Sunday, January 09, 2011

Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice

When Christopher Wren died in 1723, this epitaph was inscribed on his tombstone at St. Paul's Cathedral in London: Reader, if you seek his memorial, look around you.

As one of the most noted English architects, and founder of the Royal Society, the monument to his memory was wrought by his own hands over many years before his mortal end.

It is telling that part of Wren's material legacy included the rebuilding of 50 churches and St. Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire of London in 1666. From chaos, order. Now, just in case I have piqued the interest of freemasons and occultists -- I really mean this in the most literal sense: the destruction wrought by nature (or even not by nature) has always become an opportunity for creative minds to build something from the ashes.

This cycle of destruction and rebirth is the true human condition, but the detail we often forget is that we create the order and the chaos.

Every day, look around and ask what your monument will be.