I see these columns and am reminded that I am arrogant. I was raised in the modern world and was told to believe that our time was the pinnacle. We do everything the best that has ever been done…..
….except create buildings that will last for 2,000 years.
Each column is a singular rock which came from Egypt (how and why they got to Rome is another story…) and were put into place 1,900 years ago without anything we would call modern.
That they’ve lasted is obvious. They challenge us with the question: “what do we really know?”
I have never been involved with a project that required this kind of precision. In fact, nothing today requires this kind of precision. We don’t require it because we don’t care if what we do lasts. We simply assume that because we are the greatest that everything we do will last.
These columns are a testament to the reality that we face. We don’t build as if we need our society to last. Therefore, what we build won’t last. And we don’t care.
The Romans had LOTS of problems: slavery, dictatorship, exploitation; but they did understand one thing: they understood the scale of time.
So the conflict arises: can we build lasting structures without slavery, dictatorship, and exploitation? If we can, what kind of buildings should we build?
Or, perhaps is it better to not build for 1000s of years….? And just do what it takes to take care of people within the span of our lives?
I think the middle is the answer: every building doesn’t need this level of precision, but we need to not waste energy in creating buildings that will be waste in 50 years.