After a long spell of Marxian “scientific” realism and businessmen’s “hard-headed” realism, our social scientists have begun to praise “utopian thinking.” Since the war, the cultural anthropology of the Americans has thus taken the following course: first, a flood of popular social criticism, and now an emphasis on goals and Utopias. What is meant by such language? When is it used? What does it conceal?

This new praise of utopian thinking occurs in the context of our surplus technology. There is a vast productive capacity already lying idle, and the threat of sharply increased efficiency with automation. It is necessary to use capital and labor for some purpose or other, if only for plausible fantasies, and Utopias promise more efficient planned consumption than the synthetic demand created by advertising. This may not be a bad thing. Luxury corrupts, and though moral corruption is wicked and usually foolish, it is rarely explosive and sometimes amiable. For instance, even the Soviet Union, as it tends to become a “have” nation, seems to become less Calvinist and fanatical. And when in our country David Riesman urges the youth of Kansas to build a mountain so that they can have manly work and enjoy skiing, one does not know whether to cry or laugh or cheer. Such an expedient is less morally outrageous than planned obsolescence. And it is certainly no more dismaying than our present Mass Leisure.

Naturally, utopian ideas for using up a surplus will not exhibit the common sense and parsimonious sweetness of Fourier or William Morris trying to remedy harsh conditions of labor by proving that centralized production is not necessary for happiness. Nor will there be a premium on the abstract justice and wisdom that inspired Plato or Thomas More, for it is characteristic of our period (as I shall argue below) that moral choices are considered irrelevant. Our new utopian thinking seems rather to comprise:

(1) A heavy indulgence in the sensational technologism of Bellamy, Sant’Elia, and science fiction; that is to say, visions of vaster and more marvelous achievements in the technical and managerial style that we are already used to. But this is soon admixed with the anti-utopianism of Brave New World—the suspicion that more such advancements will settle us for good. A variant of such Utopias is the plea for “future-thinking,” like Margaret Mead’s proposal to cut History out of the universities and substitute Chairs of the Future. In principle, future-thinking is the extrapolation of our present ways, a combination of market research and the theory of games; the one thing that the “future” must not change is the rules. (History deals, at least, with different kinds of error.)

(2) But a more useful property of our technology is its plasticity, the opportunity it offers for alternative choices of power, raw materials, location, tooling, and a surplus for transition and re-tooling. Thus, we could decentralize instead of centralizing, with probably equivalent efficiency. We seem at present to be trying to choose between more public goods or more leisure goods; we could even choose more leisure without more goods, but this would perhaps involve moral and political alternatives that are excluded. Now to make interesting choices, inventive imagination is indispensable. When people were asked about twenty years ago, “What do you want in your postwar house?” the responses were hopelessly banal, and Catherine Bauer wisely commented, “People can want only what they know.” One must invent something and show it to them. But there is nothing utopian about inventions; they either work and win their way, or they fail.

Perhaps ideas are “utopian,” however, when they work and do not win their way, like the nickel-cadmium battery, or like Fuller’s Dymaxion automobile, a better car that did not fit in with the plans of Detroit, which has proceeded for twenty-five years to dole out less drastic improvements, until spurred by Europe. This brings us, I think, to the virulent meaning of “utopian,” the sense in which it is controversial.

(3) Ideas are called “utopian” when they seem to be useful but they propose a different style, a different procedure, a different kind of motivation than the way people at present do business. Such ideas may make obvious common sense and may, technically, be very easy to effectuate; all the more will they be called “impractical” and “an imposition on people by experts and intellectuals,” with a vehemence that indicates a powerful psychological resistance. Let me tell a melancholy anecdote.

An executive of the Columbia Broadcasting System recently asked me, as an “intellectual,” to outline an article critical of TV, for they planned to put out a highbrow magazine to recoup, by self-criticism, the prestige lost in the quiz scandals. He said they were even afraid of losing their franchise. Since I have a positive turn of mind, I dutifully offered as my contribution a few proposals for good programs. (One that I remember was to allow Franz Kline, Picasso, Cocteau, etc. to create half-hour montages on the screen, and so explore what the medium can do. This would evoke a “storm” of ridicule and protest—as many as twenty letters—but it would be looked at and might do a public service.) To my surprise, my innocent proposals cast the executive into consternation. “You don’t get the idea at all,” he said; “we want you to criticize unsparingly. We can handle that. We know that TV is lousy, but it’s inevitably so. But now you try to show that it could be different!” (P. S. I did not get the job.)

