Barthes examines the inherent dangers to society of contemporary mythologizing wherein the values of a dominant majority are (invisibly) foisted on the rest. His later book The Fashion System further examines this silent tyranny.
According to Pagels, Satan was morphed by early Christians from his earlier depiction by the Hebrews, as an agent of God that tested the faithful, into a much darker figure and a convenient enemy used to unite early Christians. Pagels argues compellingly that once Satan was defined as the source of all evil, society’s emphasis on personal introspection was eclipsed by political struggles between us, the righteous, and them, the evildoers.
Gombrich believed (as do I) that in our search for meaning humans find satisfaction in discovering predictable patterns, and in communicating them through decoration. This book is both an encyclopedic review of pattern making through history and a serious attempt to reveal the underlying universal truths found in patterns.
Paul Goldberger’s great service to architecture has been in his abiding commitment to helping the general public make sense of the built environment and understand the role that architects have in shaping it. Architects, too, benefit from his insights, especially in this new book, which emphasizes the imperative of poetics in architecture.