the root. something new will be born. perhaps. the My It arises problem is different. if we have to create a contact between factory and home . problem presented itself in these terms: they had to circumscribe a working zone in the city. what must the factory be. locate it in such a way that the wind-borne fumes and smoke should not infest the residential zones. used to examine those actions as institutions. Let us take some of these acts. The closed formation of the city will no longer be possible. the industrial zone. separate and hostile. and since the factory must be close to a traffic artery permitting contact with a system of transportation for its products. morning and go to work. Those others.
There is the working woman and the housewife. at the same time. Woman. between factory and superhighway. can say merely that it seems to me that cannot be just a housewife: a woman. Others must be consulted. that runs underground? It is in the face of these problems new and that the plan of the city will have to change. yet consider it And In it a very important problem. They simply don't think about find nothing that I In their regulatory would indicate the existence of problem. Let us take yet another thing. like childbirth and nursing. replacing the old one between country city. my mind. that nature imposes on her other duties. In different countries. Should women gives rise to a number of questions.189 Town Planning: An Analysis and. or else she is to be free to think of her independent individual But on the other hand I consider that woman is biologically different from man. As far as I am concerned. There are women who go to work. The root of a most serious problem. one. There are women who stay at home. or is it enough that he have the quickest possible gadget at his disposal. has to go husband-hunting. different. work like men or should they not? Must they remain housewives forever? The answer re- quires a long preparation and cannot be given by the architect alone. let him share in sunshine and nature. who finished. because a relationship will be established between nature and the works of man. Or take another thing: when the workingman wakes up in the morning and has to go to work. And thus another question arises: What type of work . Hence she must work life. how does he get there? Does he have to travel in a private car or walk on foot or take a public means of transportation? Should his way-to-work give him vital sensations. perhaps. I modem woman that is. the proportions are Now how plans this I do the others reason? it.
I see. Supposing that we found a type of work suitable for women. that of the city. the problem does longer be what not change. is needed than little circles on a piece of paper indicating the extent of the de luxe residential quarters. indeed.Anonymous (20th Century) is 190 man. and consequently. More is needed than figuring where the W. that of the residential quarter. in short. entrusted to a if the situation permits it. such-and-such. such-and-such. the character of the home is bound it to change. would change. while the pre-school children are left watchful grandmother. whereas woman is suitable for predestined for another type. proportion between total area and building area. More. when the housewife alone remains there.C. would The concept of the home. place for the kitchen doing. a bit of a mistress when the husband comes modern lines. and what type for woman? This is all the more important inasmuch as man's physical nature fits him for one type of work. we should to see that the nucleus of habitation would have school. of the low-cost hous- ing projects for industrial workers: maximum height. "wild" round the house. for the apartment- apartment-market relationsand so on have to be changed. that architecture will change. Whether we are dealing with the apartment in the hive-type low-cost housing project or with the de luxe villa-apartment in the residential section. The old nucleus of the home. or to the care of a nursery school. for instance. something would come of it. when man and woman have gone to work and the older children are at school. be totally changed. The melancholy of the empty apartment is the same. a bit of a slave. And home at night and feels like making love. a bit of a mother. and consequently. If we studied these problems in their full depth. then. will no used to be: the apartment as we know it. should go or what would be the best which is what the rationalists are . if society is organized along more the melancholy is the same. the type of housing will change.
I ask myself first of all what education really is and how it should be administered. step by step. the theater.191 Town Planning: An Analysis Do you see how step by step everything is changing? Do you see that it is just the people who today are called poets. grade high schools. employing. will discover. and in what other sectors it would be advantageous to put together as many as 100. rationalists The say: So many inhabitants. the day after tomorrow Uto- who change just the cards on the table? whether these people who. and what. poor devils. It like Let us now have a look at some specific elements the school. a brief discussion is added as to whether the school should of schools: and have one story or two. In what sector it would be right to restrict teaching to a certain small number of students. At most. Whether it should not become an integral part of the I way What's more. slowly will find our city. or even 200 or 300. not bound to disappear altogether. etc. Earth-City. is home (at least as far as the nursery school is concerned). so classrooms. what you call the values on which to base the foundations without is just these people. visual aids such as films or television. accordingly. a to school. without opinions. And sorts many reasoning they nursery schools. such and such. so many children. of our city. colleges. the hospital. without ideas. Let us start with the school. . so many many schools. pians. certainty. on the basis of relation- ships. Maximum radius. outside of any myth. so this children. religious or political. on the basis of life. should be the dren's chil- as even ask myself whether the school. who slowly. whether the classrooms should be built for twenty-five or for thirty children each. apply to all schools. Then I ask myself what should be the relationship between home and school. And the problem is solved. so many classrooms. For me the problem is different. perhaps. building. It tomorrow is anarchists.
and factories for the But some of you the old died at home? What about surgical operating rooms. when children were born at home. the sick kept at home. to be regimented. needs society even more than the healthy. or whether it would not be better to leave them free in the community which exists among the homes and which all the members of the community may enjoy. etc. the organization of the whole? But this is just what I was driving at: the organization. In other words. but offhand it would seem to me less expensive. to equip mobile operating rooms. But I ask myself: is the patient? Who Someone who is be ostracized by society and accordingly secluded. hospital zone for a and so many inhabitants. And this is where the discussion of the rationalists loses its footing. then. for society to gather all its old folks together in humiliating asylums. factories And thus the hospital totally changes will There no longer be maternity for the production of children. hospitals. Because the con- cept of the school itself may totally change. Let us go on to the hospital. I can't tell. or hospitals as asylums for the aged. production of death. or whether it should consist of various pavilions: The rationalist city of so army-barracks or hotel type. or hospitals to furnish washing and lubricating services and minor repairs for reparable mechanisms. or whether it would not . it is wholesome.Anonymous (20th Century) 192 Whether. just because he is sick. and wants to be loved and to coddled by all? its aspect. and more humane. I wonder whether it is really easier in every respect. first-aid stations. specific treatments. will say: This is absurd. at least for those under six. or someone who. At most he will give some consideration to the question whether the hospital should be built all in one block. to go to the patient than to move the patient to the surgical amphitheater. to return to the Middle Ages. for example. Do you want. says: Hospital. perchance.
vegetables that still smell of the earth. But what justification is there for one or the other of these kinds of market? for Would it not be better to look something that could express the relationship between the acts of buying. and death. and dying? Why then should we take them out of the collective life? Or take the market. so so many say: So many inhabitants. like choice chickens on a model farm. so many football But why don't people ask themselves: What is sport? it be what it is today? Is it right. many swimming pools. these Marvelous to think of vegetables without worms. rationalists tennis courts. and the peasants calling out their wares to customers with straw shopping baskets. the mer- Life guaranteed. Does life not consist. that nations pledge their honor in international compctiShould . yellow. and should not be relegated to hospitals.193 Town Planning: An Analysis be much better to create some sort of organization to take care of the old in their own homes. of choosing. and the sensual the objects? pleasure of the buyer at seeing Or take sports. with the wares piled on carts covered with red. by God. and their siblings. life. I wonder whether it is less burdensome for society to have children born in hospitals where fathers cannot see babies except through glass panes. those modern taboos is it man. and green awnings. the price fixed. The fields. should be of admitted to the community. own The sense of birth. for example. of these elementary sensations like being born. not made. in the midst of this living mass of fruit and is beautiful the former. while the modernist thinks is of colossal is where everything chandise in order. and the wrapping perfect. supermarkets. The nostalgic mind turns with relish to the little old market square. or whether it would be spring better to let them be born close to mothers. says this fruit without grubs. says the latter. fathers. living.
occasionally. in a world in which even God shows suicidal tendencies. But what is the theater? Is it the Greek theater.Anonymous (20th Century) tions? Is is 194 amateur sportmanship has given way to professionalism and that athletes are paid their weight in gold or become high officers in the army? Is it right that right that athletes should drag themselves to the point. flabby. to make it disease. or the salon theater of the nineteenth century? And how or central. Sport. so called. And the grownups too may alternate work with play. But isted. of dropping dead? Is it right that in civilized nations universities should promote students when they are good at playing football? Is it right that anyone should be exalted as a star just because he jumps like a kangaroo rather than like a man? Is it right that crowds become mad and in the arena when hysterical. But what is our need today? What. but the arena that goes to the home. accordingly. torches be lit on the altars of old flags? Is the god of sports as in the times of the slaves? If it is not right. the Roman theater. then the whole concept of sport will change. because men always had to debate certain problems of their time together in an exposition by the author. fill their lungs with oxygen and feel well. And thus no longer be man that goes to the arena. Let us pass on to the theater. is it and what form should located in the city? Should it have? it be isolated. And this new aspect of sport will bring about further changes in the make-up of the city. interpreted by actor personages in front of an audience. The need existed. So that the children may enjoy the sun and swim and play. handsomer: it will not more resistant to be the exclusive some while the others just look on. drama and what must be our theater? is our . seeing themselves as heroes in reality they themselves are fat. I say: The theater existed because the drama exThe drama existed because there was a need for it. will be practiced in order to strengthen the attribute of it will human body. and faded like it right that. the medieval theater. healthier.
parliament. Or the televised broadcasts. election accessible to all through television. we humans are unable to invent new drama. only then shall we find the right place for this theater in our also possible that a city. so we might go on. Should it be something extraneous and shut off. where couples of lovers may talk of love. The museum. Perhaps It is perhaps no. its tension. And yet the airplane belongs to us. its drama. Only on the day they have to take one do they go to the airport and get into one of those station-hangar-cars which makes the whole thing still more outlandish.195 Town Planning: An Analysis We don't know. perhaps. But the airport is remote from the city. perhaps. and children play? On the other hand. miles away from the city. problems. really ours and suited to our needs. the debate in The place. all its pathos. connected with the center by more or less adequate roads? During their normal days people get no idea at all of what an airplane really is. quite new elements must be taken just into account that did not exist in the ancient cities. It its we no longer need any theater at could be that other means of expression have taken campaign speech. But only if we are able to do that can we create a new form of theater. a new theater as an architectonic organism. For example the airport. Much more common than riding on horseback. To fly has become something normal. It could even be that all. of a rocket leaving for the its made moon. where people may go to rest. What is the museum? Must there really be museums? Or has the time come to do away with this sort of And cemetery of ancient masterpieces? And the church? Must there still be churches? Must they be for everybody? Will there be many churches or one ecclesia in the Greek sense: a house for all. . with yes. open by day and by night.
Anonymous (20th Century) In Earth-City this must not be so. Shoes. 196 Our land. for example: how dresses are made. The butterflies. for example: how shoes are made. the past. and so on. and therefore there is a reason for the existence of our city. only it is no longer the reason of a unique city. without a morrow. and kites of the children of the future be the airplanes and rockets. Let us begin from scratch. birds. the reasons for our staying together do exist. the Anonymous (zoth Century). who should make them. let us let us really see. what the basic elements of our life together are. After an examination of remain: subtler and less We examine the within individual things. itself. just as the children of other times saw the horse-drawn carriages and the stagecoach arriving in the main square. without hope. gore of a finished world. was fated that he end up in fear. ships. for us. trains. and how they should be made. Yes. Or kitchen utensils: how they are made. And the same for cars. We shall be will drenched with vital sensations just as our ancestors rejoiced at the sight of a passing chariot. planes. to say once more: "Men beautiful of good will": instead of losing ourselves in the dead How would be be simple. make them. The all city has become One is that the others within Our city Earth- . the real inhabitants of this it our Earth-City. and of joy of living is finally opening up before our eyes. Let us roll up our sleeves. children must be able rockets and maybe to see planes take off and too. or leaving it. and how they should be made. there is no hope! The old values inevitably got man bogged down in quicksand. in a maze without an exit. And you it say there is no future. and how they should be made. comprises City. Just as it is logical that an entirely new field of experience. who should make them. all together. all these problems. life who should Or clothes. still others still have to obvious ones. of search.
and Mars will be don't know. and all we need is the good will to begin. We . Paris. Florence. But we know that we have tomorrow.197 Town Planning: An Analysis What Rome. the Earth. Venus. Moon. London. at our disposal all the elements for building our EarthCity. and New York were yesterday.
