We feel an affinity with a certain thinker because we agree with him; or because he shows us what we were already thinking; or because he shows us in a more articulate form what we were already thinking; or because he shows us what we were on the point of thinking; or what we would sooner or later have thought; or what we would have thought much later if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have been likely to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have liked to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now.
He looked at the granite. To be cut, he thought, and made into walls. He looked at a tree. To be split and made into rafters. He looked at a streak of rust on the stone and thought of iron ore under the ground. To be melted and to emerge as girders against the sky.
These rocks, he thought, are here for me; waiting for the drill, the dynamite and my voice; waiting to be split, ripped, pounded, reborn; waiting for the shape my hands will give them.
Chief executives who manage lorries transporting milk from depots to supermarkets generally have no motives more sinister than the wish to make some money for their shareholders.
When we use ample water to brush our teeth or fly to Florence to see some Titians, aggression is far from our minds. However, we are now daily reminded that innocent everyday actions have a cumulative destructive potential greater than an A-bomb. We have been asked to reconceive of ourselves as unthinking killers.
The destruction is occurring not primarily through what any one of us has done, but through what we are doing collectively as a race. We are implicated in a crime we cannot control singly. Salvation must be collective. So we are guilty, but also unusually powerless.
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