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“Essential humanity is reduced to the general; to vitality as a functional corporeality, to the triviality of enjoyment. The divorce of labour from pleasure deprives life of its possible gravity: public affairs become mere entertainment; private affairs, the alternation of stimulation and fatigue, and a craving for novelty whose inexhaustible current flows swiftly into the waters of oblivion. There is no continuity, only pastime.

“Positivism likewise encourages an unceasing activity of the impulses common to us all: an enthusiasm for the numberless and the vast, for the creations of modern technique, for huge crowds; sensational admiration for the achievements, fortunes, and abilities of outstanding individuals; the complication and brutalisation of the erotic; gambling, adventurousness, and even the hazarding of one’s life. Lottery tickets are sold by the million; crossword puzzles become the chief occupation of people’s leisure. This positive gratification of the mind without personal participation or effort promotes efficiency for the daily round, fatigue and recreation being regularised”.

Karl Jaspers, Man in the Modern Age

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