Tuesday, April 16, 2019

History Cannot Be Replicated, It Can Only Be Repeated

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”
― Victor Hugo,
Les Misérables

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Did you sense it? As the fire raged did you feel something beyond the destruction of the great cathedral? Did it feel as if something vital, some part of you was being slowly consumed as well?

What we lost today is one of the great embodiments of Western civilization. It is impossible to overstate what this means. It will take some time to absorb. Notre Dame de Paris is at the heart of France’s identity. All distances in France are measured from kilometre zéro, in front of the cathedral. Though most (but not all!) of the French have turned away from their baptism, Notre Dame is the symbolic heart of the nation. And now, it’s gone, though firefighters may have saved its bones. It took 200 years to build, and now it was made a holocaust in one terrible afternoon. -   Sign of The Times

If you felt an inexplicable sense of loss, a dull hollowness in your soul that you fear will remain forever it was for good reason.

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Because despite the fact the walls remain standing, despite the proclamations far and wide that Notre Dame de Paris will be rebuilt it simply cannot be.

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Related imageThankfully the largest Rose Window was spared

There is no way to replace what Paris, what France, what Christendom, and indeed what humanity, has lost today. It is irreplaceable. For example, we literally cannot recreate the windows, which date from the time of Dante. We do not know how to do it.  Sign of The Times

Pragmatists will explain that thanks to 3D imaging it can be constructed exactly as it was:

For the last half-decade or so, an architectural historian named Andrew Tallon worked with laser scanners to capture the entirety of the cathedral’s interior and exterior in meticulous 3D point clouds. His billion points of light revealed a living structure; the magnificent flying buttresses had indeed held the walls true…Wired

But of course that is not true.  We don’t have timber from the 12th century, the craftsmanship of 13th century artisans can be recreated but the product of their labor is gone forever. Modern technology may allow the reconstruction of Notre Dame to look like the original, but it won’t be. It can never be.

Some say it is a sign.

“This catastrophe in Paris today is a sign to all of us Christians, and a sign to all people in the West, especially those who despise the civilization that built this great temple to its God on an island in the Seine where religious rites have been celebrated since the days of pagan Rome. It is a sign of what we are losing, and what we will not recover, if we don’t change course now.” - Sign of The Times

You see, history cannot be replicated,

it can only be repeated. Built between 1163 and 1345 with the two gothic towers added between 1210 and 1250 the Notre Dame Cathedral bridged the Dark Ages to the Renaissance.

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Let us hope the world tends towards the Renaissance rather than the Medieval, IFKWIMAITYD.

Image result for notre dame cathedral people pray

“Those who do not weep, do not see.”
― Victor Hugo,
Les Misérables