Low Life

 

I am reading Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York by Luc Sante, and find it a facinating story of the underbelly of New York in the 1800s and early 1900s.

It puts our contemporary western society into perspective, and is a reminder that what we see today in countries with unrest, corruption and barely functioning legal system is what was here not too long ago (and still is, to some extent, especially in the US).

It is also a reminder that Spiral Dynamics red (red in tooth and claw, power, late egocentric, here seen in gangs and organized and unorganized crime) eats Green (egalitarian, nonviolence, worldcentric, seen among sustainability folks, hippies, and political greens) for lunch, as Michael Dowd likes to point out.

Green is typically not the right tool to deal with red, and orange is barely so. As the story of New York shows, it took strong blue (law and order) to tame red. And then it can move on.

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