The Love Project:
The Two-As-One-World Philosophy

by Doctress Neutopia

 

 

In l996 Architect Paolo Soleri was commissioned by seventy-five Japanese corporations to design a Hyper Building--a self-contained, three-dimensional city for 100,000 people --one kilometer square by one kilometer high. The Hyper Building is a new kind of city, an arcology (the fusion of ecology and architecture) designed for a 1,000-year durability. In a Japanese/English publication published by The Hyper Building Research Committee lists Soleri’s concepts as:

A long-term, durable architecture and city

 A city that coexists harmoniously with nature

A city system with efficient resources and energy use

An autonomous and self-developing city space that can adapt itself to social and economic changes

When Japan went into an economic recession, the research on hyperbuilding design came to a halt. Dr. Paolo Soleri has been working for over 30 years trying to create a prototype arcology, which he calls Arcosanti in the Arizona desert.

Posted on one of the walls of the Arcosanti Café is a description of the Hyper Building, an example of Paolo Soleri’s vision, which reads,

The design finds analogy in eros. Throughout history, this constant drive in our species has been described and inscribed through art and the design of human habitat. Here the tower is the lingam, the male, while two concentrie exedrae, semi-circular edifices, are the female womb. Their interpenetration generates the fecundity of the city, its power to germinate a richness of invention and complexity. Tower and exedrae are inseparable.

When I read the preceding passage describing the meaning of the design in the poetic terms of fecundity, I wonder: is female/male interpenetration essential to manifesting the energy/inspiration needed to make the blueprints for Arcosanti 2000, the first prototype arcology, come alive? How important to the project is eros? Should residents at Arcosanti, a community of under 60 people ask: how is eros liberated or stifled at Arcosanti? Could eros be the primary factor in achieving critical mass in a prototype arcology? If so, what needs to happen in order for eros to be emancipated at Arcosanti?

The theme of the July 1999 issue of Shambhala Sun is sex. John Stevens has a relevant article, “Cosmic Embrace: Seeing Sex as Sacred: The Cosmic Yoni and the Universal Lingam”:

The Two-as-One co-creators are also worshipped as separate entities, the cosmic yoni (female matrix) and the universal lingum (male creator.) These two principles are the signature of life, the marks of being, and symbols of the yoni (vulva) and the lingam (phallus) are found in every culture, sometimes up front and right on the surface, sometimes sublimated and deeply hidden away.

The nurturing yoni symbol predominates in the earliest examples of cave painting and ancient carving uncovered so far. Later on in human history, representations of the lingam become more pronounced. The reasons for this change are not clear, but it may be that, in certain areas, men became more aggressive and thus assertive with their “weapon.” Many later paintings depict warriors engaged in battle in a state of sexual excitement.

Over the centuries the mother principled has ruled some societies, while the father principle has dominated others. We are now rediscovering that, for human life to flourish, the cosmic yoni and the universal lingam must be given equal veneration and then conjoined harmoniously.

The way I interpret the symbolism of the Hyper Building is that the two-as-one world principle is the core philosophy in an arcology.  As Saraha taught,

From the union of male and female a pure knowledge arises, a knowledge that explains the nature of all things.

Could it be that this “pure knowledge” is vital to finding the resources, the power, the wisdom, and the unity to build Arcosanti? Or is it enough to have only architectural structures that act as symbolic representations of the interpenetration of the yoni and the lingum? In order to cause a paradigm shift in architectural design saving us from urban sprawl, must the symbolism be actually experienced in the flesh of true lovers of philosophic Eros, and I would add, philosophic Aphrodite (the Goddess of Love)?

When I write about “philosophic Aphrodite and Eros,” I am writing about a creative drive that has made art, culture, philosophy and religion occur throughout the ages. One could call it the truthmaking or mythmaking process. From my research in the nature of genius, I have found that this is the only kind eroticism capable of truly fulfilling humanity’s most creative artists. So, the offspring of this loving pair are not necessarily biological offspring, so much as they are birthing new ideas and concepts into our human existence. Could the Hyper Building be a project able to come to life only through the joining together of philosophic Eros and Aphrodite? In Arcosanti: an urban laboratory? Soleri writes: I am all for symbolism as long as it is an icon of that which can become more than it already is. Symbolism is, then, some rarefaction and quintessence of “real events.”

Looking at the human population problem, we see what is critical to our survival. It’s not more children whom we cannot take care of now, but a new architectural structure that exists in balance with nature. So, if this thesis is indeed correct, then the union of Eros and Aphrodite, the two-as-one world principle, is crucial to our next phase of human evolution. Perhaps it is the magnetism of true lovers which creates the fusion of architecture and ecology—arcology--necessary to move us towards the original meaning of the word religion: “re-ligio,” to bind together again. Could it be that through this metaphysical sexual union, a network of arcologies is born?

