Thursday, April 28, 2011

Aimless Reading: The M's, Part 62 (Lewis Mumford)

The City in History by Michael_Kelleher
The City in History, a photo by Michael_Kelleher on Flickr.

Mumford, Lewis
The City in History

Purchased at Talking Leaves…Books.

I can remember eyeing this book on the shelf at Talking Leaves for a long time before I bought it. It stood on a shelf just high enough that I had to crane my neck ever so slightly to look up to it. It's title captured my imagination immediately, as I was thinking quite a bit about Olson and "The Polis" at the time. Eventually, I did buy it, possibly as I was writing my dissertation. I read about a quarter of it, but put it down and have been meaning to get back to it now for about 10 years. Sigh. One of these days.

from The City in History

Many cities, many existing educational institutions and political organizations have already made their commitment to Post-historic man. This obedient creature will have no need for the city: what was once a city will shrink to the dimensions of an underground control center, for in the interests of control and automatism all other attributes of like will be forfeited. Before the majority of mankind drifts into accepting this prospect, lured by little promises of 'pneumatic bliss' that obscure the total threat, it will be well to take a fresh look at man's historic development as shaped and molded by the city. To get a sufficient perspective upon the immediate tasks of the moment, I purpose to go back to the beginning of the city. We need a new image of order, which shall include the organic and personal, and eventual embrace all the offices and functions of man. Only if we can project that image shall we be able to find a new form for the city.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it does sound like olson

"polis is eyes"

nowadays that makes me think of surveillance

this also makes me think of the internet and our being plugged into everything...plugged into the clock

pneumatic bliss - i don't know - i see barbarism, apathy, and the endless lust for the new....

yeah, every institution has bought into it: to "keep up" i suppose