Cities as Stations

Imagine the Earth. Zoom out. We see a map, perhaps a globe. We see the shapes of continents, oceans between them. We see lines representing the boundaries between this place and that place, us and them. We see names of cities and think of the people that live in them. They’re different. The way they speak is different. The way they dress is different. The way they eat is different. This differentness having developed through centuries or even millennia of isolation.

Think of that map. Now forget it.

Imagine the Earth. Not as a map, not as a globe, but as a collection of cities. Think of all the major cities of the world. London, Sao Paulo, Berlin, Tokyo, Nairobi, Cairo, Rome, Johannesburg, Sydney, Beijing, Lagos, Dubai, Buenos Aires, Moscow, Mumbai, all of them. You’re seeing a map. Forget the map. Think of 20, 50, 100 cities, their relationship not defined by their geographic location on Earth, but as a random network. Beirut no further from New York than New York from Boston.

To move from one city to another is to blink. You board a plane in LA and open your eyes in Dhaka. Time and space collapsed by single a pill.

Imagine cities as stations. Imagine the Earth.