A building, a Greek temple, portrays nothing. It simply stands there in the middle of the rock-cleft valley. The building encloses the figure of the god, and in this concealment lets it stand out into the holy precinct through the open portico. By means of the temple, the god is present in the temple. This presence of the god is in itself the extension and delimitation of the precinct as a holy precinct. The temple and its precinct, however, do not fade away into the indefinite. It is the temple-work that first fits together and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape of destiny for human being. The all-governing expanse of this open relational context is the world of this historical people. Only from and in this expanse does the nation first return to itself for the fulfilment of its vocation.
Standing there, the building rests on the rocky ground. This resting of the work draws up out of the rock the mystery of that rock’s clumsy yet spontaneous support. Standing there, the building holds its ground against the storm raging above it and so first makes the storm itself manifest in its violence. The lustre and gleam of the stone, though itself apparently glowing only by the grace of the sun, yet first brings to light the light of the day, the breadth of the sky, the darkness of the night. The temple’s firm towering makes visible the invisible space of air. The steadfastness of the work contrasts with the surge of the surf, and its own repose brings out the raging of the sea. Tree and grass, eagle and bull, snake and cricket first enter into their distinctive shapes and thus come to appear as what they are. The Greeks early called this emerging and rising in itself and in all things phusis. It clears and illuminates, also, that on which and in which man bases his dwelling. We call this ground the earth. What this word says is not to be associated with the idea of a mass of matter deposited somewhere, or with the merely astronomical idea of a planet. Earth is that whence the arising brings back and shelters everything that arises without violation. In the things that arise, earth is present as the sheltering agent.
The temple-work, standing there, opens up a world and at the same time sets this world back again on earth, which itself only thus emerges as native ground. But men and animals, plants and things, are never present and familiar as unchangeable objects, only to represent incidentally also a fitting environment for the temple, which one fine day is added to what is already there. We shall get closer to what is, rather, if we think of all this in reverse order, assuming of course that we have, to begin with, an eye for how differently everything then faces us. Mere reversing, done for its own sake, reveals nothing.
The temple, in its standing there, first gives to things their look and to men their outlook on themselves. This view remains open as long as the work is a work, as long as the god has not fled from it. It is the same with the sculpture of the god, votive offering of the victor in the athletic games. It is not a portrait whose purpose is to make it easier to realize how the god looks; rather, it is a work that lets the god himself be present and thus is the god himself..." [Heidegger]
"A special sacred college in Rome, the Feciales, presided over a quite definite system of rites, which provided the mystical counterpart to every war, from its declaration to its termination. More generally, it is certain that one of the principles of the military art of the Romans required them not to allow themselves to be compelled to engage in battle before certain mystical signs had defined, so to speak, its 'moment'. ...most people of today would naturally be inclined to see in this an extrinsic, superstitious superstructure. The most benevolent may see in it an eccentric fatalism, but it is neither of these. The essence of the augural art practiced by the Roman patriciate, like similar disciplines,... which can easily be found in the cycle of the greater Indo-European civilizations, was not the discovery of 'fates' to be followed with superstitious passivity: rather, it was the knowledge of points of juncture with invisible influences, by grafting onto which the forces of men could be developed, multiplied, and led to act on a higher plane, in addition to the normal plane, thus - when the harmony was perfect - bringing about the removal of every obstacle and every resistance within an event-complex which was material and spiritual at the same time. In the light of this knowledge, it cannot be doubted that Roman values, the Roman 'ascesis of power', necessarily possessed a spiritual and sacred aspect, and that they were regarded not only as a means to miliatry and temporal greatness, but also as a means of contact and connection with supernal forces." [MW]
"In the Roman Empire, sacred space was not limited to physical structures—the gods were everywhere, and nearly all facets of life were imbued with the sacred.
There were however, some spaces which were more sacred than others. These spaces were known as templum, a word that looks an awful lot like our modern “temple” but actually refers to a segment of space deemed sacred, rather than a building or something like that (to which the term aedes would apply).
