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The Pyramid

For skyscrapers, a geometric, streamlined, unadorned design is not a matter of style, but rather of necessity. Four hundred stories above the ground, supported by a disproportionately small base, the concept leaves no room for embellishment. The design fits the purpose, and the purpose is clear - to escape the tight streets, to outgrow the ever-rising expense of land, to find space where there was none before.

Now I construct a building of my own, starting with a magnetic base and a hundred-some steel balls clumped together in a formless mound. Layer by layer I work, a square level of small balls first, on top another smaller square, above two tiers more, covered by four larger balls, all topped by one, the largest. This pyramid is a marvel of geometric perfection: in the form perfectly smooth, in the arrangement perfectly straight; this edifice is a marvel of inspiration by indolence: constructed at a whim, crushed at the next. The sight of the structure is not aversive, while its glint is appealing; its only failing is banality: it evokes no emotion, no thought, only staring; it inspires no more than a yawn.

This unsteady construction is my tribute to the victims of a capricious tyrant - dedicated effort. The most highly valued commodity of all, time, used with painstaking care to create the most enduring form, fabricates with distressing perfection a trifle utterly lacking merit. All who are toiling without thought to achieve perfection, without emotion to create appeal, turn back at your labor, look forth to this cenotaph, and preclude your later regret.

With apologies to Samuel Johnson.

This essay is Copyright (C) 2000 Alexey Spiridonov. All rights reserved

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