The Prince of Wales and Roger Scruton have mentioned it, but few other public figures mention the obvious: modern architecture is ugly and utilitarian, and the resulting environment of boxy negative beauty makes people testy and prone to destructive behavior.
After all, modern architecture is the triumph of the prole. You do not need to be an aesthetic genius to be an architect now; you must only have mastered some math and physics. Then, you can slap out glass-fronted half-plastic graceless boxes and get paid big bucks for it. Some, like the odious Frank Lloyd Wright, even got artistic credit for their “innovative” box patterns.
“We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us,” mused Winston Churchill in 1943 while considering the repair of the bomb-ravaged House of Commons. From a report:
More than 70 years on, he would doubtless be pleased to learn that neuroscientists and psychologists have found plenty of evidence to back him up. We now know, for example, that buildings and cities can affect our mood and well-being, and that specialised cells in the hippocampal region of our brains are attuned to the geometry and arrangement of the spaces we inhabit. Yet urban architects have often paid scant attention to the potential cognitive effects of their creations on a city’s inhabitants. The imperative to design something unique and individual tends to override considerations of how it might shape the behaviours of those who will live with it. That could be about to change. “There are some really good [evidence-based] guidelines out there” on how to design user-friendly buildings, says Ruth Dalton, who studies both architecture and cognitive science at Northumbria University in Newcastle. “A lot of architects choose to ignore them. Why is that?”
None of this required rocket science to figure out: we are influenced by our surroundings because they are what we see the most of, and they will be reflected in our actions, like an extension of “broken windows” theory. If we are surrounded by ugliness, we act that out.
Modernity is falling as liberal democracy, finally at the apex of its power, has revealed to us what it really is made of. It “showed us its ass,” as the old saying goes, and now we know its true nature, which is an angry crowd of losers tearing down everything beautiful and replacing it with ugliness that makes them feel “in control.”
There is no escape from modernity until we turn back this tide, and the only way to do that is to remove its founding idea, or egalitarianism. We need hierarchy back, and an end to democracy, if we want to end democratic thinking like modern architecture, fast food, pornography, diversity, feminism and individualist New Age religions.