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YOU CANNOT NOT CHANGE

Two hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe each one of them containing billions of stars which themselves contain sizeable amounts of planets and innumerable number of asteroids, and so on. The math is mind-boggling and all of this merely in the observable universe. What has yet to be discovered and what it beholds, is beyond comprehension for our brains which are a minuscule, a microscopic speck in the game of the colossal. Each little thing in this equation is a profound matter of debate but one thing that holds true for all of them and unanimous is „Change‟. Change is the underlying principle in the universe. Everything changes except change itself. It is very simple and yet very stern, everything that does not change in the universe is presumed dead. The universe is expanding, the galaxies moving, the stars revolving around black holes, the planets around stars, the satellites around those planets, the air, the water, the living beings inside, all in motion all in a state of change.

So what exactly is change? A thing as simple as a shift in physical position of an organism all the way to the sun rising from the west, all fall under the banner of change. Yes that's how huge an entity it is, that‟s how powerful change itself is. It is the most prominent quality of life. Change can both be frightening or relaxing depending on the situation. It is a power that encompasses infinite possibilities, as it is fed by fear and hope, anything is possible. As rightly quoted by Henri Bergson “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to measure is to go creating one endlessly”.

Now that we acknowledge what change is the question arises, is it necessary to change? What if we don't? How do we change? Why change? If at all, in any matter. The answer to all these questions is simple, whether you like it or not things will change, that is the Thumb Rule of creation. It is an unending process and one which without the slightest of doubts is necessary for everything in the universe. Stagnation is death, and even if we are unwilling to change, we still will, maybe not visually, but our thoughts, feelings, relationships, perceptions, undergo constant change. The truth in lucid terms is that, we are never the same. As each moment passes, we in some way, knowingly or unknowingly undergo change. And if we do not we would cease to exist.

The importance of change?. As bizarre as it may sound, we undermine the very vital role that change has to play in our existence. For the growth of any individual entity, change is mandatory. It can never be possible, that something does not undergo change, and yet somehow manage to grow. That is as possible, as the Sun coming up in the night sky and darkness still prevailing. For improvements and flexibility and for the old to make way for the new to replace, and for existence itself to continue, change has to remain unchanged, otherwise all we would find, is an unimaginable realm, one perhaps completely opposite of our own perceptions and thoughts and

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undoubtedly of a grotesque nature.

CHANGE AND US Speaking of all the importance of change, the elemental question that arises in our minds is, how do we humans react to change? Or, what is change to us? Answer to these, lies in the psychological side of the quest. Humans are reluctant to change, be it a smaller one or a large one, sudden change or thought of it imbibes a sense of dread and fear in us as we as evolutionary beings have been programmed to fear the unknown. We resist it; we don't ever want to, maybe that is why Newton made his very first law of motion as Inertia. If we are moving, we don't ever want to come to a halt and if stagnant we don't ever want to budge. And again, what is the reason for this behaviour of ours? Why do we not want to change? So much so, that we are even willing to risk progress and everything else at stake. That‟s because change along with it brings uncertainty and we are afraid of losing our tranquillity and venture the unknown.

To break down human nature, history, evolution and creation in a few simple words or phrases is a tedious task. Putting all physical aspects aside, we as humans have evolved to what we are today, because of the primary reasons which are the key, and the underlying principle for change, throughout the periods of history and indeed, will be the key to our future. They are the Trident of humanity.

i) Adaptability.

ii) Progress towards comfort.

iii) Greed for power. We, being animals, although much evolved than the others, still obey that one rule, which is applicable for all kingdom of life, that is „survival of the fittest‟. Our Instincts have methodically involved in such a way, that involuntarily always put our survival at the front of our priorities. And that is the most common trait, that we share with our greatest ancestors. In order to achieve this, we adapt, no matter what the circumstances and obstacles, we adapt, we improvise and we finally overcome them, victorious and raging. As Frederick Nietzsche quotes "The snake which cannot cast its skin, has to die. As well as the minds which are prevented from changing, they cease to be mind”. Clearly emphasizing in one brief note, the will to survive physically, and the mental flexibility required, to overcome these difficulties, in challenging circumstances.

