Burying our Enemies

Opposition is healthy. It need not be buried out of fear…or fear’s sister, anger, or her brother, pride. Organic cities and cultures tend to reach their heights when governments and society give way to thoughts and all of their counter-thoughts. Criticisms, though creatures of common irritations, are forces which lead to persistent inspection of the channels of communication¬†that keep a healthy relationship afloat between the people and the powers that be. This is the attitude of the good householder, the type of idea a wise man conveys to a younger one. It is what new cities and countries should take to heart from the experience of older ones. Fashion changes throughout history but the cycles which govern the growth and decay, rise and fall, bloom and doom of societies, remains always the same. Rules and fundamental laws which we have learned to observe through painful repetition of blunders¬†and useful experiments do not shift. They may be relative, waning and waxing from phase to phase like our lunar neighbour, but they rise once again upon the return of the same or similar conditions. Why else would Shakespeare be so timeless? For in such things as human affairs and the organisms of cultures, the possibilities reach known limits. The themes are timeless and stain through each epoch and every generation.

It is fine and well to knowningly avoid certain things in life because of the dread one has of its uncomfortable consequences. But a readiness and willingness to accept short-term irritations and embarassments for the sake of establishing a quality which promises long-term health is indispensible. Free speech, separation of church and state, democratic sensibilities, and the army of critics who amass as a result, are properties of a mature and thriving culture. Forcibly remove or limit the expression of any of these properties, or even elements of them, and a proportional limit will be set or lowered on the culture itself. In other words, masking the warts and blemishes of a city takes away from its authenticity. Indeed, it lowers its potential.

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