I cannot reduce weight.12 Town The Vision If I visionary state: a the prophet say vision. But at all times. a thing created. from the height of a plane flying at thirty thousand feet. has seemed to me a tiny little thing. touched by grace. What have seen has never been an abstract thing. Anonymous translated into abstractions tinier when my mind soared to still loftier heights: a ball in the delicate hands of a child. it on paper. capable of transformations on the eighth day (when it was up to man. No. that is. particular aspects to a mere piece of paper on which to draw a city plan. its differences. I have seen tangible things. paper the earth. its variations. its ideal. at times. . The earth. to continue with life after God had finished his creation and taken his day of rest). I root-meaning "to see/' I have seen Earth- City for a good long time. and even vision of And The this in itself seems important to me." enough to see. this seems to imply a special moment of mental lucidity. its (2oth Century) cannot be on a piece of paper. Things that could be built and become tangible. a moment Spirit. It appeared to me as it might to a god. typical of or the mystic or the divine. such that you could sketch is another thing. its form. or some- But the word "Vision'* has as It is its not "to foresee. invaded by the Holy thing of the sort. even in the most exalted moments.
During the vision. But my images were always born of a direct contact with a place. which. and I know the place and the function of the thing projecting. sometimes you miss. or any of it details. It is nothing detached. you make a project. Nor is it like a model. but truthful and human. according to whether the thing seen requires at any particular moment that he who sees it be outside or inside. plains. I am that you have to know if you want to make a thing. What I mean is that during the vision the thing I see is not like a fantasy or like a science-fiction movie! Nor is it like a realistic film. to be more precise. I have not always seen mountains really known to us. however.199 I shall Town never Planning: The Vision make them. inside the thing seen. or Earth-City. for example. between me and the earth. not perfect. or of an indirect contact that I When through memory. not beautiful. sometimes. at the same time. But I could have made all have seen. But the mountains and the rivers and the plains that I have seen always have had their form. no distance. as happens with all things that belong to life. I know its destination. I have seen mountains. and sometimes you hit the mark. their color. rivers. translated into more When . there is no distance between me and the thing. Now I have to clarify another point that is important to me. in other words. nor like a painting. their weight. I know the his financial possibilities: in short. and even more than that. and the same when I have seen seas. the landscape has been imaginary. The vision is characterized by that particular attitude that permits man to be outside and. or. perhaps. And the quality the of force the of gravity materials of the earth and and the night and by day and the electric light by sky and every aspect of the vision always maintained the reality that things have: just as when I make a very precise project. all the elements client. you may stay inside or outside the thing. to pass from the outside to the inside at his pleasure.
In fortably circled the earth twice. beyond the contingent possibilities of history. In some stresses. if it is the fruit of the labor of Anonymous even if it (2oth Century). a helicopter. harmonion a 1:1 scale. if it 200 had from the outside. little worlds in themselves. then not only have I seen it. as a tourist may see. in volume. a medieval square in one of our cities. But it will be better if we go and see it together. and. means to think I might say that regards this design is generic. Therefore I should be able to describe it. A frag- earth. in a certain sense. when men could still Miles. and feel the weights. I have not only seen Earth-City but that. In some aspects it If I some is parts it is worked ready to be executed. the the tensions. that. And you may stay inside. composed: cribs out by historical evolution. that is. Let us take some means more than of transportation. for instance. square miles. as always: stupendous and abwhere man is still a stranger just as if he had landed on the moon. in out in detail. You may stay see the thing from a distance as you may already been constructed. defaced.Anonymous (20th Century) technical terms. as far as the eye can reach. if its plan is no longer a personal fact but the historical resultant of the thought of all men. cut ous. I have also designed it. and let us go Two weeks have gone by. of the materials. Because. solute landscapes Little old cities. wanted to be paradoxical. but. The mented first two weeks we have comas it is time we saw it such today. cut . lands of another time "possess" land. cancerous. That is obvious. For Earth-City is already in existence. This Earth-City. see Earth-City. outside. has not been built yet. I might say that I can already be happy happen what may. it undoubtedly will be built. it has already been built. it has been designed. paradoxically. Deserts and mountains.
201 out on the Town Planning: The Vision map and transferred onto the surface of the earth: mountains. anybody's with a few pennies in his pocket. day parade on a folkloristic holiday. or forests. rivers. when the village band is playing. reconciled to themselves. Roads. same cities and enemies to one anfor other. will so close to primeval chaos! Then we see the earth the way it be in the future. Different people on this earth. in their racing cars. cutaway. Rivers. Plowed fields. roads that try to sew together the jumbled mosaic of this dear old earth of ours. owing to biological destiny. to The anonymous earth that belongs to all. ready for the Sunroom. well ordered. that he is still still so alone and scared and taboos on this earth. that belongs men who are reconciled. And you town planners want to plan the men so different. industries. In derby hat. to things. Savages round the fire. in the same type All this simultaneously in the year 1961. as if the earth were not ours but belonged to others. land for conquests. and beyond the power of their will? Do you think bees and mice and ants and lions can live in the same type of house. chimneys. reconciled to their earth! . and cravat as though the road led only to the drawingdressed in a colorful costumes. strangers of city? That is what is so sad about full of man. with trees: Virgilian memories of an old agrarian community. With crash helmets on their heads. great and small. square- state-nation-land. detached from this ruin and squalor. in the village to the god sacrificing the prettiest maiden of rain. to other men. Pathetic clouds gilded by the sun. for at the price of jeopardizing everything. where the gods sat at the hearth with men. in an endless maze. chaotic expanthe conquest of modern man: new dimensions paid sions. houses.
What an awful thing to be an intellectual! Do you think the mason would understand that a city does not exist and yet exists at the same time? I wouldn't know. I could answer the question." Well. Especially three or four years ago. . On the other hand I don't want you either to believe or to refuse to believe. our Earth-City. I are reading these pages expect neither credulity nor doubt. An intelligent that were all I new to him! that. And when I think of that. I could talk with him about this city. the pen. with new spaces. He shook his head. I have often talked to this mason. Or. the pack of cigarettes. the cigarette. and you? You who moment? Who are you? Are you like the mason at the moment when he believes me or at the moment when he shakes his head? I can't tell. desire. but in an ambiguous way. in the breasts of all the anonymous men of the world in this twentieth century! I feel almost like getting high. and the lamp. when him too. memory. I withdraw within myself. Sometimes it is marvelous to be drunk and talk. dream. the lamp that burns this is less real than our city. While our city is still suspended in my heart. I When remember can honestly say: "Yes. which belongs to at this Most certainly he remember him. yes. my hand: all But the table exists. when he first began working for me. He loves his work. reader. he cannot see Earth-City. like a turtle into its shell and I tell myself: "No. talking to you like a drunk who mixes up everything: reality." But then I some experiment we were trying did not turn out right.Anonymous (20th Century) 202 A mason has just entered my study to ask for some young man. I remember how happy he was to work on a new modern building. and so do the pen. would understand me. When I look at this table. the heart of an anonymous man. and materials explanations. touch the wood. "That's just not possible/' he must have thought.
Here more ask: But what has happened? Does the no longer exist? Or the roads? Or the houses? city No.203 Town Planning: The Vision And false. this is countryside. and over there was the open country. At random. with many stories. and here the old city walls had become public gardens where the soldiers used to go for a Sunday stroll. you can no longer say: "This is city. want. that is a private villa with swimming pool and tennis court. And there the sea." We Do lovers. as though you an imbecile or I were one. but they are no longer And you may houses! you are giving me a strange look. there. So I were I see you see now? We have arrived at a place that is well known to you and to me. but at the same time there are no cities. Here it is more plastic. to listen to a drunk. Here was the river. too. Look. more dramatic. You choose. they no longer exist. Everything is becomes ambiguous." What you see now is one single composition. if you want to put it that way. reader? We were children then. it is beautiful. and the houses here on the river banks. gentler. that is another piece of property. This is a house for workingmen. With all the little boats pulled up ashore at night. There still are cities. there more open. There are houses. that is a gasoline station. You are stunned. waiting! . Over there was a dark little square. and everything is Nothing is separate any longer. Everything true. Here was the main avenue with the most elegant shops. Wherever you are coming closer. This is one piece of property. Here it is more serried. This is an old city. at any point. This is a church. that is a highly modern one. there. everything is unified. but they are no longer roads. Do you remember this place? Do you remember? Do you remember. dear friend. colored. There are roads. for romantic tell you: "Let's get closer.
holes That other one. big. But another whole they too are different now. The automobile road went along the brink high above the sea how hard it had been for men to build it! and then the houses. with so many remember? floor that beautiful blonde. testified to. well find that something of the past still exists: the most beautiful houses of that time. where our baby daughter was born. it was impossible to stand on the river bank. child of the people.Anonymous (20th Century) 204 And houses. Space is integrated. in that cafe. isolated in the midst of a stately park even though in the center of town. That one. in that castle. except behind that cliff. my reader friend. in the armchairs with their red velvet upholstery. even smile or a scream in the night! if only by a no longer exists. hideous and even for windows: on the fifth bigger. at the hospital on the hill. and so on. leaning against the wall of that tall palace with its tower: where we kissed our it would be To remember girl. each one for All this is itself. Space there used to be a cliff. all written about. Our friend George used to live there. and over there. But today it is no longer the same. houses. Ever so many houses. no longer separate. where for a whole new world. over there. how to get sentimental! ourselves there. remember? you You are smiling. Long memories recording our presence in a thousand lands. Because this was our city. rich. Do enough. If we look hard so on. reader. with our heart in our throat. those that testify to man's history and to his adventures on this earth. They are part pf that nice is ours. savage Josephine used to live there. Oh reader. at last. together we laid the foundations there. beautiful. you really remember. of disturbing beauty. And and so on. where our father died. . When the north wind Here blew.
he stops at night. everything is full of fantasy and inven- road has become house. and the house. closed office + within itself. During his free air- hours and on holidays. to the west. miles and miles. They go over the river like suspension bridges. old world seems infantile. when you remember it now: a world of men good only for making additions. And the airplanes rest on the water. the workingman can see the . like big sleeping seagulls. different face make-ups of the period. down to the river mouths. delimiting quiet and without waves. Now. too. becomes the heart of the city. He walks little on the new constructions.205 Town sea. they ease themselves down the slopes like a corn field or condense like giant sequoia. and the mountain. The city is free. Planning: The Vision is And. road. tion. Road one thousand houses. they surge toward heaven like mountain peaks. while two hundred feet below his closes her brother sleeps. Lined up one next to the other. Now everything differ- Something that emerges from the part of it. is hill it keeping no longer road or pier or houses and extends into the sea. the open ent. at times a good deal of fantasy has gone into a single place.houses + buildings -f church -f market. The house has entered the sea. Facade after facade. Road + five houses. in different styles. face to face with the stars. The This is the road. The house has grown legs and has married the mountain. Look: a lover no longer has to take his girl out of the city. for a moment of peace and solitude. is house. The Constructions follow the river beds. True. instead. And you can no longer separate one thing from another. and the square 4. and the boats are moored at its doors. Road + house. and father smokes his pipe and mother day after a last look at her tasks. but it is a limited fantasy. At times the road widens out and becomes a square.