Once we reached the stage of Defined safety and were sure enough, that our survival was not at stake, inquisitive beings that we are, we sought more comfort. This desire, of progressing towards comfort, is one of the three leading disciplines and guiding forces in our history which resulted in us being what we are. In order to understand how we reached this. And what thoughts and decisions triggered these changes, we only need to dig a little deeper into these three factors, right from our creation and all the way to our current scenario, how they changed our perceptions over the course of time and played a role in our architectural

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development, and throw a glance, at how these will mould our visions of the future.

But being rational beings and great thinkers with activated brains, us humans have been cursed with a few flaws as well, and one of those is greed. Lust for power, and the unending desire to be the most powerful and sovereign of all that befalls the sight. Which often leads to many a catastrophe and disasters, not just for ourselves but for all encompassing us.

CHANGE AND CREATION In one of the truest definitions of change Edward Hubbard quotes “nothing is permanent but change”. Right from the moment of The Big Bang, all the way to the advent of homo-Sapiens. It is indeed change that has led to the things being the way they are. From that humongous explosion, which spewed out nothing but gas and dust at overwhelmingly unimaginable speeds, in every random direction into the infinite stretch of nothingness, all the way to a species that is programmed so complexly that if 10 to 15% of its brain is utilized, it would lead to the questioning and understanding the roots of creation of the Universe. It is pretty evident the most important factor here, is the growth and systematic betterment of previous stages of progress that consequently landed us-Sapiens, on this perfectly positioned place for existence that we call as Earth. This quality- of adapting, being one of the three fundamentals that trigger change in a human, suggests that what we now have as human nature was handed down to us right from the stars.

TRIGGERS OF RECORDED HISTORY

On careful analysis of non- physical aspects evoking change, throughput our recorded history, we find that at the core of our decisions to develop architecturally or otherwise we have always been driven by one the three said-aspects ( greed, adaptability, and progress)

Life is change” quotes the Heracles of Ephesus, signifying the importance of change in life. As humans first evolved on the face of the planet, their primary concern was survival, against all odds and obstacles they had to survive and that‟s when architecture started. Right from then architecture began to evolve, settling in caves or later improvising to tents of mammoth bones and animal skins, man developed slowly over the course of thousands of years and reached a point where their dwellings were not merely for survival but also their place of interest. Man began building using timber, all the while there always was that peril of life- threatening crisis, up until the periods of early civilisations.

As human beings stepped into the time frame since when history can be found recorded, Physical dangers were all but extinct; as long as survival was concerned mankind had developed, from all the struggles of the ice ages, volcanic eruptions and tectonic shifts. And now the focus was on the second of the three said aspects,-comfort and desire. As we begin to explore the root causes of major changes in human history and the mind-set that caused this change, and the results it casted on the architectural and cultural developments in the society.

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It is rather important to notice that no matter which civilization or Kingdom be taken to scrutiny in lieu of different contexts and cultural background and Indigenous differences, these societies have always acted in either of the three ways to change,resisting but adapting to change, progress towards comfort ,greed and consequent troubles. it‟s interesting to note that these‟, form a vicious circle which repeats time and again. To understand this in clarity, it is essential you throw light on some major events in history and what triggered them, and how they resulted in the development of architectural and mentality of people as a whole.

Roughly five millennia ago mankind had its sights set on its next priority- comfort. There was a relentless pursuit of knowledge technology medicine and communication. The Sumerians and the Egyptian civilization emerged during this period. Although located in the desert with scarce water, the development of Egyptian civilization was a classic example of how we resist change, and instead adapt to the present environment and aim for progress. The Egyptians looked towards a bigger challenge and went on to build the great pyramids, gigantic temples, the sphinx, obelisks and many architectural Marvels which amaze us even to this day. This went to inculcate in them a feeling of superiority, which later went on to become a claim that the Egyptians were descendants of Ra (The sun God) himself.

The Sumerian and Persian Civilization also achieved landmarks in developing writing and other tools and also built many large palaces and ziggurats. The Harappan civilization further made a shift of luxury from monarchy, as in the case of Egyptian and Sumerians to democratisation of architecture towards the common man. They took huge strides towards building comfortable houses, floorings, toilets and drainage system, symbolising that man had now come far beyond the fear of extinction.

