Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nature and Culture (on the way to Calamity)

I still aim to write an entry or two about the calamity in Japan but, along the way, I have stumbled across a puzzle in the pages of my own book.

In Chapter 2, as I develop an experiential approach to decision making in the built environment, I describe place as "a field of opportunities and constraints" relative to a given project (p.35). In the pages following that first definition, I portray opportunities and constraints as the product of the interaction among natural, social, and technological dynamics. In the entry I plan to write, the distinction between the natural and the social/technological is to serve as the basis for some reflections concerning the often-unrecognized importance of natural dynamics in shaping and sustaining the built environment, but also concerning the vulnerability of place as an extension of our own vulnerability as mortal beings.

What puzzles me, reading my own book, is how to draw a clear distinction between natural and social dynamics.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Natural Evil, from Lisbon to Minamisanriku

I am developing an entry prompted by the ongoing calamity in Japan and also by the recent upheaval in Christchurch, New Zealand. It may take a little time to gather together what I've been thinking concerning the vulnerability of place as an extension of our vulnerability as mortal beings.

In the mean time, I think it worthwhile to adapt some material I wrote on another blog for this context. Most of what follows comes from an entry I wrote on October 1, 2009, with a few further comments (in square brackets) added this morning.
From time to time, I discuss the problem of evil - or, The Problem of Evil - with my students.