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2007-04-29 | |
Our cities and modern civilization are often regarded as
inferior to "nature" and "natural living." The main problems in the more prosperous parts of our globe are a dense population, pollution and criminality. In the third world poverty is the most important obstacle for a good city life.
City dwellers and political authorities in many places do of course confront these problems in a serious manner. Good results depend upon hard work, financial resources and a sensible distribution of these resources.
In a Scandinavian TV-series about the bronze age one anthropologist voiced this train of thought : The transition from the old society of hunters and gatherers to one of farming and (later on) cities was disastrous for mankind. His reasoning was based on nutrition and physical functions. Yes, he may be right in his reasoning on both fields. The hunter and fisherman did enjoy a healthier and more varied diet than was the case with the common peasant. Hunting and
fishing was also quite a better way to develop physical abilities than the monotous chores in the fields.
The cities spread all over the new agricultural, civilized regions and took care of administration and trade as a money economy grew forth. Other results of this new way of living were a written language, mathematics, philosophy and architecture. In short culture was beginning to form. And culture, dear readers, include epic writing, poems, painting, music, singing, sculpturing and so forth. Especially in the
bad old days, before the sanitation systems, city living was not very desirable, since raw sewer was floating down narrow streets. Epidemics were commonplace. Since then we have come a long way. Personally I live in Oslo, a capitol with 530000 citizens. The air quality is not the best, but by large I do enjoy living here. In fact I can hardly imagine living anywhere else. Here I have access to all kinds of culture and all kinds of people. In many places on the Norwegian countryside my nearest neighbour would be several hundred meters away. That seems extremely dull to me.
City living is not perfect, but with the faults I have mentioned it constitutes quite a good way of spending life for millions and millions. Civilization, which is the most important premise for a city, has made advanced culture and lots of artistic expressions possible. Would you prefer to live without that?
Maybe, if I lived as a hunter and collector my health would be a bit better. But then again; is health all there is to life? If you had to choose, would you prefer be able to use this website, or would you rather hunt down bores and tell fairytales by the campfire at night?
I leave you with the queston.
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