Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

The little death

"Nothing comes out more clearly in astronomical observations than the immense activity of the universe. No change, no loss, 'tis revolution all." 
-Maria Mitchell
"I recall the dreadful conjecture which declares the world is a mental activity without foundation, purpose, weight, or shape - ideas are not eternal like marble, but immortal like a forest or a river."
-Jorge Luis Borges, Poems of the Night

I think that all poetry suffused with light is informed by night. I've come to embrace my obsession with death - as The Doors sang, "my only friend, the end" - because it has draped around me my whole life. It is profound, beyond me, the source of differences, the end of knowledge, a sea of all and nothing. Love profound also springs from it; in fact, love traveled all the way up to this realm, to my brain and heart, from the center of the black hole of death, unraveling. Love must be a diamond.

If I meditate on death, I also meditate on love, two sides of the flat coin of the universe. Stephen Hawking says the universe is a self-contained sphere with no limits. If you can imagine a sphere - a finite object with no edges or borders - it's not a stretch of the imagination to extend it out to the limits of time and space. Nor is it a stretch to extend it to the tangibility of love without its return, where something so full can seem to fall flat to the observer, and yet remain real and profound. This goes for self-love.

Self-love is transformative. I wonder how many people achieve it without going through physical transformation such as travel, or awakening to the transient nature of self, such as after trauma. 

I feel like travel, which is unknown and potentially terrifying, is like a little death. You can't see over the border between "now" and "then", but you can sense the ghost of post-adventure you, and she knows something that you do not. What happens to the current you - does she die, or transform, in the air or on the road between destinations? 

Transformation is a transparent mirror that we use to see ourselves. To change our outsides so that we know what doesn't change on the inside. And that takes a little faith that when something is gained, is lost, replaces an old definition of who you were, a part of you dies - and yet there you are. 

Looking into a dark mirror brings clarity. And a total breakdown of what is expected of you. Of what being human means. And acceptance of self as unflawed. And acceptance of the death of oneself in the same life that begins another. And, I hope and imagine, passion. 

Because that's all that matters in a human being. Passion for the magic - and belief in the reality - of constant transformation. To wish and dream yourself past boundaries. They never existed and never will. 





Delaware Water Gap, 4th of July, 2015