Page 1

THE CULTURAL HISTORY OF HUMANITY A Series of Twenty-Four Entablature Slates for the


LIBRARY of the Culver Academies



96 5

Copyright© 1993 by the Culver Educational Foundation


A Series of Twenty- Four Entablature Slates for the

HUFFINGTON LIBRARY of the Culver Academies

The Entablature designed and created for the Culver Academies by the

CATHEDRAL STONEWORKS of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine New York City


Dedicated to the Memory of PAUL KENNON

Master Architect and Friend

Acknowledgements So many have played a role in bringing the Buffington Library and this commemorative volume from dream to reality. Without the vision of the Administration and the Board of Trustees of the Culver Educational Foundation, there would have been no beginning to the story; indispensable was the support of Ralph Manuel, Jim Henderson, William Pippenger and Hal Weitgenant. To make the vision real, there were the Architects and Designers of CRSS, especially Paul Kennon and Michael Shirley, who completed the design; David Kaser, who served as Library Consultant to the project; and everyone at Cole Associates and Ziolkowski Construction Company, who provided the engineering details and did the actual construction. In completing the entablature slates, thanks go first to the Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, The Very Reverend James Parks Morton, to William Irwin Thompson, whose vision forms the basis of the 24 slates, to Alan Bird of the Cathedral Stoneworks and to Simon Verity, Master Carver of the Cathedral who brought the ideas to visual form and who trained and supervised the entablature creation. And finally to the young men and women who did the carving: Patrick Bertaud, Stephen W Boyle, Amy Brier, Sebastian Casamayor, Tim de Christopher, Angel Escobar, James Fowler, D'Ellis Kincannon, Oleg Kokurochnikov, Ruben Llano, Nelson Otero, Chris Pascoe, Chris Pelletieri, Geraldo Perez, Yves Pierre, Dennis Reed, Juan Salazar, Rafael Taveras, Ricardo Telemaque, Jin Sheng Wang and Lisa Young. For the production of this volume, we thank Culver historian and secretary of the centennial commission of the Culver Educational Foundation, Robert Hartman; photographer, Ted Beck; designer, Greer Allen; The Stinehour Press for its execution under the direction of Paul Hoffmann; and Peggy Harrington of the Cathedral of St.John the Divine, who helped bring the various elements together. MicHAEL BuFFINGTON

THE HUFFINGTON LIBRARY ENTABLATURE The Evolution of Human Consciousness

Books are not lumps of lifeless paper but minds alive on the shelf. GILBERT HIGHET

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. FRANZ KAFKA

A Library is a repository of knowledge, an institutional embodiment ofcultural history. It is organic, both growing and changing, celebrating the accomplishments and learning from the tragedies of the past, and invoking a faith in the future. Its holdings are kept in trust for the generations to come. Culture is not the creation of any individual, singly, or any group exclusively; it includes monuments to the great but also the words and deeds of ordinary men and women. A library holds the key to past understanding and interpretation and to future growth and glory. A library is the academic heart ofa school-a center for study, research and reflection. It is, ideally, that rare place where intellectual curiosity, awakened by the gifted teacher can be nurtured, leading to the desire-maybe even passion-for deeper and broader understanding.

It is appropriate that the creation of a great library be accompanied by a tale-of vision and serendipity, science and art, myth and engineering, trial and triumph-and that the tale include a host of actors that dream, inspire, design, provide and complete: the visionaries, benefactors, artists, designers, technicians, builders. The story behind the Buffington Library, which is being dedicated on the campus of the Culver Academies on October I, I993• contains all of these elements. BACKGROUND

As the Culver Military Academy approached its Centenary, the Board, staff, alumni and friends of Culver looked upon the institution to assess its progress and needs. During first IOO years, the

school had grown from a small enclave founded by Henry Harrison Culver in I 894 "for the purpose of thoroughly preparing young men for the best colleges, scientific schools and business of America" to a highly successful and respected institution of academic excellence and great beauty. Situated on I,soo acres of rolling hills and woodlands on the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee, in Indiana, the Culver Military Academy and its sister institution, the Culver Girls Academy (founded in I97I) now comprised 37 buildings and a combined student enrollment of 6 so boarding and day students. It included the finest in classrooms, laboratories, and sports facilities, with state-of-the-art computers and other electronic equipment. And the schools could boast of a faculty, administration and support staff of exceptionally

[ ix ]

qualified and talented individuals. There was, however, one major need that had not been addressed. For the first century of its existence, the Academy had been without a permanent home for its library until the Trustees began careful planning for a new library to meet the needs of Culver's students and faculty in the 21st Century. Over the years four locations had served as temporary homes for the Culver library. The most recent, the Memorial Building, though originally designed as a monument to those almnni who had fought in the First World War, had been modified in the construction phase specifically to create a library and had functioned admirably in that capacity since 1925. For the future, however, the Memorial Building presented several problems, especially lack of space, adequate climatic controls and flexibility to assimilate the advances of the computer-based information revolution. THE PLANNING

