Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Flaubert on the future

A couple of days ago I saw a replay of a CBC story about how India is trying to "count" its 1.2 billion people. Trying to give each one an official "identity."

It reminded me of something else I'd read recently, a quotation from Gustave Flaubert (from Flaubert in Egypt):

You won't believe that Max and I talk constantly about the future of society. For me it is almost certain that at some more or less distant time it will be regulated like a college. Teachers will be the law. Everyone will be in uniform. Humanity will no longer commit barbarisms as it writes its insipid theme, but -- what wretched style! What lack of form, of rhythm, of spirit!

For the past two months I have been dealing with the death-administration of my late-wife. I cannot tell you how insipid are the granular details of modern "identity." Just try cancelling a deceased person's Amazon account, for example. The great corporation initially sent me back a reply, asking if I was sure I wanted to cancel this account. If the account is cancelled, no more purchases will be possible.

What lack of form, of rhythm, of spirit!

Oh, great, uncounted masses in India. Live. Just live.

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