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The National Mall was the centerpiece of the McMillan Plan.
The National Mall was the centerpiece of the McMillan Plan.

Pleasure & Reality

As I was writing my post entitled Designing Washington, DC: Pierre-Charles L’Enfant, I looked for a suitable video.

There was a perfectly adequate video, but the “pleasure principle” took over.  The term “pleasure principle” was coined by Sigmund Freud (6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) to describe our need to find pleasure. Its other half is the “reality principle.” So, there I was, writing and editing, but I did not want to put an informative video at the end my post. I got carried away by the “pleasure principle” and inserted videos featuring music.

To correct matters, I am now embedding the appropriate video at the foot of this post.

The Golden Section or Ratio

Pierre-Charles L’Enfant (9 August 1754 – 14 June 1825) designed the National Mall in Washington. That is Washington as we know it. Have you noticed that the design of the mall is a good example of the use of the Golden Section or Ratio. The Golden Ratio, features  off-centered lines, vertical and horizontal, usually intersecting. Inside this Golden Section, to the left, there are two off-centered vertical and horizontal lines (blue)? Consequently, although it may conceal Masonic symbols, the design of the National Mall is, first and foremost, consistent with the Greek Golden Section or Golden Ratio.


Therefore, we could say that French-born Pierre-Charles L’Enfant‘s design of the National Mall in Washington, DC is no more yet no less than the work of an architect and civil engineer practicing his art as conscientiously as he could.


Pierre-Charles L'Enfant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pierre-Charles L’Enfant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
May 25, 2014