Thus a campaign was launched to create a center of learning to crown the first century of Culver Academies and to carry the institution through its second hundred years. CRSS Architects, Inc., of Houston was engaged to do the design under Paul Kennon, a principal with the firm and Dean of Rice University's School of Architecture. After considerable search, a library consultant was named-David Kaser, professor of Library Sciences at Indiana University. The design team gathered suggestions and ideas from Culver's faculty, students and administration and from visits to libraries around the nation. The resulting design was inspiring-from its site on Lake Maxinkuckee through its magnificent entrance and Great Hall, inspired by the grand libraries of the past, to its intimate study areas and sophisticated information centers. The exterior woUld be finished in brick and limestone to be totally consistent with the Flemish and Gothic tradition of other campus buildings. The library with its skylights and Corinthian columns, its custom chandeliers, wainscoting and moldings, rich wood, granite and carpeted floors was, in short, an architectural jewel.

[ X ]


Involved from the beginning with the design was Culver graduate Michael Huffington (1965). He and his father Roy M . Huffington put forth a challenge gift representing half of the ten million dollar cost of the building. This generous gift enabled the Board to launch a very successful capital campaign for the new library. On the 2oth of May, 1990, during Michael Huffington's 25th Anniversary Reunion, the official ground breaking occurred, though, tragically, without the principal architect, Paul Kennon, who had died of a heart attack in January. The South Bend firms of Cole Associates and Ziolkowski Construction Company were brought on board to complete the engineering specifications and to construct the building. Actual construction began on December 18, 1990. THE ENTABLATURE: THE VISION

Another of Michael Huffington's passionate engagements over the years has been with the great gothic seat of the New York Episcopal Diocese, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Huffington first became involved with the Cathedral in 1986 and was soon made a Trustee and a member of the Fabric Committee. He was particularly drawn to the work of one of the Cathedral's enterprises-the Stoneworks and the Stoneyard Institute. Conceived and implemented by the Cathedral's visionary Dean, the Very Reverend James Parks Morton, the Stoneworks was founded to train a new generation in the ancient art of stone carving, a craft that had vanished in America, in order to complete the construction of the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Inspired by this dream, which imported master craftsmen from England to teach young people drawn initially from the neighborhood ghettos and barrios and later from around the world, Michael Huffington generously supported this program and shared both the Dean's passion for public architecture and the excitement of watching young men and women find a vocation and a purpose.


As such things will, the shared enthusiasm, the coincidence of two institutions-Culver and St.John the Divine-almost simultaneously approaching centennials, and a chance (or divinely synchronistic) visit by the Dean to Houston created a partnership between Cathedral Stoneworks and the emergent Culver library. On this visit, Michael Huffington took Jim Morton to view the just-completed model of the new library at CRSS headquarters. Designed to reflect the traditional Culver architecture of red brick and native Indiana limestone, the plans included a series of twenty-four square limestone tablets located above the second story windows. The two men had already discussed having the capitals of the great Corinthian columns carved at the Cathedral. When the Dean viewed the model he saw in the 24 plaques an opportunity to revive a great architectural tradition which, in the United States, at least, had been neglected since the First World War. He saw these tablets as blank slates upon which could be written the history of civilization. From the moment humankind began to express itself in pictographs and writing, its history has been recorded on the stones of public places. From the walls of Lascaux to the first great public buildings, culture, history and myth were captured in stone. On the entrances to the temples of Chalcedonia and Ur, the tombs of Egypt, the frescoes of Crete or Pompei, the pediments and metopes of the Parthenon, the portals of Chartres, the glass of Rheims, the murals of the Boston Public Library, or the carvings and frescoes of the Library of Congress-the story of civilization has always been depicted in its great architecture, and especially in the libraries which are, after all, the respositories of culture. Following the Great War, someho""_', perhaps because of the specter of the annihilation of civilization the war had raised, perhaps because of the destructive power humankind had unleashed, the creators of public buildings shied away from celebrating the rise of civilization in stone. When the churchman suggested to the businessman that the slates be used to revive this custom of

