Harry Hillman Chartrand
Wright, F.L., The Living Cit
Horizon Press, NYC, 1958.
Part One: Nature
Part Two: Illusion
Part Three: Decentralization
Part Four: Usonians
Part Five: The Present
The internal character of a man is often expressed in his exterior appearance, even in the manner of his walking and in the sound of his voice. Likewise the hidden character of things is to a certain extent expressed in their outward form. He ought to look with his own eyes into the book of Nature and become able to understand it. The knowledge of nature as it is -not as we imagine it to be - constitutes true philosophy. But he who is not true to himself will not see the truth as it is taught by nature, and it is far easier to study a number of books and to learn by heart a number of scientific theories than to ennoble one’s own character to such an extent as to enter into perfect harmony with nature and to be able to see the truth. Wisdom in man is nobody’s servant and has not lost its freedom, and through wisdom man attains power over the stars. He must realize the presence of the highest in his own heart before he can know it with his intellect. The spiritual temple is locked with many keys, and those who are vain enough to believe that they can invade it by their own power, and without being shown the way by the light of wisdom, will storm against it in vain. Wisdom is not created by man; it must come to him, and cannot be purchased for money nor coaxed with promises, but it comes to those whose minds are pure and whose hearts are open to receive it. The highest a man can feel and think is his highest ideal, and the higher we rise in the scale of existence and the more our knowledge expands, the higher will be our ideal. As long as we cling to our highest ideal we will be happy in spite of the sufferings and vicissitudes of life. The highest ideal confers the highest and most enduring happiness... The highest power of the intellect, if not illuminated by love, is only a high grade of animal intellect, and will perish in time; but the intellect animated by the love of the Supreme is the intellect of the angels, and will live in eternity. All things are vehicles of virtues, everything in nature is a house wherein dwell certain powers and virtues such as God has in fused throughout Nature and which inhabit all things in the same sense as the soul is in man. True faith is spiritual consciousness, but a belief based on mere opinions and creeds is the product of ignorance, and is superstition. This physical body, which is believed to be of so little importance by those who love to dream about the mysteries of the spirit, is the most secret and valuable thing. It is the true “stone which the builders rejected, but which must become the corner-stone of the temple. It is the “stone” which is considered worthless by those who seek God above the clouds and reject Him when He enters their house. This physical body is not merely an instrument for divine power, but it is also the soil from which that which is immortal in man receives its strength.
What sap and leaves are to the great Oak a healthy aesthetic is to a People.
This book is written in the firm belief that true human culture has a healthy sense of the beautiful as its life-of-the-soul: an aesthetic organic, as of life itself, not on it; nobly relating man to his environment. The sense of this natural aesthetic would make of man a gracious, integral, potent part of the whole of human life. Ethics, Art and Religion survive in civilization only as departments of this aesthetic sense, and survive only to the extent that they embody human sentiment for the beautiful. To ignore this truth is to misunderstand the soul of man, to turn him over to science ignorant of his true significance; and to remain blind to his destiny. p. 9
Salvation depends upon the realization that, with science carried far enough and deep enough, we will find great art to be the sure significance of all that science can ever know of life and see that art and religion are valid prophecy of everything that science may ever live to convey. p. 10
“Once upon a time,” not so long ago, the conquering of physical or territorial realm was the Frontier. But now to conquer the sordid, ugly, commercialism in this machine age, this “bony fiber of the dry tree” - that spiritual conquest is our new Frontier. Only by growing a healthy aesthetic, organic in the souls of our young polyglot nationals can we win this victory, greatest of all victories - Democracy. p.11
Centralization - without plan - has overbuilt.., the properly citified citizen... is sidewalk-happy. p.17
By elevator, the upended Street, his life is thus limited and confused, contained instead of expanded; a vicarious life virtually sterilized by machinery, by medicine, by more and more stimulants. His demoralization has only begun.
