Contemporary first-world cities effuse a spiritual quality, which I’ll call synthetic reality.
The term is general, I know, but I think that it’s a term many people intuitively understand.
That is, I think within the labyrinth, the mini-universe that we call cities, people share a common connection, a common eliciting of emotions when they see the lights of a packed restaurant, the counterfeit but superlative beauty of a city garden, its trees arranged geometrically, illuminated with pure white spotlights or with deeper and more subtle reds and yellows; it’s bushes trimmed, its flowers bulky, gifted artificial food.
As such our intuition manifested, and our city planners built constructions with hypernatural symmetry, which is beauty far beyond what beauteous forms we may observe in nature.
And then within the city garden, the downtown park, there comes the distant hum of cars and on the weekend, the distant chitter-chat of people coming, going, drinking, laughing, so here in solitude we sense our place within this city, this existential home of human spirits.
Perhaps that’s too poetic, but even as I write, the smoothness of the basketball court three stories down below my desk, the Mediterranean-style adobe apartments past the court and pools, and on their roof, the clothes and clothesline flapping in an ocean breeze, that breeze where nature meets the microverse of humankind and there in its embrace the fusion is conceived of natural and hyper, of real and synthetic.
The bliss of modern nation-states, whose citizens have computers and food and ice cream and then in one flash realize that in this urban wilderness there is a slice of divinity, that same divinity found in the calls of birds and the bright flowers of the rainforest, here present in the lonely cries of men, the screams of kids, the fluorescence of the clothes the women wear, the deliberate delicateness of their made up hair.
My hair is long for a guy’s and flaps with bedhead in the breeze.
My clothes are baggy and seem to not quite fit.
Perhaps I need to seek synthetic perfection, that hyper-symmetry I lack.
But still, I sometimes think, it’s me alone who sees this beauty, these spirits made by us, these spirits living, laughing, racing through synthetic creations, coursing along our synthetic reality.
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Image provided by Dfbphotos, who can be found on Flickr.