Man has found the reason. and he stretches out comfortably on a soft colored form that absorbs the weight of his body. men talk about their existence. if you want to put that way. and people's thoughts are of a different kind. horizontally. The black sickle of death has remained in the ancient museums. make love. rest. ready to take off from the runway. root and branch.Anonymous (20ft Century) 206 like planes he himself has produced. wake up. useful and used without knowing why. but spread out. shop. water. vertically. Roads that move by themselves. as in an arena in front of the rising tiers of spectators. transportation are of a different kind. But single elements. for his staying toin peace. expanded to all the things in this world in the process of being. without slavery. air. . Bees that carry from flower to flower without knowing why or what pollen they are doing: but yet aware of carrying the pollen to strange flowers of strange trees and strange worlds: and they are happy to stay in this world. communi- The world Means of is present. splendid geometry on the green turf. The world themselves more freely. but it is no longer concentrated and limited to a revealed truth. go to work. Images of what is going air and are present. sleep. coming out of his factory good fresh bread from the oven. To beings have become like bees. In the free space in front of the habitations. jointing the ganglia cating among of their own composition. And death no gether longer engenders fear on earth. to testify to all the fears and all the taboos of man with which our ancestors had to live and survive. have regained their old meaning in a new way: free for all. on in the world pass through the Machines of duty. Human A it new eucharist exists among men. nor collective buses. and land take off to do their is present to itself. No longer private cars.
Without effort. prisons in they are alive. and I feel ill. as if what I saw had been enacted and become part of my day. on one single composition that Vision! Yes. This sun that shines. and they breathe like plants at night. in another lower. and these variations are born of changing climes and tact with certain rocks in topographies. And where the earth is flat and sad they rise like mountains to . and the machines working the birds of fields. These constructions are industrialized. And yet they are different one from another. And one place it is warmer and in another it is colder. I am alone in my study in this enchanted world. in con- and certain forms around it. lifted out of communication with other things. Where is all red and desert. belongs to I see. I would stay up here and watch the children playing below. which in its course no longer shines on separate things. but even the section of town. alone within the solitude. now and for ever. But now I know that it is this staying alone. I all! see even the details. what today we canned. just out of the rolling mill. they are bleached by the scorching sun. though in full awareness of this new world and therefore happy. the personality of a tree rising from a given earth. even of our physical distress that does not concern anyone. They have the freshness of a piece of red-hot iron. in one place the construction is higher. They are alive.207 I Town Planning: The Vision have fever today. the flower beds. call which our the earth lives are now houses. Now not only the city. And also today. and the marvelous air. man that furrow the Once upon a time the life of men was restricted to the small community. and even the family has become the whole earth! I see. But tomorrow this will no longer be so. already This sun. divided from one another. even the neighborhood. Some years ago I would have asked myself why. Tomorrow I should no longer have to write this book.
And from the river. the Villa Medici. and needs of man. another architect pushed them to the sea. And at one point that construction is free and vibrating like a wing.Anonymous (20th Century) offer to all the sight of distant horizons. like a Zen monk. there. toward the hill of Fiesole and the plain of Florence. the churches of Florence with their belfries and the cupola of the cathedral. I have been mo- tionless for a long while. No furniture in the old sense. holes in the ground. Rightly famous is . and another one. More to the right. Villa Salviati. But my eyes eyes were turned toward the outside world. 208 And where there the sea. set out from this construction in the desert land and went on building. architec- And no one knows who set out An architect from the desert land and began to build. And at that other point it is like a block of granite. where softest. after him. it is foundations are no longer foundations. There are no longer rooms. the hills of Belvedere and Boboli and San Miniato al Monte. is Everything changed. Before my eyes I had this famous landscape: the convent of Saint Francis. Man has found According to the truths again the sense of nature. rise naturally Roads and bridges and habitations. The badia of Fiesole. He lives in these habitations the way he once lived in the forest glade. I am tired and have to stop and rest. they have calm harbor at night. were not turned inward. having become one. and sleeps as once he slept in the sheltering cave. The earth has been furrowed as though The with a plowshare. of Saint My Dominic. No bedrooms. like a bridge. Occasionally he felt as if trapped in the buildings and then he built over them with other constructions. and farther in the distance. And others turned their course and linked them to the river. beyond the Arno. from the earth. is become like boats that float in the What more ture? do we want of urbanism and of the architect was. in contemplation.
surrounded the convent. But without any intention on my part. archi- and landscape. then flowed gently along the slope toward the plain. tradition. have again stretched like the tentacles enclosed the ancient center. to continue their march over the whole earth. culture. filled with of the periphery. this untouchable landscape has before the eyes of this casual witness. of a polyp along the ridges beyond the Arno. thought and earth merged so harmoniously in a Pythagorean circle. then to rush they have kept on moving past the horizon. certainly would not be wrong: such a sacrilege it would be to destroy this beauty. crystallized in time for ever and ever. have moved along the ridge. My eyes see. now gilded with dead leaves. valid for us as history. and the opening of the valley to the to hold and right. The values of past times have been put into circulation again. Nothing destroyed. They see the egotism of those who are buying the villas of the princes where there is no longer anything princely. without my it. they see the theft of the silence of a time that is not theirs but that of friars enclosed in their ivory towers. unfamiliar structures rise toward heaven. met the uncertain and chaotic magma engulfed it.209 this scene! Town For it is Planning: The Vision rare to see culture and history. and see the world of today. un- even being aware of familiar forms are bom. they see the lie of . a new vitality has invaded it. not crystallized forever. toward the sea! And whoever wanted tecture keep this Florence secretly in his heart and conserve it like a relic unchangeable. and new walls. split lightly by the river like an axis. memories of our ancient blood reaching back to the roots of mankind that has remained. What was what was still headlong down other valleys toward the sea. space. But a we love and cherish has been its new life blood runs through veins. From the woods. have descended along the terraces. this harmonious movement composed by man in an era of his history. swayed as though they were tired. slowly changed Other things reveal their outlines on the hill crests.
and air and earth are in total symbiosis. in a is not destined now for the home and now for . remain imprisoned in this sense of what is mine which has no longer any meaning: this "mine" with regard to the history of the past.Anonymous (20th Century) in 210 a faith God. hearts of others. caught in the lie of trying to save crisis its fine roots in of today. bent on an involuntary flight from the city. no longer opposed and antagonistic. have branched off into the and all of us are together. they see the tiredness and the skepticism of a Christian men. But by now these new and my unfamiliar structures have involved me too. too. Those friends whom I are even though we live barely only rarely see: so isolated we 600 feet (as the crow flies) from one another. My eyes see now by the The houses no longer rest on the external surface like small or big stones. has confronted me from about 150 feet below where I now am. this flower of "mine. through the noise of motors and wheels. And I. and then resumed its march. one of their branches has set out through the narrow rocky valley. and the roots of the flower in my heart have grown out of my body. who until yesterday were the prisoners and slaves of their walls. see the tomorrow. when no one defends anything because there are no longer personal And so my values to defend. barely hollowed. There. Men are no longer enclosed. Dressed the way I am. evaporated through the sharp points of bell towers. Now suit that things are different. eyes see. This hill of solid rock barely scratched till hand of man. which not even the Renaissance and Humanistic fullness of the cupola was able to hold." which has struck heart. there are my friends. in front of me. today's tomorrow. to the Fiesole. they see the non-hope (were it despair. is now as if exploded. at least!) of the inhabitants of this ancient city which once was so lively and famous. Space has penetrated everything. in this observatory on the hill facing some of the substance of modern man.
open the door. able to fly as we often are in our dreams. outside of vision. and on the mountains the children are splashing about in the water. to my friends. also settled. For us Earth-City cause it exists already. City. whether he all. Rain and sun and human has struck roots in the breasts of intervention will bring about the birth of this plant of of every human being. with neither effort nor boredom. longs for the arrival of this Earth- him.211 Town Planning: The Vision the others but simply a "necessary" or "necessitated" suit. capable of continuous alternate motion from the on in our vision for general to the particular. The water has risen up the mountains. am transported to my friends. and I can go quickly. work. Man is a nomad. Wait like old grandfathers. There is no hurry any- way. for our sons and grandchildren to incarnate what we could only see. And the vision continues. Plowing. Men are like birds and can fly effortlessly. of Anonymous (20th Century). so necessary to . as if food were gathered from the bread tree. rise. Just as we could also stop and wait. rummagsuch things no longer exist. It is as if the earth plowed itself. as if the organization of life had become no longer files ing in office a natural phenomenon that happens just as it happens that the sun's rays light the earth. We smile at one another and walk through a part of Earth-City. eat and go to have all become natural actions. To work fatiguing. cooking. I step down a few steps. because the heart be aware of it or not. without fears and sleep without taboos. The car has become a friend. the fruits of the earth are in contact with man. but he is To wake up. we could go a long time. Suspended in midair. see all their children play together. Just like is the birds they perch on the electric wires. be- men.
this dangerous to evade should not want anybody me to come up with but fine. analyze certain methods that to seem right. has not yet undertaken the re-examination of values that other men there it in other fields have accomplished long since.13 Town Planning: Practical Action As an architect. Italy. I can criticize current town- planning policies. in my opinion. Since I am more familiar with the Italian situation. it seems to for I problem altogether. I might discuss a possible methodology for book is addressed also to foreign readers. but I me new not in a position to discuss the methods of enacting these policies. but my On this the other hand. that the fate of our decided. When is a political crisis in this world. people believe that can be solved by changing policy. in am politics. because such a discussion would necessarily carry me into the field of It is there. But the figure of the . I can see and describe certain aspects of a urbanism. since the political nation are different. cities is the last analysis. how are we elementary question: 'This is all to translate into reality what has been said here about urbanism?" The statesman or politician. the And and social conditions of every possibilities methods and of enacting town-planning policies should also be different.
Let of me explain. there seems to exist only one type of legitimate planning today: the planning suggested by man's collective intelligence at whatever point it may have reached during a given historical period. When mankind has acquired a collective existential consciousness. not of existential realities. if you want to put it that way. to plan in a demagogical.213 political Town Planning: Practical Action man as such has not been brought into quesstill tion so far. could at least be analyzed beyond the limits of personal opinions. because nations and peoples would no longer be at war. of a technical order. by the great As far as I am by the political party? concerned. . Yet we can already long way imagine the politician. The politican moves on a terrain myths. because the act of governing will be nothing but the automatic result of the acts of individuals. maximum good for the citizens within tries to extract the conditions prevailing in a given historical situation. Does planning mean planning from above? Or planning from below? Does it mean. In such a situation we should witness a rapid transformation of this world. if they could not be demonstrated. with scientific methods. Unfortunately we are still a from such a situation. dictatorial way. to plan. but the as a man who. in one word. not as a sower or enacter of ideas. we should be at peace. because social transformation would take place on concrete bases which. To enact a certain policy of town planning means. then there will no longer be any need for politicians. in order to impose on one another their conceptions and ideas. solving all problems by imperial fiat. by decision of a new. modern deus ex machina? Or Is does planning mean the planning problems for of all? some sort of trust that tries to solve the planning to be done by the general or by the industrialist or saint. The only kind of planning that is possible is.
