Standing up on the Acropolis, steps from the Parthenon and the Caryatids of the Erechtheion, you can look down towards the city below and see this large green area, accented by the Temple of Hephaestus, marking the spot of the ancient Agora of Athens, Greece.
It was in the Agora of Athens that the great philosopher Socrates questioned the market-goers on their understanding of the meaning of life. Plato and Aristotle also frequented the Athenian Agora.
Magnificent to behold such a small parcel of land forever blessed with a documented period of history when it was so intellectually fertile. The same flavor of awe I feel (to a somewhat lesser extent) whenever I visit Concord, Massachusetts and think upon its era of Transcendentalists, abolitionists and authors…
Where are such places now? Do hotbeds of provocative thought still exist in the brick and mortar world? Are there still real world places where curious people live in close proximity, cross paths frequently, and challenge one another’s ideas to greater levels of refinement and complexity?
Or do we only engage in such matters online these days?