1.26.2005

Snippet of Hope #1

I thought perhaps my weak and timid readers might be beleagured by the weekly bombardments of ill tidings which I bring down upon them like great verbal salvos. In order to keep my readership from becoming to depressed I have decided to occasionally lighten things up with eloquent statements of hope.

After discussing the absolute destructiveness of war in the ancient world Lewis Mumford observes:

"Yet again and again the positive forces of co-operation and sentimental communion have brought people back to the devastated urban sites, "to repair the wasted cities, the desolation of many generations." Ironically -- yet consolingly -- cities have repeatedly outlived the military empires that seemingly destroyed them forever. Damascus, Baghdad, Jerusalem, Athens, still stand on the sites they originally occupied, alive though little more than fragments of their ancient foundations remain in view."

-- Lewis Mumford. The History of the City. Harcourt; New York, 1961.

Mind you, he goes on to observe that this process of repopulation has been historically fueled by migrations of rural youth into the razed metropoli of the past. But considering that by 2030 more than 60% of the world's population will live in urban areas and also considering that the next time we raze our cities to the ground it's going to be nuclear, it becomes abundantly clear that we will probably be the generation that utterly eradicates our seemingly invincible, phoenix-like ancient cities once and for all.

Oh my! I'm so bad at good news. Well, let us at least raise a toast to Lewis Mumford and his childish faith in our continued existence.

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