The Great Novelist… Willa Cather

“I don’t myself think much of science, as a phase of human development. It has given us a lot of ingenious toys; they take our attention away from the real problems, of course, and since the problems are insoluble, I suppose we ought to be grateful for the distraction. But the fact is, the human mind, the individual mind, has always been made more interesting by dwelling on the old riddles, even if it makes nothing of them. Science…hasn’t given us any richer pleasures, as the Renaissance did, nor any new sins—not one! Indeed it takes the old ones away. It’s the laboratory, not the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world…I don’t think you help people by making their conduct of no imortance—you impoverish them…The king and the beggar had the same chance at miracles and great temptations and revelations. And that’s what makes men happy, believing in the mystery and importance of their own little individual lives. It makes us happy to surround our creature needs and bodily instincts with as much pomp and circumstance as possible. Art and religion (they are the same thing in the end, of course) have given man the only happiness he has ever had…”

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