There is no doubt that the term “utopian thinking” is importantly used to conceal the statement: The structure and folkways of our society are absurd, but they can no longer be changed. Any hint of changing them disturbs our resignation and rouses anxiety. Cruelly, for things are well enough as they are.

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II

In a technical sense, to call a utopian proposal “impractical” is ludicrous. Consider the actualities of the recent generation, since the depression. In New York City alone there has been built, at more than a million dollars a mile, the entire parkway system: the East and West Side Drives; the Belt, Henry Hudson, Saw Mill River, and Bronx River Parkways; the Cross-County and Major Deegan Expressways; the Thruway; the Whitestone and Triboro Bridges; the Holland Tunnel, two Lincoln Tunnels, the Queens-Midtown and Brooklyn-Battery Tunnels, etc. These have entirely transformed the residential pattern of the city and the behavior of its inhabitants, revolutionized land values, produced a different kind of suburban culture. In the central city itself, whole neighborhoods have been disrupted, razed, replaced by tall housing in low- and middle-income ghettos. No Utopian planner would dare propose or would want to propose such vast, disruptive and expensive changes as this colossal, bad planning effectuated by Robert Moses and his associates. Again in less than thirty years the entire pattern of culture and entertainment in the United States has been transformed, centralized, intensified, stereotyped, and debased by the TV and TV networks, invading more than 70 per cent of the homes and hypnotizing more hours of attention per day than anything since the Tibetan prayer wheels. The most misguided religious reformer would not have fantasized a comparable ritual observance. And in the same period, again, the peculiar complex of graduated income taxes, swollen expense accounts, diners’ clubs, and the new hotels, has dovetailed with the absolute novelty of standardized air travel and with the American zeal for making casual acquaintances, to create extraordinary institutions like business trips, conventions, panel discussions, and sessions of brainstorming. Thousand-mile journeys that used to be undertaken only by commercial travelers and itinerant lecturers have suddenly become routine for the whole middle class. Naturally, between this and the TV, any regional differences that once existed have vanished into the sameness of Hilton Hotels and Hertz drive-yourself cars. (For serious planners this history is a model of how great and many-sided changes come about through a combination of fiscal, technological, and psychological factors.) And finally, it is scarcely fifteen years since the atom bomb has altered what we mean by peace and war.

But the other criticism that is made of utopian ideas, that they propose an unusual dictatorial imposition upon people, is equally unrealistic. Not only has the physical behavior of most of us been rudely altered by the new techniques and institutions, but people are entrapped in them far more totally than we Americans, at least, were ever accustomed to. This has been the chief burden of the social criticism of the organization, the bureaucracy, the status-seeking, the advertising, the standard of living, the methods of wielding control and managing initiative. Immensely proliferating, the system pre-empts nearly all the space, all the channels, and all the resources. As Darwin would have said, it is a successful new species, like the rabbits in Australia. It dictates the style of drama and the format of debate. By its centralizing and stereotyping, it disrupts community and individuality, which are then, for necessary creature comfort and social security, reconstituted by conforming to a pantheon of canned symbols. All human societies are patterns of culture, but the present American—and increasingly worldwide—pattern has superseded the old with great suddenness; and it has certainly had the effect of being imposed, for it has created affectlessness, delinquency, fad without style, role without task, and inquiry after “goals,” as if goals were not implicit in concrete activity.

Nevertheless, inept as it seems, the charge that “utopian thinking” is impractical and an imposition does have a meaning. It is a subtle meaning, but devastatingly important.

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The rapid changes and impositions that have actually occurred in recent years have not directly impinged on each person’s sense of his individual “personality,” his liberty of choice, his privacy, his bodily intactness, his sexual and family behavior. On a broader view it is obvious that, indirectly, the individual is entrapped, seduced, pushed, limited—in his education, his jobs, his hygiene, his politics, his marriage, and parenthood; but his “personality” is kept pretty inviolate, perhaps even more so than in previous generations. (The exceptions are the draft and desegregation.) The provisions of the Constitution and the immediate moral outrage of all the other personalities protect individuality and the sanctity of the home. (In other less politically fortunate lands, e.g., Africa, the imposition of our technical ways causes much more personal and community hurt and is reacted to violently.)

