SF15–1: Great Heights
Caleb Garling

“And at this point on my walk, stress sweeps through me. <…> So much logistical interdependence and yet so little emotionally. That is living in a city.”

I read the article out of cultural curiosity, but it’s this one paragraph that stuck with me: it shows great empathy and even greater intent to do good and be good, in the broadest and most crucial sense. To me, that makes it a rare and valuable find. It also brought me strange relief, put a smile on my face and left me just a bit more hopeful than I’d usually be at this hour. And although my opinion may not matter much, I thought it was important that I share this with you, for the same reason people bought Radiohead albums that could be downloaded for free — not because the artist needs something to continue, but because giving it makes you feel a part of something that HAS to continue.

P.S. Thoughts and ideas only make sense in context. The population of a wider San Francisco area, if Wikipedia is to be trusted, is around 8.5 million. From what I understand, it’s also comfortably warm most of the time, and social metrics such as poverty are on a decent level when compared to the rest of US. The official population of Moscow, Russia area is 16.8 million, the weather is infamous, and the social environment is… Suffice it to say that one of the most well-respected political reformers, a man of great intelligence, dignity and perseverance, was shot in the middle of the city in February, and barely anyone remembers at this point (I had to look up the month myself). It just registered as a slightly above-ordinary rise in the pitch of the grey background noise.

Since you’re writing this series of articles, you’ve already determined for yourself its value and necessity. But it’s also not a leap to imagine that you have several possible directions for it in mind. I’m not a writer; I’m a mid-twenties consultant at EY’s Moscow office, the closest thing to a yuppie in the social structure here. And I want to, scratch that, I have to tell you that whatever ideas were in your head when you wrote this paragraph are as painfully important as they are invisible in the conversation any society has to maintain within itself. Because, as far as I can tell, for every hundred of articles, books, films making references to the human condition, there’s maybe one that actually takes time, effort and attention to stay on the topic and contribute something. “Synecdoche, New-York” is one. Marc Shagall’s “Over the town” is one. This paragraph is one. I wish you all the best.


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