I am interested in how we interrogate architecture in terms of its social functions and meanings. Architectural historians writing on eighteenth and early nineteenth century Britain have tended to see social history as the answer to this question. But the social history of architecture or the histories of specific social groups which operated in and around the architecture or building(s), or indeed the spaces created by them or for them, provide only a backdrop or loose historical context.
For, according to the teachings of Islam, moral knowledge automatically forces moral responsibility upon man. A mere Platonic discernment between Right and Wrong, without the urge to promote Right and to destroy Wrong, is a gross immorality in itself, for morality lives and dies with the human endeavour to establish its victory upon earth.
When it comes to acid rain or oil spills or depleted fisheries or tainted groundwater or fluorocarbon propellants or radiation leaks or sexually transmitted diseases, national frontiers are simple irrelevant. Toxins don't stop for customs inspections and microbes don't carry passports. North America became a water and free-trade zone long before NAFTA loosened up the market in goods.
So long as we judge ourselves by human comparisons, there is plenty of room for self-satisfaction, and self-satisfaction kills faith, for faith is born of the sense of need. But when we compare ourselves with Jesus Christ, and through Him, with God, we are humbled to the dust, and then faith is born, for there is nothing left to do but to trust to the mercy of God.
Flaubert poses as the outsider with insider information who excoriates a reality as degraded and mendacious. It is as if the literary standing of the author in the world of imagination and fiction paradoxically grants him a greater access to the truth than would be available in the falseness of empirical existence.