Humans always had their temples. They have always been built with a religious purpose in mind. Although people would often not use them that way. For the Ancient Greeks temples were social gathering places. For the early Jews temples where also places of trade. Jesus‘ Cleansing of the Temple speaks quite clearly about this. In Medieval times the common townsfolk would gather in front of their churches and cathedrals to do their trading and meeting.
With the advent of science and industry we needed temples, churches and other religious places of worship less and less. We still have a need to worship even though our society does it’s utmost to deny it. Instead of deities we worship ourselves. Our ability to build, to create, to grow, to learn, to harness the power of nature and to express ourselves. One of those places of worship are transportation hubs. Airports, train stations, ports and bus terminals in descending order. And we build them like we built churches and cathedrals. Sometimes ornate and extravagant like a catholic cathedral and sometimes clean and functional like a white walled protestant church.
This train station in the protestant North of Germany uses only glass, steel and lots of concrete to convey a modern, sleek and efficient look. Train stations are no longer the gathering places they used to be. This role has been relegated to the often attached shopping malls. So in a sense a Cleansing of the modern temple of transportation has happened. The stations itself are cold, grey, monochromatic and they serve only one purpose: To revere the deity of efficient transportation. Our ability to travel with little effort to do our businesses wherever we can. To expand our reach. To connect with ever more people.
I like spending time in those temples without participating in it’s rituals. I don’t board a train, I am not waiting for someone. Instead I grab a coffee or some food and just spend time breathing the atmosphere, observing the rituals and truly worshiping this cathedral of steel, glass and concrete.
If you did like this post maybe have a look at these musings too.