Plato undervalued the vital stimuli and challenges to growth: variety, disorder, conflict, tension, weakness, and even temporary failure. Each of these, if it does not harden into a fixed pattern, may produce a far more desirable community than any mode of conformity, whether that conformity be imposed by the philistine executives of a modern government agency or business corporation aided by electronic computers…The dialectic opposition of good and evil is not the whole of life: there are processes of physiological change and maturation, of physical disruption and eruption, that have little to do with it. But to overlook the place of dialectic in the polis is to overlook the city’s main function: the enlargement in human consciousness of the drama of life itself, through whose enactment existence discloses fresh meanings, not given by any momentary analysis or repetitious statistical order.

-Lewis Mumford, The City in History


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