So big it has to fail

An interesting thought whizzed by us during our walk the other day. It was the thought of a city, with millions of people in it, without the convenience of shops, materialism, job opportunity, and entertainment. What would it be like to have millions of people together with no binding principles? Terrible.

There is an interesting parallelism between our current culture in Toronto and the story of the Tower of Babel. For those unfamiliar with the Genesis story, the Tower of Babel involves the creation of one of the first large scale civilizations. The people in the city united to create this tower, and the Lord saw that they were becoming too powerful so he came down and confused their languages so they could not understand each other.

In a similar fashion, our cities have become so big that it requires us to fragment into smaller communities which do not understand each other, embracing views such as multiculturalism. The same thing has happened in the universities. The University of Toronto has become so big that departments can’t even talk to each other. The philosophers and the physicists are constantly at odds, both wondering what the other department is saying.

It is an interesting phenomenon that the Tower of Babel story has pointed out. When things get too big, they fall apart, fragment, and people scatter. Maybe it would be better if we stayed within the realm of our competencies instead of creating systems that are so big nobody could ever hope to understand them? Maybe globalizing every system we can manage hasn’t been the best idea for the growth of each individual, maybe it’s just left many of us merely babelling away at each other when we try to communicate.

So how can we scale things down in order to make the world in which we live comprehensible? To a level where we can actually identify our own personal direction? That is a question that each individual must ask themselves, but as history shows the answer is worth finding, lest things collapse.

Hustle it up!

Leave a Reply