“The opposite of war isn’t peace – it’s creation.”
This quote – from the musical Rent – has been in my head a lot in recent days. It’s because of the incomprehensible act of violence perpetrated on humanity in Orlando this past weekend. Being in the creative field and living in New York, I’ve been surrounded and inundated by a lot of extreme fear and anger surrounding that despicable incident. It seems people (me included) are so geographically displaced from the incident, yet hit so emotionally hard by it, we find ourselves at a loss with what to do. And a lot of what we do is just get mad – darkness breeds darkness.
As a matter of fact, there seems to be an general ugly air of anger everywhere these days. A quick scan of my Facebook feed reveals a steady stream of “I’m right – you’re wrong”, “Don’t vote for him/her – they’re a fascist, liar, bigot, etc.” Even something as lovely and basic as marriage is greeted with spite and diatribe from warring parties.
I don’t know about you, but I’m weary of the seemingly prevalent fear and anger in the air(waves) today. Giving up cable TV this past year in favor of streaming was my first step in shedding that black cloak of broadcast gloom and doom. That ratings tact may attract more viewers in general, but it certainly doesn’t attract me. In general, I find ugliness repellant. I’ve often joked that an early version of Photoshop was physically installed in my mind at a young age. You may call it severe denial; I call it aesthetic editing – and it’s an absolute necessary for this designer’s sanity.
So what can I do about the current fecal tempest raging around me? For me, the answer lies within the quote that opens this missive. I choose to build rather than tear down. I had lunch this week with a young architect who wanted advice on his future path. During our conversation, he said something that struck me profoundly. He told me one of his life goals was to simply make the world a more beautiful place. What a higher calling.
So, in the midst of the fear-mongering and chaotic hatred swirling about in the state of our current events, I’m also reminded of another quote. This one from St. Francis:
“Where there is darkness, (let me bring) light.”
More often than not, I’m able to find light as near as the end of my pencil. In an atmosphere of destruction, I can create. It’s a God-given talent I’ve never ignored – I can make the world a more beautiful place.
And, maybe, that’s all I can do.
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I truly believe there are more positive people in the world than we see in social media and on TV. I believe that good people outnumber bad, but the current cycle we’re in makes many of us despair of losing that edge.
You and your team create beauty and that is a huge contribution to the world. Keep on doing what you do and thank you for always giving us food for thought.
The VERY best commentary on the Orlando fiasco. Thank you for your blog. Please tell Bobby I said hello. All my best, Letty McAdams
And making the world a more beautiful place is what you do so well Greg. Thank you for your timely comments. In a world seemingly gone mad, it is good to know that there are those that still see & create beauty for us to enjoy. That beauty feeds our souls & lifts our spirits.
Thank you for making my day !
I will create a piece of needlepoint in your honor.
Great post!! Thank you for making the world a more beautiful place!
I couldn’t agree more. Well said.
Your words and the beauty you create revels your heart and soul. I don’t know which one is more beautiful: words or work.
Thank you for your message.
I was in Charleston last weekend for my 20 anniversary. We moved from Canada, married on the beach there, and returned from our present home in Florida to celebrate.
Saturday we stopped to reflect with sadness at the Emmanual church where a year previous tragedy struck the prayer group.
Sunday morning my husband told me the news in Orlando. I was paralyzed as our friends Dan and Joey were there celebrating a birthday. They were 10 minutes from Pulse night club when they decided to go elsewhere.
I needed to breath , I needed to heal from the sadness and pain I felt, so off we went on bicycle.
We travelled street by street looking at the incredible homes, churches and beautiful gardens.
I photographed the most beautiful window boxes I’ve ever seen.
The architects of this city and the owners of these homes today helped to heal our heavy hearts.
The beauty was therapy and we are so thankful.
Thank you for a thoughtful post. I never post but I am always touched by your thoughts and beautiful pictures and felt I needed to send my thanks for what you add to my visual and emotional world every week.
Thank you for your heartfelt words and the beauty you bring to the world.
We belong to the same tribe.
Thank you for your beautiful words and all the beauty that McAlpine has spread through the world throughout the years.
Well done Greg.
I truely believe the best we can do is to each day bring kindness to our community, there has to be more goodness than hatred.
Well said! Thank you, Greg.
What a beautiful quote! I never thought of it from that perspective. Anger is all around us and I feel so lost around it, it feels like I’m the only one who is not feeding this hatred. This post made me feel refreshed, made me feel like I can’t lose hope and I should just keep on doing what I’m doing, ignoring the anger and spreading love. “I can make the world a more beautiful place. And, maybe, that’s all I can do.” I’m definitely using this to guide my life from now on. Thank you so much for this post!!