In On the Latin Language, Varro attempts to explain where this term came from. He says the following:
"The word templum is derived from the word ‘to gaze’ [tueri], and so likewise is the word ‘to contemplate’ [contemplare]…the notion that a temple [templum] is a consecrated building [aedes sacra] seems to have stemmed from the fact that in the city of Rome most consecrated buildings are temples… (Varro, On the Latin Language, VII.8-10)"
Varro’s explanation connects the word “templum” to the actions of augurs, who ultimately determine the boundaries of sacred space. They can do this in many ways, but here Varro details the establishing of sacred boundaries by trees, and how one sees the physical space between them. Basically, the auger eyeballs a specific space, chooses a few boundary points (in this case, trees), and designates that area as holy.
In Greek, the word for sacred space is τέμενος, a word whose root is τμ and is related to the idea of cutting or separating (verbal form: τέμνω). According to the most-holy-and-venerable LSJ, this word means “a piece of land cut off II. A piece of land dedicated to a god, the sacred precincts.”
We can see, in this use that a physical space is cut away from regular space, and given a special status. The idea is the same as the Latin one, this is an area set apart for things related to the gods.
Transliterated, τέμενος is temenos. Already, we see a shared word structure with temple—they both have the same “tm” (τμ) root! Furthermore, the act performed by the augurs in Varro’s description, can be seen as a “cutting apart” of sacred space from the secular. The key concept in both words is one of sacred demarcation. The question is: Is this conceptual sharing reflected in the root of the word?
I think it is. I certainly think it tells us more about the conceptualization of space than Varro’s explanation, which seems a bit circular to me. The Greek word τέμενος encapsulates not only the idea Varro is hinting at—that the word templum is related to other words of sacred space—but also shows the linguistic root at the heart of the concept.
Varro’s attempts to determine the linguistic roots of templum show that the word had much in common structurally and conceptually with the Greek word τέμενος, which suggests that the idea of sacred space was similar throughout these parts of the ancient Mediterranean."
"Gods in Antiquity were bodily things. The Druids worshipped oaks; Egyptians worshipped animals; shapeless stones were venerated by the Greeks, and the Sherpa reverenced Mount Everest as their mother goddess. Hindu avatars and the mass of the Roman temple testify that invisible powers need bodily presence to dwell and act in the world. As conscious persons we identify ourselves with our corporeal lesh, which furnishes us with our inite limits and carnal pleasures. Our awareness, though, involves a world beyond the body’s limits. he lesh of the world and of others is sentient and responsive, vulnerable to our words and thoughts, especially to our desirous gaze and touch. I’d like to turn to the Hypnerotomachia,1 to which Alberto Pérez- Gómez irst introduced me, and read out a poetic understanding of man’s intertwining with architecture.
In the Hypnerotomachia’s text and images, published at the height of Renaissance naturalism, embodiment is inseparable from thought’s phantasmic imagery. Poliphilo frames his vision of rareied philosophical and theological ideas concretized in symbols with an ekphrasis of the world coming into physical being through the rising Sun, in the Spring as a time of universal rebirth. He dreams, and within his dream he dreams again: a Neoplatonic symbol for liberating the contemplative soul from bodily needs. Yet in this dream, his body and its organs haunt him in every scene. He missteps and trips over roots, stones, shards, and uneven ground; he suffers from thirst and exhaustion; he endures shame for being scratched and dirty; he sweats; he sighs, he eats; he grows aroused and blushes. In short, he brings his body with him.
Besides his beloved Polia and the creatures who populate his dream’s complex setings, Poliphilo describes architectonic objects which at every scale integrate sculptural igures, effigies and statues. In Renaissance architecture, the statue is an architectural element in human form. It’s also an iconic image of the intertwining of the mortal self and the enduring universe, and its intermediate position on the spectrum implies a continuum between man and his architecture. In Poliphilo’s mythic world, distinctions between lesh and stone initially seem clear enough, but closer inspection yields contaminations, interpenetrations, and crossovers. His story thus foregrounds threshold and passage conditions and thematizes metamorphosis. Our atention seduced and secured by the ornamental articulation of all liminal zones, boundaries that irst appeared solid transpire to be permeable, as we map out the migration of physical characteristics, and confusions between bodies and buildings.