Billions were spent. But the prestige of the nation was at stake. at least something of man's. The average man today lives in a desolate. remained always a scientist. more. Now there: don't see it why nations should not behave the to urbanism. same way when to give comes The problem is Broadly speaking. to modem man make From a thorough analysis. a certain point of view. of course. they have electric light. have employed different methods: one may have created only one organ. has if arrived on the moon. first only with instruments. In certain other fields politicians have been forced to it is Hence act in this way. running cold and hot water. incredible how the standard of An average worker today enjoys a standard of living that five hundred years ago would have been beyond the reach even of the Medici banker-princes of Florence. mankind was faced with the possibility of leav- ing the earth's orbit. to put a damper on our pride. But then. The scientist. to put it plainly. but the important thing was to provide the scientist with such conditions that he could do his research freely. there is the other side. surrounded . men might be proud of is themselves today.Anonymous (20th Century) 214 the task of the politician to coordinate. the individual plans of the technicians. but it is certain that today. even if as a citizen he might hold different political opinions. his city. The nation had to have at its disposal extraordinary weapons. and to reach our conclusions. So the I sacrifice has borne its fruit. the nations best prepared from the scientific and economic point of view had to do some planning. even if the people to tighten their belts. not man himself. squalid environment. in had case of emergency. another. we have the means at our disposal today to demonstrate the current conditions that men have to face in our cities. Let us take the spectacular example of the missiles When and artificial satellites. Houses are heated. then with living beings. It living has gone up. Different nations. as best he can.
I don't see should be more difficult to achieve our city than it today to reach the moon. after all. clearly shown by certain statistics. to be unable to cure the patient! Impossible! But it should be possible! But at this point everybody minds his own business. But we should not be too disappointed. The moment will come when urbanistic policy and architec- ture will dovetail. less religious. And this means that in his striving man has forgotten. frustrated in their hopes. Urbanists and architects. and collective wealth has reached the highest human is life is less simple. than what the average man was able to do in ancient times. a new tradition. This And elected. certain constant values. How on an evil. prevented from genuinely expressing their possibilities. or neglected. if it is true that a political man seeks the good of the people to and whom he belongs. a new If civilization. There are so many billions and millions of people on this earth. in those countries in which less spontaneous. less in We individual level. less joyous. withto suggest the remedies. It is merely a question of time. The natural and artificial resources at man's disposal are measurable. It is in the context of these conditions that our city must and can be built. see that. more artificial. to diagnose it. To be strange is human life! able to put your finger and yet . Planning: Practical Action kill by objects that are not genuine and bility of is in him any possi- What this average man does keeping with things. he should pride himself new way new city. not only upon the achievement of reaching the moon with rockets but also upon the demonstration that his nation has created a of life.215 Town inner sublimity. These things are quite simple. by whom he has been whom he represents. a why is it the problem is thus put in correct terms. This is not yet happening.
each one minding his own business. cut off. apparently.Anonymous (20th Century) 216 differ- draw. in other words. with all its possibili- ties. forces not apparent to anyone. But people will ask: And how is this Earth-City to be translated into reality without waiting for the morrow? are alive means that these and vital at truths are already in the this Do not worry! Today. or even if I have said them all badly but yet in such a way as to let certain truths filter through. if you wish. yes. in the march of men. that air. today! Yes. Forces no one would have suspected. And let this be said without fatalism. Technology. countless vital being born from the periphery. from the to act negatively on the construction of spiritual. There is. confident. They moment. There is much more to it. I tell born of the humble work of all. today as yesterday. Or else I could not have noticed them. adopting ent means. today as to- morrow. And yet this is not so. But not only that. any interest. seems Earth-City. A A A Be new world is myself. but because there are still people around who beonly . unless I were more than a human being. that produces nothing. or is forced to produce badly. This technology. Enormous forces exist the building of this city and are at work and bringing it today. an enormous human capital that does not pay. On the level of thought. is in the I have said. it this is seems to act in an inverse sense. nor can it This is are blocked productive machine passive capital! pay. of the being is and anonymous acts of anonymous men. Take technology. Because continuity is never broken. facilitating nearer. among all the things have said some well. If. Forces existing in a positive sense. I process of being. according to each one's character. but existing in reality. who the bitter truth: there are capable architects from action. and also in a negative one. for example. facilitates the construction of our Earth-City. merely through the logical consequence of things. Earth-City has been born already. yesterday as ever.
Therefore Earth-City already haps. If I have been clear. at this moment. no matter what to we should now be aware of we do. is coming. Another one has staged a revolution to free part of mankind in a faraway nation from a feudal regime: and Earth-City has come that much closer. Earth-City. And now it men may become exists. A third one has discovered an antidote against a certain disease: and Earth-City has come that much closer. and conquered freedom in the political social field. perinto the sunlight. the things that have happen will happen. The day will come when man. and the impossibility of going on along these and lines. All that a fourth one may have done is to put together two pieces of wood in a new way: arid Earth-City has come that much is closer. when people understand at last that in the antinomy no longer exists (as even today. And all the many. will revolt against slavery . If only by exposing errors. when people understand that the auto-motion of a tram presents as much of a miracle as. the transmutation of bread and wine into Christ's body. the fact that. are building frightful things. will become convergent to our observing minds.217 lieve in a Town Planning: world of the spirit as Practical Action separate from the world of matter. infinitely many things that today seem divergent to us. accordingly. But when this in reality it does not exist of some of us ). But how it is going to come that depends in part on us. and of transcendence as in the descent of the Holy Ghost on the heads of the Apostles. of religious experience. then technology will have become the best of our friends. so that sprouting aware of it. Some one has invented a new material: and Earth-City has come that much closer. there is as much of spirituality. for example. Underground. are working for the coming of this City. rejected slavery. Even the urbanists and architects who. except in the minds departure of a rocket. What more do you want from life? We architects operate in the field of urbanism and architecture. for example. having revolted.
another day. this thing stands some men this piece of the earth's crust. An on the architect is called to make it time being. to design a housing project. the day after. to teach. trying to be as coherent as possible. the day after that. But we are coming always closer to reality. Quite practically speaking. But since it is an injustice to kill. of an antiquated mentality and attitudes. someone will suffer. that it will contain both truth and error. Our only possibility is to be involved in things. And war means that someone will die. always aware that what we are doing is not eternal. we are called to talk to a cabinet minister. All that matters is to provide these On men with as little suffering and as much joy as possible with the means at the disposal of an architect. being no longer able to create myths. in his houses. As long as we want to stage revolutions and conquer power. The more responsible. tomorrow. the these components. may a certain thing. and to cause suffering because we are unable to substitute one thing for another. the things we must be wrong in part. to wound. are living. that the situation within which we We are working are doing is false. someone will be wounded. approaching Earth-City as closely as possible. must have a clear and watchful awareness of what we are doing. in his neighborhood. We cannot make a revolution first. for the be. and then try to do our best. Large or small as crust of the earth. and that. . We architects. the future for the present. or an anticipated here and now for the current here and now. Hence we have to examine carefully the components engendering these things. the more expert we are about more happiness and the less suf- fering our building will engender. maybe. the beyond for the here and now. Today. to build a villa. and therefore human beings. we shall be architects. conquer power first. And this will imply a kind of war. consequently.Anonymous (20th Century) 218 and for freedom also in his city. must do these things as best we can. I think that we have very great responsibilities. to deliver a lecture.
it would come to light anonymously. Earth-City would come about quickly. as architects. and thus we must work at the periphery. in which we architects participate basically just as citizens. but. and will form Earth-City. loved. This means that we have to act at the center. To achieve Earth-City with the least possible loss of time and energy. so to speak. Each one involves the architect in his daily efforts. in which professional we have to engage as men. just as it involves the efforts of all fields. trying to render the central organs of our nation more dynamic. more in step with history. but at the same time we have to work at the periphery. If these architects were conscious of Earth-City at every moment in their work. existentialized. we must move along two lines: one is. And each one carries within itself truth and hope as well as one of fatigue and despair. trying in our daily work not to validity and a charge of betray our consciences. may single tissue. theories. without theories and counter- thanks to everybody. transforming the world step by step. of a social and political order. that is. naturally. Each one its of these spheres of action has its necessity. all Town these little Planning: Practical Action pieces of earth if I under- say so will touch one another.219 Slowly. interrelated. we must try gently to transform the structure of our society until it adapts itself to our new vital exigencies. at the same time. that is. by specific achievements even within the limits . There are so many billions of people on earth. it too would be Anonymous (2oth Century). Among these billions of men there are so many thousands of professional architects. This essential and true and vital Earth-City. slowly. we must know that there is no deus ex machina to solve our problems right away. and demonstrating day by day. men working in their different If we want to achieve our City. then grow together to create one stood. men who build. the other is of a more specific character. without wars.
will Earth-City be achieved. just as progressive forces exist because people hold a certain good to be no longer good and desire another one. reactionary forces exist because people are afraid to give up a good which they possess for on our work. to transmit to other generations. what may seem chimerical today will become reality for all. that a new the sake of another which they do not yet possess. slowly.Anonymous (20th Century) imposed by life 220 reality possibility of does exist and that in our constructions people can live better. with greater freedom and imagination. of the common good. What matters is that none of us give way to easy betrayals. . In the last analysis. thanks to the contributions of all. even if it be illusory or unlikely to be attained. for the sake of immediate gain. Only when mankind becomes fully aware of the common need. And slowly. but that we live up to the truths life has taught us and history entrusted to us.
and a thousand years from now men were to uncover our buried our way of life as revealed through the architecture of our century? But we don't need volcanic ashes to find out. and desire in the heart of twentieth-century mankind. there have been wonder there is confusion today. with- out any Penelope awaiting us at home. shall see what variety. of have to do and we to review the history of modern architecture. even if the harbor. constantly changing place. No were peculiar to our new Odysseuses.On Architecture all If the ashes of a volcanic eruption were to cover the earth. even if our house should have become a boat that we could steer without aiming at any port or any home. were a floating one. what could they think of us. All we cities. as they once did Pompeii and Herculaneum. there are. As in every other field. and house have become one single thing: the earth on which we live. and dispersion is what ferment. confusion. owing to an inner dynamism which has become a necessary aspect of our lives. so in the history of architecture. invention. inasmuch as boat. This should not scare us. But now it is time to take our bearings in this adventurous navigation and to find out what harbor we want to reach and what direction we are to take. also more changes in the sixty years of the twentieth century than in the time from man's appearance on earth up till 1900. harbor. critic's From the point of view the present situation of . even if it era that we should wander endlessly.
but still shirts: shirts of metal and glass rather than of bricks and cement. So many skyscrapers York. and the internal distribution of apartments or offices or whatever they are. and this by itself is an innovation. functionalism. catalogued. sorts of publications on modern architecture: easy reference There are books for the general public. for example. The tendencies of the architects who preceded us have been explained and catalogued. weeklies. Eclecticism. They are like shirts. They are more valid if taken together than as individual buildings. rather than as a new means of expression. brutalism. I tell myself. The names with which these various styles are defined echo even from the walls of the living rooms of middle-class homes. in which steel has simply been used to replace wood. rationalism.Anonymous (20th Century) applied architecture seems clear. And at this point the images take on precision. specified. The glass walls cannot fool us about this fact. But for the rest. too. which has been sliced into so many stories. in their this vision. because they weigh less: but still they are . expressionism. a tall skyscraper. certainly. 222 Everything has been in circulation all analyzed. The human scale has changed. and. I ask amazing diversity. More sensible. forming a great city I ask what is modern in this picture? And myself: The dimension. The fact. head is ringing with the names of the architects who My have made the modern era of architecture. I have imprints of the pictures of their buildings. organicism. for instance. bring the news about modem architecture to every home. structuralism. that the sum total of these skyscrapers is a new landscape. together. in an airplane carrier. as well as those of the architects currently in vogue. back on the retina of my eyes. it is all terribly ancient: New the space. different from those used in the past. I see. dailies. Bewildered by myself what it is that distinguishes this architecture of ours from ancient architecture. for instance. as. the structure. and so on and so forth. These have become familiar words in the conversation of many who do not really know what they mean.
