I can understand the argument that many British cities, like Liverpool and Birmingham have
- “outlived the lifespan of their own economic base or infrastructure and must now live primarily by their “superstructure”
- “such institutions as museums-of-local-life or tourist-related service industries which recycle and re-package the industrial past assume a primary role in the local economy”
(Peter Barry in Contemporary British poetry and the city)
Are we hankering after times long gone?
There is also nothing wrong in selling history, geography and a variety of temporary, low grade experiences. Though not from a holidaying culture, I too have been on ‘holiday’ in my time.
But it makes no sense to
- Think we can roll the clock back and re-assert the raison d’etre a place had in the past.
- Deny that the old raison d’etre has gone out with the tide of history.
Is there not a place which speaks to our soul?
If we aren’t selling history (and enjoying selling history) maybe we should move to a city which has a raison d’etre that speaks to our soul.
I know we don’t all have a choice but I am sure clear thinking will give us more choices. I know from past experience that it is utterly deadening to live in a place that has lost touch with why it exists.
Like a traditional farmer in winter, a city might be enjoying the fallow winter and living off stored harvests. That is OK too.
It’s the self-delusion or alternative cynicism that makes us feel zombish.
Why does our city exist? Do we empathize with its soul?
Why does our city exist? And do we empathize with its soul?
What is the resonance between us and the city where we live?