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“The Past Is The [deleted] Past!”

May 25, 2020


3 years ago I looked up, just as I did yesterday, and saw this: now 36 years, 3.5 constructions, 23 gardens, endless furtherings, repairs, rethinkings. For me, this is creating history in daily doses.

This morning, grinding out 600 calories, a football player on a screen, before a huge effort against a legacy opponent simply screams “THE PAST IS THE [deleted] PAST!” before the game. It is true: what was will probably not ever be restored in the reality of today: but we need history to have a future. Just like me looking at our home yesterday.

What is history? This week I am virtually evil to some for suggesting that reusing the decaying design of an iconic home, using the pieces that can be saved, and rebuilding it as an icon is a better choice than having 2 houses of my design wipe the slate clean, or, perhaps, an empty lot. “Authentic” under a completely obscuring skin is fully invisible – but to those who hate re-creation the invisibly  “Authentic” is preferable to openly honest re-creation – even if the history that is rebuilt fully lauds what had to be rebuilt.

“Had to” in this case means that costing twice as much in time and money made restoration of a non-governmentally protected building impossible: So the alternatives were a naked lot, two new little houses or a replication: I chose the latter, and was the eviler for it. I would love to lovingly restore a fully compromised-to-dangerous building: but I would also like to be playing in the NFL as well. So I coached high school football – and it was a good thing. Better than denying the love I have that could not be realized beyond the age of 17.

And the past is not so objective as a building or as delightful as a devotion. Bad things happen in history, too. Growing up in a Mad Men family of anger, drink and self-preservation has made my own history hurt for me: as it does for many that are damaged so young that healing is simply not possible, and coping is a relief.

The cultural past is what the culture makes of it. I am fully devoted to church, and religion in general as an architect as well as a civilian: But I cannot go to church in this sequestration, and even if legal, would not for a while: But I also simply do not accept God through a 2D screen when God is with me every hour of the day, if I just shut up. So history bumps up against now, and a new history begins.

We want certitude. So we make up Rules: “The Past is Prelude.” “History is Not Destiny, But It Rhymes.” “History Repeats Itself.” But “rules” of history try to define the future as we sent 500,000 troops to Vietnam, invaded Iraq, even predicted 2.2 million dead in the US of coronavirus. Humans do what we think as best, severally or as a group, led or individually, with sweeping social imperative or isolated devotion. History is seen by those seeing it, hard truths are often inconvenient to the agenda of our beliefs.

So a rebuild of an icon is repulsive to some, while answered hope to others. And I still regret not playing football in college.





One Comment leave one →
  1. Larry Roadman permalink
    May 25, 2020 1:41 pm

    _”_ _Close your eyes and you will see clearly. Cease to listen and you will hear the truth.”_

    Something shared by a friend this morning came to mind as I read what you, another friend, sent me just now.


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