R. Musil – The Man Without Qualities

In the country, he thought, the gods still come to people. A man matters, his experiences matter, but in the city, where experiences come by the thousands, we can no longer relate them to ourselves; and this is of course the beginning of life’s notorious turning into abstraction.

But even as he thought all this, he was also aware of how this abstraction extended a man’s power a thousandfold and how, even if from the point of view of any given detail it diluted him tenfold, as a whole it expanded him a hundredfold, and there could be no question of turning the wheel backward.

*H. Yamagata – A day at the fair

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