Bereitschaftsbeitrag

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19. November 2017

The banality of changing consciousness

I was looking at historical pictures of New York. It's interesting: By 1870 New York was still an average European style town, not unlike Paris or Berlin, and its churches were, aside the Brooklyn Bridge that was built just then, its highest buildings.

Soon after however single parties, banks mostly, raised their buildings above the sea of bricks, so as to let them shine in style and splendour, not so much messengers of the future as modernisers of a Rococo past.

Yet, there was no plan. People were supposed to bow to the taste or power of anyone, who proved that he could think of bigger things than 5 story buildings, but instead they decided to put some extra stories on their buildings as well; and New York drowned in a sea of needles.

What did it mean though for the people who witnessed this?

They looked at the skyline and every year they would see another troll who imposed himself on the surrounding buildings, quite literally risen from some picture book. And how could they have not felt an invasion of demented ideas into their world? - until the invasion was over, of course, and the reference for what's normal had been permanently exchanged.

The old normal was a concert, in which everyone contributed his idea of how to fill out an assigned role, and the new normal is a concert, in which everyone seeks the role, in which he can be part of an assigned idea, which begs the question, whether a servant, who has to find a way in which to be useful for his master, is freer than the man, who has inherited the family business.

When I was in Venice, it felt like New York, the same insular topography, the same lack of tides and dykes, the same impeccable façade, the same almost religious appraisal of real estate, which reduces the human mind to a calculator. Yet, in 1870 New York was not like that. It became that through the chaotic projection of greatness initiated by the banks.

How should we call this?

The hypnotising power of a fantasy turned into an edifice?

It's really not the American dream, it's the New Yorker landlord's dream that you make it there and not just anywhere - and it has both trapped renters and inspired landlords all over the world in a global drive towards vulture consciousness.

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