The Hyper Building forms a center point city that allows information integration from all over the world. The Hyper Building is a highly concentrated place where people can easily interact and communicate. As more people interact and communicate, the next generation high-tech industry, life-style and culture will be created. The Hyper Building is an information-based city for the world. It creates an information space that is truly a sophisticated 21st Century information society.

 Paolo is vehemently opposed to the idea of animism. He understands that theologies have caused the worst historical and environmental disasters and that the clash of patriarchal theologies could well bring about nuclear war and the end of the human experiment. However, Paolo also acknowledges that religion is necessary to advance civilization. What I am suggesting, then, is that the real religion of arcology is the two-as-one world principle. The philosophic erotic principle does not create animism, which is grounded in biology. This alchemical union is what I call the religion of Gaia, a marriage of art and science - the art and science of arcology - or a blending of social and physical architecture.

Arcology, then, would be the magnificent offspring of lovers of Aphrodite and Eros!  Maybe by re-discovering this kind of sacred union, as well as finding the method for the community to nourish such relationships, we will discover the key to global transformation - away from our current forms of development that have resulted in the domination hierarchies between the sexes, which have built a culture occupied with nuclear weapons and automobiles.

In Neutopian Arcology Theory, this cosmic union between the sexes creates a holocracy, (governance by whole system within whole systems, ie. female/male union) a social architecture based on healthy “interpenetration,” or sacred union between the sexes. In this context, the two-as-one world principle creates the ruling metaphor necessary to make arcology a social reality. Thus, there is no way around the Love Project, united through a “hieros gamos” (sacred marriage), and to discover the invisible architecture needed to complete the construction of Arcosanti and to begin the citymaking of the Hyper Building. As the wisdom of the ages has stated over and over again: with love all things revolve and fall into place. But without love, nothing meaningful can grow, especially not an arcology designed with the union of the lingum and the yoni at the root of its design principle!

Arcology, then, is a romantic rebellion against the forms of development that suffocate erotic love and the health of the ecology needed to maintain life. Hence, arcology and the poetics of love are intertwined. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin writes in The Phenomenon of Man, “Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come to being. This is no metaphor; and it is much more than poetry.”

Hyper Building and the Silicon Revolution

In Dr. Soleri’s paper entitled, “Hyper-Building Interim Synopsis” of June 1996, he writes:

Presented with the possibility that the carbon cycle (which has demonstrated its excellence in a history of about 3.5 eons long), might be challenged by the silicon cycle, and being engaged in the Hyper-Building project means that I have to trust that for at least a millennia, the carbon cycle and mankind in it will still be the main actor in the evolutionary development. That is, even though we are opening our minds to the possible obsolescence of the flesh we consciously subscribe to its central task in the evolution of life for at least another 1000 years.

What concerns Soleri is that our advanced technologies are constructing a silicon consciousness, which makes carbon beings such as our selves inferior. Perhaps, he speculates, “Homo Carbonis might be engaged in self-extinction via the Homo Siliconis he is inventing.” He sees the possibility of the raising of two distinct lineages, “one estranged from the other.” He writes, “One frightening prospect is the emergence of the master race, the silicon race operating in the arid darkness of its genius.”

What Soleri refers to in the above sentences is that since the silicon race’s presence is housed in a computer, then not only is sunlight unnecessary, but neither is sex or death.  The master race never dies. Asexual reproduction ruled Planet Earth for billions of years before eukaryotic life evolved through sexual reproduction. And now we are on the verge of a return to sexless reproduction through genetic engineering and the possibility of human cloning. With the death of sexual reproduction and the rise of the silicon master race, not only is sunlight and erotic love unnecessary, but so is a healthy biosphere, including trees, living oceans, lakes, rivers or streams. So what if ozone depletion and green house gases destroy the biosphere, when the silicon master race does not require oxygen to breathe? Silicon presence, just like prokaryotic life forms, could survive a nuclear holocaust, biological warfare or any kind of ecocide.  But there is grave doubt as to whether or not human beings or plants could endure.

There seems to be an urgent need to reunite Eros and Aphrodite. Isn’t this our ultimate purpose: to save the beautiful, meaningful, rich, and cosmic phenomena of true love?

Perhaps our problem is that we have failed to discover the quality of love relationships that is necessary for the “lovolution” (the evolution of revolution, a worldwide non-violent cultural transformation; an epic movement towards the building of a network of arcologies) to become a global phenomenon. Just think of what kind of heroic love would be required to break through the mass consciousness in order to influence change and save erotic love from being terminated by the Silicon materialist mentality. The primary goal of the lovolution is to create the Hyper Building as an example of a balance between silicon and carbon life forms. Soleri writes,

The large dark Hyper-Building’s lower volume, capable of constant metamorphosis in high-tech in simulations and in games parks with more emphasis in pedagogy and learning while playing, could raise those occasions to levels where Hyper-Building would want to be: an inticing and powerful teaching “machine.”