Both woodcuts and text present types of heads and bodies, ranging from portraits and icons to the aniconic: tree trunks, nymphs, topiary or mineral statues, free-standing or in bas-relief, classical columns and capitals, obelisks, fountains in human form, funerary masks, hollow armor, grotesques, lat encaustic wall-portraits or leeting relections in mirrored surfaces, nuancing the continuum between Poliphilo as perceiving subject and the architectural objects of his desire. In all its variants, the statue – imago hominis in architectural mater – is the primary symbol of this space of exchange.
Poliphilo’s journey takes us through temples, palaces, tombs and gardens evoking Antiquity. Besides artiicial human igures and other images of the body, his architecture teems with exquisite materials and ornamental details chosen to demonstrate it bursting with life. Among these are architectural igurations so naturalistic that they lack only breath to live, visibly lifelike relief carvings and sculptures whose coldness to his touch surprises him, and marble statues so carnally alluring they draw his eyes away from living creatures. Architecture and its constituent elements are dynamic, circulatory bodies that seduce, provoke, mimic, confront, contemplate, and make eye contact. His buildings also circulate airs and luids within; they lactate, urinate, inhale, swallow, incubate and give birth. Whole structures become bodies to be entered, and the corporeality of their inner cavities explored, not without a ‘digestive process’ that entangles and effectively consubstantiates architecture and inhabitant.
Architectural form, though organized by geometry and abstract qualities, is atributed animate features. Poliphilo’s vocabulary revives arcane Latin and Greek terms that depict architectural elements as organic tropes and, supported by ornamental statuary and carvings on the buildings’ visible surfaces, reveals that buildings have living parts: divine, monstrous, spiritual, human, animal and vegetal. he word he uses for “frieze” – zoöphor – is Greek for ‘that which conveys life.’ Among the buildings’ deining lineaments and ornaments he names dentils (teeth), caulicoles (sprouts), echinus (sea-urchins), ovolo moldings (eggs), capitals (heads), auricles (ears), and astragals (ankle bones). He compares column bases and pedestals to feet, and a column’s entasis to pregnancy; building elements swell and protrude like lesh. Following Vitruvius, Poliphilo identiies sexual connotations that the columns carry in the details of the classical orders, but also notices “bisexual” rudentured shats and unknown hermaphroditic orders mixing Doric (male) and Ionic (female) elements. He recollects the ancient atlantes and caryatids: structural columns taking human form, luting mimicking women’s clothing, and responds to this animate, sexualized architecture with feelings of burning desire.
Ideas in the abstract risk sterility. To propagate desire, and fulill our highest form of activity, creation, imagination requires the body’s sensuality and drives. Foreshadowing the depths of the matrix as lesh, Poliphilo conveys the incarnation of stone at the Great Portal through which he entered:
he cratsman had painstakingly set off this historia against a colored background of coralite stone introduced between the undulating moldings of the altar in the spaces surrounding the igures. Its incarnate coloration diffused itself throughout the translucent stone, imparting to the nude bodies and their limbs the semblance of blushing lesh.
By extension, this intimates that the life force is latent in all of the architecture. Once inside, Poliphilo inds himself in a groto whose mother-of-pearl revetment suggests his incorporation, enfolded in an architectural oyster-shell. An intimate form of encounter ensues in the pyramid’s foundations below where navigating a subterranean labyrinth by feel alone, he runs across a shrine to Venus glowing in the inchoate darkness. The body, in its turn, needs imagination to reciprocate love.
As he explores the debris-heaped terrain around a ruined ancient city, Poliphilo discovers a bronze colossus, lying on the ground, yet intact. his is an architectonic monument, a built form vast enough to inhabit. he colossus is a double, mirroring and merging the hero’s dreaming body with the architecture in his vision. In his recumbent, sleeping form, the gigantic statue is primarily bodily. Dreaming, he moans in pain, for ventilation holes bored into the soles of his feet suck in the breeze and make him resound like a musical instrument. Poliphilo clambers over his chest, spelunking his mouth, down his gullet, exploring the cavernous interior:
I saw intestines nerves and bone, veins, muscles and lesh, as if I were in a penetrable human body. And wherever I was, each part that you would seen in every natural body had its name engraved in three idioms: Chaldaean, Greek and Latin, as well as what kind of diseases are generated in which, and their causes, remedies and cures.
