Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A great quote from way back when about urbanisation

I am reading Alain De Botton's Art of Travel which a friend gave me years ago when I went off on my 'walkabout' journey (not the pub a ritual australians go on to become men... that we stole from the aboriginals). Its taken me things long to read it. But throughout I have been jotting down a lot of very interesting quotes including this one...

'The poet accused cities for fostering a family of lifedestroying emotions: anxiety about our position in the social hierarchy, envy at the success of others, pride and a desire to shine in the eyes of strangers. City-dwellers had no perspective, he alleged; they were in thrall to what was spoken of in the street or at the dinner table. However well provided for, they had relentless desire for new things, which they did not genuinely lack and on which happiness did not depend. And in this crowded anxious sphere, it seemed harder than on an isolated homestead to begin sincere relationshipswith others. 'One thought baffled my understanding,' wrote Wordsworth of his residence in London.' How men lived even next-door to neighbours , as we say, yet still strangers, and knowing not each others names.''

It was written about the poet William Wordsworth and his views of the city in comparison to the Lakes District where he spent most of his life. Scary thing is most of his writing is from the1790's

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