Went to the Forbidden City today in Beijing. Spent a few hours there.
Magnificent place. The gardens were my favorite, the craftwork was incredible, and the whole place just had this huge expansive majesty about it.
I had a nice time. I enjoyed seeing the architecture, the craftsmanship, and the aesthetics of the place.
Then I left, and I thought to myself - "I missed something here. There's probably an important lesson in there, I'm damn sure there is, it's nearby somehow on my mind, but I just missed it. I'm missing something important."
...I still haven't figured out what that is. Aggravating. I feel pretty strongly that there was something very useful to learn and take away from there, and instead I just had a nice aesthetic experience without anything deeper.
I really wonder what that place and the Summer Palace would be like without the hordes of bad-picture-snapping humans.
I've found this feeling usually precedes (sometimes by months or even years) a revelation I will have tied to that thing.
It's almost like reverse deja-vu. Your mind senses a deep pattern that it finds interesting, but can't quite bring it up to the conscious level. But then some day something will click, and you'll say, "Oh! This is just like the Forbidden City, where..."
At least, that's how it goes with me. Know the feeling though, very frustrating sometimes.
The thing you're missing is the history.
It's not a coincidence that you felt that you were missing it - the fact is, all of the historical items are no longer in China, they were smuggled to Taiwan during the Cultural Revolution to prevent its destruction. As a result, the Forbidden City is majestic, yet empty.
You'll need to visit the National Palace Museum in Taipei to see them.
So yea, no worries, you didn't really miss anything because it's not there. :)
I love the craftsmanship of the clocks, went there again just four days ago.
Please follow up on this post if you find out what you missed. If it is worth it.
The pyramids were built to align with different star constellations, sirius, draco, orion.
The interpretation of the Forbidden City: Forbidden knowledge resides in the Forbidden City. This Forbidden Knowledge is not meant for everyone, only for those with power, the intelligent people and those who can handle the truth. Forbidden knowledge leads to power.
Perhaps it has something to do with power. To do anything noteworthy in life requires it, and the forbidden city was at the heart of it for hundreds (thousands?) of years. Dictatorships are generally better with aesthetics than democracies (see: your example, Hugo Boss and the Nazis, Apple)
"Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here." -- Inscription on the Gates of Hell, Dante Alighieri's "Inferno"
The worthy detour? I think I've got a formula for "High Creative Mode"... just it's not particularly consistently effective yet, and it's playing a pretty high stakes game. On Day Seventeen, I made my first crack at applying it, and had an incredible day. I wrote a 5000-word piece, that after editing and getting the ending right, I think could be amazingly fantastic. Just writing it was a joy.
Following from that, I was walking on air for the rest of the day.
In Day Eighteen, I attempted the same thing, and fell short. This was maddening, and the whole day was aggravating. I think I've got a rough formula for High Creative Mode, but it doesn't produce 100% results. And when it fails, it's pretty ugly, at least so far.
I kept detailed notes on both days, much more fleshed out than usual. There's more stream-of-consciousness. They're... honestly, a little weird. You can evaluate for yourself:
Last night I was in the Las Vegas airport, waiting for boarding to start on my flight. I went there an hour early because I didn't have time to play poker, so I figured I could get on wifi and get some work done. I knocked out a couple small SETT bugs, and then remembered about getgoing.com, the YC-backed discount flight site. The way it works is you pick two deeply discounted flights that you'd be willing to take, put in your credit card, and getgoing picks one for you. You don't know where you're going until after you've paid. When I first got invited to the site I mucked around with it and found some really great fares to both Beijing and Shanghai.
Maybe I should go to China, I thought. Twenty minutes later my flight to Shanghai was booked.
I like making impulsive decisions like this. My past is filled with them, and none that I can think of have ended in regret. Actually, if I were asked what I thought my biggest strength is, I would probably say that it is making good decisions very quickly.
I wasn't always good at making quick decisions. Twelve years ago I had the opportunity to fly on the Concorde for $1000. It was usually over $10,000 round trip. I really wanted to do it, so I called a few friends to see if anyone else was interested. There was some hemming and hawing, but no one was ready to commit. Well, I thought, I'll wait until tomorrow and buy a ticket then if I still want to go. The next day came and the deal was gone. Now the Concorde is decommissioned and I'll never have the chance to ride it. Strange is it sounds, this is probably one of the bigger regrets in my life. I really wish I got to ride the Concorde before it folded.