Now it is just this feeling of individual intactness that we “utopians” who think in terms of common sense and direct action toward obvious goods continually seem to violate. Our simple-minded proposals make people feel foolish and timid; our plea for community wakes up sleeping dogs and rebellious hopes; we mention ancient wisdom that everybody believes but has agreed to regard as irrelevant; and all this among people who in fact have little control of the means of production or power, but are nicely habituated to the complicated procedures of the moment and get satisfaction by identifying with them. Therefore, paradoxically, the simpler and more easily effected the ideas we suggest—the less “utopian” they are—the more they are really impractical for these people. If we recommend an old-fashioned straightforward procedure, we seem to be asking that a foreign or “advance-guard” way of life be imposed. Naturally, we who are beguiled by the sirens of reason, animal joy, and lofty aims, fail to notice how far out into left field we sometimes stray; but we are most out of contact in naively believing that, given simple means and a desirable end, something can be done.

This is the crux of the argument over utopian thinking. It is true that the organized American system has invaded people’s personalities, even though it protects every man’s individuality, privacy, and liberty of choice. For the system has sapped initiative and the confidence to make fundamental changes. It has sapped self-reliance and therefore has dried up the spontaneous imagination of ends and the capacity to invent ingenious expedients. By disintegrating communities and confronting isolated persons with the overwhelming processes of the whole society, it has destroyed human-scale and deprived people of manageable associations that can be experimented with.

I do not think that this result is inevitable in the use of scientific technology and mass communications. It is not hard to think up industrial arrangements that fire initiative rather than dampen it. There are known methods of education and organs of culture to counteract sheepishness, and they could be encouraged instead of neglected. But the case is that, whether innocently or cynically, our present procedures and those who manage them have exerted and do exert a poisonous moral influence. To demonstrate this point it is not necessary to explore details like subliminal advertising or wire-tapping, except to see that they are logical next steps.

Gentlemen of power who claim, perhaps ingenuously, that “we give people what they want, we cannot impose higher standards on them,” ought to ask themselves if they are taking responsibility for the sheer quantity of messages and objects with which they swamp the public, for the pre-emption of space and resources, for the monopolistic exclusion of alternatives, and worst of all, for trivializing the earnest by glamorizing the base, catering to a low standard. In a recent address, Dr. Thomas Coffin of the National Broadcasting Company reassured his (Ethical Culture) audience that radio and TV really had little effect on “basic moral values.” (He cited a sociological study.) Surprisingly, the audience exclaimed that that was just the worst of it, that such a vast quantity of communication and entertainment filled up the foreground of attention and had no moral effect, and this in itself was a disastrous moral effect, for it made moral choice inarticulate and irrelevant. For instance, when thousands of hours are taken up by mere entertainment, we can be sure that there will be little dramatic art that purges and changes the audience; and there will be a jaded audience slow to respond to anything essential. Again like the rabbits in Australia, these enterprises proliferate because they never meet with a moral enemy head-on; but indirectly they win out by eating up the crops.

Recent history, however, seems to show that this system is not altogther viable. Granted that the current “social criticism” and “utopian thinking” are mainly means of griping and being adventurous without acting, yet we must also take them at face value as voices of dissent. A more important symptom is the increasing polarization of attitudes. Among the young, there are those who are content and able to perform, and those who are totally disgusted and withdraw: the squares and the beats—with the hip playing it cool whether as juvenile delinquents or aspiring junior executives. And in the adult world that the young graduate into, there is a polarizing between economy and vocation; between “communications” and honest speech innocent of public relations; between Realpolitik and politics; between scientific technology and the humanities. Put crudely, the means lack goods and the goods lack means. Groups polarize, with mutual resentment, according to whether they need to be in the swim, busy and identifying with power, or are honorably baffled and protestant. “Utopians,” however, are praised because they are neither realistic nor resigned, but have, as Riesman once said, “the nerve of failure” (a jolly state of life). They still think that machines are meant to be useful, that work is a productive activity, that politics aims at the common weal, and in general that something can be done. These are now utopian ideals.

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III

Let me use ideas of mine as an example, since I am notoriously a “utopian thinker.” That is, on problems great and small, I try to think up direct expedients that do not follow the usual procedures, and they are always called “impractical” and an “imposition on people by an intellectual.” The question is—and I shall try to pose it fairly—in what sense are such expedients really practical, and in what sense are they really not practical? Consider half a dozen little thumbnail ideas:

The ceremony at my boy’s public school commencement is poor. We ought to commission the neighborhood writers and musicians to design it. There is talk about aiding the arts, and this is the way to advance them, for, as Goethe said, “The poetry of public occasions is the highest kind.” It gives a real subject to the poet, and ennobles the occasion.

