Much mystery still
surrounds the building of the cathedrals. The techniques employed were not part
of the Christian tradition up to that time; the effect created by the cathedrals
was unlike anything earlier, and no one today is certain where the knowledge
came from. The cathedral builders appeared in France in the eleventh century.
For the next three centuries the movement was widespread over Europe, and
whatever was responsible for the guiding spirit seemed to disappear as abruptly
as it had appeared. In the later cathedrals (St. Peter's, Rome; St.
Paul's, London, for example) the spiritual effect is not the same; everyone
That effect is not the result of accident. Nor is it a concomitant of sheer size: modern structures fail to convey a similar effect, though it may be that the Empire State Building and Waterloo Station do convey a sense of the 'sacred ' to technocrats and financiers. The cathedrals 'work', as do the Parthenon and the Taj Mahal, because whoever designed them had precise and profound knowledge of universal harmonic, rhythmic and proportional laws, and equally precise and profound knowledge of the manner in which to employ these laws in order to create the desired effect.
John Anthony West: Serpent in the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt