Thursday, September 14, 2006

The title is the hardest part

To modify Laryssa’s well thought out and established point, I argue that the earthly city which Augustine describes is no city at all. In fact, he calls his two cities “two societies of men” (634) and, by acknowledging his mutation of our central term, is creating a spin whereby a city has no borders except to separate it from the City of God. What this means to me, in the context of Calvino’s describing only one city in Invisible Cities (as some have suggested) is that the reason there is only one city to describe is not that all cities are alike, it is that all cities crafted by men are in reality only one city.

Taking this further, one must call into question the principle of identifying himself with a particular city. For instance, I cannot be a Clevelander if all earthly cities exist as one. Augustine, it seems, would surely favor this, for eliminating any element of one’s own image separate from God means that he will soon be left only with God to define himself. Thus brings him closer to the City of God.

Therefore, are not all good men merely pilgrims to earthly cities? And if that be the case, then what interest is it of theirs to protect and preserve such licentious havens, the patrons of which have already been sentenced to an eternity with the devil.

This interpretation seems altogether too depressing, and as such I’m convinced that I’ve butchered Augustine, which would not be the first time.