Posts Tagged ‘skyscrapers’

The Tower of Signals

August 17, 2019

Thousands of years ago, we built a legendary tower, the shadow of which has seemed to darken our human history even unto today.

According to a certain well-known historical source, the Bible . . . the tower of Babel was erected in some location east of the Euphrates River. The region therein has been known since that ancient time by various names:  Chaldea, Shinar, Babylon, and a few other identities, such as the current one, Iraq.

So an ancient tale about the tower of Babel, especially its fall, has been passed down to us through the ages.   The biblical account says that The Tower of Babel’s undoing happened because the people were unable to communicate. So they were not able to get the thing built.

In our modern reflection upon that archaic project, I think what Will Rogers or Mark Twain or Yogi Berra, or some such sage  said, applies:

“What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

It’s an old story, but true.

Nevertheless, I’m here to tell ya that in spite of ourselves we people of the earth have managed to erect some pretty impressive towers here and there throughout the ages.

For instance, notice this  classic religious tower in San Francisco, which happens to be a double.

Spires2Chrch

This structure represents that spirit of religion that dominated our Western culture for a couple of thousand years.

Here’s a Spanish project representing a more contemporary creative impulse toward the divine.

Sagrada

Very impressive. But the era of God-inspired basilica-building has been overtaken by more humanistic projects. Since the so-called Enlightenment in the 18th-century, people have aspired to ideals even loftier than mere religion. This modern emphasis has wrought even higher and higher feats of skyscraping.

BuildSkysc

The long epoch of God-inspired tower-building has been overtaken by a New Age of Man.

CityPhild

And yet, our rising human spirit has morphed itself beyond mere commercial, citified projections. Check out an Olympic objet d’art that the Barcelonans fashioned for the 1992 Olympics:

BarcOlymp

This fluidic rising structure embodies a humanic zeitgeist; it aspires to inspire ascension to world peace—a peace wrought through zealous sports competition instead of bloody wars fought with destructive weapons on muddy battlefields.

Pretty damned impresseve, huh?!

Higher and higher we strive; higher and higher we arrive.

Now in 21st-century AI, We find ourselves in the upper regions of human accomplishment.

Physical upbuilding has now taken a back seat to the loftiness of our ideals.

So we’ve built a stupendous net of ideas, an electronic network that ceaselessly transmits gigabytes of presciently important data around the world. It is a web as ethereal as the sun itself . . . as surreal as a Dali . . .  as real as a Warhol.

And towards this end, we’ve built towers of a different—a new and different—kind:

The Tower

Towers such as this one–structures of ascending human perfectibility– are slavishly repeating signals all day and all night for the benefit of all mankind!

For the benefit of Mr. Kite, ever and ever onward to greater heights!

We hold these spires to be self-evident—that our updated tower-driven secretions will project a worldwide web of human achievement to rise higher than  the Tower of Babel ever did!

Good luck with that.

Glass Chimera

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Chicago

June 21, 2014

I say

America moved, I say, back in the day.

She just came bustin’ out from the East.

She came rolling in on wheels, gliding through ship-tossed spray.

She was blowing past some old dearth, yearning some new feast.

We heard her skimming’ o’er Erie, Michigan, and along the deep blue sky,

plucking plunder low, grabbing gusto high.

And when the dust had settled,

after Illinois mud had dried,

when ore’d been changed to metal,

while papa sweated and mama cried,

the new was born; the old had died.

Where dreamers come and workers go,

‘t’was there arose:

Chicago.

 

Born of rivers and the Lake,

she was cast in iron, forged in steel,

bolted fast as rails n’ timbers quake,

careening then on some big steely Wheel

making here a whippersnappin’ deal,

and there a factory, a pump, a field,

o’er swamp and stump and prairie

tending farm and flock and dairy

in blood and sweat and rust

through boom and blust and bust.

ChigLRust

 

They carved out block, laid brick and stone;

our groundwork for America Midwest they honed

with blade and trowel and and pick and shovel.

They swung hammers through dust as thick as trouble.

ChicDNBldg

 

They dug a canal there that changed

the whole dam world; they arranged

to have goods shipped in, and products go.

Reminds me of Sandburg, and Michelangelo.

ChiTribBldg

Many a man put meat on the table;

many a woman toiled, skillful and able.

Thousands of sites got developed, selected,

while many a factory got planned and erected.

(ChiFinkl1)

ChiFinkl1

Many a Chicagoan had a good run,

caught lots of ball games, had a whole lotta fun,

while working, playing, praying and such

with friends and families, keeping in touch.

ChiBldCh

 

In all that we do, the plans we make,

 

there’s forever more going down than we think is at stake.

 

When people wear out, they sit around and play cards.

 

When widgets wear out, we pile them in scrap yards.

ChicScrap1

 

If we’re lucky, or resourceful, or blessed,

we’ll end up with a little something at the end of our test,

a hole in the wall, or a piece of the pie,

maybe a nice little place, by n’ by.

 ChicagoIvy

While Democrats convened in Chicago in ’68,

antiwar protesters got stopped at the gate.

Mayor Daley sent his men out to poke ’em in the slammer.

‘T’was Chicago style justice: no sickle, just hammer.

DaleyPlaza

Today in downtown, Chicago Mayor Daley’s name is all over the place,

though about those radical protesters you’ll find not a trace.

So what does that tell ya about Chicago, or America, today?

We’re like the Cubs’ in the Series;  that’s all that I’ll say.

Glass half-Full