The Music and the Instrument are One

One of Paolo’s preferred metaphors to describe the Arcosanti project is building a piano, an instrument. Once the project is completed, he feels it will be up to other social forces to play the music. But, he says, until the tool has enough strings to play the music, community builders will not have what they need to make a successful society. In Soleri’s scheme, current Arcosanti workers/residents become “sacrifical lambs,” giving up the present for the sake of the future, even though he points out the “future” does not exist.

Cox writes in the Introduction of Soleri’s book, The Omega Seed,

Soleri recognizes the dangers of sacrificing the present for the sake of the future, but his theology nevertheless calls for this. This sacrificing the present is a healthy and needed antidote to preoccuptation within instant ratification. Further, it is clear that in fact there is much immediacy of enjoyment among those who accept the harsh disciplines of living and working at Arcosanti. A holy spirit pervades the community.

What I am suggesting in this essay is that erotic love is the “music” to make the prototype arcology not only become a social reality for the critical mass, but a revolutionary force in the evolution of architecture. The purpose of a prototype is to change the social pattern, to transform from the status quo to create a new pattern of sustainable development.

Soleri sees his role as the master architect of Arcosanti, not as a social architect, even though arcology is an attempt to plan a society that not only exists in harmony with the natural environment, but is also an attempt to end various other social problems. Other stated goals of arcology are to end social isolation through the “urban effect” and to end “hyperconsumerism” through developing what he calls the “Lean Society.” Even though rhetorically on one level, Soleri claims that he is not playing the music, when in fact he is through legislation by design. Contradiction manifests confusion, so we are left with people who have become cynical about what they see and what they hear at Arcosanti.

Francis Frick is one critic of Paolo’s dualistic way of thinking, which divides the social space from the physical space, as he expressed in a correspondence with Tomiaki Tamura, the Onsite Arcosanti Coordinator, May 31, 1999:

“What else, except a personal need to control, justifies an experiment designed along Newtonian machine-lines—which assumes people are isolated from the total system? … I use the words ‘COMPLETE’ and ‘TOTAL’ here to emphasize what seems to be a polarity: all or nothing. Arcology wants to be COMPLETELY predesigned in physical terms—and (by default?) COMPLETELY UNDESIGNED IN SOCIAL TERMS (at least when Arcology is first occupied). The experiment itself seems constructed on very coarse Newtonian mechanical lines: Black and White.”

What Frick refers to here is Soleri’s insistence that Arcosanti is a construction site, not an intentional community. Since it is only 2% completed, Soleri says the instrument is like a bow with only a few strings. No maestro would be able to play beautiful, complex music with such an instrument. But such music is being played at Arcosanti, even though Arcosanti’s founder cannot hear it!

What Soleri fails to understand is that the embodiment of Aphrodite and Eros is the reason for building the instrument! As Shakespeare wrote in Coriolanus, “What is the city but people?” Without sacred union, the metaphors needed to complete the prototype arcology will not be found! Because of Soleri’s oversight, his designs lack essential elements to making Arcosanti a place where love relationships and their offspring have the means to grow.

For example, childcare has not been a high priority at Arcosanti. No early childhood education program has been developed during the 30 years in which the urban laboratory has been in effect. Such an educational program would have made it possible for children to be raised, not only surrounded by the physical structure of arcology, but with access to the psychological and philosophical foundation in which arcology is essential to the future of our species. For any social experiment in community living not to factor in the child element is a grave oversight, unless of course, with his neomonastic vision, Soleri is unconsciously trying to do away with children born from two people who love one another in Cosmic Reality.

Such an experiment in arcological childrearing could have led to a greater understanding of how to raise children capable of living in the collectivist environment of arcology. Soleri says he frowns on children because they get in the way of the construction activities and take up housing. But, without raising a generation of arcological thinkers, his project does not have what it needs most: people who have mutated from the status quo and possess the psychological foundation to inhabit an arcology of love!

He needs a subsequent generation to become the leaders and teachers of arcology if he wants the project to carry on. If the Arcosanti project dies due to of lack of people, then the idea loses the power of a living philosophy. It becomes a footnote in urban history. Perhaps Arcosanti will sell out and become an amusement park for the Disney Corporation or a country club for green, capitalist golfers. But only a living philosophy within Arcosanti has the potential to become a prototype needed to revolutionize-evolutionize-lovolutionize the world!

