Societies are not static, they are like pendulums and can swing too far in either direction.


This site is committed to the free exchange of ideas in a civil manner. Leave your flies out of the room. The purpose here is to explore ideas that can lead to solutions that benefit all, if not most, rather than some at the expense of others.


Don’t complain if you’re not willing to make the sacrifice of time to, at least, read about what concerns you. If you abdicate your involvement---you get out what you put in.


To my father---as tough as an authoritarian as he was, he planted the seeds for this work. Did he know what he was doing?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Barcelona

This is one fascinating city.  Russell Watson’s song, of the same name, captures the spirit.  Although my experience speaks from a short visit, getting the quick tour was enough to see this city has a certain vibrancy that others don’t.  Every corner turned revealed a fountain, a park, an architecturally unique building, street artists, performers, sculptures and more.  Tapas!; convenient hop-on-hop-off- busses, palm trees, beach, the Mediterranean, Gaudi Park, and food markets; Columbus, Picasso, Las Rambles, to name a few; eyeballs on buildings, all compounded by a somewhat irregular street pattern and undulating terrain only added to the experience.  Now mix in a multitude of cultures, great food and wine, and a friendly population, can only create an atmosphere of stimulation at every move.  Not to say I was there long enough to encounter typical city problems, but the relative cleanliness and pride exhibited in conjunction with all the other goodies, certainly separates this city from many others.  Oddly enough, having visited Seville, another gem of its own, I can understand Barcelona’s quest for maintaining their individuality from the rest of Spain.  It truly creates a conundrum. 

But one outstanding exhibition of whimsically absurd construction is La Segrada Familia, by architect, Antoni Gaudi. Along with Barcelona’s other architecturally notable undertakings, Segrada will be one of those churches ranking on the all time great lists.  I believe right up there, not for the significance of its history vis a vis Notre Dame or the likes of the Basilica in Rome, or Milan, or Seville; but for the sheer opulence enabled by the materials and methods available at its time of construction (presumably they are not pilfering materials as they did with the construction of the Basilica).  Whereas previous structures may have taken 100’s of years, materials and technology hardly changed at the pace as in the time period between the construction of the Eifel tower before 1900 to erecting a 150 story story tower in Dubai in 2010.  It is this technological feature that is enabling the construction of Gaudi's Disney like structure. 

The Segrada Familia was started before the turn of the 20th century.  To this date for various reasons, it has still not reached its goal of completion; although it is currently on path to be completed sometime around 2025.  But there is something afoot I don’t believe existed when the other churches were constructed.

Segrada is the beneficiary of a business plan.  Whereas in the past, the construction funds were usually provided by wealthy individuals and or the church and state; thru clever marketing here, the public, encompassing all religions, is paying for this homage to fantasy.  But this model is not unique.  A Creationist museum and Noah’s ark museum in Kentucky are not dissimilar.  Whereas typically passing the church plate might render funds available for the needy, the revenues extracted from the visitors to these “museums” are available to repay bondholders/investors, provide a return on investment, and hopefully provide additional funds for additional investments or projects of this nature.  Mind you, business ventures of this sort yield little for the secular sect; save for the advancement of religious folly.  They have turned religion into business---and they get tax breaks to boot

But La Segrada Familia goes one step further to another level.  Because of its so called uniqueness of design---by sheer grandiosity alone, while it has attained substantial completion to operate as a working church, it is being marketed as the equivalent of an incomplete Rembrandt, Picasso or Michelangelo. Visitors go in droves to see the masterpiece. It is unique in the scheme of things as other churches go in their exaltation; but they’re still selling the same schlock, just a different package.  At some 2.5 million visitors a year, which translates into some $50 million/year, tourism alone is enough to provide adequate funds to finish.  Just calculate the funds available till completion.

I had my own dilemma.  I was greatly conflicted as to whether to support the church, by paying the entrance fee, or could I rationalize my prostration or submission?  Other churches are free or require a fee, presumably for maintenance as opposed to reimbursement for construction, which has long since been completed.  But based on attendance and entrance fees---I expect there’s more than enough to see Segrada’s completion.  My dilemma was how do I support this?  My rationale; although a newspaper reporter may not directly support the team he reports on, his attendance nevertheless is required.  So I’m past that, convincing or not. 

If they knew the establishment of the church is all based on myth and stories, then why spend millions?  And if they don’t know, isn’t it time to find out and make investments that benefit all of humanity via different methods?  Homeless, hungry, health research, for a few; why continue the erection of these Towers of Babel when the same funds could, rightly, as Jesus intended, serve humanity?  (Of course Barcelona’s not going to kill a golden goose and my tongue is stuck in my cheek).

Regardless, Barcelona shouldn’t be missed for the opportunity it provides to see other cultures and history.  It puts our own ego in perspective.  It let's us know there are others in the world with similar makeups, but different ways of approaching issues that confront us all.
                                                 No Flies !            

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