Many Empires and great rulers- just and tyrants alike graced the phase between civilizations and ancient monarchy, but one person stood head and shoulders above the rest and that is, Alexander the Great. Now that comfort and luxury had been attended Humanity slowly began to shift towards the third paradigm- the darker side of human nature, pride, arrogance and greed for power. It is unfair to say that Alexander was greedy or arrogant but would be justified if it was said that man had become greedy and arrogant Alexander was just a product of these thoughts. His conquest in the fourth century BC across Eurasia and his desire to rule the world and him the title „The great’, but he died young-of a disease, suggesting that man had not completely defeated nature yet, wars had become prevailing and it is for this reason that during the second century AD the Persians and the Romans signed the „Pax Romana‟ for peace and to ensure development on both sides.

All this while, architecture had developed considerably, The Romans had started using concrete and techniques previously alien. Utilising water by aqueducts and building dams, arches, forums and basilicas but the major luxuries of architecture still largely remained to the kingship and wealthier sects of society. The built spaces were now much more interactive and society as a whole had become more social. This also being one of the reasons why envy and greed grew, leading

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for a quest for more comfort and luxuries. all of this reached is a critical limit, with man becoming more corrupt and power hungry by the day and blood being spilt cheaper than water. The insides of humanity called for change and in the span of a few centuries came the two most influential men in the history of mankind, Jesus of Bethlehem and Prophet Muhammad.

These men caused a complete shift in the ideologies of people, with Emphasis being laid on better human relationships, love and selflessness. But human beings as they were, reacted as they had for the past Millennia. They

hesitated to change, and as a result

of the people felt the yearning for spiritual reformation, they accepted their teachings and slowly these two religions developed in to two forces to be reckoned with. They became the catalysts for change and once again humanity was on the second virtue-progress towards comfort.

Till the end of the first Millennium and early second Millennium Christian architecture flourished in Europe, with huge churches basilicas and palaces being built. The entire lifestyle of people revolved around religion, and a sense of community further prevailed. Architecture took leaps and bounds. Meanwhile the Arabs, from a desert land of fighting tribes, had developed into a solid military force but architecture was still maintained at a minimum. For a subsequent five to six centuries, religion caused mammoth developments in terms of lifestyle and architecture, up until the period of the Renaissance and reformation. Islamic architecture had grown as a major Contender in Europe, North Africa and Asia, Massive mosques with heavy ornamentation and amalgamation with local styles of architecture earmark the golden age of Islam. Byzantine architecture grew side by side, and Christianity held nothing back in showing the pomp and vigour of their religion. By this time religions had also been corrupted by people and wars were as common as daylight. A few people held Central power in the guise of religion, such as the pope and arch- bishops, and once

again humanity was in need of a positive charge.

greatest epochs of history took place; Martin Luther defied the church and led The Renaissance and during this time the capital of eastern Roman Empire Constantinople fell to the Muslims in 1453.

they persecuted the prophets, but since many

That‟s when one of the

All of these reasons severely declined the church‟s power and Under the Renaissance artisans, great architecture and art was produced and of such caliber, that they are a marvel even to this day. Built spaces were now transformed into complex and intricate designs. Great importance was given to detailing, painting and inventions. Astronomy and anatomy were all explored during this period. Classical Greek architecture was revived and the principles applied in history up to this point Clearly showed that man was changing slowly but surely and due to the church‟s decline the period of greed was over, and as seen in Greek architectural Revival we were still reluctant to change completely.

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The cycle of human behavioural response to change. THE DRIVING FORCES FOR CHANGE Post Renaissance,

The cycle of human behavioural response to change.

THE DRIVING FORCES FOR CHANGE

Post Renaissance, technology began to flourish and after cycle, humanity was at the doorstep of another epoch. The steam engine was invented and along with a host of other inventions gave rise to another landmark shift in the history of mankind in the shape of industrial revolution. Everything was revolutionised man's hunt for comfort and progress had sent him to such unprecedented Heights that, that what took him lakhs of years would be achieved in a century or two. This also led to the medical Revolution. No more would mankind be threatened by epidemics like the bubonic plague of the medieval era, and as a result, population grew exponentially. Transportation was faster than ever imagined, steam engine trains could carry loads otherwise thought impossible to transport. Architecture developed more rapidly than ever before, Steel was used in abundance and man became more reliant on machines. The entire workforce revolved around factories and mentality grew from local to Urban, and furthers a global ideology, which has resulted in our current thinking.

