I thought I should include a link from here to a longer article on Energy Alternatives.
This is my list of the key technologies I think we need to develope to make my home of Minnesota independant of energy imports.
Thank you all for reading, and please drop me a line if you like what you see, hate what you see, or just have questions.
I met with one of the people in our community district council this morning. For those of you not familiar with Saint Paul, we have 17 offices advocating for the communities of our wonderful city. They do most of the planning and direct contact with people. It’s a great system.
I want to see if we can beef up our image a bit as a way of supporting the smaller businesses that line West Seventh street. They are an eclectic bunch with strong personalities, but that is also true of our resident base. It all seems to fit nicely. But how do you do it?
The goal I have in mind is one of making a strong identity on the ground, and not worrying so much about any kind of media effort. I want to see the deep history made real in ways that even a casual observer can relate to. And this takes me back to my one trip to Vienna a few years back.
One of the most remarkable things about the old imperial capitol of the Hapsburgs are the statues everywhere. It was hard for me, as an American, to understand a statue of the Graf Radetzky rampant. It looked like the ossified bones of a dead empire, still bleaching in the sun. But marble figures like this were everywhere, following the wandering path of tourists like me.
Then, I came to the main orchestra hall. In front is a statue of the late Herbert von Karajan, a great conductor and personal hero. He was depicted with head bowed, cradling a baton as if his soul was locked inside. It was humble and yet forceful, a pose that depicted the man who said many times that he was a humble servant of the art that he surrounded himself with. Suddenly, the purpose of the statuary came to me.
These were not dead bones. These were living objects, the physical manifestation of the people and how they saw their culture. I was reminded of the story of Thomas in John 20:29 – “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
We are all doubting Thomases. It is the nature of our species to demand physical reminders of our culture all around us, everyday. Without those, the faith and common values that is necessary to bind people together become abstract. Loyalty to a place comes from the heart, not the head. Lose that connection to the heart, and life becomes sterile and dull.
Statuary may not seem like a critical cultural component, but it can tell people at a glance what the culture is about. It invites them in, it gives them an image they can relate to. This is not a personal statement by the artist, but nothing less than the hopes and dreams of a people, a shared vision, made somehow real.
People tend to insist that these values be real enough to touch them, deeply enough that we can feel the wounds and everything. It is simply a matter of human nature. I see no reason why we cannot understand this and begin to realize it in stone.