Turns out architects start out the same way as those who write: they ask questions.
It saves architects getting Scratchy Briefs (most uncomfortable) and writers voluminous ones (possibly worse)!
Many of us have lives with ‘scratchy or voluminous briefs’! We’re caught up in pre-conditioned acceptance of where to start. ‘Who am ‘I’? ‘Who can I be?’ or ‘Who’s this for?’ are still leading questions for spiritual seekers, those setting out on a career or wanting success. But most times addressing them has only planted me in my head and ‘dis-integrated me’ from my physical surroundings.
The Big Questions of life need igniting by the entirety of life - not just a few whining pleas. And perhaps the magic question straddles the whole landscape. I’m not sure we can even begin to fathom a vision or sense of purpose without - at least for a few minutes - finding ourselves ‘placed’…
The magic question which I take no credit for articulating is: ‘Where are you?’
This is a world away from the bugbear and divisive question of ‘where are you from?’ I’ll admit, I’ve only just realised the subtext of asking this. It suggests the other doesn’t belong here. Once we have a connection, perhaps we’ll explore more deeply each other’s roots, which more and more commonly span continents. These may well be nourishing and deepening, but they’re as unsuited as an opener as it would be to eat cheesecake as a starter.
’WHERE are you?’
It’s a question with an odd ring to it. It sounds wrong. Obviously, you’re ‘here’.
Ah… so seldom the case! The person who asked it of me is called Jane. It’s a question which overrides ‘what do you do?’ But it’s also – to my mind – a far more useful preface to ‘who’, ‘what’ or ‘how’ are you. In asking it we may well find the others are redundant!
And, yes, there are times we need to put the emphasis on the ‘YOU’, because the hat of a role has become so large we’ve become invisible! [See last post].
Listen to the story of the effect ‘Jane’s Question’ had on me:
So we’are all here. Now all I have to do is get undressed because the next post is entitled Getting Naked!