Archive for March, 2007

beautiful chaos

March 28, 2007

You look at the charioteer, that sculpture in Delphi. It’s a Roman sculpture. And it says artist unknown. And it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of sculpture.

Think about that.

When I saw it I started crying. Because of how powerful it is that the guy doesn’t have his name, you know, that it grew out of a moment in time when there was a consensus… and that happened. That’s antithetical to democracy, I think.

And I’m hoping that, out of democracy, comes an expression that is… the consensus is democracy. How does that express itself? It expresses itself chaotically. And that chaos – we’re starting to feel – is beautiful.

– Frank Gehry, from Sketches of Frank Gehry


When I see something negative [critical reviews] I usually try it on, like you’re trying on a pair of jeans. I try it on for size. I wear it. I think, maybe there’s something here. I look at it. And then, I must get something out of it, because I’m sure I… but I don’t digest it intellectually. I don’t take it in as “Oh, I’ve got to do this” or “I’ve got to do that”

– Frank Gehry, from Sketches of Frank Gehry

step up or shut up

March 26, 2007

Perhaps that’s a little harsh, but why is it that I get complaints so often about the quality of design for new buildings in the city, yet when there is an open call for members to the Advisory Design Panel, not one responds? There seems to be no problem finding the time and energy to complain and write nasty letters, but not enough to be a part of a solution. If you have something to say about what the new buildings about your community look like, why not apply? Why not share your thoughts in a way that actually makes a difference? Why not help solve the problem rather than just complain about it?

Community isn’t about the government doing stuff for you, it’s about what everyone contributes to our shared experience. If complaining is your contribution, what kind of community are you creating?

If you think buildings in our city should be nicer looking, help make that happen. Apply to serve on the Advisory Design Panel.

expectations v. happiness

March 3, 2007

It was suggested that I look up a book called The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. In my search, I found this video of him explaining his theory. He says that more choice results in less satisfaction and jokes that the key to happiness is low expectations. In another lecture, he referenced a Harvard Center for Business and Government paper titled The Laws of Libertarian Paternalism.

They seem to suggest that the present-day explosion of unbridled choice is frustrating the pursuit of happiness. I haven’t studied the paper yet, but it sounds like they’re saying that the role of corporations, advisors, and government is not to promote or restrict choice, but to offer recommendations to assist those (which is almost everyone) who do not take the time or have the patience to sift through all the options and make a decision, and so are more likely to simply not make a decision — when not making a decision is to their own detriment, that those in leadership roles have a responsibility to help make those choices less daunting.

I expect this has huge insights on how people make choices during elections and complex exercises such as community planning.