Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Big Alone

It's paradoxical that where people are the most closely crowded, in the big coastal cities in the East and West, the loneliness is the greatest. Back where people were so spread out in western Oregon and Idaho and Montana and the Dakotas you'd think the loneliness would have been greater, but we didn't see it so much.
The explanation, I suppose, is that the physical distance between people has nothing to do with loneliness. It's psychic distance, and in Montana and Idaho the physical distances are big but the psychic distances between people are small, and here it's reversed.
Robert M. Pirsig And by here Pirsig meant the West Coast. It's true. Things, and people, are hostile here. It's the competition known as population stress or "shock" disease: Too crowded, disconnected, and competitive. Animals die under such conditions known to biologists as carrying capacity decimation factors. Life lived at carrying capacity is tough. Fewer residents, means better Quality of life, something third world countries don't have, and neither will we as the coasts fill to overflowing. In Idaho we waved at any vehicle coming down the road. It was like a duty. That doesn't happen here. A wave in LA means the middle finger is involved trailing the real sentiments of hominids confined to close to one another. But I'd wager Mexico City is much worse.

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