Similarly, we do not adequately use our best talents. We ought to get our best designers to improve some of the thousands of ugly small towns and make them unique places to be proud of, rather than delegating such matters to professionals in bureaucratic agencies, when we attend to them at all. A few beautiful models would be a great incentive to others.

In our educational system, too much is spent for plant and not enough for teachers. Why not try, as a pilot project, doing without the school building altogether for a few hundred kids for most of the day? Conceive of a teacher in charge of a band of ten, using the city itself as the material for the curriculum and the background for the teaching. Since we are teaching for life, try to get a little closer to it. My guess is that one could considerably diminish the use of present classrooms and so not have to increase their number.

The problem with the old ladies in a Home is to keep them from degenerating, so we must provide geriatric “occupational therapy.” The problem with the orphans in their Home is that, for want of individual attention, they may grow up as cold or “psychopathic personalities.” But the old ladies could serve as grandmothers for the orphans, to their mutual advantage. The meaning of community is people using one another as resources.

It is false to say that community is not possible in a great city, for 6,000,000 can be regarded as 2,000 neighborhoods of 3,000. These make up one metropolis and enjoy its central advantages, yet they can have a variety of particular conditions of life and have different complexes of community functions locally controlled. E.g. many neighborhoods might have local control of their small grade schools, with the city enforcing minimum standards and somewhat equalizing the funds. Political initiative is the means of political education.

In any city, we can appreciably diminish commutation by arranging mutually satisfactory exchanges of residence to be near work. The aim of planning is to diminish in-between services that are neither production nor consumption. More generally, if this wasted time of commutation were considered economically as part of the time of labor, there would soon be better planning and more decentralization.

In New York City, the automobile traffic is not worth the nuisance it causes. It would be advantageous simply to ban all private cars. Nearly everyone would have faster transportation. Besides, we could then close off about three-quarters of the streets and use them as a fund of land for neighborhood planning.

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Now, apart from the particular merits or demerits of any of these ideas, what is wrong with this style of thinking, that aims at far-reaching social and cultural advantages by direct and rather dumb-bunny expedients? I think that we can see very simply why it is “utopian.”

It is risky. The writers and musicians designing the commencement ceremony would offend the parents, and the scandal would be politically ruinous to the principal, the school board, and the mayor. Nobody expects the ceremonial to be anything but boring, so let sleeping dogs lie. Artists are conceited anyway and would disdain the commissions. So with the small towns: the “best designers” would make the local hair stand on end. As for the thought of children being educated by roaming the streets and blocking traffic, it is a lulu and the less said the better.

Further, such thinking confuses administrative divisions. Community arrangements are always awkwardly multi-purpose. What department is responsible? Who budgets? It is inefficient not to have specialized equipment, special buildings, and specialists.

Further, community creates conflict, for incompatibles are thrown together. And there is definitely an imposition of values. “Community” is an imposed value, for many people want to be alone instead of sharing responsibilities or satisfactions; that is why they came to the big city. The notion of living near work, or of a work-residence community, implies that people like their work; but most people today don’t.

Further, most such proposals fire probably illegal; there would never be an end to litigation. They override the usual procedures, so there is no experience of the problems that might arise; one cannot assess consequences or refer to standard criteria.

Further, they are impracticable. To effect a change in the usual procedures generally requires the pressure of some firm that will profit by it; such things do not happen just because they would be “advantageous”; one can hardly get the most trivial zoning regulation passed.

Finally, such proposals are impractical if only because they assume that the mass of people have more sense and energy than they in fact have. In emergencies, people show remarkable fortitude and choose sensible values and agree to practical expedients because it is inevitable; but not ordinarily. The quotation from Goethe is typical; it is “true,” but not for us.

This is a fair picture of our dilemma. A direct solution of social problems disturbs too many fixed arrangements. Society either does not want such solutions, or it is not up to them—it comes to the same thing. The possibility of a higher quality of experience arouses distrust rather than enthusiasm. People must be educated slowly. On the other hand, the only way to educate them, to change the present tone, is to cut through habits, especially the character-defense of saying “nothing can be done” and withdrawing into conformity and privacy. We must prove by experiment that direct solutions are feasible. To “educate” in the accustomed style only worsens the disease. And if we do not improve the standard of our present experience, it will utterly degenerate.

