By Daniel Peterson (sic et non)
In my youth, I had a passing desire to be an architect. The principal factor that dissuaded me from that ambition was my utter and absolute lack of any relevant talent.
My main inspiration was the work of the great Frank Lloyd Wright. I still love his work. And, perhaps not quite by coincidence, I was heavily influenced in my teens by Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead, which I only learned considerably later was based to at least a certain degree on Wright’s actual career. (I’m not sure that I would find the novel so appealing today.)
Anyway, after arriving at Sky Harbor Airport this morning and renting our car, we went to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, architectural school, and “desert laboratory” in Scottsdale. Wright himself was not only a genius but a . . . well, shall we say, a character.
“Early in life,” he recalled, “I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose the former and have seen no reason to change.”
Once, called to testify in a court case, he was asked to state his name and occupation. “Frank Lloyd Wright,” he said. “The world’s greatest architect.” When, after the hearing was over, someone chided him for such vanity, he replied, simply, “I was under oath.”
He had little patience for convention or mediocrity. “Harvard,” he said on one occasion, “takes perfectly good plums as students, and turns them into prunes.”
“The physician,” he once said, “can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines.”
All around the gift shop at Taliesin West are signs and mugs and other items bearing what is billed as Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Organic Commandment”:
Love is the virtue of the heart, sincerity the virtue of the mind, courage the virtue of the spirit, decision the virtue of the will.
There are worse credos to live by, in my judgment.
There are perhaps some grounds for worry, but I hope that he made it to heaven. Because I want to hire him to design my mansion there, should I too make the cut.
Webmaster Note: While I disagree with Daniel’s politics and style of Mormon apologetics, I too enjoy the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Taliesin West in Scottsdale and thorough enjoyed the tour. Last Fall, my brother, 2 grandsons, and I visited Falling Water southeast of Pittsburgh.