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“In the world of nature you can trust, but in the world of artifacts you must beware. There you must know, and you can’t keep so many things on your mind and be happy. ‘Look on my works ye mighty and despair!’ Well, never mind about Ozymandias nor being just trunkless legs; in his day the humble had to live in his shadow, and so do we live under shadow, with acts of faith in functioning of inventions, as up to the stratosphere, down in the subway, crossing bridges, going through tunnels, rising and falling in elevators where our safety is given in keeping. Things done by man which overshadow us. And this is true also of meat on the table, heat in the pipes, print on the paper, sounds in the air, so that all matters are alike, of the same weight, of the same rank, the caldron of God’s wrath on page one and Wieboldt’s sale on page two. It’s all external and the same. Well, then what makes your existence necessary, as it should be? These technical achievements which try to make you exist in their way?” – Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March (emphasis in original)

Published inLit & CritSaul Bellow

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