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The Need for a Visual Representation

What would a high-minded humanist think about some poor devil building a house, or the small version of that that I am doing right now: converting a cargo trailer into a livable travel trailer? So many machinations! Why, it's like I've become a machine for measuring, marking, cutting, and drilling.

And therein lies the challenge: to keep alert for the Ghost in the Machine, and to think like I still have an intellect and a "soul" that is concerned with civilization and the human condition.

It was the moment of truth. The batteries were installed, the wiring was done. Now it was time to switch on the first electrical appliance, the water pump. (I like to get switches that have the little red LEDs in them.) As I switched the pump on, there was only a gurgling sound -- no red light. I was more disappointed by this than anything in years!

My reaction was so strong that it seemed odd. Things like that are sometimes opportunities. Perhaps this was illustrating some general principle in human behavior.

Many things develop gradually, and are a bit boring because of it. But there are things that have specific and abrupt beginnings, such as slapping a newborn baby, cutting the ribbon on a new highway, or turning the engine on after a long session of automobile repair. There is a drama to each of these beginnings. 

It seems fitting to honor that drama with a visual representation. No wonder 'Let there be light' in the book of Genesis has a ring to it; or that Michelangelo painted God touching Adam's fingertip to impart Life to him. Perhaps that is why that painting is "great Art." It isn't merely concerned with visual entertainment or with trivial and faddish notions of beauty. It was the dreaming up of a visual representation of something manifestly important and fundamental.

Just think how much that puny little red light meant to me! As it turned out, the connector needed adjustment. And then:

Finally, the thrill of seeing the little red light. My new trailer was alive!


Bob Giddings said…
I saw this project and I thought of you: