Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My friends are wise beyond their years

My friend Brian said something last night that stuck with me. I'd just come from a Fullerton City Council meeting to decide the fate of Coyote Hills--one of the last large open spaces on Orange County, which Chevron wants to develop. We were talking about Chevron and people who work for major corporations like that. He called it a "metaphysical mind fuck." Like, how can someone give their life to this soulless entity, like a major oil company that actually damages and exploits the world? You'd have to like turn off a part of your brain just to live with yourself. I literally can't imagine what it would be like. It's a metaphysical mind fuck.

At the city council meeting, my friend Paul Nagel, a great young artist and Orange County native, had some great things to say. He brought up a profound, but rarely talked about idea--he talked about the mental and emotional impact of development and urban sprawl on people. Living in an artificially constructed place takes a toll on our internal well-being. As humans, we need natural, open spaces to balance out the anxiety of modern urban life. A good example is Central Park in New York. When I visited there last summer, I felt the anxiety of always being surrounded by concrete. It was a welcome and needed relief to spend an afternoon in Central Park, a tranquil, green, open space. From a corporate mindset, Central Park is literally a waste of space--"unexploited land." But from a human perspective, such open spaces are essential for our inner well-being and sanity. I once spoke with my friend Ryan, who lives in Brooklyn, and he said he couldn't imagine living in New York City without Central Park.

Thank you Brian and Paul for your insights. You are wise beyond your years.

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