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Is your soul in your city?

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365.107 dancing on ruins by aaron.bihari via FlickrIs your city long past its prime?

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?

Published in Business & Communities


  1. Why does our planet exist? And do we empathize with its soul?

    What is the resonance between us and the planet on which we live?

    … and the [multi-/]universe?

  2. Hi Kim
    There’s a difference isn’t there? (genuine question). Cities are man-made artifacts. We gathered in a place for a purpose and we can and do leave.

    But the Earth wasn’t made by us [well maybe a philosopher might argue otherwise]. Our relationship with the Earth is under our control but the Earth itself is not.

    Unless you are arguing that the Earth is like old cities like Birmingham and Liverpool and has outlived its original purpose and we should catch the next flight out? 🙂

    It seems to me too that when most people think about the Earth they feel tremendous fear. We seem to be the only people out here . . Do you know the work of Mary Oliver, by the way. And Alan Watts?

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