/26 Habitare

A new social type was being created by the apartment building, a cool, unemotional personality impervious to the psychological pressures of high-rise life, with minimal needs for privacy, who thrived like an advanced species of machine in the neutral atmosphere. This was the sort of resident who was content to do nothing but sit in his over-priced apartment, watch television with the sound turned down, and wait for his neighbours to make a mistake.

Or, their real needs could come to the surface at a later time. The more arid and affectless life became in the high-rise, the greater the possibilities it offered. By its very efficiency, the high-rise took over the task of maintaining the social structure that supported them all. For the first time, it removed the need to suppress every kind of anti-social behavior and left them free to explore any deviant or wayward impulses. It was precisely in these areas where the most important and interesting aspects of their lives would take place. Secure within the shell of the high-rise, like passengers on board an automatically-piloted airliner, they were free to behave in any way they wished, explore the darkest corners they could find. In many ways, the high-rise was a model of all that technology had done to make possible the expression of a truly free psychopathology. [...]

In the tenth floor gallery were about two hundred people and many were injured in the stampede toward the elevators and stairs. In the darkness it broke out a large number of absurd and unpleasant quarrels between those who wanted to get off to their apartments on the lower floors and the tenants of the upper floors who insisted to escape upstairs to the cooler elevations of the building. During the fault two of the twenty elevators were put out of action. The air conditioning was turned off and a woman, locked in an elevator between the tenth and eleventh floor, had a fit, perhaps for having been the victim of sexual harassment. The return of light had unveiled a bunch of illicit relationships, flourished under the cover of the total darkness as a kind of carnivorous plant. [...]