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THE City

Big cities are microcosms of the world's best and worst, problems and successes, mistakes and solutions in extreme and sometimes distorted forms. The city makes, breaks, creates and destroys people, organizations, environments and cultures. The city has as much mercy as the people who live in it.
Everything becomes more extreme because of the stress induced by a large population in a relatively small area. Necessities can become luxuries. Waste can become a part of the landscape. Wealth can take on cancerous proportions. Poverty can be a permanent, leprous sore. Inherited privilege and inherited misfortune can be within walking distance or even sight of each other and never come face to face. People can lose their sense of proportion or the accepted proportions can be out of balance. There is no true jungle which exists under the law of the city. The city can actually be less forgiving than and just as unpredictable as the jungle.
Cities are Darwinian Evolution in action, no matter what political system they exist under. The good become better. The evil sink lower. The strong get stronger. The weak get weaker. Power blocks lock themselves in and the powerless get locked out. The lies get more complex and the truth gets plainer, but only to those with the courage to look. The resolute dig in and the confused surrender. The armor gets thicker and the open wounds find it more difficult to heal. The fighters die and the meek inherit what's left, which is sometimes just the wreckage.
People who visit the city often undergo a change in personality. They do things in the city that their friends neighbors and relatives would not recognize as their actions. Some people go to the city for this very reason. Whether these things are good or bad, moral or immoral depends on the choices of the person involved.
Cities force the development of ego just by population density. Everyone in the city knows the truth of the old saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Ego development is necessary to become a squeaky wheel, the loudest squeaky wheel. This "ego necessity" is a source of the extremes and distortions that cities routinely produce.
The city produces extraordinary people. People who live outside of the city are often intimidated by people who live in the city. This intimidation can take many forms from fear to admiration to hostility to subservience. These reactions magnify whatever extremes have been developed in the city person. The presence of a city person can affect a situation, even when the city person makes no action them self.
Is this because the city person is different from other humans? Is it because of the way the person who lives outside of the city perceives the city person? Both common sense and quantum physics agree on the answer. Common sense says that the answer to both questions is Yes. Quantum physics says that both the observed and the observer have an affect on each other.
The discipline of physics was developed in large part and distributed entirely by people living and working in big city universities. Physics has been the source of all the technological developments that have affected the world in the twentieth century. These developments have made it possible for cities to become larger and more crowded. They have enabled governments to increase their control of their populations through greater military might, greater techniques and reserves of information gathering and gathered, along with more sophisticated surveillance techniques and so called social planning techniques.
Cities are the main points of origin of distribution of everything from commodities to ideas. Everything new or old, invented or recycled goes to or through a city or cities on its way to becoming widespread. Every person or thing that wants to "make it big" must eventually have some kind of contact with a city. All religions and life-styles get their chance at popularity and acceptance by passing through cities. Source or path, cities are the centers of the cultures that develop in and around them.
Some people see the distortions and extremes of cities and make a sweeping judgment of evil. Some see the successes and accomplishments and judge them to be the pinnacles of humankind. The truth, like it or not, is that cities are just concentrated examples of man. They are a mirror of ourselves that we can use to see the present state of affairs of the human race. We can condemn, praise or ignore them, but this misses the point and the opportunity.
The opportunity is that we can see what is wrong and right with ourselves and maybe even do something about it. Judging the city is just a diversion from facing ourselves. The things that exist in the city are manifestations of what happens in the human mind. The things that we would condemn in the city are the problems that we must cure in ourselves. The things that we would praise in the city are the things that we should develop in ourselves.
The problems illustrated by the "big city" will be solved if the human race learns to overcome the fears that inspire greed, prejudice, arrogance and all the other things that we use to separate and protect ourselves from each other. The successes of the city will be available to all if the human race can ever overcome the manifestations of these same fears that take the form of elitism, pride and exclusivity.

Although it may start somewhere else, the majority of us will most likely get our first experience of this kind of change from a city source. Only the lucky ones will get it before.

By Kiredor Roinuj