What Makes Me Weep

upham-entrance-hall

What is that thing that is missing from your life which, when you think of it or see it held by others, makes you weep? Our world is so reduced in every good quality that I can’t imagine that everyone doesn’t have this experience. For some people, though, it simply comes out as a ravenous craving for novelty, because the experience of unease and never having what nature requires becomes built into the character. But that’s for frivolous and thoughtless people, and I don’t think any of my actual readers are frivolous people.

For me, a sense of place is the thing for which I continually grieve. Where is the city beautiful in which I might be a citizen? Why do people think it’s acceptable to put ugly and useless things into their spaces? Why are places no longer defined by the humanity that inhabits them? This is one of the main reasons I hate idealism, why I hate this expectation that people are supposed to impose theory upon reality, rather than seek and engage and build on what’s most real in the reality around them.

Well, I guess everyone who thinks about these things comes round to Christopher Alexander eventually. In a perfect world, I might have been an architect and learned from him and gone to University of Oregon. Instead I design jewelry and look at these pictures late at night with tears in my eyes.

What makes you weep by its absence?

3 thoughts on “What Makes Me Weep

  1. As an addendum to this comment, I’ll add another. Do you think that reality is basically good or basically bad? Nature? Human nature? I believe that faith is, in essence, the conviction that to exist is good and that goodness is real and that reality is good. A belief in God ought to be instinctive – in other ages it was not such an anxious question as it is now – but I think a belief in God can extend from this basic conviction that good is real and reality is good. Is personhood natural and real? Then it is good. Is power natural and real? Is intelligence? In short, when all real good is gathered together in the mind, one has formed a concept of God (Warning: concepts of God are dangerous.) Many people now put “the Universe” in their philosophical God-slot, but the Universe is deficient in some goods. For instance, it lacks personhood. Because personhood involves being absolutely unique, it can never exist as a collective reality.

    Certain Christians believe, tragically, that evil is just as substantial, absolute, permanent, and real as good is. They do not believe they are dualists, but their opinions amount to dualism. Inevitably, these people discount this sense of place for which I grieve. They look for a spiritual world of beauty entirely removed from that in which we move and do not think that any real virtue can inhabit this world, this physical reality. In this way, what begins as a hatred for evil proceeds to an awe of evil and ends in a certain backward support for the agenda of evil to entirely corrupt this world. Thankfully, even people who think this way cannot really feel this way, or can only induce themselves to do so with great difficulty and many contradictions. I know that places of beauty exist in this world, but they do not appear where people live slavish lives. In other words, the deficit of power that most of us experience in our daily affairs prevent us from ordering our surroundings according to the requirements of our good and God-bestowed nature.

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