At the heart Poliphilo reads about Love, and suddenly feels his own unrequited love resurgent. As he breathes a heavy sigh, the entire bronze structure shudders in sympathetic resonance. he colossal igure is not solid, impervious metal, but enleshed and responsive to his very spirit. Departing, Poliphilo sees a female counterpart, buried in rubble up to her neck. Like himself, the male statue suffers from existential separation, from love that is not able to exchange its life- giving energy and complete the erotic circuit.
Poliphilo’s dream-quest is to ind and join his Polia. She is the female to his male, the mythos to his logos, the (lost) history to his (melancholic) modernity, the otherness hidden within him and around him. he neologism “hypn-eroto-machia” incorporates the philosopher Empedocles’ dual principles of cosmic change: universal Sympathy (the basis of natural magic, related to mimesis and the forces of atraction) and Antipathy (the force behind fragmentation and dissolution): Eros and Machia, Love and Strife. Poliphilo’s dream materializes these through divine igures, the former by Venus-Aphrodite, and the later by Minerva-Athena in her martial aspect. Polia towers over Poliphilo’s narrative like a marble Venus crowned with the head of Minerva, an “Idea” as he calls her, willful and irrational, elusive and sensuous, strange and familiar. She is a matrix overlowing with Nature’s unlimited plenitude: a theocracy simultaneously generous and cruel, a paradox brimming with poetic ambiguity, resistant to analytic thought with its rational, divisive categories. he ancient city is a woman whom you love at your peril. To know her at an intellectual distance – a visual distance – can never satisfy him; he hungers for an unmediated, corporeal, tactile encounter. And the architecture he describes thus evidences his yearning to enter her – to become one with her – an intertwining of the self and the world.
A quatrocento commonplace characterized an unresponsive lady as being made of stone. In a sonnet, Lorenzo de’ Medici calls his mistress “adamantine,” hard as diamond.6 Polia too, not reciprocating Poliphilo’s love, is “frozen and stony.” To be a body of lesh is to return love, to recirculate the vital energy that links and bonds the world together. Only the embodied imagination, with its capacity for desire, can do so, and thus can participate in world making. To be lesh and thus receptive radiates and circulates erotic energy, not just between lovers, but throughout the universe into which the superabundant creative force overlows.
In every tale in Ovid’s Metamorphoses love transforms. Yet the metamorphoses in the Hypnerotomachia illustrate two kinds of subject-object intercorporeality: one constituted through mutual visibility (Athena-Minerva); and the other through touch (Venus-Aphrodite). With sensitive caresses Pygmalion coaxes hard materials to warm into lesh and by eye-contact Medusa petriies pliant lesh into rock. Both emerge between the lines in enigmatic images to unfold this cosmic process through poetic metaphor.
Poliphilo himself plays Pygmalion, a sculptor, and priest of Aphrodite. In the days when the love goddess had punished hard- hearted women by turning them to stone, Pygmalion builds his own woman, a statue of ivory. She is so beautiful he falls in love with her and asks Aphrodite to intervene. As he adorns the statue, strokes her, kisses her, he feels the hard ivory soten like beeswax under his ingers, sees her blush, and hears her begin to breathe. She comes to life as lesh and blood, an organic creature who in time will bear his child.7 Similarly, Poliphilo’s dream traces his invention of Polia from architectural ‘Idea’ to a living woman with her own voice and story. She, ultimately, will make Poliphilo visible to himself.
