As I use the “city” as a metaphor for civilization in my historical novel The City of Man, I found this quote to be revealing and provocative. Machiavelli would definitely endorse this “realist” view.
Russian novelist Vasily Grossman in “Life and Fate” (1959):
Man never understands that the cities he has built are not an integral part of Nature. If he wants to defend his culture from wolves and snowstorms, if he wants to save it from being strangled by weeds, he must keep his broom, spade and rifle always at hand. If he goes to sleep, if he thinks about something else for a year or two, then everything’s lost. The wolves come out of the forest, the thistles spread and everything is buried under dust and snow.