The Metropolis and Mental Life
- The deepest problems of modern life derive from the claim of the individual to
preserve the autonomy and individuality of his existence in the face of
overwhelming social forces, of historical heritage, of external culture, and of the
technique of life.
- In addition to more liberty, the 19th century demanded the functional
specialization of man and his work; this specialization makes one individual
incomparable to another, and each of them indispensable to the highest
possible extent. However, this specialization makes each man the more directly
dependent upon the supplementary activities of all others.
* How the personality accommodates itself in the adjustments to external forces?
* The psychological basis of the metropolitan type of individuality consists in the
intensification of nervous stimulation which results from the swift and
uninterrupted change of outer and inner stimuli.
* Man is a differentiating creature. His mind is stimulated by the difference
between a momentary impression and the one which preceded it.
* The rapid crowding of changing images, the sharp discontinuity in the grasp if a
single glance, and the unexpectedness of onrushing impressions --> these are
the psychological conditions which the metropolis creates.
* with each crossing of the street, with the tempo and multiplicity of economic,
occupational and social life, the city sets up a deep contrast with small town
and rural life with reference to they sensory foundations of psychic life.
* The metropolis exacts from man as a discriminating creature a different amount
of consciousness than does rural like.
* In rural life, the rhythm of life and sensory mental imagery flows more evenly.
* Precisely in this connection the sophisticated character of metropolitan psychic
life becomes understandable -- as over against small town life which rests more
upon deeply felt and emotional relationships.
* Rural are rotted in the more unconscious layers of the psyche and grow most
readily in the ready rhythm of uninterrupted habituations.
* The intellectual, however, has its locus on the transparent, conscious, higher
layers of the psyche; it is the most adaptable of our inner forces. In order to
accommodate to change and to the contrast of phenomena, the intellect does
not require any shocks and inner upheavals; it is only through such upheavals
that the more conservative mind could accommodate to the metropolitan
rhythm of events.
- Thus, the metropolitan type of man -- which, of course, exists in a thousand
individual variants -- develops an organ protecting him against the threatening
currents and discrepancies 矛盾 of his external environment which would uproot
- He reacts with his head instead of his heart. In this an increased awareness
assumes the psychic 心理的 prerogative特权 .
- Metropolitan life, thus, underlies a heightened awareness and a predominance of intelligence in metropolitan man.
- The reaction to metropolitan phenomena is shifted to that organ which is least
sensitive and quite remote from the depth of the personality.
- Intellectuality is thus seen to preserve subjective life against the overwhelming
power of metropolitan life, and intellectuality branches out in many directions
and is integrated with numerous discrete phenomena.
- The metropolis has always been the seat of the money economy.
- The metropolis has the multiplicity and concentration of economic exchange.
- Money economy and the dominance of the intellect are intrinsically本质的
- The intellectually sophisticated person is indifferent to all genuine individuality,
because relationships and reactions result from it which cannot be exhausted
with logical operations.
- Money is concerned only with what is common to all: it asks for the exchange
value, it reduces all quality and individuality to the question: How much?
- All intimate emotional relations between persons are found in their individuality,
whereas in rational relations man is reckoned with like a number, like an
element which is in itself indifferent. Only the objective measurable
achievement is of interest.
- These features of intellectuality contrast with the nature of the small circle in
which the inevitable knowledge of individuality as inevitably produces a warmer
tone of behaviour, a behavior which is beyond a mere objective balancing of
service and return.
- The modern metropolis, however, is supplied almost entirely by production for
the market, that is, for entirely unknown purchasers who never personally never
personally enter the producer‟s actual field of vision.
- Through this anonymity the interests of each party acquire an unmerciful残忍的
matter-of-factness; and the intellectually calculating economic egoisms of both
parties need not fear that any deflection because of he imponderables of
- The money economy dominates the metropolis.
- The matter-of-fac切合实际的 attitude is obviously so intimately interrelated with
the money economy, which is dominant in the metropolis, that nobody can say
whether the intellectualistic mentality first promoted the money economic or
whether the latter determined the former.
- Modern mid has become more and more calculating.
- Only money economy has filled the days of so many people with weighting,
calculating, with numerical determinations, with a reduction of qualitative values
to quantitative ones.
- Through the calculative nature of money a new precision, a certainty in the
definition of identities and differences, an unambiguousness in agreements and
arrangements has been brought about in the relations of life elements.
- The relationships and affairs of the typical metropolitan life are so varied and
complex that without the strictest punctuality in promises and services the whole structure would break down into an inextricab纠缠的 chaos.
- Above all, this necessity is brought about by the aggregation of so many people
with such differentiated interest, who must integrate their relations and activities
into a highly complex organism.
- The technique of metropolitan life is unimaginable without the most punctual
integration of all activities and mutual relations into a stable and impersonal
* Punctuality, calculability, exactness are forced upon life by the complexity and
extension of metropolitan existence and are not only the most intimately
connected with its money economy and intellectualistic character.
- these traits must also color the contents of life and favor the exclusion of those
irrational, instinctive, sovereign traits and impulses which aim at determining the
mode of life from within, instead of receiving the general and precisely
schematized form of life from without.
- The same factors which have thus coalesced结合 into the exactness and
minute precision of the form of life have coalesced into a structure of the
highest impersonality; on the other hand, they have promoted a highly personal
* There is perhaps no psychic phenomenon which has been so unconditionally
reserved to the metropolis as has the blase attit厌烦于享乐的，厌世态度 .
* The blase attitude results first from the rapidly changing and closely
compressed contrasting stimulations of the nerves.
* From this, the enhancement of metropolitan intellectuality, also, seems
originally to stem. Therefore, stupid people who are not intellectually alive in the
first place usually are not exactly blase.
* A life in boundless pursuit of pleasure makes one blase because it ag鼓动ates
the nerves to their strongest reacti反应tfor such as long time that they finally
cease 停止 to react at all.
* An incapacity thus emerges to react to new sensations with the appropriate
* This constitutes that blase attitude which, in fact, every metropolitan child
shows when compared with children of quieter and less changeable milieu环境.
- This physiological source of the metropolitan blase attitude is joined by another
source which flows from the money economy.
- The essence of the blase attitude consists in the blu率直iof discrimination.
- They appear to the blase person in an evenly flat and gray tone; no one object
deserves preference over any other.
- This mood is the faithful subjective reflection of the completely internalized
- By being the equivalent to all the man繁多的ld things in one and the same way,
money becomes the most frightful可怕的 leveler水平测量员 .
- Money, with all its colorlessness and indifference, becomes the common denominator of all values; irreparab不能修补的 it hollow挖空 out the core of
things, their individuality, their specific value, and their incomparability.
- The large cities, the main seats of the money exchange, bring the purchasability
of things to the fore much more impressively than do smaller localities. That is
why cities are also genuin真正的 locale of the blase attitude.
- In the blase attitude the concentration of men and things stimulates the nervous
system of the individual to its highest achievement so that it at损坏iits peak.
- Through the mere quantitative intensification of the same conditioning factors
this achievement is transformed into its opposite and appears in the peculiar
adjustment of the blase attitude.
- In this phenomenon the nerve find in the refusal t