This page was Archived February 23, 2004
Hold an Unchanging Youth... is
at the end,
the vision with which one
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge - 1797
dreamed by Matt Taylor - 1958
drawn - 2000
built - ?
is one of the oldest pages on this web site
composed in December of 1998 and posted in
January 1999. It addresses a number of subjects
important to me at the time - ones that
have remained central to the reason why I
have developed this self exploring, autobiographical
section of my web site.
have left it much as it was originally written
in 1988 and revised in 2000 with the exception
of reformatting, some minor edits and links
to later pages that have taken up the themes
of this piece and developed them further.
questions raised here can never be answered
- they are perinial. It it the asking and thinking
about them that informs better action - that
is the value of the exercise [link].
also is a context to this piece. In 1998,
after 20 years of innovation and work and
every nickel of profit back into MG Taylor;
and, just at the moment we seemed to be moving
to a new level, we lost 5 million dollars
due to a single relationship gone bad [link].
In 2004, we are just beginning to earn our
out of this hole having operated in a literal
state of bankruptcy and on a day-to-day cash
basis for 6 years. This was the fourth “crash
and burn” for me in my working life
due to the reactions of people to the challenges
and stress of the work. It was a sobering
time and it has taken a tremendous effort
to survive it and “come back.”
used Xanadu as the masthead of this piece
for a reason. It is, at present the concrete
vision of THERE [link] for
MG Taylor. When Xanadu is built we will have
It is possible that this can be accomplished
in 5 years - maybe 10. I conceived Xanadu
just after leaving Taliesin. Rand was the
mother, Wright the father and Coleridge
the god-father. At great teacher was the
catalyst and a girl that I loved the inspiration [link].
I am the student. I will consider myself
a master architect the day that
I can use
this environment to accomplish work of importance
for the future of humanity.
first read Atlas Shrugged at Taliesin
West in 1958. This particular quotation [top
of page] deeply
impressed me. What is a cycle of work and life? How
sum up to something? Is it necessary that it does?
How do you live life without giving in to the despair
that I saw played out in my first
encounter [link] with
is the difference between a life lived with no purpose
and one dedicated to getting something done? What
separates dullness, waste, aimlessness, from spirit,
fulfillment and direction? When does a dedicated life
become a wasted life of another kind? What is the
difference between the appropriate and necessary
energy invested to accomplice something - and fanaticism?
Where is the threshold between the two? How do you
find it - measure it? Test it? How do you know if
you are simply sliding down the wrong slope as the
years go by?
is true human accomplishment? How is this different
from an ego trip? Is it better to live
a simple, non public, quite life seeking value in
a small community of friends avoiding conflict and
risk? Is it better to make a lot of money and seek
refuge in some enclave of protection? It is better
to shun worldliness and dedicate a life to thinking,
research and teaching? Is it better to find an expression
where art can be produced without complex organizational
capacity - and do this if it is understood, wanted,
sells or not? Is it better to take a vision of a
different society and seek a way to bring into broad
existence even though these is little evidence it
is wanted or will be accepted?
does focus become self-centered - and destructive?
What is the best heuristic between play, adaptation,
evolution and a directed self-examined
|What is the
“end” - or, are there many? Is it important, or even
stupid, to worry about these things?
asked these questions years ago, when I started work
- I suppose most people do. I still ask them. Life
is made up of many complex and seemly competing factors.
Everyone is going to ask these questions - and answer
them - in different ways and at different times of
their lives. The answers may not be nearly as important
as the asking - and the integrity of seeking answers
in terms of real action.
thing seems clear, not to grapple with these questions,
or to deliberately compromise a chosen path, is a
poor strategy. Those that take this road - it seems
to me - are those who live lives of quite despair
and sometimes open hostility and hate. Bitterness
seems to be their return. I think that is the cause
of much anger in a world that is so rich in options
and material resources.
be completely captured by an idea, cause, goal, movement
- until all perspective is lost and all human qualities
are destroyed, is the most dangerous - as history
shows us again and again. This is easy to do - to
get captured in a only positive feedback loop.
does one find balance? How are youthful thoughts,
perspectives, interests kept intact yet properly
mixed with all the other aspects and (accepted) demands
of life? How to be mature and not grow
can concept and symbol bring meaning to life and
augment its play without mastering it - even
can you accomplish important goals and still take
the time to pick the flowers? What is an important
goal? How to you follow your star and
truly enjoy, support, collaborate, partner [link] with others?
of course, is commonly believed to be experienced only one step at a
time. There are considered to be no replays. You can, however, reexamine
a past event and see it from the perceptive of many
years of newer experiences. Learning is greatly augmented
by these exercises. Memories change as new and old
stuff is mixed, examined and used as a basis of trying
new directions. This is a cybernetic discipline.
process of examination is one part of this web sites
mission - I will explore past experiences and re-weave
them with newer ones. The reason for now is
because I am at one of these periods
when some things are coming to a close and new paths
are opening up. This is a good time to document.
To rethink. To share what I am learning.
- possibly - may be useful to others who are starting
out or now looking a forks in the road ahead.
was a teenager [link] when
I read Rand [link] for
the first time. The book was The Fountainhead -
a necessary read for a young budding architect-to-be.
What struck me about Rand was her uncompromising
insistence that life
be interesting [link] and
about achieving great things. This provided me an
alternative view to the civilian life
that I was then experiencing for the first time.
