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The REAL/IDEAL Collision

November 19, 2016


When the Real of Michangelo’s mind, a vaulted ceiling and paint attempt the Ideal a pretty cool thing happened. But that is the exception.

The Real/Ideal connection is more often Collision than Jesus.

When the Real college admission for your Ideal child is not Harvard, when the Ideal spouse has Real issues, or just when your Ideal self runs aground on Real life the results are often terrifying because humans ha. The election was too Real for many as Ideal results were not there for just over 50% of voters.

But sometimes the collision of Real-Ideal works: at Yale Ivory Tower Ideal met Homeless Housing at a design studio I critted last week: it worked to get perspective for the Ivy to spread into the street.


In my calling, architecture there is an extreme collision. Before the explosion of technology has enabled virtual reality to feel pretty real, I and other architects had to build things to make the a Ideal of Design live in the Real of the world – as I did for our family:


But that’s costs real money. And once done exquisitely brutal judgment for an unchageable physical reality. Cyber buildings are never finished: a click can correct any flaw forever and instantly: and without the Real of a site, or a budget or weather there is only the Ideal to deal with.


But for non-architects, the Ideal home often means grabbing at the straws of memory and hope to cobble together a home of images, a quilt of features that cover all the bases of defendable desire: a home of aspiration, which is not hope, which may be real, but is clearly not authentic:


But the Real of Virtual can create sad results, even on its own terms. This built thing, by Paul Rudolph is exquisitely real:


But the Ideal of computer generation often defaults to the extreme limits of human capacity – this is the same function, in the same town, with a larger budget, just not built:


Humans are Real, we are here, we love, we hate, we die: but we know, or sense the Ideal. But we are not Ideal. But we want it in our lives: so we build McMansions. We make ways to make the Ideal Real: like virtual architecture – and religion.

Religion is not God. Religion is Real, but it is never Ideal. But we want to be. Desperately, so when asked, I run to be a part of my religion’s state level Reality:

My reality, like everyone else’s changes, I would never even think of being part of the Diocese, but I was asked, by a person or two, but more the Still Small Voice I cannot shake.

What makes religion meaningful to me is not The Church, not the Real issues of any human endeavor: the petty, snarky silliness of grind and CYA that makes the ideal pretty hard to find. Unlike the Sistine Chapel the Real seldom lives up to the Ideal. But God finds me without the mimicry of the Ideal that organized religion efforts, often so unsuccessfully, because, for me God is Real – every day, often at the least Ideal moments.

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