How Many Cities Are There?

Yesterday’s post about the two Global Brains as akin to a “tale of two cities” led me to ponder how many such “cities” there could conceivably be, or have been conceived as such. Oddly enough, there appear to be four.

We have, as mentioned, the “City of Man”, that being now constituted and consolidated as “the Anthropocene” as our “new within”, and the Global Brain conceived as the technologically mediated and interlinked milieu. This “City of Man” represents Blake’s Urizenic mode of consciousness or what Jean Gebser also calls “the mental-rational” structure of consciousness. This is the “Anthropos” of the Anthropocene.

The other Global Brain, as mentioned, is Gaia or Anima Mundi, and is what is described by Howard Bloom in his book The Global Brain. It is the evolutionary organic intelligence of the life-world, and today there are many citizens of that particular “City of Gaia”.

Each of these “cities” has, as noted, its own code of ethics and a more or less explicitly stated constitution, as it were. They do, to a great extent, represent the poles of the current tensions in society.

But in addition to this “City of Man” or of the Anthropos, and the City of Gaia, there are, also conceived, Augustine’s “City of God” (civitas Dei) and Blake’s Golgonooza or “City of the Imagination” (or “New Jerusalem”) and these are quite distinct also, and these represent another set of polarities.

This odd arrangement of “cities”, though, accords pretty well with Blake’s own “fourfold vision” and his mythology of the “four Zoas”, who “reside in the Human Brain”. Moreover, these four “cities” would appear to also have some affinity with Jean Gebser’s civilisational types as being “four structures of consciousness” — the archaic, the magical, the mythical, and the mental-rational.

Do we actually have “four cities” in play here? What we call “culture war” would then take on a Game of Thrones aspect of constantly shifting alliances and allegiances, with different codes of ethics and different constitutions.

This arrangement might well be described by the terms we use to describe the fourfold human — mind, body, soul, and spirit. The city you belong to, and of which you are a citizen, may well be your predilection in those terms, and they also accord well with Aurobindo’s conception of the fourfold Atman in terms of the bodily nature, the vital nature, the mental nature, and the spiritual nature of the fourfold human.

This might be another interesting way of looking at the present situation.

One response to “How Many Cities Are There?”

  1. Charles Leiden says :

    There is always a different way of of interpreting the present moment.

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