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The agrarian myth of rural simplicity is based on the belief that true happiness can be found by living close to the land. During the early days of the United States, a popular Jeffersonian concept of this myth was the yeoman farmer as the bedrock of American democracy.

An image found at the conclusion of Voltaire's Candide, and almost everywhere else in western literature and popular culture. The romantization of the land of cavaliers and cotton fields. On the news when they lament the corporatization of small farms in the midwest, and the little homes on the prarie.

The heart of the myth is that growing up on a farm and mucking out the barn builds character and discipline, breeding innocence along with a zen-like quality that comes from observing the cycles of life and death and life again, like a cycle unpredictable, yet always in mysterious harmony. Innocence and a peculiar sort of wisdom when it comes to human events. Where reality is reality, because nature never lies.

It brings to mind the countless stories told of the corn-fed country girl or boy coming to make a name for themselves in the big city. It's never what they expect but in the end their values gained on the farm contribute to their eventual success. After multiple hardships and heartbreaks, they go back to the farm with lots of money and marry their high school sweetheart.

When I'm standing in a penthouse looking down from the roof of Singapore, I can see tens of thousands of trees planted along the side of the immaculate street, exactly 2.5 meters apart and I sense the unnaturalness of everything. The sleek lines and cool glass of this apartment matching the shuddering newness and perfection of the lion city matching my Issey Miyake shoes and the pseudo-art-deco furniture. Seems somehow not right. I feel like in the city I'm suspended in a vast network of personalities, superficiality and artifice.

When I see a guy get stabbed at the ATM, or notice homeless people or street gangs and rats, or when I almost get raped in the park or find a dead body on the river.

I spend my days dealing with things that aren't real or palpable-- I study the trade of commodities like corn or pigs and mortgages, things people buy and sell on the world markets without realizing the essence of them.

The reality of this myth was destroyed with the advent of the railroad in the American West, and the birth of commercialism and the Grapes of Wrath.
The romantization of anything--making it a romance--is the elevation of some belief, or convenience, to serve a purpose.

I agree with Jennifer that there is no salvation on the land, but equally, I believe that is no more necessary salvation in the city, as Jennifer also points out more graphically than I ever could.

We make our own salvation as best we can with whatever we have at hand to do it. Bu the thing about our lives is the commoditization of it--and the romantization of that--the way we take what once were things, and render then nothing but parts of our imagination, that we buy and sell.

I can only imagine how far removed that takes us, what realms of philosophical mathematics, no fields of Elysieum to play in--our last cord severed.

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