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Karel Čapek – a poor industrial machine

January 8, 2015

“Do you recall how Homer depicts Achilles’ shield? It took one song of the Iliad for the blind poet to describe how that shield was made; in America you would have made a casting and produced tens of thousands per day; granted, shields might be made cheaply and successfully this way, but Iliads could not…. To my knowledge, American efficiency concerns itself with multiplying output, not life. It’s true that man works in order to live; but it is evident that he lives also while he is working. Once could say that European Man is a very poor industrial machine; but this is because he is not a machine at all.”

(from a letter to The New York Times, May 16, 1926)

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