The Arch of St. Louis – Westward Ho!

ARCH PIC

An Optical Illusion
One never knows where one might wind up in the encyclopedia or living circle of learning, yet no matter where one is along the Arc cradling the universe, the principle of the line moving through the moments in space is immediately available to us, hence we look not to the particular concrete bridges over portions of the chasm to understand them, but to the invisible principle of the arch, that we may employ it to our own advantage as our principle mediator, and discuss it among ourselves according to our lights, just as Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine corresponded on the peculiarities of the catenary arch, the general form of which can be observed by freely hanging a heavy uniform chain from two points not in the same vertical line. When the heavenly form is set upon its feet in matter, it is the most stable of all arches, quite noticeable in many of our bridges, if one is aware of what is going on. The principle is alluded to in the Gothic arch, and its most brilliant application as a work of art may be beheld at the Gateway to the West through which many dreamers passed to New Jerusalem. And that place was called St. Louis, Missouri, after the only king crowned saint, a tolerant king except towards all infidels, whom he said must be run through with a sword. Alas, alas, forgive us Father for the sins of our fathers that we may be reconciled unto one another today, and thank you for the good things they did, and thank you St. Louis for sponsoring the bare-footed scholars who were more interested in principles than in gold.   Many people in the East said the Pure Land in the West is at best an illusion, at worst a delusion, and said, “Go West young man.” And they did, and they took the women and children in their wagons. And now, knowing the principle of the catenary arch as we behold the wonderful arch at St. Louis, we know its appearance presents to us an optical illusion of being higher than it is broad at its base, for in reality the two extensions are the same. We move on to consider other arches above and below as we continue our trek to Pure Land, knowing that the laws we glean from the firmament are applicable to the fundament, for Heaven is firm and Earth is fundamental. The engineers still tell us it cannot be done, and they laugh at our plans for our elevator, just as they laughed at the elevator man who designed the ferris-wheel contraption that allows us to traverse the catenary arch at St. Louis, Missouri. They say Perpetual Peace is an illusion. They say there is no Promised Land. We say Westward Ho!

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