You realize that the building has been conceived in a neo-classical way. and the inhabitant is even more of a slave than ever. which seemed to create a new type of space. such as. with a The structure itself perspective center of a Renaissance type. new adven- becomes expressive. and also the single apartments. you notice that new elements have come into play: the street enters into the house. for instance. restricted as he is within this human hive. apart from against certain purely decorative elements. But after a moment. at last. Because. to take the very best example and you ask yourself what is modern in it. turn out to be importations . Besides the dimension. even though still in Romantic guise. an intellectual creation. de Cervell6. you begin to think example at Santa Colorna And for a moment you think you have again found human liberty. structure in contrast. and should not be changeable at pleasure. As Gaudf s church. You realize that this form is an aesthetic production." attempt a ture in space. you think of a horizontally extended the housing unit of Marseilles. And here matters present themselves somewhat more favorably. And feel almost happy at having found something that is you really ours.223 shirts that On ArcMtecture you could take off and replace with others. barring the inner door of your eyes the intrusion of such images. you realize that man's liberty is woefully limited. for off in disgust. free in its form. born of man's fantasy and not merely of his reason. the inclined rampant arches. Here is a thing. arranged in "duplex. sadness grips you again. the house is raised from the ground. and even you run those things you hopefully considered modern. And it seems to me that the externals of any architecture should be the co- herent consequence of the internals. Then. there is really nothing in this architecture that could be called ours. of a church. without existential truth unfolding from the reality intrinsic in the object. But after a little while a reaction against this feeling. according to the fashion of the time. it still wants to be a monument.
And.Anonymous (20th Century) dimensional space. in the back of your eyes. more industrialized. a more fluid distribution. Yes. not conditioned by the client. But after you have walked around a bit in one of those buildings. what we are looking for is our City. The so- called panels are of an artisan type. and you say: Here at last is something that has the dimension. looking for other things. typical pieces of architecture. So you move on. you realize that the details are sophisticated and formalized. at least. and you see great dams and superhighways. that is. a dynamic articulation of space. there is something humbler and more truthful that belongs to all. a more expressive form. And there. free. you say. But then you begin to think that man is more . appear the buildings of the "international style. your heart sinks." At this point sort of Here. a more organic integration of in- ner and outer space. the methods of research on which they are based seem to belong to our own time. in you find some individual villa of some individual some of the things you are looking for. You react against this anarchy and you wish to see something more precise. and the materials are the usual ones. of what commonly used to be called poetry. more closely adhering to the intrinsic reality of the various organisms. not the and sophisticated dish of some privileged personal- And so the image shifts again. here at least there is a direction. But your happiness is of short duration. at last. You take a breath. and the cost of building is no lower. in architect fact. the force. 224 from ancient India and have nothing to do with our multi- you begin to react. are less pure than in other types of architecture. Perhaps you should seek the villa of some private individual if you want to have a breath. Things that are honest and genuine even if elementary. more social. You find a freer structure. not industrialized. because you realize that favorite ity. because you find that this type of architecture betrays its own principles: the structural elements. and the truthfulness of our century. by financial speculation.
you ask yourself again: experiments Among so many things and and contributions. that they expect other things that belong to them. Stone. but not even that is enough for man. But after a little while you tell yourself: a jet plane also offers these characteristics. And then you look among those pieces of architecture which. have something of the forcefulness and genuineness of the dam or the superhighway. ours? In the last analysis there remain only two things which really a new freedom belong to us: a new structural possibility permitting of expression. in their structures. too well To conclude: all known by now and books on to all of us. whether through direct experi- and designs published in magazines and you are aware of the great individual contributions made by a great number of architects to modern architecture. And for a moment you rest in the contemplation of the beauty and purity of some such structures. it has the power to move. perhaps. And then your thought hunts after another image: a construction. identifiable as a new constant in architecture. and a space on a more human scale. But this feeling of satisfaction does not last. and a new conception of space. . You are aware of these to the point of feeling proud of our time.22S complete than that. what is the lowest common denominator on the basis of which a piece of architecture can be called modern. but that the brain and the heart within this structure have other desires. solid stone and wood. that he is On not all Architecture muscles and skin and bones. But so great is the boredom of remembering a false paradise lost that the refreshing pause is brief. provincial character. but more intimate and more truthful. of what we have ence or through photos architecture. achieved. well known. but contain other elements besides: a big stadium. that is. an indoor sports arena. because at the end. and in addition. of a more regional. the types of architecture representative of our age pass through your head.
S. I saw something similar in a Roman theater in France. that our true adventure has not even begun. remote from the water. And if volcanic ashes were really to bury our our of descendants. rationalization. the Christians had inserted their houses.Anonymous (20th Century) 226 cities. irrational changeable houses. they destroyed the conceptual of the architects that had preceded them and tried space to create a new space and to relate it to all the other existor. we we realize Now I remember two facts. represented industrialization. types of housing. So we have found two safe points on which to focus our attention: space and structure. would say: the twentieth century did not create a new The men city. and remember that. this casual aspect of a living architecture within a rigid context all these houses that became one single house seemed to me so much more modern than anything we are building today. But somehow we feel that this If is hot enough. And since space and structure constitute the basis of any architecture at any time. we can be satisfied. they had organisms and precisely. I remember a medieval print of the Colosseum. and on top of it. and the artificial lake mirroring the red rocks of the mountains. On that giant structure with its built. think. rows of steps. apart from the space. life. schematization. there was one of the usual American villages: . again. to put more ing spaces. above it new new structural possithey invented a new type of space.A. Gigantic. houses brought forth by life. of the vision of the city. the other imagined. they did not create all. Farther away. apart from the materials. not sharing in that stupendous nature and in that grandiose work of man. but they invented and. because we can say in good conscience that the architecture of the twentieth century has acquired quite specific characteristics. this dam. measure. And I remember a dam on the Colorado River in the U. at that time. where the houses I were still there. houses had been which. unearthing them. Into that structure. the superhighway. one seen. no new way of bilities.
And I asked myself at some length why not. tempted to paint the feeling of this new realities. made closes the valley of houses. and why it should not have pushed some tentacles into the water. to illustrate further what I have already indicated in the chapter on town planning: that I could multiply ad lib. at the point where the dam and the road turns left.227 On Architecture wooden houses. above the superhouses for these men. ideas in the heads of Things must be born from pulsing men. to go around the sunny part of the lake. There were all the elements for the creation of a new paradise on earth: an oasis in a desert that man had revitalized with the miracle of the water. should not in- stead have turned right. so that boats and steamers could moor at the doors of the houses. there was the superhighway. the surrounding nature was beautiful. would have It improved the static conditions. to carry. So there was no reason. seemed such an ideal place to try a new way of life for men. Offhand it seemed to me that no economic obstacle would have stood in the way of this marvelous project. and there was the water. in one single organic comhighway. I asked myself why this cement dam had not towards heaven. I told myself. So often have these examples images arisen in my mind and often city. I feel that I could easily design them. These are only two examples. But nothing of the sort had happened. Nor could there have been a technical obstacle. A greater weight on the dam. and how it could have happened that this pushed itself structure. except lack of imagination: lack of that same imagination that had created palaces on the waters of Venice and shops on its bridges. And I asked myself how it was possible that the same men who had built the dam had also built that sad-looking middleclass village. a perfect bore. The over-all cost certainly would have been lower. not from . as far as I could see. position. The landscape was beautiful. without character.
a number of important elements for its solution if we are capable of grasping them. not the way he would like it to be. The richer the hubeing. that lie holds tight in his arms. the more complete will be the architect. consists of two moments: receiving and giving back. when I set out on a certain architectural reasoning. to understand in its existential reality the object of his love. more hidden. beyond the control of our will. This is the phase during which the architect must not use his pencil or specify anything. is . technical elements. I realize that the possibility exists. manity of this human being. Not only specific. above all. It is the phase of love. abstractly. not the way he may think it to be. And if the lover really understands the object of his love. and architecture will change by itself. but elements of another nature. the way it exists. There is as yet neither flesh nor blood. and he will neglect none of the aspects of human This life. not the thing. Things are received. but the way it is. series of ques- is the phase in which the architect is only a human not yet a specialized operator. receive. engendering a tions which the architect must answer. The architect is like a lover who must give the utmost of himself to comprehend. The act of projecting. not the place in which he happens to be. that is. received from others. together with the problem. First comes the moment of receiving. When we a certain problem is presented to us for solution. that he loves and about to possess. after all.Anonymous (20th Century) 228 Let us change our way of life. which constitute the constants of the problem. Sometimes. then nothing will be strange and external to him on this night of conception not the night itself with its stars or clouds. He must understand the object. and understands all the circumstances of the surroundings in which this object lives. It is the phase of conception. The lover will then have the mastery that he needs if the act of conception is to become a natural easy thing.
in the last analysis. a priori treatise on love. inducing him to imagine the type of space this object will need and what should be its relationship with the spaces and things around it. the phase of giv- ing. even if. regarding the lives of those who will live in the building. with his own body. suit the place. as the rationalists call it. which this the architect will spend Another component its will be the raison d'etre of this junction. until all the peculiarities of the place belong to him. in the last analysis. One of these component elements will be the site on determined piece of architecture is to rise. be the earth that will receive in love and give blood and flesh to its womb this crea- . and yet permit the widest possible use of elements produced in series. And here the architect becomes both father and mother of his architecture. and thus the building will take on a precise form which cannot any longer be indistinct and standardized. which should not be merely the result of distributive analysis but should be based on a specific invention suited to this particular reality. of gestation. At this point the second phase sets in. without loss of consciousness on his part or on the part of the loved one. And this raison d'etre. He will begin to envisage a type of building suitable to this particular object. but also subtler ones.229 On ArcMtectiire without taboos. or intrinsic justification of the object. a necessary thing. including and which presents not only technical or mechanical aspects. will activate the architect's inventiveness. they should cost as little as possible. it will the fruit of his ture. building. And much time examining it. architect will master the am not going to write any What I want to say is that the situation and the act of projecting thus will be a natural resultant of the elements that constitute the problem. He will measure it step by step. have become part of him. And he will begin to imagine the most suitable materials suitable from every point of view: that is. I within the natural rhythm of existence.
