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“For the first time in all of time men have seen the earth: seen it not as continents or oceans from the little distance of a hundred miles or two or three, but seen it from the depths of space; seen it whole and round and beautiful as even Dante—that ‘first imagination of Christendom’—had never dreamed of seeing it; as the twentieth century philosophers of absurdity and despair were incapable of guessing that it might be seen. And seeing it so, one question came to the mind of those who looked at it. ‘Is it inhabited?’ they said to each other and laughed—and then they did not laugh. What came to their minds a hundred thousand miles and more into space—‘half way to the moon’ they put it—what came to their minds was the life on that little, lonely, floating planet: that tiny raft in the enormous, empty night. ‘Is it inhabited?’”

Archibald MacLeish, 1968

February 2019

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