The dilemma is a sociological and psychological one. Our present “organized” procedures are simply not good enough to cope with our technological changes. They debase the users of science, they discourage inventive solutions, they complicate rather than simplify, they drive away some of the best minds. Yet other procedures rouse anxiety and seem unrealistic and irresponsible—whether or not they actually are. The question is, what kind of social science can solve a dilemma of this kind? Let us approach this question by deviating to a more philosophical consideration.

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IV

In my opinion Americans have lost the spirit of their pragmatic philosophy, even while following the letter. We pay a good deal of attention to “methods” in the solving of problems, just as “scientific knowledge” is applied to technology; but the right method has ceased to be the particular solving of the concrete problem. For James and Dewey, the end and the means, the moral-practical and the instrumental, derive meaning from their intrinsic connection in process, and there is no other meaning. One cannot have “usual procedures” or the problems also become empty of value. Problem or goal suffuses and energizes an enterprise from the beginning and creates means and methods; and the problem or goal is transformed and made definite by carrying the enterprise through.

It is this pragmatic idea that we in America have been losing as we have moved from the expanding industrialism of the 19th century to the affluent technologism of today. (Perhaps our “problems” are not serious enough; and the serious problems are disregarded.) Men used to work the machines, also forming themselves to the machine—this was the lesson of Veblen and of the early thinking of Frank Lloyd Wright. Now it is coming to be that the machines work themselves, and the men are formed passively on the system of production and the products; they are creatures of their standard of living and of their roles. In the logic of science, the operational definition of meaning (that the meaning of a proposition lies in the operations that test it), which began as an exquisite refinement of Dewey’s instrumentalism, now tends to put both human problems and the nature of things pretty far out of sight, and therefore “truth” is interpreted as the self-expanding and self-correcting system of scientific operations in isolation from anything else—and scientific knowledge is then “applied.” In sociology and politics, on the other hand, the noble pragmatic aim of developing a natural ethics and a moral politics has degenerated into a dreary teleology of fixed and arbitrary “values,” “national goals,” and even profits and ratings. What is the condition of a society whose “goals” are not implicit in its activity, but have to be sought out by a Presidential Commission and imposed! In pedagogy, contrast the pragmatic progressive method of learning by experimental work in a functional community, to educate the “whole child,” with the technological-teleological program of teaching predetermined lessons by a teaching machine that reinforces lessons. We have come to the very antithesis of pragmatism. In this new climate, where experts plan in terms of an unchangeable structure, a pragmatic expediency that still wants to take the social structure as plastic and changeable comes to be thought of as “utopian.” And meantime, of course, the structure is really changing with violent rapidity—impractically.

What would be a pragmatic method in the social sciences?

The closest approximation in official sociology is that caucus of the American Sociological Association that calls itself the Social Problems Approach. The Approach is to choose a problem area, to work it with research and analysis, and to find a solution. But I attended a congress of this group last winter and, to my chagrin, I heard paper after paper choose interesting areas and “do” sociology, but there was hardly ever a solution. Nor could there be, because the sociologists did not have that kind of pragmatic involvement in the problem by which a solution might emerge; they were applying “methods.” The problem was treated too “objectively,” as if it were not a human problem and therefore one that also implicated the investigator personally. There were too many “hypotheses,” as though the problems did not require inventive solutions, to be found only in the solving. Naturally there was a lot of testing but little experiment. (If there is a real social problem, with stubborn participants who are not fools, something must be changed in how the problem is taken or it will not give way. For instance, we might uncover “inner conflicts” and change the locus, e.g. in racial troubles; or make a new invention and find new resources, e.g. for economically depressed regions; or we might have to change the political structure in which the problem exists, e.g. nuclear war.)

An interesting use of a really experimental approach has been made at Earlham College in Indiana, especially by William Biddle, in a course called Community Dynamics. Here the method is for the professor and students to go into the problem area, to study and work with the people involved; they irradiate the problem from within, with such science and understanding as they have; and, in reported cases, solutions have emerged from their participation. Clearly this is both classical progressive education and classical pragmatic sociology.

