We have speeded up experience, desperate to get more out of each moment. But the result is we experience less. We rush so fast, it is a blur. We have learnt to absorb quickly, but have overloaded our senses with information and have dazzled them. Often there is a thrill to the spectacles of fast life and it can have a seductive quality. Yet too often this impact is without meaning. In this mental evolu tion, the ability to process vast amounts of information is almost machine-like and we lose the capacity for reflection. In this world of bright lights and logos you only look and experience the things that jump out at you - the hype, the shrill, the loud - and miss out on subtler intricacies - the enjoyment of lingering, mulling over things, simply being. Proliferating needs get us on to the treadmill of consumptive desire. It can create greed that needs to be permanently fed. But induced and perpetuated by the media and retailing industries, it will never be sated. We are left permanently hungry. We are in danger of living solely through consumption. To be is to buy. The effect on the city is dramatic. Places need to be made into destinations, where you go with the intention of being dazzled and where, as Rem Koolhaas notes, shopping is arguably the last form of public activity.13
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