This life was a shocking contrast to
the military environment [link] that
I was born into. The civilian lifestyle, that I found
in the 1950s, seemed anti-intellectual, hedonistic
and largely banal. Jacque Barzan wrote a great book
about this called The House of Intellect [rbtfBook].
talked a lot about a sense-of-life -
this was a major concept and a foundation supporting
her approach to art. It is very compatible with Wrights
dictum [link] that
architecture be based on a-way-of-life.
are exciting - and dangerous - points of view. Exciting,
because they challenge you to look at larger issues
and make a stand - and to build an alternative.
You have to identify with something beyond yourself
- in the narrow sense of self. Dangerous,
because you can wrap yourself around the axle big
time if you lose perspective and humanity. There
are no simple guidelines for navigating these waters.
And, as all navigators learn, the art of successful
navigation [link] is
more than following the instructions and reading
the instruments. You have to develop a sense of where you
are, as well as, understand the technology. Art and science.
Prospect and refuge.
was to find, as I traveled into civilian society,
that a great deal of the conflict that people experience
with one another is centered around this one basic
issue. The sense of life issue. If life has a purpose
- or not. This was never a question in the culture
I was formed in.
grew up (until the 7th grade) in the Air Force community [link].
After, I went to a live-in military school - for
Jr. high - and, then, a Jesuit high school. From
these I entered directly into the world of professional
work [link] 44
years ago (as of June 2000). Shortly after starting
work, I joined the Taliesin
In sum, this was not a typical growing up common
to our society.
spent the first 19 years of my life in what today
are called intentional communities. Each
of these were formed around a basic central idea
that shaped every aspect of their experience. The
intentional community experience is intense and dedicated
- very different from that provided by society-as-a-whole.
There are both upsides and downsides to living this
way. Whatever the consequences, this kind of life
was the context in which my early thinking evolved.
To this day, I am pulled to this life/work-style [link] and
have always lived some variant of it. It is more
than likely that when I build my Studio [link] it
will be part of a community project.
whole thing we call creative work is
still, today, poorly defined - and misrepresented.
In my youth, innovation - paticulary in the corporate
environment - was largely frowned upon. Today, it
is demanded as a utility. I do not relate
to either approach. To me, the real question is:
how do you want to live? What interests you? What
excites? What, if done well, accounts for something?
What has value? What is your QUEST? [link]
what life is about is earning
a living” [link] (a
totally bizarre concept!) and collecting a few goodies
- why bother? There has to be a better game than
this. Running after every available possible random
pleasure doesnt amount to that much either. Living
according to the dictates of some jealous, demanding
god, who clearly has a development and identity problem,
does not seem any better. How do you create a life
that has meaning, accomplishes something of value,
respects that which should be respected, honors what
came before and accomplishes human companionship?
Not an easy challenge yet an important one.
Life, is the supreme creative act. All other
creativity follows from this. Frank Lloyd Wright
taught me that. Alexander Graham Bell seemed to have
accomplished it. Steward Brand is a contemporary
example of someone who has achieved a measure of
balance in these respects - or it looks like he has to me from
you yourself, relate to you own creativity is critical. [link] The
creative life, innovation - being an entrepreneur
can become a self-inflicted horror. The creative
something that you want to be in but
not of. Emotional
stability is not always easy here. It is simple to
see why many people fear it. Passion drives creativity.
Passion can also drive far less useful things. Passion,
unchecked, can drive out-and-out evil things. You
do not control the creative process - you bring discipline
to it, not control. The process controls you
- or, more accurately, flows through you.
It is important to choose masters carefully. You
may create the “story”
you must never, never believe
psychology is, by definition, complex, emergent and
not totally knowable. Existing practices are neither
a true science or art - it is and I suspect always
will be a measure of both. A genuine creative impulse
and a neurosis is not always easy to distinguish.
If you are born to some things or if
all is choice is a serious question. Most
of what is written on these issues is, sadly, not
useful. Pop-psychology and conventional wisdom rules
these domains. A lot of it is self-serving, and reporting
after the fact, that further alienates budding, would-be
creativity. The old World maps used to have - at
the edge of the known world - Here Be Dragons. That
is about as far as modern thought has gotten in mapping
creativity. Here be Dragons. Let the buyer beware.
seems to me that the predominate emotion that drives
human activity, in our society - today - is fear.
I do not understand this. It seems that humans -
and human kind - cannot get enough security, wealth
and technology to approach life as exploration. Those
who break out and explore [link] are
greatly honored for it - after success. Before,
they are resisted in every possible way. A love/hate
relationship. This society has a bad habit of creating
heroes in order to destroy them.
thing is sure, the creative life does require great
personal investment and the reward has to be the
thing itself. If this is not enough you are in for
trouble if you travel this path. If fortune and fame
drives you - you are in for trouble. However, there
is nothing wrong with fortune and fame if it comes
as a byproduct and if you have the maturity to use
them well. Few do. This was Bells greatest
accomplishment - not the telephone. He used fame
and fortune well.
most often, comes early to people. To
reach at the end that vision is to
complete a cycle of work and living - it is not
necessarily the end of a life although it often
is a death experience in the non physical sense.
because you are not the person that started the
is not always what you expected. Vision drives
but it does not predict. It also does not guarantee.
accomplish a vision you have to give in to it.
You also have to bring disciple to it or it can
destroy you. You have to master the art of both
making things happen and flowing with the energy
of what is happening. When to hold em
and when to fold them requires a careful
discriminating facility. This is the knife edge
between insanity/fanaticism and stability; failure
and success; sickness and health. Healthy emergence
is between choas
the difference - it is all in knowing the difference.
We all got here without an operating manual. Documenting
a life [link] is
about writing a manual - a manual to be used but
December 14, 1998
voice of this document:
VISION STRATEGY EVALUATE
January 16, 1999
November 23 , 2004
• 20040223.765410.mt •
this document is 100% finished
Taylor 1999, 2000, 2004