Now scientists have begun to examine how the city affects the brain, and
results are chastening. Just being in an urban environment, they have found,
impairs our basic mental processes. After spending a few minutes on a
city street, the brain is less able to hold things in memory, and
reduced self-control. While it's long been recognized that city
exhausting -- that's why Picasso left Paris -- this new research
cities actually dull our thinking, sometimes dramatically so.
Of course, I would prefer the city people stay in the cities, or else everyplace will be crowded.
I think the other things they miss are important: cities breed a culture of dependence wheras rural areas breed a culture of independence. In a city, a person is absolutely dependent upon others for even the basic needs of survival: food, clothing and shelter. It is virtually impossible to be self-sufficient in a city. In rural areas, obviously, one could be entirely self-sufficient if one desired to do so, because you could grow and raise all your own food, supply your own energy (wood, etc.), and even trap furbearers for clothing. Obviously this has major implications for the future of freedom: those in cities, who are not independently minded, favor more controls and governmental involvement in their lives because they believe it necessary for their well-being. Those who are independent of course will not want such interference. This is the reason why Thomas Jefferson favored having a nation of independent farmers: such a society would not want governmental interference and would contribute to keeping the country free. An urban society, however, wants the government controlling more to maintain order. Less freedom therefore. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that this country began the road to significantly less freedom and more government at the same time it became more urbanized. If this country were split along rural/urban lines into two countries, one would see that the rural areas would become the most free country, the urban areas, the least free.