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Let Us Spell Out a list of postulates for a pragmatic social science:

  1. The fact that the problem is being studied is a factor in the situation. The experimenter is one of the participants and this already alters the locus of the problem, usefully objectifying it.
  2. The experimenter cannot know definitely what he is after, he has no fixed hypothesis to demonstrate, for he hopes that an unthought-of solution will emerge in the process of coping with the problem. It is an “open” experiment.
  3. The experimenter, like the other participants, is “engaged”; he has a moral need to come to a solution, and is therefore willing to change his own conceptions, and even his own character. As Biddle has said: “A hopeful attitude toward man’s improvability may become a necessary precondition to further research,” for otherwise one cannot morally engage oneself.
  4. Since he does not know the outcome, the experimenter must risk confusion and conflict, and try out untested expedients. The safeguard is to stay in close contact with the concrete situation and to be objective and accurate in observation and reporting, and rigorous in analysis.

In the context of a pragmatic social science, Utopian thinking at once falls into place. Utopian ideas may be practical hypotheses, that is, expedients for pilot experimentation. Or they may be stimuli for response, so that people get to know what they themselves mean. The fact that such ideas go against the grain of usual thinking is an advantage, for they thereby help change the locus of the problem, which could not be solved in the usual terms. For instance, they may raise the target of conceivable advantages to a point where certain disadvantages, which were formerly prohibitive, now seem less important. (The assurance of help for an underprivileged child to go to college may make it worthwhile for him not to become delinquent. This has been the point of the “utopian” Higher Horizons program in the New York City schools.) Further, if a Utopian expedient seems prima facie sensible, directly feasible, and technically practical, and is nevertheless unacceptable, there is a presumption that we are dealing with an “inner conflict,” prejudice, the need to believe that nothing can be done, and the need to maintain the status quo.

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V

As an illustration of the several points of this essay, consider utopian planning for increased face-to-face community, people using one another as resources and sharing more functions of life and society. In a recent discussion I had with Herbert Gans of the University of Pennsylvania and other sociologists, it was agreed by all that our present social fragmentation, individual isolation, and family privacy are undesirable. Yet it was also agreed that to throw people together as they are—and how else do we have them?—causes inevitable conflicts. Here is our dilemma.

Gans argued that the attempt at community often leads to nothing at all being done, instead of, at least, some useful accommodation. In Levittown, for example, the project for a community school fell through because the middle-class parents wanted a more intensive program to assure their children’s “careers” (preparation for “prestige” colleges), whereas the lower-middle-class parents, who had lower status aims, preferred a more “progressive” program. “In such a case,” said Gans, “a utopian will give up the program altogether and say that people are stupid.”

My view is very different. It is that such a conflict is not an obstacle to community but a golden opportunity, if the give-and-take can continue, if contact can be maintained. The continuing conflict cuts through the character-defense of people and defeats their stupidity, for stupidity is a character-defense. And the heat of the conflict results in better mutual understanding and fraternity. In Levittown, the job of the sociologist should have been not merely to infer the class conflict, but to bring it out into the open, to risk intensifying it by moving also into concealed snobbery and resentment, and to confront these people with the ad hominem problem: are such things indeed more important to you than, as neighbors, educating your children together?

In quarrels of ordinary personal life, the conflict consists usually in the weights that are assigned to opposing values, and so the argument must finally be ad hominem. This is the use of face-to-face community—it prevents going on with stereotypes and rationalizations. It is risky, but there are excellent sociological and psychological techniques for maintaining and increasing contact in conflict; e.g. the different methods of group therapy, the sociometric methods of Moreno and Infield, Community Dynamics, the proper use of motivational research. Also, it makes no difference if the original issue of conflict is lost, if a better understanding results from the conflict, for then there is a lively future. Just so, it is better if city planning is done by competitive projects, exhibited, explained, and submitted to a popular referendum, rather than handed down by official agencies. People might choose unwisely, but they would be educated in the process, and in the fairly short run there would be better planning.

In our era, to combat the emptiness of technological life, we have to think of a new form, the conflictful community. Historically, close community has provided warmth and security, but it has been tyrannical, anti-liberal, and static (conformist small towns). We, however, have to do with already thoroughly urbanized individuals with a national culture and a scientific technology. The Israeli kubbutzim offer the closest approximation. Some of them have been fanatically dogmatic according to various ideologies, and often tyrannical; nevertheless, their urban Jewish members, rather well-educated on the average, have inevitably run into fundamental conflict. Their atmosphere has therefore been sometimes unhappy but never deadening, and they have produced basic social inventions and new character-types. Is such a model improvable and adaptable to cities and industrial complexes? Can widely differing communities be accommodated in a larger federation? How can they be encouraged in modern societies? These are utopian questions.

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