The industrial revolution and French Revolution breathe new life in humans. Men now wanted to make money and never before in history had money played such a pivotal role. At this point of time, survival was not even a matter of question, and comfort was taken to be mandatory by al men. The prime focus was now towards becoming more and more stable and powerful, with weapons and militaries all ready at the disposal of each country. Colonisation became common and resulted in growth of colonial architecture.

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It has been evident throughout history that whenever desire for more luxuries increases, us humans fall easy prey to greed, pride and arrogance, leading to Mass bloodshed, this is how the most horrible incidents of history occurred, „The world wars‟. Since industrialisation had made the globe one country, for the first time, the world was at war-with itself. Massive destruction and loss of life, not once but twice in the span of 30 years, these events are still the biggest black stain on our history. But whatever has happened has always left humanity with an Irreversible change. All events of great significance in history have always changed two things, our architectural approach and our mentality. Clearly they are interdependent. From the start of creation every era defining change has been one of the major reasons for how we are now. The ice ages made us survive and adapt, the advent of civiliszations taught us to flourish and aim for betterment, the conquest of conquerors made us resilient and left us with a desire for peace. The growth of religions gave us the sense of community and identity. The invention of printing press and astronomical discoveries spread knowledge like Wildfire. The Renaissance and Reformation triggered our creativity the industrial revolutions made us smarter and to make use of technology. The World Wars were a clear warning sign of what greed might do to us in the end.

As a result of these, mankind now more 7 billion in number, today are a social, advanced, smart, resilient, creative and peace loving democratic identity, whilst still honing few of the evils passed down to us from centuries. Focusing economic distribution on a few individuals and misusing people's feelings for personal benefit has become our present Hallmark, change in this respect has turned out to be both a boon and curse to us and each of these have directly influenced our architecture.

has turned out to be both a boon and curse to us and each of these

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THE CRESCENDO? Assessing all the important periods and decisions that changed us and resulted in our present, It is not an arduous task to envision our future. The present is all about building skyscrapers, decorative forms, applications of all sorts of technology to fulfil the need of uniqueness and sense of Identity that each individual in the modern scenario craves for. Non-architecturally as well, each one of us in this era wants to stand out from the rest, to be unique, to be novel and the Centre of attraction for all those to see. This has become a modern mind-set, after all the changes we've been through every person is ambitious and so is every architectural design, each one is trying to best the other with its full force. Keeping this trend going has also caused us dearly, we are the reason the planet has turned to an oven, We are the ones who have destroyed ecosystems and resulted in severe repercussions in the form of extinction of species, and acid as rain, smoke as air, and Chemicals as food. Capitalism has paid no heed to the needs of Mother Nature and her Fury is visible for all to see and the architecture and construction industry is the second leading contributor to this cruel way of gratitude. Once again we have fallen victim to that vicious cycle of corruption and greed, only this time matters look much grave and an imminent doom largely looms over us. We are clearly rushing blindly towards our future powered by hydrocarbon fuels and concrete jungles as our marks. Matters could not be much Grey than they are now. If we do not learn from the mistakes of the past we are bound to repeat them in the future.

the future we all dreamt of, one of Utopian concepts and smoother, traffic free transportation, smart building Technologies and unlimited comfort , are nothing but a trait handed down to us by our ancestors, where we always look for progress and comfort. But to break the cycle this time we need a change, a change not in changing the world, but changing our thoughts and consequently ourselves. In this regard architecture has a vital role to play, as we are slaves to our thoughts, our thoughts are slaves to our context. A person of the desert does not know the hardships of the snow. Hence it is up to architectural community to create peaceful eco-friendly and more importantly healthy built environments that co-exist and not be driven by money, so that the environment creates a profound and soothing effect on the minds of the people, resulting in more peaceful and calmer thoughts. This part of architecture-the non-physical and psychological aspect, is subdued by the attractive built environment in the present. it is time we become responsible and stand up first, and set up the platform for the community to break free of the cycle of hate and loss and finally attain peace and tranquillity, as J F Kennedy rightly said “change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future”. The message is rather crystalline, we have to realise that we as a society, are a product of a series of slow transformations in the past and everything we see, right from our architecture to our fashion sense, is a result of the decisions of the past. The only sensible way forward would be to realise our mistakes and learn from them and change ourselves for a better future. And Einstein‟s words ring clear in our minds “ the world we have created is a process of our thinking, we cannot change it without changing our thinking”.

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