Architect Frank Lloyd Wright liked to send out his poetic Christmas message every year extolling “man the enlightened being” . So do I.
“The herd disappears and reappears," says Wright's message, "but the sovereignty of the individual persists." What better time of year to reflect on that. [Note that by the word ‘Democracy’ Wrighsimply means Freedom.]
Literature tells about man. Architecture presents him. The Architecture that our man of Democracy needs and prophesies is bound to be different from that of the common or conditioned man of any other socialized system of belief. As never before, this new Free-Man’s Architecture will present him by being true to his own nature in all such expressions. . .
With renewed vision, the modern man will use the new tools Science lavishes upon him (even before he is ready for them) to enlarge his field of action by reducing his fetters to exterior controls, especially those of organized Authority, publicity, or political expediency. He will use his new tools to develop his own Art and Religion as the means to keep him free, as himself. Therefore this democratic man’s environment, like his mind, will never be style-ized. When and wherever he builds he will not consent to be boxed. He will himself have his style.
The Democratic man demands conscientious liberty for himself no more nor less than he demands liberty for his neighbor. . .
Whenever organic justice is denied him he will not believe he can get it by murder but must obtain it by continuing fair dealing and enlightenment at whatever cost. He will never force upon others his own beliefs nor his own ways. He will display his social methods to others as best advantage as critic or missionary only when sought by them.
His neighbor will be to him (as he is to himself) free to choose his own way according to his own light, their common cause being the vision of the uncommon-man wherein every man is free to grow to the stature his freedom in America under the Constitution of these United States grants him.
Exterior compulsion absent in him, no man need be inimical to him. Conscience, thus indispensable to his own freedom, becomes normal to every man. . .
Remember the men who gave us our [American] Nation. We have ‘the Declaration’ and our Constitution because they were individualist. Great Art is still living for us only because of Individualists like Beethoven. We have creative men on earth today only as they are free to continually arise as individuals from obscurity to demonstrate their dignity and worth above the confusion raised by the herding of the common-man by aid of the scribes and Pharisees of his time—quantity ignoring or overwhelming quality. The herd disappears and reappears but the sovereignty of the individual persists. . .
Read on here for the full message: “Man, the Enlightened Being” by Frank Lloyd Wright, and remember to have a great individualistic holiday season.
And remember this useful advice about responsible holiday drinking: Don’t underestimate when you’re at the bottle store. It would be irresponsible to run out.