The Towering Symbols We See

During the Delillo group, which did an awesome job I must say, I was regaled with the images of the Tower of Babel, and the interesting viewpoint on the union of the signified and the signifier.  Since that was already explained, I will not go into that bit any further.  I wanted to explore another thought entirely that I feel links with a message that Don Delillo may have been displaying in his book.

Art, in its many forms can inspire us in many different ways.  Some art, like the still-art paintings in Nina’s collection, is domicile, yet still gives the examiner a certain feeling of unease, of emptyness, and perhaps grieving.  The Falling man, on the other hand, took a harsher hand, and was intrusive as you can get.

I feel that society trys in many ways to combine these two when they approach thier greatest forms of art via architecture: Towers.

The Twin Towers of course were a symbol for many people.  Other towers in other societies are also symbols that hold a strong place in many people’s hearts.  Below are some images of towers. Look at them, and imagine being under them and looking up.

( Tokyo Tower

( Eifel Tower


( Twin Towers

( Burj Dubai Tower

These images are wonderous!  These are works of art that are mighty reminders of the power of the great.  These towers are invasive. They are called skyscrapers for a good reason.  I have never heard them called the trailing fingers of the world within the clouds.  Why is this?  It is becuase they literally are piercing the sky like swords into the vast unkown, the sky, space, the unknown.

Why do we do this?  Towers tumble so easily. Could we not have really awesome art painted in some place that could be seen from space?  It is not the eyes of other worlds that the builders of towers care about, it is the eyes of the people who are under those towers, the eyes that even from afar, still can see that the tower in the distance is the prominant feature.  They are symbols. Symbols of might, wealth, and oppression.  We are forced to look at them, and yes, be in awe.

While I did not really like Don Delillo’s Falling Man, I do have to admit, that it was effective.  The Falling Man in his book was literally a man falling from a tower.  We were forced to look upon not a tower, but him.  This was a huge proclamation of defiance against those that look at towers and can only sigh with angst or awe.

The towers of the past, Babel, Pisa, and regretably the Twin Towers all fell.  They were either built too high, on ground that would not support it, or were a symbol of something that made them taller in people’s minds than what could be handled.

I think we should move beyond the growing of glass towers, tinkling and winking in the sky, and look beyond symbols of mightyness that need to grasp at the fleeting clouds. Get your head out of the clouds.  Instead of extending those huge unbending digits pointing accusingly at God, we should curl our own over the very real fingers of our brothers and sisters, who are very real, and very on the ground.  This is the message I got from Delillo. It was not just his words, rather is was our discussions that led to this, and this my fellow classmates, is true art.

This entry was posted in Falling Man by wayneceallaigh. Bookmark the permalink.

About wayneceallaigh

I am a teacher, which means I am constantly learning. While my wife has taught me many things, I find that my students force me to learn new, and hard, lessons daily that help forge a better 'me'. Once I wore the last name of 'Barone', the family that adopted me, and I tried to bring pride to this name, but I was doing this for all of the wrong reasons. I was yearning to be someone I was not born to be, nor allowed to be, hence, I went back to the name that is my blood-right, O'Ceallaigh. Ceallaigh is what you will see though. Shakespeare penned the thought, "what is in a name?" I say, "identity". The one thing that I have found out is that today's society is all about an identity crisis. We are all trying to be individuals so much that individuality has become mainstream. I have found the way out of that. I stopped caring about the novelty of identity, and now I feel that my name is more than a moniker, it is an ideal. One can still say that I am still working under the philosophy of identity, but I will hasten to add that a third dimensional being can never truly illustrate the fullness of existence to a second dimensional being. When I am not teaching, I am a husband, and a father of five lovely children, Alex (20), Lilith (14), Jade (12), Lucas (4) and Ameaus (just born). In my free time I love to read, play online strategy games, practice Kempo, or spar with my friends in the various medieval fighting groups that exist all over the globe. Once in a while I like to shoot zombies, but they are a rather relentless bunch, so I tend to stay away from them if I can.

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