Already when they were working on the third floor of the
tower in Pisa, it was a fact that
this building would end up leaning. Despite of
this fact, they decided to continue the building of it. That was not a small
decision to make, seeing as the work had been going on for 177 years when it
finally was finished in 1350. If you have a close look at it today, you can see
a vague shape of a banana. The constructors tried to cover up the failure that
the tower was built on sand. Everyone did his or her best to make the tower as
straight as possible. None seemed to understand if they had succeeded in this,
it would have given Pisa a tower looking the same as any other tower; one tower
The leaning increased during the construction time and in the years to follow.
It was a tower of shame for years to come. The constructor Bonanno Pisano didn't
like to show himself in public. The inhabitants found it a shame to live in a
city where not even a tower could be built straight. Until people started seeing
the beauty in the leaning. The leaning tower of Pisa has established itself as a
main tourist attraction of the world in the last years. No one goes to Pisa to
have a look at the city itself. No one arrives to see the church, even if it is
worth a closer look. But millions arrives to see the leaning tower. It would be
a tragedy for Pisa as a tourist attraction if the tower had been straight.
Astonishingly few care about Giotto's colorful Campanile in Firenze, even if it
is higher and straighter than the tower in Pisa. It is perfect. The problem is
that perfect has something extremely boring in it. It doesn't have any
similarity to our lives on earth.
Many people are busy doing the right thing. They look at how others have
accomplished the same task. You stay on the road, and give the same answer as
everybody else. Everything you do, is hence quickly forgotten, it looks too much
like anything else. Our senses don't have to be challenged. The object creeps
into our brains, almost like muzak in an elevator. In more and more parts of our
lives, we are surrounded by readymade rubbish.
The difference between pretty and beauty, is that beauty has a defect that
pretty only can dream of. It is the old conflict between the unique and the
mass-produced. Between the original and the copy.
David Bowie was at his best as an artist when most things were out of line in
his life. Bowie himself has said he would rather not have created immortal
records like "Hunky Dory" and "Ziggy Stardust", if he were offered a straight
life instead. Luckily for all of us, it didn't happen that way. We feel a deep
happiness inside from the beauty his leaning life created. It is on the leaning
edges of life masterpieces are created. When the soul gets in balance, it
becomes safe, straight and easy, but rarely filled with beauty.
There are no natural straight lines. In a world map, there are only straight
lines between some countries. Then you know the imperial powers were sitting
thousand of miles away with a rule on a desk and shared the world between them.
Here, as always, straightness is an expression for distance and lack of
feelings. A myth wants us to think that most of the world’s problems come alive
when straight meets wrong. It is as wrong as it can be. Almost every major
problem in our time is a result of straight meeting straight. It is even scarier
that those meetings take place on every corner. Our cities are like us; they
have too much straightness.
No one would have built all those small, old cities today. There simply would
not have been given a permission to build them. You are not allowed to build a
city so it looks leaning and out of line. Some of those small places are tourist
magnets, but are in opposition to today’s rules. This is why some newer cities
do not have a lot of tourists; the houses and towers are straight without any
beauty. And beauty is against the law. In addition to everything else, there are
rules that make some cities unbelievably ugly.
Today the tower of Pisa would never have been built. No way! And, if someone
started the project anyway, the authorities would have demanded that it was torn
down when the third floor was reached. A united city council would not have
allowed the building of Venezia. They probably would have died of laughter by
the idea of building a big city out in the ocean.
The moral of this story? We all should do our best to do what they did in Pisa.
If we sense something is leaning in our lives, it would be a good thing to let
it be a foundation for building the rest of our lives upon.
Then maybe we will end up as a rarity once in the future.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the Campanile, or
Bell-Tower, for the Pisa Cathedral complex. It was built to stand vertically but
began leaning soon after construction started in August, 1173.
The height of the tower is 55 metres from the ground. Its
weight is estimated at 14,453 tonnes. The current inclination is about 10%. The
tower has 297 steps.
The government of Italy asked for help to keep the Leaning
Tower of Pisa from toppling over on February 27, 1964.
On January 7, 1990 the Tower was closed to the public due
to safety concerns.
Recently, reconstruction work was done to try and reduce
the angle of the tower. The tower was reopened to the public on June 16, 2001
after the completion of ten years of work.