Polia instantiates the other process as a type of Athena Polias, virgin goddess of wisdom and the city, who wears Medusa’s head on her breastplate. Beautiful Medusa makes love with Poseidon in Athena’s temple, and the angry goddess turns her hair to living serpents, cursing her that her eye-contact will convert living lesh to stone. To avoid her eyes, Perseus deploys his mirrored shield, and decapitates the pregnant Medusa. Her monstrous offspring are Pegasus and Chrysaor, a golden giant, and in the ruined city Poliphilo encounters them as mineral monuments: the winged horse and the bronze colossus. Perseus mounted on Pegasus, holding Medusa’s severed head, lew past Atlas holding the sky alot, and transformed him into a mountain. At the city gate, the vast Titan materializes as a massive pyramid of white marble reaching to the heavens, entered through the howling mouth of a marble Medusa’s head, her giant snaky tresses serving Poliphilo as stairs.
hough lesh and stone are both stuff of the world and share materialized form, life and the non-living are differentiated by self- aware compassion, the bonding spark of desire linking subject and object. he paradoxical exclusiveness of the world and a body that share properties and qualities, engenders the libidinal will to action, the intention to engage. hings of extreme beauty come to life, and monstrous things contaminate their surroundings, by a conversion of the erotic force. his motive force, however, is a mode of relationship, one possible only through the embodied imagination, and as such the ground of meaning.
As Pérez-Gómez explains in Built upon Love, “architectural meaning is neither intellectual nor aesthetic in a formal sense, but originates instead in our embodiment and its erotic impulse. ... he harmony of architecture is always tactile and ‘mater- ial’ (referring to the mother of all). Architectural meaning, like erotic knowledge, is a primary experience of the human body and yet takes place in the world, in that pre-relective ground of existence where reality is irst ‘given.’”8 His work suggests how to understand the Hypnerotomachia’s porous distinction of lesh from stone, their reciprocal convertibility, in terms of the tenuous and fragile qualities characteristic of the living body that confront Poliphilo at the goal of his pilgrimage.
Pérez-Gómez begins with Daedalus, mythology’s irst architect, whose daidala were works marked by the mutual adjustment of the components and the integrity of their it. Some of these awe-inspiring statues were so well composed that they seemed alive, and had to be tied down. In the underlying concept of harmony, connected to proportion, he notes that essential to beauty (venustas) is “an arrangement of parts that seduces the ... observer and creates a signiicant space of participation. It is important to notice that harmonia initially had nothing to do with mathematics; it was a quality of embodiment (perfect adjustment) with the ultimate aim of love.”9 Tracing the origins of harmony to the ideal of things cleaving together in mutual agreement, which we might visualize architecturally in the spatial relation of the tectonic connection or the elements composing a city, he inds harmony later develop into a concordance of distinct elements or sounds, which form an orderly, internally consistent, and uniied whole. He notes that for Galen, writing on anatomical structure in the 2nd century, harmonia described “the union of two bones by mere apposition: a perfectly adjusted joint.”
For the physician, the perfect relationship of heterogeneous and symmetrical parts to the whole were evidence of the divine hand, while today we can observe the centrality of embodiment persisting in our word ‘organization’ which indicates the highest and most complex degree of order in a uniied structure of specialized elements. While the linking power of Eros brings lovely things to life, this love is evoked, made, inspired by the beauty itself, and ultimately too, the origin and meaning of beauty are in the erotic cleavage of organic jointing. hat which has been perfectly made, and thus made with love, verges toward animation. he cratsman seeking in the material its own potentiality, its pre-existing propensity to come alive when sensed, works to embody phantasia and passion from within it as Nature does in her own processes. he hand of the architect brings ‘eros- qualities’ to the raw materials, transubstantiating them from separate to composite, bestowing visibility and luminosity, ordering them through geometry, symmetry, proportion, reining through calibration, and elaborating through meticulous detailing, provoking the desirous onlooker to respond.
he background presence of Aphrodite and Athena, the goddesses respectively presiding over the tendency towards lesh and the tendency towards stone, introduces simultaneous desires to collapse the gap between subject and object through the act of touching, and through the eyes, the distance needed to see, to maintain the tension between subject and object. Beauty is integral to the mechanism that circulates erotic energy between lover and beloved, self and other, body and world, inhabitant and architecture. Yet becoming visible is not just “aphrodisiac;” it also depends on the Athena-principle: the necessity to maintain the distance of know-how or embodied wisdom, only possible in a tense balance of proximity and separation, a ‘formula’ for the architect’s ability with which we could also describe lived space, Plato’s chora, or the architectonic situation. Architecture as a form of embodied knowledge demands responsive touch. To perceive beauty, though, requires mutual visibility. To act and create in the world, we need the agency and responsibility of individual identity, our mortal experience of separateness, even the pain and terror of impermeable, existential solitude.
