Tuesday, 5 February 2008

ruskin and eco-estates

I think my underlying question in the Ruskin piece is a moral one, regarding the sacred value of work, of craft, of place etc, which possibly i extend a little way in the two new essays. I feel Ruskin saw an honesty in the style through its workmanship, and an intrinsic motivation for that workmanship being the craftsman's faith. Would Ruskin read the aspirations of an eco-estate as motivated by extrinsic value systems and the fleeting vogue for solar energy? Perhaps I am falsely extrapolating such shallow branding efforts from a name, in the suspiscion that almost as soon as the eco-estate became the self-consiously 'eco'-estate, it has slipped a notch from Primary architecture. I'm not sure, perhaps I'm too sceptical, certainly here, there remains an emphasis on architect as saviour: eco-estates, were we to design them within the prevailing paradigm of design in the school here, would rely on no more than token participation of a community, compared to the centrality in Ruskin's thought of laboured, personal local buildings by happy craftsmen.

But I think yes, an eco-estate in its truest sense would likely have many Ruskinian traits, furthermore, there are parallels in that there are empassioned writers, writing espousing the saving power of these eco-estates, as Ruskin did of primary architecture, and they, as he was, are being imitated as a style, a neo-(green)-modernism to the neo-gothic his writing inspired that so reviled him. Ruskin and the environmental design movement share a great many parallels and may fail for similar reasons, of elitism, of writing rather than doing, of insufficiently critiquing the cultural structure than stands in opposition to deep sustainability. We shall see.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

ipod idolatry and the sin of headphones

there is a curious narcissism in this addiction to the headphone self, curious as strange, but also as a reflection of the self curious to this age. inside my headphones i'm not here, this isn't happening, inside my headphones, i'm in grand rapids, i'm in columbus, evanston, boise, i'm in brompton, marylebone, sutton, i'm anywhere but here. i'm reconciled to no place but my own selfish nowhere, a placeless, immaterial place where no real church holds me, hurts me, obliges me, nothing touches me in the church of me. it just me and jesus now, there is no neighbour to love, no age, no strain. traffic passes me noiselessly, silenced is the charming natter, the idle banter, the storied love, the fleeting whispered care of knowing and being known, lost to the preached wisdom of pastors who never knew me. i'm in a thousand studios with a thousand bands, a thousand miles from nottingham, i'm never here and they don't really exist beyond a simulacra, that dream inside the dream, this is not the freedom for which i was set free. if this was someone else's blog i'd tell them to burn their ipod.

cartoon - http://gapingvoid.com/

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Environment Questions 1

Is there an environmental problem?
Why?

Is it curious to our age?
Why not?

What is scale of the problem?
What is the time scale for a solution
Whose fault was it?
Based on what assumptions did they make decisions which caused this?
In so far as we have noted the problem, have those original assumptions be challenged or changed?

Is Schumacher right when he says this is a metaphysical problem?
Can it be solved?
What is the nature of the solution?
What is our role in the environment's salvation?

Is there a 'right' response?
Is there a 'Christian' response?
Should there be?
Is there any other framework of morality or existence that will address the problem at its root?

What is the gospel?
What did Jesus save?
The 'cosmos' god so loved?
You Me and the trees?
What does that mean?

Is everything spiritual?
Is saving souls more important than saving trees?
How much more?
Is it possible to do one and not the other?
Is this a false dichotomy born out of bad theology?
If we make this division in our understanding of salvation will we ever have sufficient imperative to be proactively environmentally concerned?

Is the 'environment' synonymous with 'creation'?
In as much as to consider one's self as separate from the 'environment' but a part of 'created' order is a distinction that may only be subconscious.. has our theology been complicit in an destructively anthropocentric concept of life on earth? Is it still?

We don't tend to pray for the environment?
Should we?
Is it deistic not to?
Could non-prayer be attributed to a fear that we might have to live our side of the bargain out if we did pray?
Are our cars, elephants in the room, planks in the eye of the Christian community?

Is the “Earth will all be burned up” a self-fulfilling prophecy?

If this ship called earth is blasted, bound for destruction should we bother beautifying it?

What does life consist in between 'salvation' and death?

Eschatology: now? not yet?
Judgement: now? not yet?
Eternal Life: now? not yet?
His Kingdom: now? Not yet?

Of Victor Hugo's 'heart of the human problem', should environmental degradation be viewed as derivative or causal or both, of the 'problem of the human heart'?
Can the problem be addressed within that domain of the human heart?
How?

The world suffers when the church is not up to standard (?JP).
What is up to standard? Can it be? Will it ever be?
How and Why?

The local church the hope for the world (Bill Hybels) .
Is it?
How?
What is church?

How do you know you are right?
How do you know you are part of the solution rather than part of the problem?
Is theology getting better?