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A tale of two cities

Harry Haller

Panga Master
Jan 31, 2011
Once upon a time, in a land far way there were two cities, quite far away from each other, the first city was a very modern city, filled with very modern people, it was affluent, had many facilities for entertainment and pleasure, restaurants, movie theaters, big imposing buildings and big imposing houses, everyone in this city lived in an expensive house and drove an expensive car, the shops stocked expensive clothes and products, luckily, everyone in this city did really well and had lots of money, the clubs and bars in the evening were filled with affluent people, dressed in affluent clothes, they lived the culture of the day, they followed the politics of the day, listened to the music of the day, and watched the films of the day, whilst dressing in the fashion of the day, as the days changed, so did the way these people lived, they were completely up to date on everything. The latest cars, designs, fashions, were present everywhere. None were happy, as someone always had something better than someone else, happiness seemed to be tied into how envious others were of you, because of this, there were only a few truly happy people, and many more scrambling to take the top spot of who had what, and how it was presented, almost as if there could only be a few happy people at the top at any one time, with everyone below them mired in envy, and waiting to hold that top spot for a while.

The second city was quite different, some could say it was timeless, people dressed how they wished, acted how they wished, there were many types of houses, many types of cars, none of which were dictated by fashion or time, big families had big houses, small families had smaller houses, there were bars and restaurants, but they were filled with people having a good time, regardless of how they dressed, one could say the onus was on functionality, rather than being up to date. They followed the politics of truth, listened to music they liked, from through the ages, dressed in clothes they felt comfortable in, watched films from the oldest to the latest, films with a message of truth, one could not judge a person by their dress, or their car, or what phone they had, as a poor man was just as likely to present himself in the same way as a rich man, but they were happy, content, and wanted for nothing, happiness seemed to be tied into how happy other people were, how well they achieved, because of this, happiness grew as the sum of the total happiness in the city.

A man from the second city, had to visit the first city for family reasons, so he woke up that morning, dressed in clean but old clothes, got into his old car, with his old phone, and drove to the first city whilst whistling a cheery tune, it was a sunny morning, he noted the lushness of the grass on the motorway, the rabbits scampering about, there were no speed limits, as in this city, people were sensible enough to drive at a true speed, in a true fashion, with courtesy, and patience, after a while, he approached the first city, and headed for the house of his relative, where there was to be a social gathering, suffice to say, he left after a few hours, he felt odd, he had never seen such finery, such opulence, and such falseness, it was as if everyone in this city had morphed into a spoiled child, people wanted to show him things, their phones, their cars, pictures of their holidays, even pictures of restaurants and food that they had eaten, they smiled at him in a sad way, as if he knew nothing, as if he was nothing, but then, in that respect they were right, as he was nothing, although, the things that he knew were different to the latest fashions, and the latest philosophies, some things are timeless, some things are for the moment, all he could see were thousands of sheep, braying and postulating like animals, in the end, he had to leave, as he felt that his presence was felt to be an insult by the people of the city, that he had not made an effort even to hire a nice car, or hire nice clothes, or at least educate himself in the way of this city, that he might present himself as a sheep, he had in effect insulted his family by being true. He tried to make the point to an elderly family friend, but was told that truth, although being noble and good, was an ideal, that could never be reached, and to attempt to live as such was futile and pointless, this living was for Sadhus and those in the forest, for sure, in this city, there was not much in the way of truth, in fact, all he could see was lies, falsehood, houses and cars were worshiped, idols that looked like books were kept in air conditioned rooms, they were bowed to, prostrated to, fed, they were petitioned with requests, and appeals were made for bigger houses, bigger cars, these idols were considered to be holy and were central to every religious ceremony, in the presence of the idol, one had to act in a civil and holy manner, although, as soon as the door closed to the room where the idol was kept, one could then act in any manner one wished, this was because the idol could not see through closed doors,

The man drove back to his city, most of the way in silence, he felt he had just seen hell on earth, back in his city, there were no idols, the message of the book was everywhere, there were no doors to close, and people did their best to live by the message, whether the book could see them or not, some did very well, some did not, but it did not really matter to them, or to the book, people learned and lived to their own pace, for sure, some people made some downright absolute terrible decisions, but they learned, there was no shame in falling, no shame in losing, some in fact were proud of defeat, and wore the burn marks and scars with pride, it showed they had lived and learned, that to them life was more than possessions, affluence, photos of food, it showed that they were real, human, fallible, people lived by the word, by understanding, not by fear,

The man vowed never to return to the first city, ever, it had nothing to offer him, he knew that the true value of life was freedom, freedom to be be whoever it was he could be and to follow the path to understanding and contentment

It is probably best that the two cities stay far away, for the first city would damage the second way way more than the second could damage the first


Jun 2, 2019
That first city is a lot like Toronto, I share the same feelings as that man. Still learning
Thank you for this story

Har, Har

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