Nevertheless - relentlessly - over him, beside him, beneath him, even in his heart as he sleeps is fear. Fear. Fear forever ticking in his taxi-meter of triple rent - rent for land, rent for money, rent for being alive - each of them goading the anxious “consumer’s” unceasing struggle ... p.19
Thus the system is steadily increasing in man his animal instincts, his fear of being turned out of the hole into which he has been accustomed to crawl in again each evening to crawl out again next morning. Natural horizontality - true line of freedom on earth - is going, gone. The citizen condemns himself to... pig-piling. What he aspires to is a sterile urban verticality, actually unnatural to him because he is upended, suspended and traffic-jammed by this verticality due to his own mad excess. p.20
The Shadow-of-the-Wall - Primitive Instincts Still Alive
Cave-dwellers bred their young in the shadow of the wall. Mobile wanderers bred theirs under the stars in such safety as seclusion by distance from the enemy might afford. p.21
Instead of expanding our spiritual strength as human beings by means of these new scientific advantages, we are content to practice artifice without art. The Substitute or Imitation is the signpost of our cultural lag. Science can do little or nothing about all this. It is up to the American spirit seeking above things for organic (natural) forms truly essential to a culture of our own. p. 24
Democracy: Gospel of Individuality
the citizen is now trained to see life as a cliche whereas the architect should train his own mind, and thereby the citizen’s, to see the nature of glass as Glass, the board as Board, a brick as Brick; see the nature of steel as Steel: see all in relation to each other as well as in relation with Time, Place, and Man.
What then is the Nature of this idea we call organic architecture? We are here calling this architecture The Architecture of Democracy. Why?
Because it is intrinsically based on Nature-law: law for man not law over man. So understood, so applied. It is simply the human spirit given appropriate architectural form. p. 25
At more ancient is the wisdom, and it too is modern, that recognizes this new democratic concept of man free in a life wherein money and land-laws are established as subordinate to rights of the human being. That means first of all that good architecture is good democracy.
So dignity and worth would come to our society if the individual were thus individual: true individuality, no longer written off as some kind of personal idiosyncrasy by way of “taste” but protected as essence, to be understood as the safest basis for interpretation of science, the practice of art, and ultimately the inspiration of a true religion. This is the modern world today; it always was; it always will be. Now in order to become organic we will learn to understand that form and function are as one...
This new sense-of-the-within naturally unfolding, taking form by the culture of art, architecture, philosophy and religion, natural; all being content to look within to the Spirit for the solution of every human problem and, by expanding the means so found, enlarging and achieving new, varied expressions of life on earth… this would be the old wisdom, ancient as Laotze at least; yet modern. That is modern Architecture and modern manhood. p. 26
Social and Economic Disease
To look at the cross-section of any plan of a big city is to look at something like the section of a fibrous tumor. p. 31
Three major artificialities have been drafted and grafted by law upon all modern production; hangovers from petty customs originating in feudal circumstances... Rent for money; rent for land; really only extrinsic forms of unearned increment; and the third artificiality is traffic in invention. A graft by way of patents is another but less obvious form of “rent”. p. 33
a new army of lawyers. It becomes impossible to hold, operate, or distribute land, sell or buy money, or manufacture anything, safely, or even marry, make love or die, without the guide and counsel of these specialists in the extraordinary entanglements of rent, of rules, of regulations applied to this or that involute commercial expedient with courts of counters where the attempt to put law above man is made in this complex game we now call our civilization in the prosperity of the machine age... p. 35
But what about the man of ideas who labors out of the unknown essential sustenance for all? What about the imaginative individual who gives reality to thought? The planner-designer - he who gets results from materials so far as the life of society is concerned with them? Where in all this is the Artists Agrarian, Artist Mechanic, the inspire Teacher, Inventor, Scientist - in short the Artifex?
… Facades of false fortune place false premiums upon false traits of his character... p.37
Meantime, essential right-mindedness and decency of the artifex have moved him to go on working in this confusion of our machine age; trying to cultivate justice, generosity, and pity; best of all, the beauty of individual responsibility
in the midst of chaos. Upstream almost all the way without very well knowing why or how, worshiping not a golden god hidden in a cave but a great spirit ruling all by Principle. ... p. 38
Our new nation, called a republic, was an experiment in freedom, eagerly manned by refugees from despotism and monarchy of all nations. Soon we became a great federation of states, the greatest ever known, these United States of America. United, the states became a nation - call it Usonia...
