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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Housing and other things

We had a dinner party recently and one of the guests espoused a philosophy rather Marxist that basically said - multiple unit, multiple generational housing must be the next thing as there are too many people for individual houses, and the idea of individual houses only came about because of Capitalist propaganda.

I was contemplating his rather outrageous ideas and another scenario came to mind. Since the beginning of time until the Industrial Revolution, almost everyone lived rurally on farms, ranches, or roamed vast stretches of land. Suddenly, the majority of the population shifted from this spaciousness to cities, tenements and crowding. But all the while there was cellular, DNA memory of spaciousness, there were stories and family memories, there were paintings, writings and the history of humans played out on a wide open stage. Inner yearnings for spaciousness live in us.

So as soon as possible, a sort of compromise came about - the invention of the suburbs. In the suburbs there is a tolerable amount of space, dotted with parks, so that humans can  live comfortably. It is not as spacious, of course, as the conditions of our ancestors, but it will do.

Studies show that the more dense the population, the more crime and agression. Our "solution" of suburbs has worked fairly well. Note the difference of crime rate in the inner cities vs the suburbs, for example. In the suburbs we can have little gardens, places to walk that have trees and flowers and natural beauty. It's not the wide open spaces built into our very beings, but it is somewhat satisfying. It gives us just enough freedom to be that we can live at peace.

As for multi-generations -- for me that is a huge NO. The memories of my grandmother living with us and what she did to me, to us, still reverberates.  My experiences in Russia and the stories re; the Stalin buildings where families shared a kitchen and had their own bedrooms and how they were encouraged to turn each other in for imaginery anti-Stalin statements over the kitchen table, etc, etc. etc.

I know I need my space and my freedom. I know that no central planner can put me in a better place than one I choose myself. I recoil away from such controls. The wide open spaces in my soul require at least some wide open space on the earth, if only a suburban lot.

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