Ruminations of a Working Man, Pt. XI: The Middle

Life is a constant balancing act. Every individual is a balancing act.

I am a little of everything. I am a little bit of logic and a little bit of emotion. I am a life-liver and a storyteller. I am an engineer and an artist. I am the crossover between utilitarian and aesthetic.

When a building is designed, you have the engineers doing the calculations to make sure it will stand as long as materialistically possible, but you also have the architects ensuring it looks like it belongs or stands out in the surrounding environment. Sure, some buildings are more utilitarian than others, but when the World Trade Centers were destroyed on September 11, 2001, they memorialized the individuals killed and resurrected the office spaces by constructing arguably some of the most beautiful urban buildings in modern existence. To simply rebuild the Twin Towers would have been a disgrace. By replacing the buildings as they were, one would look at the New York sky line and see nothing out of place. By adding aesthetic beauty, a glassy surface that blends into the sky with incredible shapes and design, significance is inherent and assumed.

Likewise, when Disneyland was created, it was not enough to have cardboard cutouts of Walt’s visions and dreams. The rides and attractions also had to be functional and intricate and safe for passengers. Cinderella’s Castle must stand of its own accord. All of the decorations and replacement parts and other inner workings of the park are in an underground city directly beneath Main Street. “It’s not pretty, but it works.”

The wonderful and terrible thing about this is that such balance is only achieved through tension. A discomfort. There is an immense tension as you walk from the fantasy-land into the inner-workings. There is tension as you balance art and science. There is tension between logic and emotion. Utilitarian and aesthetic. Likewise, there is ease and slack when only one side of the rope is tugged. This leads to immense dissatisfaction because the world was not made to be one way or the other, but rather a perfect balance of both. There is no homeostasis without the combination of sky and land (and sea). There is a general frustration inside man because we are so land-locked. This is why men attempted flight and seafaring.

We want more than we are, and to be more than we are. The tension brings rise to imagination-captivating inventions that bring us closer to the Middle.

Mayhaps this is why my little gray cubicle is the perfect box in which to hold the menagerie of a human that I am.

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