Though with no corresponding revisions of traditional, Romish, or feudal, property-rights; and not much, if any, consideration given to appropriate new economy, our new country was founded upon a more just freedom for the individual than any before known... Then arose indiscriminate private wealth by way of fortuitous survivals of despotisms: feudal money-getting and property-holding. The new nation carelessly adopted them. An economic order more suited to monarchy and despotism than freedom was let loose with fresh ascendancy. Now see a new free-for-all race for power of riches, riches of power. It soon outran such culture as appeared, or bought it ready made. Unnatural reservoirs of capital as predatory accumulation made away with what little cultural understanding the new country had originally borrowed - a culture of no indigenous integrity... As a matter of course the original idea of Freedom grew thin so far as culture went, and grew dim or died.... Riches in general so rapidly overwhelmed any indigenous culture that so-called “American architecture” fell to the great low in eclecticism of all time. “Culture” attempted thus ready-made became a mere commodity.... pp.39-40
Here ... a self-determining polyglot people on incomparable ground, subscribing to the highest ideal of human freedom yet known, sprang into being as a nation with a curious bastardized culture: its culture a quarreling collection of ready-made cultures of the world, borrowed, pieced together by uncultivated “taste”... Thus quondam bastardization of the new nation’s character was artificially elected and applied: an artificiality soon to be confirmed by “higher” education! pp. 40-4 1
Meantime the more fancified citizenry also committed promiscuous adultery by the purchase of atrocities in the name of the Louis’ and their mistresses. Paris was capital not only of the pseudo-English colonial venture in culture: it now became the capital of our own pseudo-aesthetic interests. p. 42
So, once again, this time in the latter days of the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth, our American academic world mistook the setting sun for dawn. “Pseudo” by official order was duly confirmed as Precedent and ruled over popular education. “American” in culture became the highly respectable following-after into general outer darkness which we now see in perspective as the present “International” cliche. p. 43
The Culture Lag
The Jeffersonian democratic ideal, so inspiring in the beginning, is really the highest form of aristocracy this world has ever seen: aristocracy genuinely a quality of the man himself- not merely bestowed upon him by heredity or privilege: now a matter of character”
But (this) aristocracy lacked spiritual nourishment... Indigenous culture was - to this day - left to languish. Except as the cultural mask might be imposed by architects - themselves no more than drapers and haberdashers of the arts -shallow couturiers who functioned as “artists”...
This cultural mask has thus covered and concealed our true nature. In the name of some bad forms of surface-decoration, or the cliche internationale, our country was and still is being taught to call it Architecture...
Such substitute for culture - suitably urban –as we have set up in the big cities of these United States, thus betray the country. It functions as something imposed upon American life because we - the people - could not or would not learn the value of culture really grown out of the daily circumstances of our life... p.44
For the Individual
Buddha believed in nonvicarious effort - the spirit - only: that is to say, only in effort disciplined from within...
And Jesus taught the dignity and worth of the individual as developed from within. “The Kingdom of God is within you”: the potential of individuality. Christianity in his name diverted his teaching, professionalized and confused it in creeds and churches. Even by the Gothic cathedral.
The Church, with its creeds that Jesus did not want... too often emphasized the desirability of the disappearance of individuality: this, more ore less, is also the politics of fascism or of communism; similar to the practice of monarchic, socialistic or communistic peoples. Meantime the Protestant succeeded in bringing individuality back, but only partially; as a compromised Ideal.
Some five hundred years before the life of Jesus, the Chinese philosopher Laotze preached the sense of Individuality as a reflection of the organic unity of the Cosmos: the true source of human power, the all pervasive “state-of-becoming”! Our own democratic ideal of the social state seems originally conceived as some such unity. That is to say, Democracy was conceived as the free growth of humane individuality, mankind free to function together in unity of spirit... p.45
Out of American “rugged individualism” captained by rugged captains of our rugged industrial enterprises we have gradually evolved a crude, vain power: plutocratic “Capitalism. Not true capitalism... The actual difference between such “individualism” and individuality of true democracy lies in the difference between cowardly selfishness and noble selfhood!
“Isms” only aggravate misuse of vicarious powers... Like the abuses of any good thing abuses of individuality will bring reactionary consequences... If creative ability is our concern, we seem to have failed... Quantity uprises at the expense of quality.., surely the antithesis of Democracy. p. 46
Democracy cannot afford mere personality to be mistaken for true human individuality. Nor can the human will and intellect ever produce true individuality. Any such attempt could make only a mimic, or a monster: perhaps at best a scientist. Should our own great or near-great ever become able to draw the line between the Curious and the Beautiful, this difference between personality and individuality will come clear. Salvation of our culture therefore lies in practices which would be evident enough if we evolve true definitions of the character of our purpose and the nature of our circumstances. p.47
And true individuality has no more to do with the crass methods of mercantile egotism such as ours than with communism or socialism at its other extreme. Democratic individuality, a salient essence of all human life, is the fundamental core of Art and Artist - creative...
Great religious leaders - Buddha, Jesus, Abdul Bahai, Mohammed, Laotze especially - wanted no formalism by institutionalizing religion: tolerated no bureaucracy or officialism in the realm of the Spirit. Such integrity of the soul wanted not even disciples! p. 48
Now, we are here reading an actual consideration of the nature of the future city of democracy: a city with greater future for human individuality: a life deeper organic sense, true to man’s Spirit - individuality being fundamental integrity of the soul of man in his own time and place - and so most valuable asset of the human race. Without this city of its own America will have never known a culture of its own. No great architecture can arise from us or for us based upon the expedient use of the ancient city. Wherever there will be the democratic city, individuality of conscience and the conscience of individuality will be inviolate. p.49
The Inexorable Law of Change
In no planning which the old city received has modern spacing been based fairly enough upon the new time scale of modern mobilization - the human being no longer on his feet or seated in the trap behind a horse... but in his motor car or going on his plane... Urban life, originally, was a festival of wit, a show of pomp and a revel of occasion while all was still in human scale. p. 49
And yet, coming to the greatest of them, New York, for the first time, one has the illusion that we must be a great people to have raised this heavy barrage of relentless commercial mantraps so high; to have grandly hung so much book-architecture upon cumbrous old-fashioned steel framing, so regardless. Inhabited at such enormous cost not alone in money but in all human values as well... p.51
Exaggerated perpendicularity has no such bill-of-health. It is now the terrible stricture of our big city. Whatever is perpendicular casts a shadow: shadows of the skyscraper fall aground and where crowded are an utterly selfish exploitation. Because, if the civic rights of the neighbor down there below, in the shadows, were to be exercised, there would be no ‘skyscaping’ at all. p.54
The Light of Day
Although skyscraperism fits so well into the primitive psychology of the “rugged individualist” of the industrial revolution - he who from an office fifty stories up above the man in the street casts his ominous shadow p. 54
the vertigo of verticality... p. 55
The light of day? Streams of more and more insignificant facades and dead walls rise and pour out of hard faced masses behind and above human beings all crawling on hard pavements like ants to “hole in” somewhere or find their way to this or that cubicle... Tier above tier rises the soulless habitation of the shelf.... This vast prison with glass fronts...
Therein lurk the ambitions and frustrations of human beings urbanized out of scale with its own body... p. 56
A City should now be the planned consequence of better understanding of what the nature of the machine may mean to the man with a conscience... p. 58
Forces Tearing the Vortex Down
Miracles of technical invention with which our “hit-and-run” culture has had nothing to do are - despite misuse - new forces with which any indigenous culture must reckon.
ONE: Electrification. Given modern electrification, distance is all but annihilated so far as human communication go; and by electric light human occupation continuously illuminated...
TWO: Mechanical mobilization. Given the steamship, airstrip, and automobile, the human sphere of contact immeasurably widens...
THREE: Organic architecture. Given the Principles of nature, material resources become something no longer to be fought against but fought for. ... With organic architecture his resource, man is a noble feature worthy of his own ground... Planned revolution by evolution is now organic.
