I agreed that sight is important, for sure but at the same time I had a flash about it being more than that. When I came across an essay psychologist/yoga teacher Devika Eifert had given me in Montreal (she is now in Toronto) that makes a strong case for its connection with the ear, of course I sent it to Professor Rybczinski to add to the mix of questions that can be asked about how we experience space.
I think it's complex, the experience of space, of different types of space. Take for example, as a class of buildings or structures, those which are constructed/intended for worship. Churches, cathedrals, mosques, altars, synagogues, temples, plain Meeting houses, and the like all have a unitary operational purpose in common, no matter how or where they manifest, no matter how different they appear. They all are meant to serve as places for people to come together with a sense of purposeful humility, for the sake of what we tend to call "community."
The Great Traditions all aim to provide a moral compass that will be operational within a specific cultural tradition, to help people distinguish and choose forms of behavior. Their central mandate is the same, no matter where they geographically and/or historically originate in the world.
Abstain from doing evil. Learn to do good.
Although the range of human behaviors is huge, in the main at one end are those which offend. At the other, you will find those which promote. This would be a simple dichotomy if there were absolute agreement as to what behaviors are acceptable and which are not.
"From your lips to God's ears," as the ironic prayer goes. No such luck, life ain't that simple. Complete agreement there ain't.
Despite the simple dictum "Thou shalt not kill" restated one way or another in a variety of forms by every identified, identifiable religious ethos, the last time I heard the slaughter of some human being lauded was awfully recent. Far too recent - I'm not a fan of gore despite appreciation of detective fiction as a genre. Go figure.
Never mind poppycock about war being OK because "defense" makes killing OK. If that argument NRA fans embrace can be used to justify bestiality, torture and rape, I can't accept it. Can't accept any part of it.
But I was talking about buildings specifically designed for worship rather than for enlarging garrison economies. My original train of thought was leading to how events happen in their own time for human organizations as well as human individuals.
Moreover: Life constantly presents behavioral choices to organizations as groups, as conglomerates of individuals.
Plus here's something else: There's a tricky piece in this problem which is - well, tricky. That is: Any and all communication is subject to interpretation.
Arcosanti - no exception to this truism - has encountered crossroads repeatedly over the years. The leadership style of Paolo Soleri ranged from visionary to micromanagement. "Neighborhood" development didn't play a large part in his design theory. His early insistence that Arcosanti was to be called a construction site only, could not be called a community, was not why he earned a few fistfuls of design awards. His priorities did not include work time being spent on talk about community.
Over the course of years, there were people who left the project simply (or not simply) because they were frustrated by this inability to accommodate, much less to account for, plan for, or organize systematically, its ongoing social evolution or development. Still, leaving didn't mean the place hadn't affected them. What I wonder is: How? Why?
What has been important about the idea of arcology? How has it made a difference in the lives of those who give it time and energy, either in brief or over a longer term? What about the place matters to them?
Paolo told me, once, he thought people took with them as much as they gave, that they got as much as they received. He didn't elaborate on what he meant and I forgot to ask him to explain in detail. But I'm curious - very curious - even more so now than I was a few decades ago, about all those people who've contributed to the phenomenon called Arcosanti. What have they got in common other than having experienced - over the course of more than 50 years - that shared space?
This is A Big Question.