Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Risk Worth Taking

I was particularly struck by Calvino's description of the great city of Chloe. "In Chloe, a great city, the people who move through the streets are all strangers. At each encounter, they imagine a thousand things about one another; meetings which could take place between them, conversations surprises, caresses, bites. But no one greets anyone; eyes lock for a second, then dart away, seeking other eyes, never stopping."(Calvino, 51) The people of Chloe seem to be wary of sharing their ephemeral fanatsies for fear of the disruption of the city's chastity and placidness such a vulnerability might cause.

It seems abominable to me to completely avoid contact and shy away from chance on the whim that it may have an undesired result; life, afterall, is about taking risks, and combating the consequences in a quest for good(or in some cases, I suppose and as Augustine notes can be a facr of mankind, evil as well). It seems to me that Augustine and I are in agreement with that fact, "A man's possesion of goodness is in no way lessened by the advent or continued presence of a sharer in it. On the contrary, goodness is a possession which is enjoyed more fully in proportion to the concord that exists between partners united in charity."(Augustine, 640)

Perhaps the people of Chloe feel as if they are being charitable towards one another by silently resigning themselves in an effort to keep the peace, but what is a city if not a desire for community that is acted upon by its very structure? Calvino's novel seems to reiterate the point that cities exist as a collection or community of people bent on the possibility of fulfilling their desires through the aid of the commerce, diversity, and even chance that a city provides its people.