Students and The Spirit of the Young

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I remember Denise Tjokrosaputro asked about originality in Indonesian Architecture, she shared her concern about copy and paste culture in our architecture, or what we can assume, lack of originality, her question drove further about the education of architecture, how we did teach the students to have their originality. It was fresh question about 2 things, the process of established architect practice and  process of the becoming  an architect.

In my subtle moment, when I rethinking all of the complexity in what is happening. I just believe the 2 things, first, it is the paradigm that we are having is the culture of fear. second, we need to honestly know about the development of mastering art of architecture.

I will try to describe the second one, because it’s easier. It’s straight forward, Greene agreed with me stated there are three stage to process mastery, first , deep observation – the passive mode, second the skills acquisition – the practice mode, third, the experimentation – the active mode. These three stages are full cycle of iteration for mastering architecture. The first and the second phase are a phase of wanderer, having apprenticeship, culminations of learning curve by previous mentors. and The third phase is the phase of actualisation. This is common when we can read in outliers that we have to acquire 10000 hours of practice, trial and error for mastering skills. Da Vinci once wrote, “one can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself” , how can I not agree with him.

The first one, is not so easy to explained, explaining about paradigm is not easy because it consists of economy, politics, philosophy, culture. It combines the past, looking at the breakdown, and try to understand this complex situation. But in short way, Our situation could be described by tagore’s poem, it happens in India almost 100 years ago, the poem of Tagore titled where the mind is without fear. here it is:

“Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high,
where knowledge is free.
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls.
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection.
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost it’s way
into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.
Where the mind is led forward by thee
into ever widening thought and action.
In to that heaven of freedom, my father,
Let my country awake.”

There were so many times, students were asking approvals of their design, they were asking for motivations, they were asking for respects, and later they could accept our guidance because they felt appreciated, nurtured, honoured. Students, they like young flowers, which is ready to bloom, which is beautiful, which show promising about the future. I always said to students that I teach for. They shouldn’t worry about mark, The should keep their inner voice high. Gandhi has proved it this poem could awake his disciples. But in here fundamentality i want to ask, are we in the culture of fear ? I would like to invert Tagore’s poem,

“Where the mind is with fear
are our mind is in fear ?
and the head is helf low ?
where knowledge is not free ?
where the world has been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls. ?
where words is not come out from the depth of truth, ?
where tireless striving stretches its arms toward neglection ?
where the clear stream of reason has lost it’s way ?
into the dreary desert sand of dead habit.
where the mind is not led forward by thee
into ever widening thought and action.
In to that hell of freedom, my father,
Let my country …. ?“

The question is in our mind, and the answer is in our mind. It will refresh the society, I will ask for just little imperfection, for just appreciating all of the young spirits, the perfection in imperfection. Are we in the culture of fear ? Am I in the culture of fear. I do hope the mind is without fear every day, every action, every words because I am one of the students as well.

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