Sustaining the tension between pulling apart and joining, the architectural setings of the Hypnerotomachia reveal the co- presence of generation and corruption, form rising to visibility as cosmos, orderly knowable surface, and dissolving beneath the threshold of perception, its degeneration in time and through neglect and violence into formless prima materia. Poliphilo’s intimation of his own mortality and thus of his separate self, who appreciates beauty through vision and thinks as a maker, comes in the shape of architecture in a state of disintegration. At the abandoned city, the material corruption of the ruined buildings is spatially juxtaposed with a carved gigantomachy of lacerated, tormented and perishing bodies. he fractured elements render a fatal sensibility of transience, death and injury. A fallen column has lost its capital; minerals tarnish and bloom; masonry fallen out of place is cracked open and rank with weeds. Further on, surrounding the life-affirming Temple of Venus, he inds a study of machia in the brute decomposition in the Polyandrion: a vast necropolis of shatered sarcophagi and funerary monuments to separated lovers.
In the Neoplatonic philosophy structuring the Hypnerotomachia, the One is a divine unity and superabundant source from which emanates the multiplicity of the phenomenal world. Elements become material and temporal as they devolve or unfold into deinition, separateness, and locality. Simultaneously completing the circuit, the Many, are drawn upward through the orders of being by the power of Love enacting the return to the One – re-acquiring harmony and unity through the creative work of the human artifex. he Many serve as ‘raw materials’ to be reined and joined. In their assembled state – architecture – they are representations of the yearning for eternal interconnectedness and ultimate unity conceived through desire by a human subject.
The Hypnerotomachia hides the Many in plain sight as Poliphilo’s wide-ranging polyglot vocabulary from cultural and natural history, naming plants, minerals, birds, legendary heroes, historical buildings, mythical creatures, and architectural elements. In his architecture, this alchemical cycle of solve et coagula is incarnated as the dissolution of bonds and the return to the soil of fragmented ruins of statues and buildings, and the rigorous re-composition of the minerals, plants, and iconic images into new totalities.
These opposing powers of Love and Strife, the dual font at which creation drinks, are centrally embodied in the human imagination, in a psychological faculty that Poliphilo encounters in architectonic form at the Palace of Free Will. here he traverses three drawing rooms representing his brain’s ventricles, cavities that staged the sensory processes of sensus communis, phantasia, and memoria. he frontal ‘common sense’ reunites percepts from the ive external senses into ‘virtual realities,’ and archives these phantasms in the memory. But the phantasia (a word that keeps erotic connotations in our word ‘fantasy’) can anatomize holistic phantasmic images into elements that then can be reorganized into novel compositions, like a horse with wings, a woman with snakes for hair, a satyr whose features mingle goatish with human, or a building mixing Egyptian, Greek and Roman forms and technical arts.
The sequencing of architectural setings in the primary narrative hints at an identical process. Clustered or individual qualities (semblance, icon, material, igure, proportion, geometry, arrangement and so on) of each architectural object separate out, to be subsequently rejoined with others in new combinations, and increasingly high levels of visible order. Each work of architecture including the pyramid, the bathhouse, and the temple, geometrical complexes of stone and bodily igurations, gets dismembered behind the scenes into phantasmic elements that in successive re-compositions are transformed yet recognizable to the reader. hrough the ruin-setings, Poliphilo recognizes himself as incomplete, and anxiously desires intercorporeal reconnection with both Polia and the architecture itself. hus his phantasia drives forward the iterative metamorphoses of his idealized physical environs, with his embodied imagination modeled on the perpetual self-creation of the cosmos.
