Tuesday, 1 October 2013

City and Civilized Society and Their Rise and Fall

Mumbai in 1670

 Vasco de Gama after wining the war at Mahim Fort, sent his solders in Mahim Village, to massacre the passing villagers on the streets. He just wanted to terrorize the people.  Later the missionaries followed him to preach ‘Good News’.
 Later Mumbai was given in dowry by Portuguese Royalty to British Royalty. Where is Portugal? Where is Great Britain? Where is Mumbai?

City is a Symbol of Centralized Power

City, primarily, is a symbol of Centralized Power in Civilized Societies, since its inception. What V Gordon Childe, archaeologist, calls 'Urban Revolution' is the birth of Civilization some 5K years ago.

The rise and growth of Civilization also goes with Urbanization, which is City as a human habitat.

Since then city has become a parasite on its region for its sustenance. In the Modern Times, the so-called Global Cities and mega-cities have spanned their dominance over lands even beyond their immediate regions, far and wide, even across their sovereign borders, across the continents and oceans. They manage this aggression by remote control from the Board Rooms in mega-cities.

Civilized society, as is known, is based on the division of labor, social hierarchies of the ruler and the ruled, classes/castes, or the Classless society and the Underclass. Even in democracies in historical times the slavery did exist. Here Democracy is misnomer.

In recent times democracies did go for colonizing, by various means, weaker nations, now called Third World. In 5000 years indeed Democracy has not come of life.
However, in India the unarmed Buddhist monks, in 200 BC, colonized other countries by religious thought of nonviolence.

True Democracy

How could any civilized society practice democracy in true sense? It possible only when 'the People are the Means and Goals’ for the well-being of all the living beings. Only then democracy is possible. Neither the means nor the goals could be economy, technology, market, exchange rates, foreign affairs... blah, blah, blah. State is only a facilitator.

In spite of the presence of all the institutions to manage society, the chaos and strife never ended. It will never end if the mindset of a power oriented society does not end, and accept democracy in total.

To bring this change, needs introspection by the power-classes. Here the writing of constitutions, acts and laws are useless. Perhaps, a beginning of process to Decentralization of Power would help.

There is no escape from chaos until the responsibility and right to equitable distribution of resources should be rested on the shoulders of the Collective (what we customarily call Civil Society).

The End of the City

The size of The Collective, therefore, must have Human Scale. In other words, it will be the 'end of the city' as a human habitat; it is inevitable. With Information Technology this is not impossible. The obvious factor is, it should begin simultaneously at the top and the bottom rungs of the collective.

This is not a Utopia. It is being practiced by aborigine communities (cohesive collectives) for millennia: There is a lesson to learn for the present consumerist societies that splurge finite resource that belong to all living beings – the inmates on the Earth.

In the past, the feudal powers promised security to the subjects of their material life, and the religious powers promised salvation - Moksha - after death.

Now these are replaced by the governments (by design or default, the corporate powers) promise physical security, and science with machine-money-market, the new clergy class, promise happiness.

Post Script

The young people, who begin their homes, generally begin by taking loans.  We are speaking about our great urban middle class. They buy a house by taking loan. They would acquire gadgets, furniture, furnishings… etc. by taking loans. This is called 'lifestyle'.

Happy are those who receive fat inheritance from their old parents!

When the young begin their adult life, they are past their spring-time – youth – in building up their career. Where does this debt-trap end in the rat-race of life-sucking competition, in the saturated market?

They acquire training for their careers on the assembly-lines at educational institutions. However, they hardly have any life-supporting skills, either from the institutions or their families, during their youth. Hence, even for common cold they run to the experts/specialists. This is called Third Ecology, which is outside Natural Ecology.
What a mountain-high ego!
Who is supposed to think of posterity?

Remigius de Souza | Mumbai | 17-09-13
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.