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On the Reality of Things

In a relativist, post-truth world, reality is a concept often debated, the sense of which is seemingly difficult to either agree on or come to with a collective understanding.

In this relativist conversation, lost is the nature of things common to any human, the reality of the world in which we live and the inherent characteristics of our world that are available to us all.

As the world seems to continue on the path of amortisation, aspiration, collective that is, seems lost and it seems imperative that society grasps this reality and aspires to develop and continue to realise and appreciate the need for the collective, and this collective’s sense of reality.

A bridge, seemingly non-descript, across the Arkansas River in Little Rock, stands as a stoic, true and common thing. It’s reality, as in it’s sense of expressing it’s built and structural nature, is a seemingly pure expression about the nature and reality of structural force, informed by the necessity of spanning this mighty river and providing a deep, solid foundation on which each of these elements sit.

Lightness is a sense that is real at the apex of the curves in the steelwork, after which the steel groans under the pressure of transferring structural load through the midsection, particularly at the junctions around the webbed sheet steel. The monumental stone footings carry this pressure with utmost authority, and act as the natural antidote to the apparently light steel work above.

Of course this isn’t new. The natural world acts in the particular way when trees that taper to such a fine edge at the extremities fatten and groan at points of primary structural need as a branch clings to a trunk. The Greeks also new this idea, classical architecture defined orders that understood this acutely.

And so it is common, this structural reality. We, everyone, know trees.

Could this commonness talk about the collective in society, where we as humans understand and aspire to clarify that which we all understand? In a world seemingly overawed with individualism, could we find a collective sense of reality, somehow, as a result of structural reality of a bridge, something that we all can understand, something we all can grasp?