The sense of space in spaciousness is not only scientific (it always was) but now fruitful, a genuine becoming. Congested senseless verticality both inartistic and unscientific! To this spiritual awakening of the architect comes the space-loving human being as client. To freedom-loving democracy all stricture is as intolerable as it ought to have been so long ago. pp. 64-65
Earlier in time human intercommunications could only be had by direct personal contact. Commercial or social communication was slow and difficult. The City was of necessity a close-built mass - a mart, the only general meeting place, therefore the only distribution center. So the pattern of the feudal city grew to serve human needs as they then were. Human concentration, then, was not an unmixed evil. Such cities as there were grew as organisms; grew naturally as the organism of our own body grows; the natural result of proper feeding. Acceleration of tissue by circulation and chemical activity such as characterizes a malignant tumor did not then manifest itself. The city then was not malignant. The ancient city was not opposed to the course of normal human life in relation to natural beauty of environment; it was as inevitable as it was desirable. Cities of ancient civilizations grew to relieve pressures then caused by the lack of integration now possible to us. Those ancient civilizations have perished.
Perhaps learning lessons from the past, modern European cities wisely resisted skyscrapering and remained nearer human scale... pp. 67-68
Freedom or Conscription
Character is a healthy individual growth of freedom from within...
Aristocracy from within, which our forefathers hoped to see a reality - interpreted by Thomas Jefferson as “the bravest and the best”. p.72
Integration on the New Scale of Spacing
After our long journey - at least 500 years long - away from the original art of Architecture the mother-art, other arts, though not so integral with the daily life of the human being, now show signs of awakening.
N.B. Usonia is Samuel Butler’s suggestion of a name for our nameless nation (see his Erewhon). p.77
First, decentralization, then planned reintegration. Reinterpretation of our life by modern art and science will soon point the way forward to this realization. So work, leisure and culture: Art, Religion and Science; all will be, nearly as possible, one. Only then may each man be a whole man, living a full life. p. 78
If the true architect’s faith still lives, it must live as it has always lived: as honest experiment made by courageous, intelligent radicals in love with the poetic principle - and practicing these principles as architecture. p. 80
It is significant that not only have space values entirely changed to time values, now ready to form new standards of movement-measurement, but a new sense of spacing based on speed is here. p. 82
The countryside is the place for the skyscraper. p. 84
Democracy by Definition
Democracy: the integrated society of small units each of the highest quality imaginable and all characteristic. Genuine. p. 84
Land and Money
What the nation has been calling democracy is really only mediocrity rising into high places -mobocracy...
Interior discipline of trained imagination is needed for good citizenship, and needed to adapt modern machine craft to such higher uses as would expand and enrich the quality of all human life. This, too, is a matter of good natural architecture.
But first of all we need a new aesthetic ... p.85
Organic architecture has demonstrated the fact that severe machine-standardization need be no bar to even greater freedom of self-expression than ever known. p. 87
All history plainly shows that “force” did not nor can it ever organize growth of anything but resentment, hatred, revenge, more war - the epitome of all ill-will. p.89
Unworthy survivals of feudal thinking have made of our survivals of the medieval city a monstrous conspiracy against the freedom of life. p.89
Banking heavily on Yesterday the banker is continually stalling, or already betraying Tomorrow. p.90
Call architecture organic to distinguish it from the pseudo-classic order of the schools, derived mainly from grafted attempts at reclassification called the “international style”. A cliche. p.91
The New City
The architecture of the city may now be basic. Yes. As architecture is basic to essential structure anywhere of the timeless sort we can now build. This is no less the structure of whatever is music, poetry, painting or sculpture - or whatever else man’s interior sensibilities may thrive upon when disciplined from within by an ideal. Architecture must see civic life in terms of such human freedom as here prophesied: recognize native ground as the sure basis of a free life in a free city. p. 95
When democracy triumphs and builds the great new city, no man will live as a servile or savage animal; holing in or trapped in some cubicle on an upended extension of some narrow street.... p. 96
Modern gifts - glass, steel in tension, steam, electromagnetic sciences, chemistry, new atomic dissonance, alchemy; these and more, coming to here, implement the new era. We do not recognize their real significance. But we begin to use our own human gifts of creative imagination in the light of organic principles; the poetic principles and ever new ethics of right and wrong according to organic law, these will protect us. p.97
Architecture (organic) knows architectural values only as human values, values true not only to Nature but to humanity as nature...
