Physical manifestations

Cities, it occurred to me, are physical manifestations of our deepest beliefs and our often unconscious thoughts, not so much as individuals, but as the social animals we are. A cognitive scientist need only look at what we have made–the hives we have created–to know what we think and what we believe to be important, as well as how we structure those thoughts and beliefs. It’s all there, in plain view, right out in the open; you don’t need CAT scans and cultural anthropologists to show you what’s going on inside the human mind; its inner workings are manifested in three dimensions, all around us. Our values and hopes are sometimes awfully embarrassingly easy to read. They’re right there–in the storefronts, museums, temples, shops, and office buildings and in how these structures interrelate, or sometimes don’t. They say, in their unique visual language, “This is what we think matters, this is how we live and how we play.”

David Byrne
Bicycle Diaries