Aurini said:Part of the reason for this ugly architecture is the pride of your average citizen. The arrogance, the narcissism - the love of movies which whisper to the psyche "You're just like Ironman and Captain America, heroism doesn't require sacrifice, all men are equal, your opinion is as good as anyone else." I remember speaking to a Protestant who argued that having a church in a strip-mall was more beautiful than a Cathedral because "God is everywhere." I wouldn't be surprised if us Catholics have to move to the catacombs and living rooms within our lifetime, but even if we do, we'll make those places beautiful out of respect for the Father; not tawdry and entertaining like Protestant youth centres.
The problem with beauty is that it humbles, as well as uplifts. All people recognize instinctually that Notre Dame is beautiful, almost unearthly in its beauty; but behold such beauty in person and regularly humbles oneself. When I see a typical modern church or home, I know that I could build it myself, with a few manuals; when I see a Cathedral like Notre Dame I'm awestruck by the sheer breadth of knowledge that went into it. It's not just the difficulty of the stone masonry, and the brilliance of the scaffolding crew - a building like that requires a deep understanding of mythology, Biblical scholarship, mathematics - and on and on. It is beyond me to create such a structure.
If we are to have beautiful cities, we require leaders who are elites, true elites, not the scheming mid-wits we have now. But in this era of mass-democracy and equality, where every man's opinion is equal to every other, elites are despised. Polymaths are derided. The mediocre, filled with pride, jealousy, and envy for their social betters, elect mediocre men and are then surprised that we have mediocre buildings.
A return to hierarchy, and an acceptance of one's place in the hierarchy, is a prerequisite to having a beautiful and functional civilization. Your average man spits on his betters, and declares himself the equal to all of them. They rebel against God, and claim that every man can interpret scripture in his own way, creating a religion of man with the veneer of holiness. These people are rotting and dying, one by one, without God to sustain them. Once these wretches have been wiped from the slate, then - and only then - might we start rebuilding a civilization that's worthy of man and God. Until then, all we can do is practice humbleness, patience, and love.
At the bottom and top is a gargoyle. The lower gargoyle is used to lead rain water away from the building, with the water coming out of the mouth of the gargoyle. Quite clever huh? Then I read that gargoyles might originate in the legend of St. Romain who slayed a dragon and nailed the head to a church to ward of evil spirts. Isn't that a great story?
This corroborates what we've been talking about here. You can't just rebuild the Notre Dame on skill alone, you need the spiritual connection. How many people today know why there are weird monsters on medieval churches and that they served a practical purpose? I sure didn't.
That kind of thing makes me chuckle. I realize just how advanced these people were. Imagine to have this kind of artistic and engineering skill with no printed books and no universities. That is humbling indeed.