Anonymous (20th Century) 230 of incarnation And here the phenomenon becomes as miraculous as ever: because the flesh and blood of a work of architecture are thousandfold. live in By this I don't mean to say anything exceptional. When. adapted to those who will Within the it. before he can answer such a question. from the like to try to do the same. and of the truth of man there is not even a trace. the architect has always reasoned more or less in this way. In the chapter on the vision of Earth-City I tried. an architect must first of all become an archicritics integrity of the schools of design. It is about time to react against this state of affairs which is not only ruining the profession of the architect but threatening the and be the architecture of tomorrow?" I simply marvel. lectures. to convey a tactile feeling of what this city will be like. for. it is the outcome of a commercial operation. shape creating a space and enclosing a form which. in congresses. perhaps somewhat naively. often he does not know sells his how drawn by to design himself. altogether. The architect has become a sort of businessman who standardized products as a merchant would sell his wares in a department store. architects keep asking: "What will tect again. starting earth as a whole. architect's mind a subtle image is taking which reaches from the earth through the structure. It is the result of a series of operations executed at a desk. nor does he even know the designs his more or less specialized designers. will be like one living organism. and articles. . And for every moment of planning there will be a particular contact with the object which will give flesh and blood to the object itself. Whatever the particular historical period. Now I should from the general. But today save for rare exceptions is and very few architects a construction the standard product of a standard reasoning. but starting from the particular.
for basically architecture expression of the actions of men. sees other men. from the actions carried out actions. Light! I raise my hand toward the sky. all the days of man. Man goes to work. Every morning it is from the mother's womb. But all twenty-four are passed in contact is . a smile and the friendly wink of an eye. and children. will architecture is by man on this earth. Soon the air is filled with shouts and noises. trembling. A thousand different At night this man returns to the shadow realm of sleep. women. And his eyelids are still heavy. Because only if we change these also change. nothing but an Here is a man waking up in the morning. then I turn my head to the right. a series of actions. Hair flowing over the pillow. Of all the people in the house. And within the day this man carries out. bridges. accomplishes. wonderful actions. And the web the spider has perch woven during the night. There are twenty-four hours in a man's day: one third given to sleep. Once more. but with the full awareness of ourselves. He opens his eyes. as the earth does to man. this man sees the light. still another third to his freedom. It is up to the poet to describe the day. another third to work. machines. Man enters into the rhythm of his day. I feel movement. The tree and its leaves.231 I On start. Going about their morning chores. To pay his debt to the earth. kissed by the dew. It is up to the architect to make the actions of man come alive. Architecture am going to that is. houses. and the little birds that on its branches and sing. My leg moves under the sheet and. He sees the light after having been immersed in the unknown world of sleep. and planes. to build roads. and as through a veil. impregnated Light! by the sunshine. that is. and with the possibility of perceivlike issuing ing this world. touches the body of the woman beside me.
the of man. in all these from the world. no longer be locked in. the "good" one. Today the liberty of the architect is hemmed in by state organizations with antiquated rules and formulae. so may serve as an escape from our dead actions? The city that will become Earth-City will no longer be a locked-in city. antique furniture. one after another. a vase on the night table? What sense is there in eating in the dining room. to dope this death. with all those doors that break up the space? What meaning. in these closed rooms. anchored in the past against any regulatory plans and . with the table in the and the glass cabinets around. the noise is What deafening. indeed. will become Earth-house. and the eye ject? may not rest What wrenched meaning. in those offices stuffed with papers messy or neat ones. flowery bedspread. in that factory building. it does sense. the factories.Anonymous (20th Century) with the houses. with all those pieces of iron and materials of all sorts. 232 the architecture What sense is there in waking up in a bedroom with closed shutters. AH conceptions that are behind present edifices must be eradicated and replaced by others that are alive and our own. in which on any genuine obdead separate spaces man is losing his life twenty-four hours out of every twenty-four? Was man born for that? And that it were we architects born only to decorate. to pretty it. in no matter what city? meaning. not matter which on no matter what floor. the speculators remain risk. the sideboard that was a wedding gift? What sense is there in the living room. More. a "good" room too. and render it more pleasurable. The house. The est conservative mentality of the authorities has not the slightunderstanding of the future. where bolts and screws turn men for hours on end. too. for use on holidays? What center. has to be done than just changing the external form of a building! What do you mean when you will and the house say beauty? What does it matter to us? We must create organisms for ourselves. streets.
as But the house. and architects will no longer have to decorate dead spaces to Men make them what it is bearable. as it were. we shall not be able to create anything new. blocks. has undergone a transformation. if necessary. so too. Even furniture will today: for. with a totally space and new structures. must even organize strikes and openly abstain from work. I have seen factories insinuating themselves over and under the houses I new so that "to go to stroll. have seen houses floating on the water. in precise places. In Earth-City the What used to be isolated up one next to the other. his needs will be elementary. as the birds do. once of space. But this is exactly why architects must fight." work I 7' simply meant "to take a little have seen houses as high as mountainsnot homes built one on top of another as happens In the plains . determined by landscape and climate. without any need for an architect-decorator. As long as this is the situation. Just it became impossible. for we houses have started to move. to catch the opened themwind and move all over the earth. we shall not be able to get out of this deadend road. too. have selves. in the city. circulate freely in these free and living spaces. I have seen houses on the bridges of superhighways and on dams. I have seen houses rising from steep rocks as on giant skeletons. spread out in the sun like an old Arab neighborhood. and so have the factory and the school and the hospital. and in these skeletons the inhabitants themselves built their nest. with the organism of the house itself. lined carry a load of responsibility. to give new spaces to modern man. New images of houses rise in my vision. to make a neat separation between street and house and square and green.233 On ArcMtectmre building regulations brake whatever innovating and creative impulse there may be. The house has exploded. I have located man no longer be has arrived at the freedom them. too. so many times.
and on the ground floor the movie theater or television or who knows what other devilish contraption for the reproduction and projection of images. transforming the desert into oases. an orchestra was ing for all. And And it no longer made much difference whether one was a farmer or worker. so that the children were taught from the printed page. with to- and economic means. because all that men do on this earth was visible or brought no longer was enough to ex- directly into the homes by means of reproduction. engineer. Quite the contrary. All this could be brought about today. a maniac. in this Anonymous Architect (2oth Century). there was the market. detached from the reality that surrounds him. and the tion with the air was new. it is the fruit of observation: of seeing day's technical This is the things that reality today has to offer and which I try to interrelate among themselves. a Utopian. mailman. I do not mean I I a visionary. play- I have seen houses along the valley and the rivers. the barber shop. I have seen houses in the desert. say Anonymous (loth Century) or. I assure you that all this does not belong to the realm of fantasy.Anonymous (20th Century) 2S4 in our skyscrapers today. rela- the relation with the earth was new. with tomatoes and pink carnations grown by the inhabitants. like rows of poplar trees. And when case. within today's society. All mean is an architect . where the old folks lived together with the others instead of being segregated in asylums. but houses that contained open spaces where the children studied instead of going to school. formed by a bridge between two units of the building. where the sick were cured instead of being locked up in hospitals. not the sick fantasy of a romantic isolated individual. for all these activities were integrated in this new architectural structure. but it plain to them the things that took place under their eyes. and on the thirtieth. perhaps. giving them their true meaning. or airplane pilot. On the twentieth floor. And on the terrace.
235 On Architecture who understands that. . just as the planes. the missiles. to do things in the field of architecture that would arouse the admiration and the wonder of the men of the past if they could live again today. and the great ships would make them marvel. it would be possible. without the absurd frictions with which life penalizes those who fail to understand. and easy.
Oh. And when build or think of architecture. Self-criticism fashionable word right now. an architect. the space of the lady of the house. without hope that my self-criticism belongs to the former species. is really a marvelous thing. to space! It it is marvelous to take space into fingers just as it my hands. with the space of the an ample armchair for family's cat. I I am am I not satisfied with myself. of the tree. with the space of my stomach. with the space of the sky outside. I feel I am in my element. a dirty thing. I am forty-two years old. to relate to every living space that exists in space! The space of the piece of architecture with the space of the people who are to live in it. the bird. to work with my you work fresh dough make good bread. Space. when also it be but it may represents a sort of public confession. when it becomes a false and dema- conviction and without reality." A Often misused. with the space of a child's smile. To the marrow of my bones. I gogic exhibition. its dog. What a material! To touch it! To caress it! weight-force of gravitation! To feel its living And the inverse weight! The weight with . I have something to look back on.15 My A "Self-criticism. the space of my brain.
lymph begins to rise. this root-foundation the rises. at the same time.237 My Architecture: A Self-Criticism which 1 charge the material to overcome the gravitational weight of the earth. not represented by any other thing. In winter the air inside is warm and pleasant and sweet. True tangible color? color that is the same on the surface as in the innermost we may grasp external visual presence! corner. it takes a rest. iron and glass together! And the stones are beautiful and strong and we sense their presence on earth prior to the birth of man. like the it suddenly launches itself free the savage cry of an eagle. in a light and beloved woman. In summer. and the hot carnal air outdoors drains me like a glass of water drained by the sun on the desert sand! And the other materials. like that it may receive the therein. spreading horizontally. From time to young blood. . considering the com- But that is not the problem. or imagined. then into the air. The glass that divides the air into two parts. like a root. And the color! Color is a thing alive in itself. And the wrought iron has become exact form. on a line parallel to the crust of the earth. plexity of the job. weds one part to the other. And the structures! To entrench the terrain so foundations. Then it returns to the root. iron. but. it is And when time this lymph feels compelled to overcome this simple law of contraposition. impregnated with the labor and intelligence of man who has dominated matter. and the air outside is damp and cold. and relaxes. And The lymph It rises! Vertically. To plunge energy from wall. and then its play becomes like magic! It muscled leg of a man. while and understand it only in its Forty-two years. like condenses in a strong imposing knot. really. up the tired of rising skyward. like a beautiful at last. Not much. and elegant movement. And glass. the air caressing my skin indoors is cool. To let it be born! Rock.
But some there really could do like seeing a And how sad it is to see men who it. of all my of all those miles of lines labor. of my sleepless haunted nights. in the present case. is going to remain of all that hard work. who adores children but who. ridiculous when he tries to move. There are not many good are.. . for that matter. Fragments they are. for the first time. cannot complete a pregnancy! But I was supposed to criticize myself. in short. I and marks have traced on a world of conformism. I could have . reflects also the other architects be architects who really are and feel themselves to and who find themselves. if he is guilty. will remain of me. in the architects. these lines to me to be a marvelous possibility of expresappeared sion? Here and there. fascinating. could have done so many vital and useful things. But at the same time the lawsuit demned. and society is condemned together there is When a lawsuit. Or a loving. something being prevented from doing Just child of dreamlike beauty. absent-minded. even today. already dissected. of all my struggles against bestial world? against a hostile. accomplished day after day. chosen by chance. on some lot of land or other. But don't misunderstand me. when. What. It is true that I am speaking of myself. intelligent woman. even within these forty-two years. by and large. same situation. owing to a tiny little error of nature. is against all of society. And with the What culprit. But this self. without specific or specifiable reason. criticism. skeptical. no matter where. That is what always happens. cadavers. paralyzed. from the time I was eleven and marks years old. paper. of a whole that is yet to come.Anonymous (20th Century) 238 My sadness I is of another kind.. To write my is self- And I notice that this criticism beginning to extend to all of society. the lawsuit this person must be conis against some person. pieces of my work are dispersed. what will stand the judgment of daylight.
a contribution to This is At this point I really the heart of the problem. and. A waste of at least knew what it was to be someone who designs and builds. have to explain the reasons for my architecture. I have won with plans that were never Commissions I received. whether it has been faithful to these premises. I was a boy. I . which have stood up in the light of the sun. free? The profession of architect What do you mean. I must confess. modern architecture. I have felt like an architect: ninety percent of my energies. My table drawers are bursting with rolls of plans and left-over tecture models of dozens and dozens of works of archiand town planning that have never been executed. So much so that more than once. whether. That. remains of a civilization that has not yet been born. in part. came to nothing. my ideas on this subject are both clearer and more confused. a pedant. I thought I When giving up the job altogether. instead of eight. slaves of the authorities. of becoming acquainted with architects in many countries. for one Competitions that carried out. slaves of speculations. Perhaps that I am free to work is twelve hours a day. and is making. should become a bore. testify to a new human condition expressed in form. called a free profession. It is true: there are extenuating circumstances. Our street tumbler or a prostitute. in the the buildings I have built. of traveling. whether it has made.239 My Architecture: A Self-Crificism amputated. For all the rest. slaves of outside economic pressures. Today. we are slaves. after eighteen years of work. I have to ask myself whether it has started from the premises set forth in this book. Slaves of the client. which then. in the best of cases. I am free to get up at nine some days rather than at eight. freedom is like that of a But again I am breaking out of the limits of self-criticism by man's innate to enter into self-justificationdriven passion to cheat. reason or another. I But last analysis. defaced.
five years of sterile struggle and after the original idea may have been warped. three. One. some of the principles. as it were. What what debit. three for still another? What meaning is there in building a certain group of houses. at these go over to the opposite I and look can tell houses that have brought to I life. 240 the trial my own accountant and draw up debit side. no matter what building. of action and a a priori? new form to rise from new kind one not conceived Yes. with different possibilities. on an urban soil they represent all sense that has nothing whatever to do with our "City"? What is there to these isolated experiments severed from a connective tissue that should belong to all but does not exist? What does it mean to design a house for this place. from that Earth-House. after your own mind may have changed and there is no longer any fun in building inasmuch as the building no longer belongs to you? And what does it matter even if. your Earth-House? Is it enough. I wanted to destroy style. The credit side and the Then read the balance. certain realities are contained in hill I When wanted my work. even a hundred villas: what do credit. . if you fail to place in proper relationships that belong to the life of man? What sense is there to a market. some of the aspects of your architecture really fit into the context of your Earth-City. a factory. I wanted the houses as a group to form one single organism. a hotel. at different moments. two for that place. I tried to create a new space for a it. that when I built this little village in which I live. perhaps. I wanted them not to be standard but different one from the other because they were born under different conditions. four. it is I true. what balance! What the hell! It is so simple to see that what I have done is all without importance. sown.Anonymous (20th Century) should become balance. after four. intellectually speaking. so far is it from that Earth-City. that I tried to describe some pages back. myself: I wanted houses no longer to be isolated monuments sitting in a row on the earth. two.
I wanted life it mand it. that I think that the houses by themselves reveal what I wanted to say. dressed in overalls and yet feel as dignified as a king. to if be as as if the earth had given birth to these houses. and for the unity of the composition not to have to suffer either way. . . I wanted the form to be like the form of natural things: always complete. I wanted . I wanted the architecture to become landscape and the landscape architecture. But can I be satisfied? Can I be satisfied with twenty little ceededto houses. can tell wanted the bedroom not to be a bedroom but a myself: where I go to sleep. I wanted going into and out of this house. but another place for us to stay in the sunshine or to look at the stars. partly I have suc- the extent. I wanted to be able to enlarge the house according to needs. . . and always capable of change. . could find a suitable place for each of our actions. together with the others. I imperial Yes. senseless chaos? And when into one of my houses and walk around in I come back I it. at least. I wanted the roof to be not an umbrella on top of the house.. and . I wanted the space in this house to be a free space in which I.. Iwanted the space to be dynamic so that it could vary witlj the variations of light and season and without our feeling bored and imprisoned. I wanted. I wanted wanted so many things. I wanted to be able to live in this house. passing from the outside to the inside and vice versa. I wanted friends and others to be able to come and feel at home in this house. without upsetting its form. that is. not the architect had imposed them on the hill by an fiat. if the conditions of did not permit their expansion. because one should work within given limits and not create a priori concepts of materials. to be a natural. fluid process. when there are square miles on end plastered I in a formless.241 My ArcMtectare: A Self-Criticism to use the materials at my disposal. I wanted. that is. I wanted the dining room not place to be a dining room but a place where all of us eat to-' gether. I wanted these houses to be capable of growth at any moment that life should deor to remain the way they are. I wanted .
I must make the it starts bitter admission that my in this though book. all. . part of my intentions. client. to have still to hide wires and tubes inside the walls. God knows why. I wanted and I wanted . because business is business. I and comprising all the elements man needs. that this failure is this: to have to admit an exceptional architecture. the house achieves these requirements and them and testifies to them. A liked factory. "I want a factory from you. And then think of some other work of mine. who architecture. But. And And And then I think of other works of mine. under present circumstances. of different I kinds. . Here too. after architecture. how much is lacking! To have to build still in the manner of an artisan. I have not been able to demonstrate these same things in a truly collective work of architecture. here too I wanted and I wanted . does constitute a however small contribution to ." And in this case too I wanted so many things because I was glad to build a factory and to be able to show that the workers could live well inside it. even if those boxes be gilded and far costlier than my houses? And then. and came to me. That strange client.Anonymous (20th Century) 242 satisfies And. . But can I be satisfied if ten. though it from the premises set forth though it remains faithful to these premises. But it must not cost remember the . in different places. repeat that in every building the things I wanted are there to testify to I built. to have to use stop-gap materials which fail to answer the mechanical and spiritual require- ments of my time. partly. a hundred people live this way when hundreds of thousands live in boxes. I And my and said: more per square yard than any other factory of a simpler and more commercial type. for example. because we have not yet been able to render these functional organs of a house expressive! And then a lot of other things. is But the most dramatic on a large scale. because.
beyond any attempt to explain life through any of the thousand a priori justifications that have been tried before. to love them. The figure of the genius-architect." that is. the dictator. and noble. architecture can contribute something to human experience: inventions of space. The way things are. as it should be. yet does not reveal a new human condition.243 My Architecture: A Self-Cfiticism modern architecture. must here be made with regard to the architect who has committed himself to life. but it cannot testify to a new way of life. above all. a consciousness. And this. because to be at the service of others means not only to be useful to others. no matter how great his talent or the force of his character. not to serve. and our society is far from such an understanding. And splendid as it of a society. is natural. and. it certainly is not. of structure. as not "serf. just so horrible is one. expressed through form. the architect finds himself today in an equivocal position. And today I do not know one single architect and I myself am no exception who finds himself in such a position. Because no one can be of service unless society understands the usefulness of his service. he is impotent in face of the reality that sur- rounds him. This is the only position that I think valid. it means also to understand them. but one anybody should be in any field of occupation. beyond any a priori definition of life. The same bitter admission. creator of ideas. This society is an aggregate of single individuals who want to be served. made with regard to the painter in the chapter on painting. to a new human condition. one single living organism of which every individual is a member. must die and yield the field to a new type of architect: I the service-architect. . 7 said "service-architect/ is who at the service of others. Not only that. Like the painter. to understand the unity of all men. new materials used in a new way. inventor. First of all we need this would be to be at the service it to be the servant of some new kind of consciousness. dignified. it means. of course.
Other times pessimism. in mystery. I feel like giving up the job of architect altogether. and I really don't know what my future will be. practice it. that is. at have imagined myself an anarchist revolutionary. that progresses with the progress of existence. like existence itself. And I shall keep hoping for such a situation to arise. Still today I continue my life on this seesaw of states of mind. conformist elements that make natural. I mean. as a sequence of facts. in moments of naive optimism. Basically I my self-criticism has failed. even though I could say with great certainty that I know everything about my future insofar as it is my own inner reality. enveloped. I keep dreaming and hoping that I am in this situation. Only then shall we have a new architecture capable of expressing a new human condition. again. Many times. even if it never does. many times in moments of I feel like rebelling. as an act of open revolt and protest against this state of affairs. that would enable me honestly to do my work within the limits of the reality of today. the position. have I imagined myself alone. simply a vagrant. at other times. to abandon forever this life we are among times I forced to lead today and to find a new way of life ourselves and to create ourselves a new city. in a gesture of hunger-striking. 1 have imagined myself in a joint attempt. flat on my back in the central square of some city. who would put me into the position of being a service-architect in the above meaning. Thousands of times I have hoped to find at least one person (to hope to find a society today is impossible). . how many times.Anonymous (20th Century) 244 rather. How many times have I wishfully imagined myself driven by an inner force toward a feeling of unity with all the others. with others. existential action impossible today for the architect. I and quite naturally. despite the fact that might say daily. but freed from all those false. including the economic limits. in a concrete sense.
in the inner recesses of their hearts. he would still always have a share of co-responsibility for the others who had been Fascists. Even if I wanted. the time of Fascism. to assume myself to be an architect invulnerable from every point of view. how uneasy in the last analysis. found guilty: "Do you have anything to add before sentence is pronounced?" And I should answer: "Yes. and I myself eventually lived in the woods. my family and I were anti-Fascists. . through another example. my father-in-law was imprisoned and then put into a concentration camp. another. Fll this clearer. in other words. second. and then the judge. But being far from invulnerable. In other words. that you can never be sufficiently anti-Fascist. you can imagine how miserable I feel. That is. but to others: to the critics. a self-criticism of That try to make younger brother refused military service. and fear relaxed and people again became. to the point that my brother had to escape to America in 1938. I still feel co-responsible for the errors of society. a man could be an anti-Fascist par excellence. all the acts of bestial ugliness accomplished by so many other architects. Or perhaps I should ask myself. and I were first the culprit. just before and during During the war. that even if.245 My Architecture: A Self-Criticism If this were a lawsuit. I understood two things: first. hidden away from the Fascists and Germans. theoretically. mean is to not up my to me. I have some things to add. perhaps the most important ones/ 7 When make I started this self-criticism. theoretically. What I wanted to criticize is my position as an architect. how guilty. I won't say what they were before. But when the war was splendid society over. And the same happens with regard to all the actions of men's lives. within myself I know that I am co-responsible for all the errors. I did not architecture. but. In a certain sense I was proud of myself. certainly not very different I understood that there was no reason for me to be proud. I am almost sure I should condemn myself. and the first moment of liberation with its promise of a new began to fade.
his. It remains that I am not an Anonymous Architect (zoth I Century). position. the fault of circumdoes not change the beyond the force of my will. problem. The stances fact that this is. then my guilt becomes so obvious that you can touch it with your finger.Anonymous (20th Century) 246 is When stricken a member of a family in a primitive society by some dishonor. consequently. all manimposed by kind as of one family. all men should share the responsi- certain customs. Now we think of bility and feel guilty. you will understand that if a sin is committed by one man. and the I situation in which find myself does not correspond to naturally. because I do not have these qualities. the architects should feel And if by architect I mean that Anonymous Architect the qualities that should result (2oth Century). with clearly from a reading of this book. is left am a failure and all that to me is to try to attest to is my it were. as in a testamentary way which what I shall try to do in the concluding chapter of this book. and if I then compare myself to him. you will understand that when an architect all does something immoral. the whole family falls into dishonor and has to withdraw into islation from the others. even if I wish and seek to have them. guilty of immorality. If we think of all the architects as of one family. . as if all the members is of the family had committed the same time noble if guilty action. This a na'ive but at the tradition. that.
