Sunday, 11 November 2012

Goethe's Faust

Talking about 'the tragedy of development' in Goethe's Faust brings some big, oft related questions that developers and architects might well ask themselves more often, such as a) 'Once I start, how come I can't stop?' and b) 'How come when/if the project is eventually complete, I feel so empty inside?' Meanwhile the story essentially reminds us you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs, and you might not feel like eating it if you've made too much of a hassle of cooking it, and also that and the country village of Midsomer really is full of homicidal maniacs. It is so full of them that we should be pleased to shout 'Tits! Arse!!' everytime we arrive back in the metropolis in thanks for being relieved of the duty to know everybody else's small world tribulations since thank god we have left the medieval world behind, and we are not due to go back until we're close on senile.
Do we need more Fausts? With our heads firmly stuck in the consumerist trough we don't need little Hitlers or Le Corbusiers  running about organizing us any more. But what happens when the trough empties? We can noodle around Marshall Berman's excellent interpretation of Faust for ever, pondering this and that, but when I got a bit tired of it, it was actually quite excellent to turn to the original.
For instance, when Faust and Mephisto finally get to enjoy Walpurgis night, the subtlety of interplay reminds you of any night in your local lap dancing club. There is always the guy who falls in love with the girl, there is always the guy who gets drunk, there is always the guy who can't really believe he's there in the first place, and there is always the girl who's after the money, the girl who just loves what she's doing, and the more cynical old hand who knows exactly what the game is. The fact that Goethe understood this back in the late C18th, and that he writes it so beautifully, and that we still behave in exactly the way today just makes you LOL.

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