online: 19 august 2007
modified: 18 august 2007

18 august 2007 the curve of the earth, and the new

14:29 ...panorama path on a windy saturday afternoon... though cloudy the air is clear and i can see the east and south horizons 10 to 20 miles (15 to 30km) away... i can almost see the curve of the earth... i wrote that a man with a dog walked by and called me 'young man' and said that (with my cap and glasses) i look like 'the ghost of mrs muir' (a tv character of long ago)...

...looking-over this panorama of London i see new tower blocks appearing... and tower cranes in all directions... this old city of the Celts and Romans is still growing!

at a bus stop:
across the road is a modernist building inhabited by an Irish bank and perhaps by flat-dwellers...

...adjoining it, on each side, are terraced houses and shops of about 1910, the period when this part of London was built, or re-built, as a prosperous suburb and a fast road to the countryside... there is no visual continuity between the two styles of building, before and after modernism...

...WHAT HAPPENED i ask myself, for so great a change to come about...? me, it was or is the beginning of 'the new', such as was not seen before, not only in architecture but in culture generally... the effect of turning to machines, without brains... and of turning ourselves into fragmented machine-minders, or mechanisers... paid to think and act narrowly...

...the fresh new style called modernism being a wish to rediscover what is human (or secretly sublime?) in the machine-form itself... an apparent simplicity... but it became an extension of the open prison of industrialised living... that it?... is that what went both right and wrong, as our recent ancestors struggled both against the mechanical, and for it... searching for a 'new' (that we've yet to find)... as we destroy the world and try to rescue it with same mechanical means (and from above)... not yet realising that mechanisation can lose its crudeness and its brutality, now that its elements have become digital and microscopic... no longer rivalling the bodymind, but able to renew it, to connect, and to extend our presence, as parts of nature and beyond...

(these words are approximations to something to be said and done in other ways... yes, yes)

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