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A rarely remarked upon feature of buildings is that they tell us something about themselves and its broader view of the world.
The Mauritshuis, a museum in the Hague completed in the classical style in the early nineteenth century, tells us that its dignified and stately, calm and rational, but also a place for tenderness. It reminds us that we are a tiny moment in a long history.
Some buildings can be loud or impatient. In Madrid, there's a large residential block that speaks of being bored with convention. The building is not necessarily new, but certainly up for fun.
Then there are buildings covered with dreary graffiti that talks of lacking hope for the future and of just giving up.
Buildings have a great influence over our self-conception. Very often, we don't have a stable sense of our value or society. On some days, things can feel tolerable, and we have faith in our fellow humans. But on other days, we sense our mood dropping. We wonder about the cruelty of people.
Crucially for our state of mind is the architecture that can help push us either in a positive or a negative direction. Buildings that speaks of forgiveness, gentleness and modesty can make the world feel benevolent. If we are stuck in streets that talk to us sharply about shame, about being a nobody, these messages can amplify the worst on our inner world.
Few of us are so impervious to the voices of the streets that we don't get affected. That's why we gravitate to certain districts that can respect and like us and avoid those that reflect negativity.
Thus we should take care of the buildings we spend time around. Their voices are likely to affect us deeply.
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Sigmund Freud discovered that there is a remarkable difference between what people will tell you when they are sitting up and looking at you in the eye, and what they will say to you when they ...
We perhaps don't realise that seeing another person's face can discourage us from speaking the truth. We may hold back and edit our presentation in the light of their reactions.
With Sigmund Freud's example in mind, we should find our own forms of horizontal conversation. After dinner, we might suggest that we all go and lie down somewhere and become newly conscious of voices and nuances when we don't have to look at others' expressions.
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As grown-ups, we have choices. We are not small children where we have to depend on our parents for everything.
We could work as a bus conductor or retrain as a psychotherapist. We could volunteer in an emergency shelter. We can throw ourselves into learning a new language or take a university degree. We can look up old and trusted friends or make new friends.
To increase our chances of fulfillment, we need to feed our imagination and provide them with endless examples of alternative narratives, so they are more able to come up with plan Bs. We should practice to picture better ways to be.
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Straightforward people are easy to be around with because we know exactly what the issues are from the start. There is no need to guess or infer or translate.
If they don&...
Complicated people are very unsure about the legitimacy of their own desires, making them unable to let the world know what they really want and feel.
They may initially appear to agree with everything you're saying, but later on, their reservations will become known. They will say they want to join you for dinner but will inwardly ache for an early night. They will give the impression of being happy while crying inside. They will say sorry when they want you to apologize.
The root cause of confusing complexity may come from fear of how an audience might respond if our real intentions are known.
The origins may have started in childhood. A child becomes complicated when they are given the impression that there is no room for their honesty. A child may have received irritation or open anger for their honesty.