Building Your City

Will Mead

Something I heard a while back was that Christian churches historically have tall steeples so they can reach their way to heaven, being the highest point in the village which meant they were considered the godliest.

With a belief system of good and bad being a vertical concept, ‘heaven above and hell below’, it makes sense that the populous would want to be closer to heaven. This appears to have triggered grand architectural development for the time. Nowadays churches and abbeys are renowned for their aesthetic appeal and cultural significance, often a monolith among smaller villages and towns. If we keep with the premise that taller means closer to heaven, then which structures stand above the rest today?

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As I look around Cardiff city, what stretches upwards above me are large business buildings, towering hundreds of metres above any churches in or around the city centre. It seems to me a poignant metaphor on how religion has been left behind as the primary motivator of our actions and in its place is money; physically displayed as a giant stack of glass and concrete with a wealthy bank or insurance firms stamp at the top. Consider The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building that happens to be located in the United Arab Emirates, one of the richest countries in the world (Fortune, 2018).

It would be fair to assume that the majority of you reading this make a lot of your decisions based on their financial impact; whether you will earn it, spend it, or save it. I am guilty of doing the same and a lot of my actions involve a brief number crunch before I take them, but I always seem to reflect on my weeks and wonder why I haven’t got as much fulfilment as I had hoped. I’m also banking on there being another chunk of readers mentally telling me to prioritise my well-being and spiritual worth over my monetary needs. I’d like to think that I am making progress in this direction as I recently moved away from working in an industry that left me only part fulfilled and took all my time away from other fun activities. Yet I find myself pursuing a job in childcare that feels more wholesome and actually returns the time I would need to reconnect with friends and indulge in life. 

I think what I’m trying to get across to you all, is that it’s worth considering the balance of your material necessities to your spiritual and personal needs. For me, money can’t buy the heart-warming feeling of seeing a child smiling when you show them how to beatbox, and if I need to pay the rent then cultivating a job with a sense of play is perfect for me. There will be spiritual and financial buildings in your internal city, but I ask you to consider which foundations of your life you want to turn into a skyscraper. 

We like to reference our sources:
Fortune. (2018). These Are the Richest Countries in the World. [online] Available at: http://fortune.com/2017/11/17/richest-country-in-the-world/ [Accessed 31 Mar. 2018]

Photography: Will Mead (2017)

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Will spent his formative years living in Wales and Australia, going on to study Music and then travelling through Europe solo. This background melds with a passion for complementary therapies, and he currently lives in Cardiff in Wales where he works in primary schools and spends his spare time on various creative projects.

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