Pulse and Push, a writing by Fiorent Fernisia Ritchia

Through these past six months, OMAH Library has instilled us with lots of ideas. Interestingly, they are not only of architecture, but also of how to learn it.

Two words that I use as a red line here to connect those ideas are ‘pulse’ and ‘push’.

Let me begin with the second one, the one we hear very often be spoken by Pak Rich: ‘push’.

Go to page… in this book or to track…, he says…; then, to page…
Do they show how important the word is then?

I can’t deny that there were times within these past six months where I mulled, “Really, what am I doing here, spending my two out of seven days in a week, the only two on which I am able to stay slow, relaxing on my bedroom or going out for a movie? Why do I choose this?” But truly, every time I asked that to myself, there was this push that went like, “Come on, you won’t regret it.”

You. Have you ever felt that?
Maybe it happened just before you were about to go to OMAH? I mean.. It’s (usually) on the weekend, there are lots of more interesting things to do, places to go, than sitting elbow to elbow on the floor with some strange fellows, right? But maybe that happened to you as well, when you just shake it off and come anyway.

That is the push, fella! And Pak Rich, through his pushy way of saying the word ‘push’, he pushes us to give the best in our learning. “Squeeze” is the other word he uses to implant us with the same idea. “Push ourselves! Squeeze the opportunity!” (He didn’t exactly say that but it echoes in my mind that way)

I remember one day Gregorius Giovanni Gerard and I were working on some lecture videos. Pak Rich came into the room with a wide smile on his face, sat down and said “I got an idea!” I heard the sound “JENG! JEENGG!” in my head, really loud. I was bursting with excitement of what idea that would be about, as well as with timidity: will we be able to finish the work at all? The surge never seems to stop.

Then what? After some minutes talking, which was about the next lecture idea, the word was heard again from him “Oh, come on, Nis, we gotta push ourselves.” Haha, you cannot not smile when he says that to you, you know? Not only because he’s a creature you cannot reject, but because it’s very true what he says. Yes, living in this field, architecture, it is extremely necessary to push ourselves.

Then, you know what? Believe it or not, the next time I realized, we finished holding the lecture that we were once timid to think about. Amazing, right? Like I had no idea about what OMAH would be like in six months, and I’m just here now in June 2015, writing a reflection on the six months that have passed. Wow.

Anyway, the second word is ‘pulse’. I have explicitly illustrated it to you just now. But before we go through that, let me share a bit of my research on the word definition.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, pulse as a noun means: A rhythmical beating, vibrating, or sounding. While as a verb, to pulse means -guess what?- to push.

So.. You see then that “pulse” is like, if not exactly the same with “push” itself? But I argue that they are applied differently, though toward the same direction, in many cases at OMAH.

For example, when Pak Rich introduced us with his new lecture idea, he was pushing us to go for it. In the case of this one scene, push is what he did or gave to us. But then, if we see the scene macroscopically within the six month perimeter, pulse resembled the whole action that brought us from one lecture to the next. In other word, the pulse is what makes us alive.

But hold on, what makes pulse different from impulse then? I am not an expert in root word. But here’s how I reflect them.

I mentioned about the surge that never stops before. That surge is the pulse. Pulse in medical sense means the beating on our vein that goes rhythmically and perpetually unless we die. So it’s important for the pulse to keep on pulsating. It’s important for the work not to be finished but added up again and again (haha, I sound like a masochist. But anyway…) Remember, pulse is the one that goes on and on.

On the other hand, we use the word “impulsive” to point out things that show up arbitrarily, abruptly, and quickly. This also resembles the scene of the new lecture idea. Pak Rich came out of the sudden, he seemed to arbitrarily woken up with the idea, and the idea was executed very quickly.

Imagine transversal waves that compose a sound of an engine. “Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..” Those waves are pulses. Then imagine the visualization of a human heart beat. Amidst the steady beating there are ones that go up and down drastically. Those are impulses.

So, with these two illustrations, do you see how these words go? The working on the videos, the lectures we held are all pulses. But once in a while there is this bigger, stronger, more shocking pulse which is distinct from the rest of the pulses. We consider this one more of an impulse. Without the steady ones, pulses, we are dead; without the more powerful one every so often, we’re just an engine.

O, one more thing. Impulse can be seen as not only a more powerful wave than pulse. But sometimes that pushes us to a different directions. And really, through writing this I’m more and more sure that impulses are what make us human. Because without the many directions of impulses, the body will only pursue one thing obsessively, just like a zombie, “aaaa.. a.. a.. a… Aaargh! Aaaa… aa.. a” you know what I mean? Like it has nothing in its mind but eating a living being. Never see any zombie having any hobby right?

Last one, before I end this babble, what if I reassemble the title of this writing a bit. What if it goes not PULSE+PUSH, but like this one below, do you agree? 🙂