Form and Function

The architectural principle that form follows function (despite all the rhetoric about how it’s not really true, especially in an increasingly shrinking digital world) is a truism for a reason. Doors are just tall enough to go over the heads of 90% of the population because that’s their function. Bucket seats are shaped in that form because their function is to hold our bums. Earbuds have that form so that they can be used functionally in our ears.

Form ever follows function. And this is true even when the form can have all kinds of varieties and beauties within its function.

Stalwart traditionalism, on the other hand, is all about function following form. Sending paper invitations to a wedding when evites are faster and cheaper. Wearing a watch when you carry a more accurate time-keeping device in your pocket at all times. Preaching on a podium at the front of a room even though with amplification and wireless technology the speaker can stand (or sit!) anywhere.

We forget culturally and generationally that there was a reason for starting certain traditions. And there can also be good reasons for ending them.

There’s no need to change something just for the heck of changing it. But there’s plenty out there where the form has lasted longer than the function, especially in the church.

And I, for one, want to figure out what those are.

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Redeeming Twelve-Tone Music (Kinda)

It’s pretty safe to say that I’ve always pretty much hated twelve-tone music.

If you don’t know what that is, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: it’s basically a mathematical way to approach music that was invented in the last hundred years to shake up the music world.

And it’s always ugly. ALWAYS. Which was kind of the point. But that doesn’t make it any less awful.

But along comes Vi Hart and she explores not only the philosophical ideas behind it (which made my head hurt a little, though not in a bad way), but she made twelve-tone eerie and beautiful.

Give it a look. I let it play in the background/side screen while I worked on other stuff–I don’t have thirty minutes to just sit and watch something like this, though it’d be cool if I did: