If people wish to practise philosophical ethics and apply philosophical ideals, they need not and ought not live together in little colonies or congregate in little monasteries to do so. They can and should do it just where they happen to be. Such colonies always disintegrate in the end, such monasteries always deteriorate. It is a common misconception amongst many mystically minded persons that they have externally to separate themselves from society to live by themselves in a fenced-in community or in a contemplative ashram. The actual experience of these places shows how foolish is the notion that they really promote the spiritual advancement of their members. This is where the vital difference between philosophy and mysticism shows itself. Philosophy is a teaching which can be applied to any and every situation in life. It is not something which can endure only in artificial hothouses.
-- Notebooks Category 3: Relax and Retreat > Chapter 4: Retreat Centres > # 158