depicting the history of knowledge, Michael Huffington was delighted. Further, the Dean knew the very man to mastermind such an undertakingWilliam Irwin Thompson, philosopher, writer, cultural historian, Cathedral colleague and founder of the Lindisfarne Association, a man with an astonishing grasp of science and of the nature of man. Bill Thompson envisioned the subject to be not the history of knowledge, but the history of consciousness. His script suggested 24 examples of major transformations in the development of human consciousness, which represent quantum leaps in our evolution. Master Cathedral Carver, Simon Verity, took the script and, in close consultation with Michael Huffington, Dean Morton and Bill Thompson designed the imagery to describe these twenty-four breakthroughs in consciousness. "At this stage," Simon Verity said, "I was brought in from my work carving the Portal of the Cathedral to give visual expression to an exciting vision. "My first drawings were mostly discarded as being too complicated. It was a real test of ingenuity to create a coherent series that could be read from a distance. "The panels were given as piece work to all the stonecutters and carvers, who selected from among the designs. I was in the happy position of supervising the work, of watching Jin Wang work on a Chinese character, of helping inexperienced stonecutters trust that they could handle complex forms. And of finding the most astonishing diversity of understanding among these young men and women creating-many for the first time-a timeless expression in stone of a symbol of possibility. There was the inspirational sight of the Russian who had been in this country a matter of weeks finishing the stone which depicts an astronaut planting an American flag on the moon. And there was the moment when, on being complimented on executing a complicated mathematical notation from the Andes, a young carver replied simply: 'But it is from my country.' Under the chisels of these young people the imagery, past and future, sprang to life.

[ xi ]

"The diversity of people involved-from the United States, Haiti, Russia, Mexico, China, Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, England and the Dominican Republic-was without precedent. It gave to this project a richness and universality of human experience which is seldom realized. It was a unique and very special moment in the annals of Cathedral Stoneworks, and in my own life. Through so many different hands from so many different cultures, the

story of humanity and its place in the cosmos, became visible in relief on stone." THE END AND THE BEGINNING

The building is now complete, the stone tablets have been lifted into place, the story of millennia is now on view in stone. And a very small segment in the overall scheme of creation-the second century of an institution-is about to unfold into the future . PEGGY HARRINGTON

[ xii ]


[ xiv ]

( XV ]

THE CULTURAL HISTORY OF HUMANITY Twenty-Four Slates Representing Major Shifts in Evolutionary Development


The Big Bang 20 The Origins of Our Solar System 3 The Emergence of Our Planet I



40 The Cooling of the Earth 50 The Origins of Individuation and Death 60 The Origins ofLife


70 The Hominization of the Primates 80 Symbolization 90 Agriculturization



I 20

Civilization Industrialization Planetization


3 Pictographic Signs I 40 Ideographic-Hieroglyphic ISO Syllabic to Alphabetic



I 60 Musical Notation IJ. Mathematical Notation I 80 Computer Circuitry


200 2I


Great Mother Religion Polytheism Esoteric Mystery Schools

Universal Religions 230 Science: the Way as Knowing 240 Future Spiritualization of Life: A Vision



1 The Big Bang. The Creation of the Universe.



The Origins of Our Solar System.

3 The Emergence of Our Planet.

4 The Cooling of Earth and the Emergence of the Oceans.

5 Origins of Individuation and Death.

6 The Origins of Life.


7 Hominization of the Primates. The myth of origins. (2,ooo,ooo to 2oo,ooo Be).


8 Symbolization: the first notations on engraved stones and tools. (zoo,ooo to Io,ooo Bc).

9 Agriculturization. (10,000


3500 BC).

10 Civilization. (3500 B C tO I 500 AD).

11 Industrialization. (rsoo to 1945 An).

12 Planetization. The electronification of humanity into a global noetic polity in which people no longer live on the land but dwell in states of consciousness shaped by music and electronic cultural creativity. (1945 to present).


13 Pictographic. Signs (not the animal images) from Lascaux, and each of the five continents.


1S Syllabic to alphabetic, cuneiform to linear A & B to Arabic to Chinese.

16 Musical notation, Indian to Arabic to European.

17 Mathematical notation, Indian to Arabic to Chinese.

18 Computer circuitry and machine languages.


19 Great Mother Religion. The Venus of Laussel holding the bison horn (emergence: infantile).


20 Polytheism: the abundance of gods (placation and obedience: childlike).

21 Esoteric Mystery Schools for the iniatic few: yogic, Taoist, gnostic (empowerment: adolescent initiation and "power vision").

ll Universal Religions (atonement, remorse).

23 Science: the Way as Knowing (individuation and responsibility).

24 A vision of the Future Spiritualization of Everyday Life: from knowing to being; from dissection, analysis, and control to imagination and compassionate participation (integration of the unique and the universal as humanity no longer seeks to dominate nature but co-create with it).

This book was designed by Paul G. Hoffmann, printed and bound at The Stinehour Press in Lunenburg, Vermont- in the Northeast Kingdomat the direction of the Honorary Printer to The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

The Cultural History of Humanity  
The Cultural History of Humanity  

A Series of Twenty-Four Entablature Slates for the Huffington Library of the Culver Academies