What is building without intimate relationship to the ground it stands upon and the inhabitants who occupy it? p. 102
Our youth should be so educated as to discern and stand square with the practical, instead of oblique to the expedient; able to know with sure mind the difference between the merely Curious and the truly Beautiful.
Once again: “All fine architectural values are human values, else not valuable.” Humane architectural values are life-giving always, never life-taking. p. 105
A Legacy We Have Received From the Past
Are we all parasites?... Only as idle heirs of civilization... No man should ever be so bound or time-bound. Nor should any man be a slave to or for ‘a living’. The proper free man should do, in the main, what he really wants to do when he wants... p. 109
At present, the multiplicity of systems, subversive schemes, especially the 57 varieties in our modern architecture, have gone down so completely as the common expedient as to be too often mistaken by us for civilization itself.
The old order is breaking up under the load our senseless weight puts upon us...
Political partisanship becomes a form of gangsterism. “Party politics” are no true product for nourishment of sentient individuality. Various eclecticisms are the only feature our nation yet knows... p. 110
Therefore if instead of the organic architecture of Broadacre City we continue to have mere styles-formula retained by the A.I.A. as architecture, this cataclysm will come because so many mere money-makers have neither the wit, imagination, nor integrity to discriminate between personality the exterior, and individuality the interior; and more capacity for enmity than for gratitude. p. 111
Architecture and Acreage Together Are Landscape
Architectural features of any democratic ground plan for human freedom rise naturally by and from topography... built in sympathy with omnipresent nature that deep feeling for beauty of terrain... would seek: beauty of landscape not so much to build upon-as to build with... p.112
And - to repeat - organic architecture is no less essential to the structure of painting, sculpture, music and religion because, by way of nature, mankind is spiritually awake to the uses and great purposes of all the arts that are needed to make the culture of a civilization. Inevitably therefore architecture as the great mother-art and moderator contains in principle the essential basis, philosophy, and structure that should inspire them all! Architecture lives again as it has ever lived - the great final proof of quality in any civilization whatsoever. Always true basis or cornerstone of a culture. p. 113
The ideal of organic unity held firmly in mind, well in hand, the architect would himself gradually become a spiritual power, equal to his vast new opportunities. pp. 113-114
The Usonian Vision
Such integrated distribution of living all related to ground - this composes the new city embracing the entire country... The city becomes the nation. p. 119
Great architects will surely then develop creative buildings not only in harmony with greenery and ground but in intimate patterns of the personal lives of individual owners... “Styles” no longer fashionable, style itself will have a chance to flourish everywhere. Style now indigenous. pp. 119 &121
Architecture alive: the cultivator of youth - preserver of beauty of nature - guide and counselor of the growing American family as well as conservator of crops, flocks and herds. The philosophy of organic architecture looks and sees these all together as the field in which the architect is born to practice. p. 131
See the architecture of heavy enclosure for human life (the fortification) vanishing! A new kind of building to take its place comes to view - like magic - building now more natural to our time... The hard and fast lines between outside and inside (where he is concerned) tend to disappear.