say goodbye to the sun. to the grass." . say goodbye to the earth that receives you back. trees. that there will still be people in this world who love one another and who will see and live all that you have seen and lived. water. gently. and grass will still be there. my a day of splendid sunshine. knowing nothing of tomorrow. To the water your parched lips are craving. or the tears only of a sweet goodbye. To say goodbye to everything and to everybody. without tears on any face.16 A Testament Some morning. And without physical suffering. For this is the real meaning of "testament. that To the air. With no fear of death. To To To To To great things and small. and that everything dies for you. on here on this feet. gently. to the stones. say goodbye to the trees. but it does not die with you. stones. And. With my wife and children around me. above all. lucid in hill. without the marytrdom of torn flesh that prevents thinking clearly. say goodbye to people. say goodbye to the air which now enters your labor- ing lungs. To say goodbye. It is true that you die. want to die. with the low fog hiding the city at my mind and surrounded by the persons I I have loved most dearly. But knowing that the sun will still be there.
and who knows when it does not matter. Death means conclusion. deaths within lives Because there are deaths within death. If I really had to die here and now. to the lives of the others who remain. To finish this book is somewhat the same thing. the way you make a testament. it : what means to coming Testament means a sense of the continuity of life. How. I would die happy. how I I am When became necessary because me to express myself through my architect and the painter. society has failed me. normal means. But others will come. Just as there are lives within life. I I did not feel at ease in this world. failed The city has and the needs me. and of all the people on this earth. that is to an end. and I am thinking of the people I love. the "others" of the others have failed me. this wear and tear of a relentless struggle to push the world a little forward. wife is typing some pages My my assistants and work on my projects. I hear the hammering of the masons and the humming of some late insect. Or at least have lived What goes on. all. where. Especially since I am this book. this stepping on the gas pedal of your of this book. collaborators are at . This loneliness of my existence. after I my whole it life has been a testament. I wrote an introduction. those of the Because Because true. and so will society. And there are life. This feeling.Anonymous (20th Century) This is 248 link your life. The children are at school. I clear that this began wanted to make it book should not have been necessary. and I had to build stone walls where they were not had to put colors where they were not true. And thus. I matters is to die conscious of the fact that life am warmth stretched out on these rocks in the mild light and of an October sun. and within death. It of the impossibility for certainly not a writer. Perhaps anybody who finishes writing a is book goes through this same experience. and the City.
From water to air. or even as the Angel? How beautiful it is to die. The fish became a bird. other human conditions: toward the evolution. is with their faces toward the earth. at last. but one free finally become human. reconciled to his longer a stranger and lonely and shy and full of fear of this world which is not yet his own. beyond within nature. A man. Man who. without a break of continuity.249 A Testament body-motor. Life and death. as the Adam of Paradise Lost. as hero. How sweet last to it is to die and at know man no own existence. condition. as Messiah. perhaps other planets. who circulates freely in space. But how much time and how much effort went into that! Our ancestors crawled walk upright. at his ease on earth and in beyond wish or evasion. And What will this man be called? This man whom men until today have represented in various forms of individual or collective exaltation. an evolution in which mankind is but a link in a chain. Man who has achieved an osmosis. Man who limits of his own has expanded his being to reach the exact body. To know that he is at last living his life at ease on this earth. . after all these millions of years. Man the master of himself. perhaps. reconciled to himself. and become one single thing. Now we Who knows what Evolution just may going to happen next? have in store a man who is no longer man. ready for total osmosis. of other organisms. And no longer alone. The earth impossible without man. Only the cosmos. and freed. Freed and free from all taboos and all myths. accelerating It to the mad speed of the new dimensions man has found today all this would be eased by this marvelous feeling that all men are headed for new shores. within his natural human poetry. Physics and metaphysics reconciled. all this. ready to live even beyond the limits of this earth. The earth and man. has found his natural dimension: the dimension for which he was born! The earth with man.
ago. alone like a dog. elementary in the most A few days this conclusion. gentle thing. as you are nailed there to this deathbed. And. So it is deaths. is streaked with the cold drops that furrow your face. pains that only death could ease. like swords. the hollow of your chest. considering life the it is today.Anonymous (20th Century) 250 At At At At ease with his flesh. banal. and evil it shall always "To hell with life!" and die. There are. to die. the end of life could indeed be tragic. it is cold. and dying seemed to me a sweet. the day was sunny and the rocks were warm. And while you may be thus shut up and enveloped in your suffering like a cocoon. Well may you think of the space above. To die like a human derelict that has missed all his real life. the sun is covered by clouds. I must finish this book in the simplest way. perhaps. all. And this narrow space. this is what may easily happen tomorrow. too. when I began few yards higher up a splendid sun is shining on marvelous white clouds that here and now seem to you dark and sad. instead. What I should wish. in fact. . Today. and realize that only a way possible. ease with his thoughts. ease with the human adventure on this earth! But now I must conclude. and the sky is all rain. way pessimistic: be. unable to see beyond your personal suffering. ease with the little matters of daily life. That too could happen. man is evil. life is evil. in one of those intolerable asylums for the old where false professional charity may offend even the most ele- mentary and insensible person. and so many ways better to be prudent. with pains in this flesh tired of living: pains that make you go out of your mind. Today the dimension of the human sky is no more than 900 feet high. Today that is I despised and abandoned by imagine myself dying alone. so many of dying.
He would have compared wellmade shoes with badly made and dishonest shoes. All of a sudden. aware of life continuing in the others. knowing that every- and believing in the future. And the light turns my eyes into two balls of fire. I could have expressed myself more poetically or in a more elementary fashion. whereas . and that much more lengthy. well or badly. full of hope. Of course it would have been different. There. I have written bit by bit. But the problems to solve. would have been substantially the same. the sun has come out again. anonymous. is to die gently. I have said what I it differently. Just as people are different. during the shreds of time left free by my pressing daily obligations. this should be a book that just about everybody should have been able to write. But I have written this book could have said the way I could. or I could have and. but If it turned out more intimate and more genuine. in a more synthesized more concentrated form. I then shall be my conclusion? or less. my own life. though this future will convinced that believing in a collective existence in an expanding world. the things to analyze. has been useful for myself and for the others.251 A Testament however. even no longer be mine. perhaps. for good or for evil as I apparently may have lived it. been more analytical. at least not within the temporal and spatial dimensions of mankind. lucid. A producer of house slippers could have said the same things talking of his slipper-making business. without pretentions. thing has its reason. and which I have accepted. as the lives of all men on earth have always been since the beginning of time. not a school or court language. and into a warm thing that lives on the earth! my body had What More to say. all right. I have written as best I could. within the limits of time that external contingencies have not certainly imposed but suggested. more precise. In a language that may have its place somewhere between the spoken and the inner language.
aware of themselves. And the earth is nourishing this seed and will bring it forth. though he may have been prophesied for centuries and awaited for centuries and his coming be signaled by the heavenly bodies. all of us. . Continue in his it own way. . or only a few. have been matter whether you or I individually is obvious by now anyway that either we save ourselves together. But there will be no miraculous birth. . . If he is not of the loth century. the earth will bring forth men able to live together harmoniously. That does not . . The earth will not bring forth any new Messiah. . matter. fatal. It sown in the earth. births. A book open to is what my book wants to be. day by day. This is logical. And nobody. is an effort to demonstrate that this future exists and that. of transition. anybody who reads could add on chapters and continue the book. The The only thing that is important is to understand the situation of man and to is work within that this situation. will pay any attention to these partial . It has been it Nor does licked. . at last. it can be symbolized by Anonymous (zoth Century) And this man will come. which everybody could continue to write. or no one can save himself.Anonymous (20th Centmry) I 252 have talked more about architecture and painting because these are If my job. This is why things are so confused and not well under control. Tomorrow the shoemaker Tomorrow the physician Tomorrow the mailman Tomorrow the architect Tomorrow . And man suffers. he will be of the 2ist. . Tomorrow. The earth will bring it forth. it the book has succeeded well. . inevitable. . in a synthesis. . This awareness has finally been born. situation today man finds himself in a state of transformation. . This time the earth will give birth little by little. The earth will bring forth anonymous men. . . feels This book bad. and seems to be faced with a futureless future. Because that all.
those most simple and natural acts of their existence. to try to conclude en to describe the life of a com- munity in its daily existence. rising from the night and from sleep. reality. But my book is an open book. no longer desperate but full of hope. I woke up anonymous. or poets. I wanted point. that I could describe. the existence of these people. without end. in spite of all revolutions. and it is warming me. those things that in times past only visionaries could imagine. like a reporter of the history of the future. but a day that had its yesterday and will have its tomorrow. as though it were of a dying man. wars. in this period of this I gave the word in the introduction to the thing that matters today is to be aware of the fact that the world is not moving toward self-destruc- crisis in the sense book tion. at this That is. The thing that matters today in this period of transition and rapid transformation of man. who at last will be able to live in peace. and that many had In my imagination I have found myself so often near these people who are yet to come. And hence it will be life itself that will describe day after day the things that are going to happen. Then this hand. There is the sun. and natural catastrophes. had Intended. and I stretched my arm forward and heavenward. able together to bring about on this earth. able to live their day within the day. there is a long road to travel. are headed towards a new that the gates of the future. as one says rhetorically. and beyond those gates. Anonymous (2oth Century). unable . that we all are already on the way after all. This morning I did not read the papers.25S I A Testament beaute. This morning I climbed to the roof of my house. quite naturally. postponed until after death. I woke up this morning. hence without conclusion. cata- clysms. I wanted to tell about it as though it had been an experience lived through rather than wished for. are open. but that men. that our children will take that road. no longer alone but together.
gentle and human.Anonymous (20th Century) 254 to speak by now. as though I wanted to wish a good day to all. since the others are part of of them. and I limbs. part my own . But it was not a farewell to mankind. a good day to me. It was only a shy and gentle gesture of greeting to the other human beings on this earth. waved a sign of goodbye.
as general as is city- planning. in which men will live their lives anxiety-ridden individuals existing in a make-do environment but as free men. reconciled to their earth. not even the sun and the moon.(continued from front flap) ing without being condemned. and even joyously. con- be the wave of the future. Whether he Cimabue or of Picasso. anall. in terms as intimate as his relations with his wife. men who will create the "anonymous earth" of as the future. not as "masters" or "geniuses" but simply of the earth human race." this Does all seem far out. who understands the relationship between the rhythm of his own heart and the heart of man- kind. members onymous human that "The to beings. .. 215' GEORGE BRAZILLER. the age of one world and of world ceives to cities. but I'll get away with it. in an environment consciously created for the maximum com- not as alienated mon good ymous of all. IMC. . Park New York ? PRINTED IN U A . to other men. of writing of a medieval cathedral or that of Gaudi.. a noble but impossible dream? Not as Ricci writes of it. his children. the visionary with common sense." Ricci aligns himself with what he optimistically. reconciled to themselves. His man's life book is a testament and an inspiration to to one all. the inheritors of the treasures of all the ages before them. These are the "Anon- (20th Century)" whom he identifies men with himself. and his students. he to hit the nail manages on the head with quite realistic precision. belongs that belongs to men who are reconciled. He is that rarest of a hard core of men. child born in this house is going to be A deprived of vital experiences: he will not see grass or butterflies. to things. S 4 .
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