One reason for this oversight could be that Soleri has yet to discover the alchemical union needed to balance out his social theory. I’ve heard from alumni who knew Colly Soleri, Paolo’s deceased wife, that she complimented his personality (he admits to being anti-social) with concern for community issues. The Colly Soleri concert series is dedicated to her, but did they have a co-creative partnership within the Arcosanti/Arcology movement? Was she allowed any input into the arcological philosophies he was developing or was she his helpmate slaved to traditional nuclear family roles? Perhaps we will never know since there is no Colly Soleri archive in the Paolo Soleri archive. The only memories left behind are his, not hers! Feminists have pointed out over and over again that history fails to acknowledge or record women’s roles in social movements.

In Neutopian Arcological Theory, male leaders alone do not possess the symbolic power to birth into existence the love consciousness necessary to further the cause of building a network of arcologies. To do this requires male leaders working in intellectual collaboration with their female counterparts. Between the couple, cosmic love energy is produced, able to arrive at wise decisions for the good of all people.

At Arcosanti, unable to find this co-creative coupling to break out of patriarchal rule, the ruler has become a kind of despot. And so we witness another in a millennium of despots who have not found the wisdom through connecting with their female counterparts to move us beyond the terror, genocide, war, and environmental destruction of “civilization” to build a network of sustainable arcologies. Without this prototypical sexual model of equity, the two-as-one world philosophy would be unable to penetrate into the hearts and minds of women and men. And so, alas, the Hyper Building would be lost!

Today, in Dr. Soleri’s office, Beethoven’s “9th Symphony” was playing over the speakers. The choir sang the Ode to Joy. How I wanted to feel the joy of true love at Arcosanti! Then Soleri walked into the room. I told him I had written that, at the end of his life, he was like Beethoven because he could not hear the music, even though the music was being played. Soleri exclaimed, “how sad; I want to hear the music!”

So do I! What poetic element is missing from his social vision? Will he continue to be a philosopher-king like Plato, unable to see the value of the poetic element in building Arcosanti, the erotic joy of the two-in-one principle in action? How can we break free of dualistic thinking, which stands in the way of the reality of one world interconnected through this “interpenetration,” so that we can begin constructing the Hyper Building, connected by mag-lev trains in different bioregions around the planet? Can the union of true lovers show us the way out of the false divisions that have divided our world into 160 nation-states of sprawling post-modernist megalopolises?

The Omega Seed and the Alpha Ovum

In Soleri’s eschatology, the Omega Seed is the perfect state of awareness at the end of the Big Crunch, unlike the Alpha God in Christian theology, which is at the beginning. In his hypothesis, we are part of an evolution in which a disembodied perfect being is waiting for us billions of years in the future. At the conclusion, we find that the Supreme Being is a super computer allowing us to recall all collective memory. Humanity’s great sufferings are released and we will finally reach a state of equity. At this point in space, “pure knowledge” is found. There is total self-revelation. We become one with the simulation. We become the soul of the machine: an asexual cyborg that needs no water, oxygen or sunlight – or love in order to survive. Do not forget, it can protect itself with lethal, hi-tech forces within its microchips!

After greatly admiring Soleri’s work for more than a decade, and after being in direct contact with his ideas for more than a year, I feel that part of what is holding back the Arcosanti project is his belief in the Omega Seed at the end of space (he does not believe in time). Such a theology of the future shifts one’s focus and responsibility to a space/time of total recall where “pure knowledge” is found, rather than looking for the solution in the here and now of the present world. In other words, the Omega Seed becomes Dr. Soleri’s opium, his utopian state of consciousness, billions of years from now when the Big Crunch occurs. In Soleri’s hypothesis, the Love Project is an evolutionary process that happens at the Omega Point of Resurrection. It cannot happen before this point.

My objection to such thinking is not only that it turns humans into machines and enslaves them to the Omega Seed in the future, but it ignores the potential guidance the two-as-one world philosophy has to offer the world in the here and now. It denies the psychological element in life that could create a prototypical community actually capable of fostering the construction of Hyper Buildings.

In order to balance out Soleri’s eschatology, let me add a little bit of poetic justice to his hypothesis. What if the Big Crunch is really a Big Birth? Then what we need is not only an Omega Seed, but also an Alpha Ovum to create this state of “pure knowledge.” How we reach this state is not through waiting billions of years for evolution to take us there, but letting the embodiment of the love energy inside us to carry our dialogues to places where love for each other is so profound and meaningful that a new social and personal reality is born.


In Arcosanti: an Urban Laboratory? Soleri defines utopia as:  “a naïve scenario for a perfect community. Our minds can accept only if it accepts a (simple-minded) model of reality in which goodness, love and beauty are there for the taking. Utopian is the purification of emptiness.”

 
 

 

 



 
 
Human Extinction or Lovolution?