Raising a Wall Can Open a View

January 3, 2007 | By | Reply More

I visited 2 very different construction sites today, on a whim. Two sons of one of my clients each were working a different site, and we just went by to see what was going on.

The first site is a new 9-story office building in Clayton, MO, a financial center near the center of the country. The son was applying fireproofing to the steel structure, much like you may have seen in 9-11 WTC documentaries. It was fun to ride up the external cage elevator on a breezy January morning and watch concrete sprayed onto the steel, to take a look around, staring down the open elevator shafts and the stairwells still missing stairs, to feel the wind in an office building with just cables between me and the precipice.

Then we went to the other son’s site, where a 2 story residence was being constructed in an old neighborhood. We were just in time to help raise the first external wall up on the second story. I rarely do that, generally preferring the George Jetson style of gainful employment.

What, you might ask, does this have to do with politics and economy and faith? Try the notion of distance from an issue, of perspective. From the points of view I had today, I’d say the building trade is thriving. People are hard at work putting up new buildings all over. Compare this to the national housing starts (down). Were you aware that the Empire State Building was built during the depression?

I regularly argue with people who are sure that an event is best understood by those in the middle of it. For example, one guy I know cites the certainty of soldiers who come home that the current war is going well, and we are doing great things over there, and the CinC is competent. This is at large variance with the opinions of the generals running the war, or any statistic you care to name. Soldiers in the middle are necessarily fed only that information that helps them to be more effective soldiers. This rarely resembles the big picture.
Individual personal experience, what leads believers to deeper faith, is actually a poor substitute for any objective view. I know several people who have had personal experience with Jesus or Satan or extraterrestrials. I call it hallucination, but these believers say there is a vast difference between their deeply moving personal, unobservable from the outside and unwitnessed experience, and a mere hallucination. That many people share these (carefully guided) memories of angels, UFO’s, or whatever does not constitute proof of reality.

“My experience was not guided or implanted”, they will cry. Well, unless you consider a lifetime of careful preparation to accept and expect this experience. Most people are prepped to accept this sort of internal revelation for their whole lives. A smaller group of us have been trained to resist accepting internal revelations that cannot be reconciled with the observable universe.

There are many new-age/ancient belief systems that claim/prove that ones internal experience of life is bigger and more powerful than the physical universe. But I’ll probably address Richard Bach and others of his persuasive ilk another time.

My point (that got a bit lost back there) is that one needs to see the forest before understanding the role of the trees. That one needs to examine a variety of perspectives to understand a subject. That each level of scale (eg: person, family, neighborhood, township, county, state, country…) has its own perspective and rules, but understanding comes from examining each one and its relationship to other scales. Always question authority (the next level upscale), then listen carefully to the answers. You both might learn something.

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Category: Communication, Economy, Religion, Whimsy

About the Author ()

A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

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