The City’s Gravitational Pull…

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The psycho-spiritual galactic core…

  “The Cosmopolis itself, the supreme Inorganic, is there, settled in the midst of the Culture-landscape, whose men it is uprooting, drawing into itself and using up.”—Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West

  The City, increasingly the Uber-City, uprooting men (and women), drawing them into itself… and using them up. What a line, pure Spengler. 

  The other night I was approaching the city in my truck. The landscape and sky were dark except for points of light emitted by farmhouses and stars. Off in the distance the dense light cluster of the city centre appeared like a galaxy seen sidelong. I fell to meditating upon the psycho-spiritual gravitational pull of it. 

  For the moment I call a small city, Calgary, Alberta—medium by Canadian standards—my home. Piloting my truck I visit or pass through such bigger cities as Vancouver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, San Diego, as well as monsters such as Los Angeles and the Bay Area cluster, San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland. 

  Around these major centres smaller towns grow, incorporate into cities and then are eventually swallowed up by metropolitan sprawl. Hundreds of thousands of people, even millions, are drawn in and put to work. And all the while the downtown cores grow denser, become more expensive and yet paradoxically more compelling to live in. 

  Again, for me at least, evidence of the psycho-spiritual gravitational pull. 

  Take a drive beyond the city limits out into the countryside. Whereas regional centres grow, big enough to exert their own gravitational pull, small towns shrink, their inhabitants pulled inexorably away. I pass through charming little half boarded up towns, now barely villages, nestled picturesquely amidst the land. When I can I like to stop in the local diners. I can only describe the atmosphere in them as charmingly geriatric, utterly lacking in the energy of youth and promise. 

  The tempo is old fashioned, slow and human.

  Then I too return to the city and my quiet little refuge I call the Omphalos Cafe.