Towers of Babel
The tower is a shape that has fascinated me for years. It symbolizes human yearning to reach high and look far and down, but the biblical Tower of Babel contextualized that striving as arrogance leading to discordant consequences. The story of the building of the tower in the Hebrew Bible explains the transition from one to a multitude of human languages as a punishment for an attempt to reach heaven and be on the same level as the divine. Prior to the building, all humanity spoke one language, after, it was not until the Pentecost, or the Feast of Tongues in the Christian Bible, that people were given the gift of translation and, once again, the possibility of understanding.
Similar stories exist in other cultures, and in most a common theme is that of humanity in conflict with a god, and a subsequent divine punishment. Another is that the tower was attempted or built to provide a safe place to be in the event of a second huge flood, another unattainable human goal.