our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness Phaedr. 244a

2012/07/28

All these were years ago little red-coloured, pulpy infants, capable of being kneaded, baked, into any social form you chose.—CARLYLE.

from The People of the Abyss, by Jack London, 1903:

The chief priests and rulers cry:-
“O Lord and Master, not ours the guilt,
We build but as our fathers built;
Behold thine images how they stand
Sovereign and sole through all our land.
“Our task is hard—with sword and flame,
To hold thine earth forever the same,
And with sharp crooks of steel to keep,
Still as thou leftest them, thy sheep.”
Then Christ sought out an artisan,
A low-browed, stunted, haggard man,
And a motherless girl whose fingers thin
Crushed from her faintly want and sin.
These set he in the midst of them,
And as they drew back their garment hem
For fear of defilement, “Lo, here,” said he,
“The images ye have made of me.”
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
[...]
Civilisation has increased man’s producing power. Five men can produce bread for a thousand. One man can produce cotton cloth for 250 people, woollens for 300, and boots and shoes for 1000. Yet it has been shown throughout the pages of this book that English folk by the millions do not receive enough food, clothes, and boots. Then arises the third and inexorable question: If Civilisation has increased the producing power of the average man, why has it not bettered the lot of the average man?
 There can be one answer only—MISMANAGEMENT. Civilisation has made possible all manner of creature comforts and heart’s delights. In these the average Englishman does not participate. If he shall be forever unable to participate, then Civilisation falls. There is no reason for the continued existence of an artifice so avowed a failure. But it is impossible that men should have reared this tremendous artifice in vain. It stuns the intellect. To acknowledge so crushing a defeat is to give the death-blow to striving and progress.
One other alternative, and one other only, presents itself. Civilisation must be compelled to better the lot of the average men.