There was courage in her when she was a kid. The bravery she's shown recently is an outcome of what was always natural with her.
To reveal an intimate personal matter to the world at large may seem as if someone's speaking a completely different language from the one spoken when the lingo was all about rescuing wounded soldiers off Hacksaw Ridge but actually, they have a basic commonality. Both are action-verb based; both perceive a will to respond personally and directly to an immediate human need.
Daniela, taking note of the many women who've been speaking out about unwanted sexual advances made by famed, powerful men, men well-known through the media, decided to reveal her own story, to make public the aggressive sexual attention she'd been made to endure by her often-lauded father. Her #MeToo admission is a call-to-arms. I'm proud to cheer for her but I know very well that waving an honor banner to laud an inspirational warrior-champion is a whole lot easier than marching side by side with one.
Reading the eloquent short essay she posted to Medium about her father's abhorrent behavior, I was stunned. Although it was no secret that Paolo Soleri had always been a guy with a roving eye, a would-be Don Juan who wanted, tried to play practically every woman he found attractive, I hadn't ever, despite years of training and practical experience as a licensed Social Worker in all sorts of settings, considered the possibility that the man's lecherous fancy might include approaching and assaulting his own daughter.
I rue my lack of insight. "Shoulda, coulda, wish I hadda" doesn't rectify an egregious wrong.
Daniela's ability to distinguish between her father's completrely unacceptable behavior and the value of his ideas is extraordinary. But as I said, she has always been exceptional.
She was owed, at the very least, an apology from her father.
Having received one from mine, I feel strongly that if you get one, you are better off. You might even be perceived as lucky, in the eyes of some people; although "lucky" is usually a title somewhere between curse and blessing. It has always seemed to me that if you can wear that particular label with humility, attaining closeness to the divine is less likely to trouble you. But if humility is missing from your roster of wanted/needed virtues and values, your troubles are only just beginning...
What I have to say about "It can make a difference, a sincere apology," is that the one I received was my father's gift to me. Every bit as precious as my mother's. (Perhaps it accounts for my tendency to ruminate, an unexpected benefit of my father-the-bacon-lover's honoring Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza.)
Does the language of arcology have its own vocabulary of suffering? If so, what I want to know is: How many noun variations are there? If they are quantifiable, how are they qualified? For what purpose?
Where this line of thought started was my wondering about language: If arcology requires a language that's verb-based, action-statement oriented, what balances it?
My questions about that language could go on, and on and on:
- How is it balancing its inertial mass?
- Has it ever feared potency?
- Has it ever equated some specific action with submission?
- Has it ever questioned how unfolding happens?
Wherever we start to question the hows and whys of what's happened in the past, the list of questions will continue infinitely in an infinite number of directions. A geometry of space and time. Balancing orders of magnitude and complexity.
Burdens are everyone's business. No-one lives without them. Abusers are most often people who were once themselves abused. Does crediting the unknowns put marks upon us? What might those marks signify? How do we question the worshipful intimacy of coupled parents? How do we question what might be learned/acquired behavior?
Life's balance is as important as water. Where the oil is, in that equation, was what I supposed the arcology idea rested upon.
Otherwise, I couldn't see what Daniela's father was driving at, much less how his idea about it could be achieved.
Paolo Soleri wasn't great at questioning himself, at questioning his judgement. Nor did he recognize that the need to question is a right, a right that everyone possesses. Not only did he forget to announce what questions he didn't want to be asked; for the most part, he forgot to ask. Period.
Men - and women, too - learn such habits. Overcoming habits takes concentrated practice. Willful practice. (Surprise!)
No doubt Daniela wasn't given an apology because her father was pretty much incapable of admitting he was wrong. No matter how obvious it might be that he was.
Canadian painter Marcia Stone and I made him let us compost the organic waste produced in the kitchen of the Cat Cast in 1968, but not because he agreed that his own idea about what we were doing was totally of the mark wrong. City guy without a shred of experience with any kind of gardening, afraid of dirt, a contamination phobia coupled with other sorts of hesitancies; most likely he gave in because we were adamant. Plus beautiful Marcia, a whole lot taller and much more stolidly built than he was, towered over him. The two of us ganged up on him, overwhelmed him with fact:
"Boss, listen up! Composting works. It's the right thing to do. Better learn how to do it right, and, while you're at it, efficiently."
He wasn't enthused but he did let us compost the kitchen waste. Maybe ultimately, he did sort of "get" that composting is where and how waste management begins if you're really serious about "frugality" - a notion on which, he avowed, he based his entire value system. (What's not to like about composting? What's not to love?)
But he could not, would not accept the aesthetically elegant, economic solution proposed by Paul Vigne to make passing through the Vaults a whole lot more safe and accessible, despite Paul's considerable training and experience in Interior Design. He could not because he had not thought of it himself. That decision might not have won the "Most Arrogant Statement of the Year" award but it's a lot of years since he said it and there's been no effort made to carry out Paul's readily implementable idea.
Paul's not one to push himself on people, but I'd take book that no-one's thought to ask him about such design concerns - about which, as I said, he knows quite a bit...
Cosanti Foundation recently issued a brief statement acknowledging Daniela Soleri's letter. It's a good starting point but IMO it needs considerable follow-up. If I had knee cartilage left to make it possible, I'd get down on both of mine to ask Daniela if she and her husband, David Cleveland, could/would consider developing a master plan for a farm-to-table agricultural program at Arcosanti. Needed for decades, it just last year finally made it close to the top of Cosanti Foundation's To-Do-Now bucket list.
Professors at UCSB, their area of specialization is arid-land agriculture. They know Arizona terrain very well, including Arcosanti's. They have the experience, the resources, the insight needed to coax a comprehensive edible landscape schemata for food, fiber, an apiary, a 'water conservation for survival' strategy - whatever is needed to implement a viable sustainable agricultural plan for the site of Arcosanti.
Plus: If ever there is an opportunity for offering poetic justice, it is incumbent upon us to assess the value of that opportunity. IMO in this case, for sure, "Seizing opportunity by the forelock" (as the I Ching puts it) might help redress a terrible not-right.
This is surely looking to be a lot of importuning on my part; but I don't suppose it's my bum knees that will impede an affirmative reply. Subjecting my wish to careful scrutiny, I can't personally imagine myself agreeing to consider my own proposition unless I were given complete assurance that the policy decision-making authority entrusted to Cosanti Foundation would unfailingly and in every instance demonstrate consultation with advisors it will accede to.
I'd need complete assurance that every aspect of the Foundation's operations will be copiously, scrupulously documented, made available publicly and openly. That the Foundation will consider a revision of its constitution and by-laws. That it will review how its Board members are selected. That the Trustees' terms of office are spelled out. That job descriptions are made available and that job-performnace review is standardized. That employees do not serve as Board members, as is the general rule in the world of non-profit management, or that Arizona's Board norms are adhered to: three non-employees for every one employee..
Nor need Daniela. Why should she? Among other issues, in what way does the organizational model of a "company town" - no matter how fine an idea is behind it, no matter how aesthetically exciting its manifestation - make the arcology experiment as it is currently being handled at Arcosanti serve as an example of a terrific investment opportunity for the multitudes?
One for-instance: How is the CraftsIII Cafe management strategy demonstrating the best possible return on one of its potentially most cooperative endeavors?
Another for-instance: In what way is it possible for potential stakeholders to realize a solid return on their investment?
For that matter: Who are the stakeholders? There is no mechanism that allows people - including almost 8000 alumni - to secure a place for themselves at Arcosanti. For whom, exactly, is Arcosanti being built?
May Daniela's initiating this discussion be of benefit.