Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The City as Parasite

The City is parasitical. This is especially true of today’s Global Technological System (GTS).

It takes its vitality from God’s good creation. Minions of the City call God’s good creatures “natural resources” to excuse sucking their vitality from them. The GTS has grown so large that it now requires the systematic destruction of habitats and extinction of species to survive let alone continue its reckless growth. This includes not just food for urban inhabitants but also minerals and especially energy for urban artifacts like buildings, autos, and roads.

Minions of the City call us people “human resources” to similarly justify sucking the vitality from us. The City needs a steady replenishment of people worn out by their sacrifices to it. It requires millions of people to work hard at meaningless jobs all hours of the day and night in every type of weather no matter what season of the year and regardless of responsibilities toward other humans and creatures. It leads to humans being stacked atop one another in high-rise apartment complexes, squeezed into mass systems of transportation, and lumped together in anonymous wholes at work and play. The City marginalizes millions more inhabitants who can’t or won’t bear its demands and condemns them to alcoholism, domestic abuse, prostitution, crime, imprisonment, and death. The City means endless noise.

Even the City’s intellectual minions need fresh blood with new ideas from outside to maintain their intellectual vitality.

The City not only sucks in life. It extrudes death. It pollutes God’s good creation—air, water, soil, as well as plants and animals (including humans)—with toxic chemicals.

It also pollutes rural villagers with its deadening urban culture through its mass media of communication and mass production. Today inhabitants of even geographically isolated villages live materially, electronically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually in the City. This makes Vulcan, god of technology and patron god of the City, so happy. So little room left for Jesus his archenemy!

In short, the six Olympian gods—especially Vulcan—use human beings and the rest of God’s good creation simply as means of constructing their GTS. They use us and all simply as sources of their vitality. And the GTS is simply the most effective means they have ever devised for draining as much vitality as rapidly as possible out of us all.

(Today we continued our reflections on Jacques Ellul’s The Meaning of the City [Eerdmans, pp. 147-158].)

Copyright © 2014 by Steven Farsaci.
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