Minds are lonely places. We can never share our thoughts and feelings without translating them into words or actions, nor can we ever look into those of others. The best thing we can do, is to assume that the complex workings of our minds are also present in those of others.
But it is precisely this understanding that helps value Shanghai for what it is, for it is impossible to describe accurately with pictures or words or statistics. Our minds can’t cope with the image of endless repetitions of building blocks, top ten lists of why Shanghai is great, or the statistic of twenty-four million people in a single city.
Understanding Shanghai has to happen in your mind, to connect the pictures and the words and the statistics, to the personal relationships you have with people all around you, and apply those things to the twenty-four million minds.
Shanghai so impressive by the thought about those; the millions of minds that use mobile apps to communicate, order, and pay; the minds that roam the clean parks and streets; the hedonistic minds that shop and consume; the peaceful minds that follow Chinese conformity; the minds that combine the modern Western lifestyle with the thousand year old Chinese culture; their grand dreams and fears, mundane doubt about lovers and breakfast.
It is all of this that makes Shanghai what it is, rather a modern wonder of human ability than an anonymous statistic used to describe a metropolis.