Daily Quote #3

“Peter Eisenman is the American architect who designed Berlin’s extraordinary Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It consists of 2,711 concrete pillars ranging in height from a few centimeters to almost five meters and forming a dense, undulating grid pattern through which visitors can wander.

For Eisenman, the field of concrete is a metaphor for the Nazi regime and the mad, ordered nature of its genocide. ‘The field looks like it’s reasonable, lined up’, he said. ‘Then you find the stones are not perfectly horizontal or vertical. There is a warping sensation. It’s unsettling. It seems reasonable from the outside but when you get into it it’s out of control.’ The memorial, Eisenman said, ‘is a warning against reason. When reason gets turned to excess, when there is too much reason, you get madness.’

‘Too much reason’. The very idea that there could be an excess of reason would for much of the past 200 years have struck progressive thinkers as close to madness. Even more so the idea that too much reason was a condition to be feared. But strangest of all would have seemed the notion that the madness of the Final Solution was engineered by a surfeit of reason. If any event could demonstrate the folly of giving into unreason, it is surely Nazism and the Holocaust. Yet now it is regarded as an expression of too much reason.”

– Kenan Malik, The Guilt of Science? Race, Science and Darwinism 

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