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Cloud City

Cloud City

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Published by T M Copeland
Essay on the power of social networks to emulate cities.
Essay on the power of social networks to emulate cities.

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Published by: T M Copeland on Feb 16, 2011
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02/16/2011

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It is interesting how the Bible equates creativity with bad behavior and pain. Thewhole childbirth thing is the basic creative act of life and the Bible says it always stemsfrom "original sin" and is to forever be associated with pain and danger to the mother. Allwomankind is "cursed" in Genesis Chapter three and cities are said to be founded in sinand the pain of dislocation in the very next chapter.Genesis Chapter 4 verses 11-17 can be interpreted as cities being created as adirect result of God's punishment of Cain for killing his brother, Abel. In verse 11 God"curses" Cain from the earth. In verse 12 God tells Cain the earth will no longer yieldsustenance to him. Later in the story, after Cain's lamentations and a subsequentmodification of the punishment decree, Cain, in verse 17 knocks up his wife, has a sonand builds a city.Cain was never much of a hunter and now, under the terms of the modified punishment decree, that he could no longer be a farmer, founding a city seemed like theonly recourse left him to live and provide for his family. So, cities, it has beeninterpreted, were, like the pain of childbirth, born of sin and punishment and will forever require painful relocations.Sounds about right, when you think about it. Jane Jacobs, and boodles of other urban theorists, think the only on going rationale for the continued existence of cities, or a city, is the city's unique ability to foster creative ferment. Cities, it is thought,accomplish this fomenting of creative ferment by allowing the close proximity of vastnumbers of folk, each with at least a slightly different point of view. The continuous andunavoidable, clashing of all these points of view force folk to look anew at settled issuesand, thereby, now and again experience creative revelations.At the base of all the theories related to urban existence, is the notion that this primordial stew of creative impulse is the bedrock and foundation of it all. Cities have aworking business model because they are constantly reinventing themselveseconomically, politically, artistically, industrially and so forth. Cities are not only doing
 
this because of the primordial stew, the existence of the primordial stew allows cities todo this reinventing faster and with greater efficiency than is possible in other forms of human habitation.While I cannot prove it to be true, I do believe this theory is correct. I confess thatI have never come across anything I believe to be a fact based conclusive proof of thetheory. Never the less, it is one of those things that seem so self evident that the resultingsensation of self evidence is often taken for proof. It becomes a belief so strongly felt it isaccepted as fact. Now comes evidence in the form of everything from the first Presidentialcampaign of Howard Dean, to massive pillow fights in San Francisco to revolutionsthroughout the Islamic world that the world may have found a means of expanding the primordial stew far beyond the city's boundaries. Social media inhabiting the internet hasdemonstrated it has the power to reach into, between, across, through, around and beyondcities to foment ferment, as it were.It is thought that the world wide web, for the first time, gives huge, indeed,unlimited, numbers of creative types the practical option of living outside of a citywithout sacrificing access to the primordial stew so important to creative thought andaction. Cities, it has been said, are only one or two atomic bombs exploded at the handsof terrorists or a really healthy and vigorous pandemic/plague from becoming a failedeconomic model. Should either, or both, occur, all people who can abandon cities will doso. More importantly, the annual spring and summer flood of young people relocating tocities to escape the drudgery of wherever they grew up will dry up to a trickle.In the past, such young people seeking a better more meaningful life had nochoice but to cast their fortunes with some city somewhere. Now, it is thought by some,the world wide web offers a viable alternative. An amicable social life, even for the most perverse among us, can be found by working the web. In the past, no matter howmodestly bend and twisted one might be, a satisfactory social life outside a major 

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