At street level distances seem arduous to traverse, long and tedious, and this is true whether looking along a canyon in a Chinese, grid-based city like Kyoto or New York, or snookered in the aggregation of individualist decisions represented in the obstructed views and short vistas of London.
When elevated, however, the spires and the architectural decorations of buildings, that we know to be a fair walk off, are visible as if close by, and, though not quite within the reach of an extended arm, the details, cracks in the masonry excite our curiosity. (I am sitting at a high window, near enough Waterloo Place, looking east to the spire of St Martin in the Fields on North-East corner of Trafalgar Square.)
This is curiously like social and political life. Seen from the ground the mighty of those worlds seem either quite inaccessible or tiresome to reach. However, once in the company of the great, even a pedestrian, such as myself, believes that the others are now neighbours. The friction of the pavement no longer hinders, and the great heights are but a short flight off. This is an illusion. The heart of standing, even in such high places, and even for the mighty themselves is that you simply and absolutely cannot fly.