Conventional wisdom holds that some of the best creative activity takes place only when a measure of control is relinquished. I suppose that is true, even though it runs counter to that which drives many who do what I do for a living. An architect, I am, and the whole notion of what architects do is driven by control. Over materials. Gravity. Behaviors. People. Only through the diligent application of control can most projects of any size make it from conception to actualization.
Some of the most famous architects in history were or are masters of control, and control freaks of some stripe. Think Frank Lloyd Wright, designing the house and every damn thing in it. Think Mies van der Rohe and all those variations on the elegance of a straight piece of steel. Think Frank Gehry and every bizarre building he seems to have produced in the last 25 years or so.
The Bilbao, you say? All those twisty shapes and non-linear forms? Surely, those look like they are about to fall over or explode or whirl into fragments! Ha!
Control. Pure and simple. It takes tremendous effort and maniacal attention to detail and purity of idea to build structures such as those. It takes control with a capital 'C' to create usable chaos. Billionaires don't keep spending money on something that won't stand up. And obsessive architects don't want their buildings, however bloblike or non-Euclidean, to fall apart.
Control. Bah. They can have it. Me? I sick of it.
Control like that can make you brittle. I've felt dangerously close to not being able to bend without breaking over the past two years, and it all comes back to control. I was trying so hard to control everything that I gained control over almost nothing. Diminishing returns, people. Tired of pouring so much energy into seeing around corners and through walls. Of working to avoid surprises, so diligently that the life was choked out of life. Control is overrated.
Does this mean I want to live a life of abandon? Hell, no. I've seen too many people do it, in varying degrees. Sure, it can be a lot of fun for the individual, but not so much for the people who care for that individual. Chaos, I don't need.
What I do want, and need, is better balance. I want to shed the anxiety of always trying to anticipate what comes next, that anxiety that makes it difficult to impossible to enjoy the here and now. It can be done. It has to be done. I've managed the trick on a few occasions in recent weeks. I must say, I have enjoyed it. It has helped me start peeking out from the shell. To that end, the view...is good.
Control. Enough is enough. I can't live my life if I won't let life live.