Seeded throughout the text and woodcuts you ind two key conigurations. One is the solar symbol or patera ⊙ that diagrams the circuit bonding the One and the Many. Platonic Being and Becoming manifest as centre and circumference, with chora or space opening between them like an amphitheatre’s arena. he other is a knot work motif, gardens of interlacing embodied in living, growing mater, a glyph for the workings of that space in-between, the unity of multiplicity, the ever-incomplete, the linking and joining power of love.
Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, Poliphilo’s dream of strife and love and the meaning of his dream lie in the necessary intertwining of the world in its most essential aspect with that which constitutes humanitas, a virtue governed by Venus. he culminating iconic image of Book I is a statue of Venus presiding over a garden on the Island of Cythera commemorating Adonis, her late younger lover:
On the tomb’s polished upper surface sat the divine mother sculpted as a woman recently delivered of a child, marvelously executed in priceless tricolored sardonyx marble. She was seated on an antique throne, which did not go beyond the vein of sard, while through incredible invention and artiice her whole Cytherean body had been carved from the milky vein of onyx. She was nearly nude, since only a veil formed from the red vein, let to conceal Nature’s secret, was covering part of one thigh. he rest of it cascaded to the loor, then wandered up just beside her let breast, turned aside, encircled her shoulders, and lowed back down towards the water, with astonishing cratsmanship closely following the lineaments of her sacred limbs. he statue manifested her motherly love by cradling Cupid who was nursing at her breast. Both of their cheeks were gracefully tinctured by the rosy vein, along with her right nipple. In this beautiful work, miraculous to contemplate! Nothing was lacking but the vital spirit!
The body and the other, who is also the world, are paradoxically at the same time one and two. For this reason, the non-dual or mystical experience is quintessentially erotic. he statue of Venus compassionately nurturing her newborn child demonstrates how bodily union intertwines eros with machia’s agonizing separateness and difference. At this monument, Poliphilo and the nymphs insert themselves in the circuit of eroto-machia by kissing the statue’s graceful foot. Juxtaposing visibility and tactility in embodiment, its stratiied material binds creamy onyx, the archetypal color of cool, classical marble, with sard the color of living blood, whose visible vein reveals and traces a vital continuum between mother and son, but also between the architecture proper, the statues, and the human igures. In he Visible and the Invisible, Maurice Merleau- Ponty characterized this proximate distance in contemporary terms saying “... a sort of dehiscence opens my body in two, and because between my body looked at and my body looking, my body touched and my body touching, there is overlapping or encroachment, ... we may say that the things pass into us, as well as we into the things.”
The design of this garden, dedicated to evanescent beauty, recognizes embodiment as a moment in time to be seized or lost, with an urgent message to be more than a mirror to love. Listen to the world that speaks; grasp occasio by the forelock and act; create in the world, and recirculate the energy that bonds all things." [[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]]
"Souls therefore, all possessed of this power, which is innate but dim and hardly manifest, nevertheless oftentimes disclose its flower and radiance in dreams, and some in the hour of death, when the body becomes cleansed of all impurities and attains a temperament adapted to this end, a temperament through which the reasoning and thinking faculty of the souls is relaxed and released from their present state as they range amid the irrational and imaginative realms of the future. It is not true, as Euripides says, that
The best of seers is he that guesses well;
no, the best of seers is the intelligent man, following the guidance of that in his soul which possesses sense and which, with the help of reasonable probability, leads him on his way. But that which foretells the future, like a tablet without writing, Dis both irrational and indeterminate in itself, but receptive of impressions and presentiments through what may be done to it, and inconsequently grasps at the future when it is farthest withdrawn from the present. Its withdrawal is brought about by a temperament and disposition of the body as it is subjected to a change which we call inspiration. Often the body of itself alone attains this disposition."
Experience need not always result in Objectivity, esp. when the sample space explored is restricted and reduced to safe, familiar categories, and it is Theory, in the way the ancient Greeks perceived it, and the first model of which was the 'Shield of Achilles' that expanded the space of sight itself.
What does Theory mean?
From a gem of a book, Indra Kagis, Socrates' Ancestor