Saturday, September 08, 2007

Are Cities Crowded Ghettoes?

Friends, have you ever stopped to consider how the world might be if cities had never developed, if the bulk of humans still lived in small, close knit rural villages or were itinerants who just followed their flocks?

Now, being a bright lot, I know you'll argue that cities have been around for a long time, Rome, for example, London as well but, other than for trade (which has brought us the wonders of global warming, etc) surely there is no rationale for cities at all. Cities of course attract all manner of organized crime, vice and degeneracy which may prove attractive for some.

You might argue that cities are necessary for jobs. But surely, if you grew all your own food and wove your own cloth and could barter with others for special needs like shoes you wouldn't need a job or alarm clocks, suits, bosses, tax returns and many levels of government, laws, police and courts, etc. I mean do humans really want to herd together in a polluted environment, to live cheek by jowl, to hear each other's marital upsets or lawnmowers or moments of passion or be kept awake by other people's early morning parties and barking dogs?

Are we herd animals like cattle or gnus? Do we really share genetic similarities with insects like bees and ants that happily congregate closely together but manage to work in unison. Or are humans in the main in a permanent state of conflict and stress when crushed together and surrounded by constant noise and caught up in traffic jams and feeling like tin sardines while traveling for hours in packed buses and trains?

Then on weekends jaded city people, caught in their cities because of traffic gridlock, swim at crowded beaches where the water is often contaminated with human waste or cigarette butts or catch fish which contain mercury or sit close-packed in stadiums and breath each other's air and body odors while small groups of stout players dressed in bright uniforms try to smash each other into oblivion.

Do humans really stop to question why they live their lives as they do or where they do? Or do most humans just follow the crowd, believe whatever they're told by those who profit from their unquestioning acquiescence?

What is our natural state? Where and how should humans live to be in harmony with themselves, their fellows and their environment?

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Mary Walsh said...

I don't know about the density of bodies in close proximity to each other because I avoid it like the plague.....Older folk will remember the Christmas crush before 24 hour shopping and the feeling was horrendous....

I believe people are moving to the cities because we've forgotten our roots...We don't know how to sustain ourselves anymore without the trappings of the supermarket....And even more importantly, we're too lazy to do the physical work to acquire it...I can't talk my husband into buying a tank for water, but come another year of drought in Australia, with crops failing and we'll see who is better off - the country or the city!....I've lived both!

Daniel said...

The trappings of the supermarket! Well put. Perhaps that has been our undoing, that and our laziness, Mary.

Where we really belong is unclear to me although the fact that I live on a property probably is indicative. Cheers!

Coffee Messiah said...

Ahhh, if only the ball didn't start rolling the opposite way during the Dust Bowl days, the beginning of the end of farming may not have happened.
Alas, it has, and, living in a farm community, where now, thanks to the ethanol craze that isn't, farmers have ceased some of their other farming to plant corn, hoping to cash in on the ethanol craze. Being the 1st yr and all, it's been a dry spell and lots of bad looking fields out here.
To make a long story short, there are people who grow what they can on their properties here and there, but not like days of old.
And if you want real food, you need to drive to a town that brings it in, otherwise you almost feel like you're living in East Berlin during the days of the Wall, with what you're forced to accept as food stuph.

Howdy! ; )

Lucyp said...

I have always lived in one city or another and i hate the crowds but i love the way everything is local.
A city with the same amenities but just less people would be a good compromise.

Daniel said...

Sounds as though drought is affecting more places than Australia, Coffee.

I agree Lucy that cities have more amenities especially health care. And, of course, as a young person, the bright lights of the city were always exciting. My how one changes!

I guess I'd envisage a series of medium-sized country town surrounded by farmland that produced crops, grapes and stock, perhaps even some communal land where those who lived in the town could also grow some crops, get their hands deep in the soil.

Let's face it, the world cannot continue to live as it's doing. There has to be a radical change. The industrial/military/capitalist juggernaut must be stopped in its tracks and we humans have to learn to live sustained.


Nancy said...

I have always loved city life. But I appreciate the country too. It's the suburbs that I cannot stand.
American cities have sprawled out and devolved into a series of strip malls linked by freeways. I prefer midsize cities with outlying farms and greenbelts to the mega-metastazations that many cities have turned into. A city is a place, not a road.

Historically the human species has lived in groups. We are not solitary animals.

Daniel said...

There is a huge difference between living in small groups and living in cities like London and Sydney and New York and Beijing nightmare too strong a word?