Paul Graham has written an interesting essay on great cities and the messages they give out and why it is that a city should have such an effect on a person and their ambitions.
No matter how determined you are, it’s hard not to be influenced by the people around you. It’s not so much that you do whatever a city expects of you, but that you get discouraged when no one around you cares about the same things you do.
I’ve seen a few cities now and each one has its own distinct soul that can’t help but subtly affect you when surrounded by it. Apparently the message Paul gets from London is: “one should be more aristocratic”. I’m not sure I agree with him. Then again, thinking back to when I first arrived here, maybe I did notice a more class-based society.
Maybe I’ve just tuned that message out as background noise.