From the Archives...

Cathedral Building

[Matt Taylor, February 11, 1992, ]
Sea Loft, Hilton Head, SC


[Editor's Note: Perhaps more than anything else that has been written about or by MG Taylor, this short note captures the essence of why all of us in the MG Taylor network do what we do, and why we persevere under sometimes extraordinary pressures and against daunting personal, organizational and environmental challenges. And the spirit represented by these words also explains why we choose to do it together.]

You cannot have uncommon results by common means. Nature does not allow it. Only the too socialized believe they can have excellence and their comfort. Only the dull confuse the tools of building with the act of building. The insecure want their rules. Only a coward demands control.

Life must be lived, not managed.

Blinded by fear and ambition and stale, used up rules, we battle our way through embittered days. We take all the joy out of our work. We succumb to accountancy. And we destroy our lives and our planet. Heartless, joyless, we become killers. We kill the Human Spirit, and in doing so, kill everything else.

Trees become boards, a commodity to build unwanted, unseen, neglected walls. What is a wall anyway? Nothing important. Nothing to have meaning, beauty, pride, presence. Nothing to shelter, to make space, to organize life, to inspire praise. Nothing. A waste of a tree. A waste of the life force that built. A box to trap a promising life and a dying spirit.

Why do we do this? Why do we fail ourselves? Why do we let our lives become meaningless by failing to give meaning to our work?

To make money?

You cannot make money. You make a building [or an enterprise]. In doing so you make value. Value allows money.

To build is to reveal your soul. To build is to engage, to act, to touch, to love. If you want a Cathedral you have to be a Cathedral builder. You have to stand in bright light and be counted. You cannot hide in mists of mediocrity and safety--of normalcy. You cannot accept limits, yours or anybody's, as mandated, given, immutable. A Cathedral uplifts. It inspires. It demands. It transforms. A Cathedral is a temple for the God in each of us. Its budget is the measure of our ability to give passionately, without reservation, fear or self-centeredness.

A Cathedral is not ordinary and it cannot be had by ordinary means.

I have one question to ask of you: Why? Why would you ever build anything less than a Cathedral?

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