I have been so outraged by the recent trends in architecture not only here in the United States, but around the world, that some time ago I decided to indict a profession that in such an irrational and reckless form had degraded itself. For me it was no less than if in medicine, from one day to the next, the trend were to use leeches instead of antibiotics and to rely on tea leaves rather than on X-rays. But recently, and to my surprise, I realized that architecture was doing nothing more than expressing the times. My anger then turned to concern for a world that is in total disarray, with present trends in architecture being its visual representation.
South America, the land I came from, is in disaster. What yesterday was an idyllic, bucolic continent, in our time resembles what Dante in his Divina Comedia describes as "the land of the damned." Central America is a battlefield where hate and misery fight wars with no end.
The world Communist organization has collapsed. Its ruins are there for us to see in peoples who once had high hopes and ideals, but today have little more than needs and resentment. How could anyone have believed that wealthy regions would become disaster areas where people rob and kill for food, which we have seen recently in the oil-rich Arabian Gulf and not long ago in Argentina and Venezuela?
Of Africa, we hear and see only of children dying by the thousands for lack of food and care, while adults are being brutally massacred. After it was left crippled for 50 years, Europe is hoping to recuperate itself with its plan of unification complicated by the migrations of peoples from adjacent areas east and south, coming in desperate need. Here in our United States, our youth is being murdered. A few years ago, we felt safe anywhere -- but not any more. The three locks on our front door are witness to that.
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HIV infection in Dade County now kills more people than traffic accidents do. Remember when we could afford the luxury of a mother waiting in every home? How can we properly educate children if all day long there is no one there? Even young animals can afford mothers!
Except for the Middle Ages, when wars and plagues scourged Europe, humans have never known a worse period in history, as far as I know -- except that during the Middle Ages there was faith in God. Today the only faith is in money. We have come to trust that with enough goods and markets, there will be a heaven on Earth. We have come to believe that all that is needed to create gardens is abundant water and fertilizer, the more the better. We don't realize that we have busily created not gardens, but jungles of gigantic weeds everywhere. Have we even for a minute realized that such a closing of our minds could be the cause of the world's catastrophic condition?
We have come to see accounting as the highest discipline of the mind. We talk about improving education, but what we really mean is more training in science and technology for youth to compete favorably in commerce, not in better understanding of others and ourselves. Don't we realize that in the most efficient system of education, which is television programming, there is practically nothing but crime, violence, fraud, and cheap sex?
The country goes from one adventure to another, always escaping the opportunity to look at itself, a condition reminiscent of Voltaire's book Candide, written in 1759. Candide is a young man who represents Leibnitz's unreal thought that their time was "the best of all possible worlds." Candide goes incessantly from one adventure to another, never pausing to think.
Voltaire ends the book with a phrase that synthesizes his thoughts and, I believe, our needs today: "Il faut cultiver notre jardin . . . " -- "We should cultivate our own garden. . . . "