— José Ortega Y Gasset, book The Revolt of the Masses
Source: The Revolt of the Masses (1929), Chapter XIV: Who Rules The World?
Context: Greeks and Latins appear in history lodged, like bees in their hives, within cities, poleis. … The polis is not primarily a collection of habitable dwellings, but a meeting-place for citizens, a space set apart for public functions. The city is not built, as is the cottage or the domus, to shelter from the weather and to propagate the species — these are personal, family concerns — but in order to discuss public affairs. … The man of the fields is still a sort of vegetable. His existence, all that he feels, thinks, wishes for, preserves the listless drowsiness in which the plant lives. The great civilisations of Asia and Africa were, from this point of view, huge anthropomorphic vegetations. …Socrates, the great townsman, quintessence of the spirit of the polis, can say: "I have nothing to do with the trees of the field, I have to do only with the man of the city." What has ever been known of this by the Hindu, the Persian, the Chinese, or the Egyptian?