I haven’t spoken with Greg since I met him a couple of weeks ago at The Sanctuary. I’ve been reflecting on our conversation and I’d like to offer something more concrete in our next exchange. I read through The Creative Destruction of New York Citybook. The contents weren’t particularly surprising, but it did connect how many of the pieces fit together and reinforce each other. Certain visions of the city have it easy, it says, while others don’t really stand a chance. But there was also a reminder in the book that the elite city is a policy choice, not some inevitable God given mandate.
So when I do respond to Greg, I’d like to help, I’d like to make progress. There are so many people working so hard and achieving so little. I’ve already made the choice that homelessness and unaffordable housing in Toronto (Montreal, London, Manchester, Paris….) in 2019 is a disgrace. What appeal is there to accept disgrace?
You wonder – how are we even in this situation anyway? Surely because we as a collective are choosing it, in our vain attempts to fulfil our self-deceptions. After all, we know who have the abilities to solve it if were devoted to solving it. Again, it’s an utter disgrace that we’re at this point.
There are causes and there are solutions and there’s a lot of confusion. It’s not that we are just confused about the symptoms of homelessness or unaffordable housing; too many people are confused about what’s at the root; confused about greed, confused about what it means to be human, confused about the goal of being human (to be unconditional lovers?). As much as we claim that we are sophisticated and civilised as a species, doesn’t it seem that actually were (still? more?) primitive and barbarous? The saying is that man’s glory is that he can rise above the animal but that man’s tragedy is that he can fall below the animal. Do you really want to be on earth for 80 years and at the end of it, show that you used that time to fall below the animal?
I think we need to be clear about what the goal is – end homelessness now, end unaffordable housing now, end greed now – and do we need to be clearer about why we need to do that? Evidently it’s still not clear enough for most people. You’d have thought with 80,000 years of human experience behind us, we’d have figured out that death is inevitable and that greed by its nature is addictive and insatiable and a sickness – so why are we still letting greed set the rules? Obviously there’s a lot of opposition to changing that regime, but I don’t know if there’s anyway around that; do you? It seems like it’s a fight that needs to be fought. So maybe the fight – and the reason it’s being fought – needs to be made clearer to everyone?