Marginalia, no.312

[The future popularization of air travel] will bring the immediate, absolute, instantaneous, universal and perpetual abolition of all frontiers, everywhere… The old Gordian knot of gravity will finally be untied… Armies will vanish, and with them the horrors of war, the exploitation of nations, the subjugations of populations. It will bring an immense and totally peaceful revolution. It will bring a sudden golden dawn, a brisk flinging open of the ancient cage door of history, a flooding in of light. It will mean the liberation of all mankind.

~ Victor Hugo, Letter on Flight

The enthusiasm and naiveté are breathtaking, symptoms of a viral techno-messianism we contracted during the Enlightenment, I suppose. But the millennium did not arrive on the wings of the aeroplane. Nor did it arrive with the telephone, penicillin, the nuclear bomb, space travel, the Internet, the decoding of the human genome or the Segway scooter. The real trouble with being human has nothing to do with lack of physical and mental enhancements. The real trouble is that while the kingdom of heaven may be within you, so is that portable hell, the human heart.


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