Books by John Lobell
A book can represent a way of knowing and existing: A person with a point of view is interested in something and wishes to understand it more deeply. From this own point of view, they research it, think about it, and come to conclusions. They then present their findings in a book, a medium that communicates with other persons who invest the time to read it, to follow the presentation and argument, and reach or not reach the same conclusions from their own points of view. All of which is dependant on the existence of literate individual persons capable of knowledge, insights, emotions, and wisdom, with points of view. For better or worse, we are beginning to exit this world. I discuss this in some length in my book, Visionary Creativity.
Here are some of my books (published and not published):
Architecture and Structures of Consciousness
This was my thesis for my Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1967. Dean G. Holmes Perkins allowed me to do the project as independent studies. It laid the foundation for my thought since. The premises of the book are as follows:
• Consciousness is generative. It is responsible for the world we experience.
• Note: I am not making an argument for idealism, but making a psychological observation, the position Merleau-Ponty takes in his phenomenology.
• Consciousness is generated not just the mind, but also the body, what Merleau-Ponty refers to as the “body-subject.”
• The underlying structure of our experience changes over history because consciousness changes.
• This “underlying structure” of experience is most clearly seen in “space” and “time.” For example in the change from Newton’s absolute space and time to Einstein’s relativistic space and time. We see this change not only in physics, but in all of culture, for example in the change from Renaissance perspective painting to Cubism.
• These changes are due to changes in structures of consciousness, which come from changes in extensions to the body-subject.
• McLuhan shows that media (books, television, etc.) are extensions of our bodies and minds, and therefore as they change, they also change our consciousness.
Between Silence and Light: Spirit in the Architecture of Louis I. Kahn
Published by Shambhala Publications
This is the only book to look extensively at Louis Kahn’s philosophy. He is known for his buildings, including the Salk Institute, the Yale British Studies Center, and the Kimbell Museum. But he is important also as a creative and spiritual thinker looking at architecture as an expression of our aspirations and origins.
The Little Green Book
A Guide to Self-Reliant Living in the 80s
Published by Shambhala Publications
Published in 1981, it looks at more sustainable approaches to all areas of our lives. The book is organized around the individual from birth to death, and the environment from the home to the planet.
The Philadelphia School:
The School of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania from 1955 to 1965
With Mimi Lobell
Seen most broadly, the Philadelphia School was activity in city planning, the architectural profession, and architectural education, centered around the Graduate School of Fine Arts (GFA) at the University of Pennsylvania beginning around 1955. In this book, after looking at this broad range of material, I narrow the subject to deal primarily with the seminal bachelor of Architecture program at the GFA from 1960 to 1966.
The Philadelphia School has become identified with the architects Louis Kahn and Robert Venturi. While both are important figures, overemphasizing their roles misses the point of a unique convergence of city, practice, and education, each in a period of renewal, and all serving as a backdrop for the growth of maturing personalities and the evolution of a philosophy of architecture.
The Man and His Ideas
Published by the Joseph Campbell Foundation
Joseph Campbell, one of the great cultural figures of the twentieth century, worked with the idea that myths, religions, literatures, and arts are repositories of understandings of the workings of our Visionary psychology and of the cosmos, as well as our means of participation in those workings. His most influential book, Hero With a Thousand Faces, describes the “hero journey” of separation from ordinary reality, journey to a realm of fabulous forces, where a decisive victory is won. It provided the themes for George Lucas’s Star Wars movies. Campbell sees this process in our everyday lives. He writes: “The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stands this afternoon on the corner of 42nd Street and 5th Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change. “
His later work, The Masks of God, looks at differences in the symbolic structures of different cultures.
This book, once distributed to members of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, provides an overview of Campbell’s work and a brief biography of Campbell written by Stephen and Robin Larsen.
Purchase Joseph Campbell: The Man and His Ideas used from Amazon
Purchase Joseph Campbell: The Man and His Ideas used from AbeBooks.com
Louis Kahn: Building as Philosophy
Not yet published
My earlier book, Between Silence and Light, looked at Kahn’s philosophy. This book looks how Kahn puts his buildings together (not just structurally, but organizationally as well) and how they way he does so communicates a philosophical position.
The writing is finished, but I now need computer generated illustrations. And a publisher.
Download introductory chapters from Louis Kahn: Building as Philosophy as a Word file.
Download introductory chapters from Louis Kahn: Building as Philosophy as a PDF file.
Letters to a Young Architect
Not yet published
Inspired by Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, this book looks what architecture is, the education of an architect, the role of tradition in design, architecture and culture, and how our young architect will create a new architecture.
The book is intended not just for prospective architects, but for anyone interested in creativity. I am looking for a publisher.
Why Everything You Have Been Told About Creativity is Wrong
Not yet published.
The theme of this book is that of this Web site:
Our world is no longer what we have thought it to be, and a new world is struggling to be born. Visionary Creatives are driven to bring this new world to all of us.
Since I am introducing a new term, “Visionary Creativity,” I should define it and say why it is important.
There is an issue that has remained opaque to studies of creativity: the difference between “ordinary” creativity, for example preparing a well-conceived meal, drafting a legal brief, or writing an episode of a sitcom, and the creativity of Salvador Dalí in painting his melting watches or Albert Einstein in formulating the theory of relativity. Studies settle for saying that the creativity of Dalí and Einstein is like ordinary creativity, only more. This is not correct.
Dalí’s painting of his watches and Einstein’s formulation of relativity are examples of Visionary Creativity. Very briefly Visionary Creativity is embedded in its culture, and at the same time remakes its culture. We are all creative, but there is something special about Visionary Creatives like Dalí and Einstein, like Mozart, Picasso, Jobs, and the other figures I address in this book. The Visionary Creative is aware that the world has changed in a profound way, that it is no longer what we have thought it to be, and that a new world is struggling to be born. The Visionary Creative is driven to bring this new world to the rest of us. It is this drive that leads to great works of art, discoveries in science, and transformative businesses.
Visionary Creativity is important to society because is opens us to the future. It is, in Joseph Campbell’s phrase, the “opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestations.” And it is important to Visionary Creatives themselves, as it is their source of joy, which comes from a direct experience of the spirit of the age and the energies of the universe, and from the satisfaction of accomplishing something about which they are passionate.