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Sand
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09 Aug 2009, 3:09 am

This is just a random thought about the shape of religious architecture and how it reflects the basic psychology of culture in general. The dominant form of the more current Christian church is the bell tower which caps the building and carries the cross at the top to state its religious orientation. It is no secret that a huge amount of religious dogma is deeply entangled with sex, with the restrictions and other attitudes of sexual activities and how they are sanctioned or forbidden by religious rules. Although it has relaxed a bit in modern times Christianity is obviously male dominated and by Freudian perspective the tower becomes symbolic of male dominance. The Russian St. Basil’s Cathedral is interesting in that the dominating central tower is surrounded by domes that seem to have the suggestion of female symbols.

On the other hand many Muslim mosques have huge female symbolic domes as their central structure and at the four corners are minarets, obviously huge phallic symbols on guard protecting the central female structure very much in accord with almost all Muslim social regulations where the women are studiously guarded by the men who prevent them from freely participating in many of the daily activities of their society.



zena4
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09 Aug 2009, 4:59 am

It's bizarre. I don't see it at all as you do.
To me, the bell towers are high to be seen from far away and as for the sound of the bells be able to go everywhere

Except that there is an old style which has very small bell towers.

There are so many symbolims in religious architecture. So many.
And to me, they are not connected to psychology the way you feel about it.
Freud is not that old to be able to explain everything :)



Henriksson
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09 Aug 2009, 5:17 am

Er... you've probably been reading too much Freud.


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Sand
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09 Aug 2009, 5:18 am

zena4 wrote:
It's bizarre. I don't see it at all as you do.
To me, the bell towers are high to be seen from far away and as for the sound of the bells be able to go everywhere

Except that there is an old style which has very small bell towers.

There are so many symbolims in religious architecture. So many.
And to me, they are not connected to psychology the way you feel about it.
Freud is not that old to be able to explain everything :)


I have no argument with your observations as structures obviously have multiple functions. Nevertheless the huge vertical structures on Gothic architecture are obviously more symbolic than utilitarian and the church tower in the center of most villages was symbolically the most outstanding structure of all. Your comment on Freud is amusing with the implication that Freud's analyses were somehow referred to in planning and construction rather than that he observed the underlying basic human subconscious motives in human appreciation of architectural shape.



zena4
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09 Aug 2009, 5:23 am

You'd better go to see Birman and Indian religious architectures then.
Plain, straight (if we can say so) and symbolic as well :)



Henriksson
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09 Aug 2009, 5:25 am

*gasp*

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09 Aug 2009, 5:31 am

Henriksson wrote:
Er... you've probably been reading too much Freud.


I'm obviously on a Freud kick but I haven't read any of Freud lately or otherwise. There are enough of his ideas floating through general culture to pick up the drift and I find them particularly cogent and applicable to viewpoints in various directions. They merely make good sense to me.



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09 Aug 2009, 5:49 am

To move somewhat away from religious architecture verticality in general in architecture is symbolic of potency. Te construction of the Empire State building (the tallest building in the world at the time) in New York City during the depression could be seen as an assertion of the virility of the American spirit when there was nothing but economic defeat in the air. As each country attains some kind of economic success it attempts an architectural erection (in all senses of the word) with the tallest building with obvious sexual connotations.



zena4
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09 Aug 2009, 5:57 am

The Eiffel Tower is very feminine!
Made of steel but still very feminine.

But it's true that it has been done on the purpose you mentioned: to show the all world the skill of French engineering at that very moment of mankind history (and was meant to be destroyed after the event).



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09 Aug 2009, 6:03 am

zena4 wrote:
The Eiffel Tower is very feminine!
Made of steel but still very feminine.

But it's true that it has been done on the purpose you mentioned: to show the all world the skill of French engineering at that very moment of mankind history (and was meant to be destroyed after the event).


You and I have rather different abstract conceptions of femininity.



zena4
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09 Aug 2009, 6:45 am

That's normal: we see it from each point of view.
And from different cultural backgrounds as well.



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09 Aug 2009, 6:55 am

zena4 wrote:
That's normal: we see it from each point of view.
And from different cultural backgrounds as well.


As a former New Yorker I find myself in reasonable agreement with Freud who was Viennese. I have no idea what your orientation might be but a very vertical spire with a knob at the top, whatever the base, looks rather phallic to me.



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09 Aug 2009, 7:38 am

what about the gurkin building.. it has no religous perpose to my knollegde


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09 Aug 2009, 7:50 am

scorpileo wrote:
what about the gurkin building.. it has no religous perpose to my knollegde


The Gurkin building in England seems to be a rather stout phallus. I never stipulated that all phallic structures were religious. I would say the nearest physiological reference is a phallus awaiting a stimulating female to appear to begin to exhibit its possible verticality. Say, if a domed structure should be constructed nearby noises will emit from its substructure and it will slowly exhibit its true vertical potential and a fountain will start spouting from its roof.



hector451
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09 Aug 2009, 7:52 am

plenty of it here: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBYfzo-Yqow[/youtube]



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09 Aug 2009, 8:01 am

hector451 wrote:
plenty of it here: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBYfzo-Yqow[/youtube]


Lots of different architectural forms but to discover sexual references in all of thm would probably drive Freud to the sexual structures and practices of arthropods, cephalopods, protozoa and cnidaria for a start.