Wednesday, December 05, 2007


We live in a time where a real war is being fought over the now fictitious weapons of mass destruction. We also live in a time where future wars may be created out of fictitious uranium enrichment programs. During heady times such as these, it is useful to read passages like the one I had run into yesterday that yearn for a better, more pragmatic time… Pray, read it, for it is worth it, albeit a little long…

"In a photograph, differences between a crag, a marble column, an oak, a frog, and a human face are merely differences in shape and texture. From the height of ten thousand feet, the earth appears to the human eye as it appears to the eye of the camera; that is to say, all history is reduced to accidents of nature. This has the salutary effect of making historical evils, like national divisions and political hatreds, seem absurd.
I look down from an airplane upon a stretch of land that is obviously continuous. That, across it, marked by a tiny ridge or river or even by no topographical sign whatever, there should run a frontier, and that the human beings living on one side should hate or refuse to trade with or be forbidden to visit those on the other side, is, from the height where I find myself, revealed to me as ridiculous. Unfortunately, I cannot have this revelation without having the illusion that there are no historical values.
From this same height I cannot distinguish an outcrop of rock and a magnificent cathedral or between a happy family playing in a back yard and a flock of sheep; so that I am unable to feel any difference between dropping a bomb to destroy a cathedral, the happy family, or even the rocks or the flock. If the effects of distance between the observer and the observed were mutual, so that as the objects on the ground shrank in size and lost their uniqueness, the observer in the airplane felt himself shrinking and becoming more and more generalized, we should either give up flying or create a heaven on earth."

---- By W.H. Auden from "De Droite et de Gauche"

An ink drawing in progress

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