"Humanism played an important role in the medieval period, when it liberated humankind from the age of god. But in the age of the machine, the human race has allowed itself to succumb to the delusion that, with machines in its employ, it has attained the role of god and can row rule the entire world, the entire universe. Today, humanism has become identical with human superiority and logos-centrism. This human superiority of the age of the machine is counterproductive in the age of life, with its emphasis on the environment and ecology. 


In the age of life, the movement will be from dualism to the philosophy of symbiosis. Symbiosis is essentially different from harmony, compromise, amalgamation, or eclecticism. Symbiosis is made possible by recognizing reverence for the sacred zone between different cultures, opposing factors, different elements, between the extremes of dualistic opposition. The sacred zone of another's individuality, or a region's cultural tradition is an unknown region, and though we respect that sacred zone. If our respective sacred zones are too all-encompassing, symbiosis, efforts must be made to achieve extended dialogue, mutual exchange, and to discover other positive contributing factors. The belief that all aspects of a particular people's lives are an inviolable sacred zone, an exclusive type of nationalism or a closed regionalism, are not conductive to achieving symbiosis.

The second condition necessary to achieve symbiosis is the presence of intermediary space. Intermediary space is so important because it allows the tow opposing elements of a dualism to abide by common rules, to reach a common understanding. I call this a tentative understanding. Intermediary space does not exist as a definite thing. It is extremely tentative and dynamic. The presence of intermediate space makes possible a dynamic, vibrant symbiosis that incorporates opposition.


Hasn't our urban planning since the war, based on the logic of functionalism, too strictly separated private from public space? Having imbibed the draft of the Western God of reason, our cities have been divided into cramped, individual, private spaces and, including our roads, broad public spaces. Now that our streets, which once had many uses, are overflowing with automobiles they have lost their image as scenes of dense urban life and become perilous rivers that separate us. This separateness can only increase the alienation of urban dwellers. Though I do not count myself among those who rather hysterically ask that we entirely outlaw automobiles from cities, certainly there is a need to restore the importance that the intermediary space of the street once played in our lives. 

One of the important tasks of the architecture of symbiosis is to oppose architecture based on the rationalism and dualism of modernism with architecture that incorporates intermediary space and is full of charm and mystery."

Kisho Kurakawa. Each One a Hero: The Philosophy of Symbiosis. 3rd Edition. New York. 1997.


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