… I am thinking of food-markets, specifically Romanian food-markets. I’ve visited such markets numerous times in two Romanian cities: in Piatra Neamt (north-east Romania) and now in Cluj-Napoca (north-west) where I live. I’m usually there to shop for food though today I also purchased a (first time for me ever) Christmas tree.
Cluj-Napoca is a much larger city then Piatra Neamt. It has one large market in the city center and two other smaller markets in other areas of town. It’s “market energy” seems to be divided between these markets. The smaller ones have a limited offering and are slightly more expensive then the large market – but they have location working for them. The central market is larger, more diverse (has the lapte-lapte-lapte shop), competitive … generally more dynamic. But even the large market is disappointing compared to the market in Piatra Neamt (keeping in mind that the Neamt area in the east is considered economically weaker and less developed then the west). Today we got a wonderful Christmas tree (more on that in a separate post) and even the ad-hoc tree-market (set right outside the food-market) was disappointing compared to Piatra Neamt.
Piatra Neamt is a smaller city and is geographically built around one city-center. It has one large-market in the center. I remember it as being physically larger then the one in Cluj and Andreea (who visited there a few weeks ago) confirmed that it has more variety and much (30%-50%) cheaper prices (though prices may reflect east-west differences). Last year, also located right outside the food-market, there was an impressive variety of Christmas trees – far more impressive then the small offering we saw today in Cluj.
When we got home some thoughts appeared around these differences – they reminded me of Yoga’s core idea of qualities of energy. The “market energy” in Cluj is diffused and weak compared to the condensed energy of Piatra-Neamt. I wonder if this kind of perspective can shed light on more complex systems and social structures such as cities and villages … and self-sustaining homes, or even commercial structures – such as Romanian markets, industrialized super-markets … and small productive communities.
In an individual person (which is the focus of the science of Yoga) condensed energy is better then diffused energy. Diffused energy is a state of illness, condensed energy a state of health & strength. Yet it is also possible to abuse Yoga practices and to generate energy that is too condensed – to the point that it can’t be contained and it burns from within. When I am in the city (as I am now – temporarily) I can feel in my body the density, commotion … there is too much vibration … there is too little space for settling. I wonder if in some ways cities have become too condensed and too intense to contain and give expression to human life. I wonder if the economical break-downs all around the world are expressions of systems that have also become too condensed, that the exaggerated heat is melting the foundations which are giving way and causing the systems they support to collapse.
The industrial revolution which carried us through the 20th century was in the spirit of growth, expansion – an age of quantity. Is it not sensible that the next era (for such industrialized societies) should be one of settling and gathering – an age of quality?