And, too, the fashionable house of the past period-of-the-periods was not only a sodden box-mass of some kind - masses of building materials punched full of holes “a la” some desiccated mode or ancient fashion recorded by museums - but often the result of mania for the antique which made every house a bazaar, a museum, a junk shop. p. 141
Beginning at the beginning is apparently an art in itself long lost... “organic”... it also indicates where part is to part as part is to whole. But before it is truly significant we must realize form and function as one. p. 142
Change Will Take Effect
But should we fall to imitating machines in planning our buildings, even if inspired by steamships, automobiles, airplanes, bathtubs, refrigerators and water closets, then comes the streamline dogma - novel but dogma all over again. This time the dogma is the cliche: “Form follows Function. p. 143
inferior desecrators. p. 144
The creative artists? Well - naturally he is himself one who by nature is as important to society as society is important to itself. Which should mean that he is by nature (and by office) the qualified leader in any society, natural, native interpreter of the whole visible forms of any social order in or under which we choose to live. If worthy to be so accepted, happily so. If rejected by our society, it will be because society will not learn to see the true radical as the romanticist he is. The romanticist we are bound to discover as the true realist: to see the creative artist, then, as modern seer of the poetic principle. Not only is he way-shower but, with experienced command of modern ways and means, he is our natural leader toward a coveted culture of our own. p. 145
The Word ‘Organic’
Such then is the true significance of the word ‘organic’. We often refer to this quality as “entity”. p.146
The Usonian on His Own Acreage
The poor are poor because of triple rent: rent for land, rent for money, rent for ideas. p.146
housings for nobodies, not homes for somebody p. 147
To the Usonian! He is the American citizen. For him our pioneer days are not over! Perhaps pioneer days never should be. But the American frontier has shifted in many ways. Efficient and brave, our forebears took life in their own hands and often in the covered wagon went ever westward to clear grand new ground for more humane habitation. But they only blazed the way for another, unexpected, instrument of an efficiency that, by way of their own “rugged individualism.” became the exaggeration of their own good qualities; and now unchecked this menace grows on into the curse of exaggeration of the capitalistic centralization of our big city. As a consequence, inane mediocrity or vulgar profanity, we now see, has come out of our new power only to push the lives of citizens around? With courage and strength of the grand paternal inheritance, he the pioneer was native forerunner of the type of domination we see today building its own mortal doom and naming it for a monument to progress. The milestone and the gravestone - our skyscraper - in the potential cemeteries that our proudest cities are to become. The skyscraper thus will mark the end of an epoch; put a period to the plutocratic republic of America, which the industrial revolution raised to the 9th degree by the exercise of selfish inconsiderate prowess; and mark the beginning of another revolution. Machine power is running away with man and running away from the Western world to contaminate worlds of the “yellow man” the East. Consequences of our own industrial revolution, not foreseen, have crossed the Pacific and the Atlantic. Perhaps our salvation will lie in what such capitalistic centralization by machinery as ours is now will eventually do to the “yellow man” himself - as it has already done to the “white man”. That right might be our only hope in any impending future which the nature of humankind seems to have staged for us - the coming war between dark and bright - the war between Occident and Orient - West and East. White and yellow? Yes, this impending consequence is our only hope - the atom is it? -but before that time comes the machine may have done its work for the yellow man that it already has done for us. His increased numbers -say nine to one - may not be able to tip the balance in his favor. pp.196-197
The New Pioneer
is this the best power of which we as a people seem capable? Well, if it is infallibly to be on that basis, we are at the tail end of a civilization! The end, not the middle, not even the beginning of a great one.
A good statesman would be naturally a scientist, an architect of human happiness. p. 198
...Whereas the only impregnable human defense we have on earth is faith in ourselves and in our own kind. p.199
We have too much of the blinding externalities as well as the manifest disadvantage of ancient Roman law we have adopted by way of Oxford and Cambridge as paternal influence. p. 200
To Have and To Hold
The valiant special man (non-common) among us - he alone is free. But even so he is free at his own peril; enemy, and therefore the dislike of the common man pursues him to some bitter end for both. p. 202
honest individual freedom, non-conformity, is growing to be a desperate and dangerous adventure for any loyal citizen. I have described true discipline as developed from within, as the expression of soul instead of something applied by force in some form. As things are, the freedom won by such discipline will only be something on the way to the county poorhouse. Or to jail. pp.202
The light of the West is the light of the diamond, iridescent like the stars. The light of the East glowing incandescent like of colored gems burning with the lovely light of Earth in the palm of the hand. p. 203
the true greatness of a people like ours does not lie in centralized wealth and science promoted and distinguished from a profound Art, Architecture and Religion. These three are the soul of a culture. From the union of these with Science comes the freedom of a people. p.204
But until science is qualified by art and religion truly free and reconciled with both, in co-operation and inspiration vital to new art forms to enrich the spirit, human misery will only deepen. p. 205
Democracy in Overalls
Ideas always precede and configure the facts. p. 206
An architect’s struggle... in these United States lies in trying to get any profound study of any sort in the Arts into good form... Noble life demands a noble architecture for noble uses of noble men. Lack of culture means what it has always meant: ignoble civilization and therefore imminent downfall. p.207
The Wage Slave
Inevitably he will come face to face with this new reality in the words of Latoze: “The reality of the building does not consist in the four walls and roof but in the space within to be lived in.” p. 218