Perspective Matters

Robert Manigold
May 17, 2017
Birds eye view of West Potomac park circa 1912, prior to construction of the Lincoln Memorial

How do you look at the world?

I have always had a sense that great design accomplishes more than simple engineering and does it more beautifully. But, viewed from another perspective that great design can be missed if someone is only looking at a ledger.

Two examples of perspectives illustrated by describing structures:

  1. An old structure occupying land that is far to valuable for the structure not to generate revenue for the entity that owns it. It has been considered by people to be ostentatious and an affront to a certain way of life. The memories of the person it memorializes would be offensive to his many political enemies during his lifetime.
  2. An amazing memorial of a person who symbolizes freedom from oppressors, freedom from chains that were very real and the hope that greatness can be found in people that have failed a great many times but never quit.

Both of the above statements describe the Lincoln Memorial from different perspectives. One is a clinical, efficient description and certainly practical. The other perspective is one of someone who understands why it was built. As an example of what we should all aspire to do in life: To help give people the freedom to be who they need to be whether the chains be physical, mental, spiritual, or imagined.

Would something that has done all of that for millions of people be as impactful if it were built using the cheapest methods possible and by the lowest bidder?

When you are about to build something intended to last, think about how you want people to feel when they experience your creation. Do you want to inspire generations? Or do you want to just build to spec?

If your only focus is personal profit and gain, you will built it as cheaply as possible.

If you want to build something that inspires for generations, that is both a reminder of the past and blueprint for the future the investment, you will be prepared to invest whatever it takes to achieve that end.

What kind of person are you now, and what person do you want to be?