These monster cities we live in today are blights of modern society. They will certainly give way to planned cities interlinked to the countryside. Everybody will live with the natural advantages of the country and the cultural associations of the town.
The ideal of self-advancement which the civilizing west offers to backward populations brings with it the plague of individual frustration. All the advantages brought by the West are ineffectual substitutes for the sheltering and soothing anonymity of communal existence.
Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.
All the lessons of history and experience must be lost upon us if we are content to trust alone to the peculiar advantages we happen to possess. Look, being a lame flunky for a batshit crazy person isn't all that bad. Stay alive long enough and you may sneak your way to Washington!
As Deborah Rhode describes, “When 1,100 Michigan elementary students were asked to describe what life would be like if they were the opposite sex, over 40 percent of the girls saw advantages to being male; they would have better jobs, higher incomes, and more respect. Ninety-five percent of the boys saw no advantage to being female, and a substantial number thought suicide would be preferable.”
There are advantages to being the chairman. One of my favorite perks was picking out an issue and doing what I called a "deep dive." It's spotting a challenge where you think you can make a difference one that looks like it would be fun and then throwing the weight of your position behind it. Some might justifiably call it "meddling." I've often done this just about everywhere in the company.
Writers brought up in Africa have many advantages - being at the center of a modern battlefield; part of a society in rapid, dramatic change. But in a long run it can also be a handicap: to wake up every morning with one's eyes on a fresh evidence of inhumanity; to be reminded twenty times a day of injustice, and always the same brand of it, can be limiting.
If it is asserted that civilization is a real advance in the condition of man,--and I think that it is, though only the wise improve their advantages,--it must be shown that it has produced better dwellings without making them more costly; and the cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.