“A small thing seems so much larger”

It is one of the paradoxes of man that a small thing seems so much larger than a large thing. We notice a sky-sign when we do not notice the sky; we realize a landmark when we scarcely realise the land; and we look up with awe at the whirling stars above us, without once becoming conscious of the whirling star on which we stand. A small thing is an object; and a large thing is merely a background. The truth has, of course, very deep roots, lying close to what religion has always said of the dependence and the ingratitude of man. It may not be tactful for the philosopher, meeting a man with a pebble in his shoe, to remind him that he is very lucky to have any legs. It man be incautious for the mystic, when the housewife complains of a cobweb on the ceiling, to tell her that the ceiling might fall on her any minute. But the philosopher and the mystic are quite right, for all that; and the truth of what they say is often disinterred in the earthquake of wartime, when limbs are really carried away by cannonballs or roofs come rushing down under the shock of shells. In this, war is very like an earthquake, for an earthquake is a thing in which the largest thing we know begins to move, and to remind us for the first time of how long it as been lying still.

— Illustrated London News, 16 December 1916.

Published in: on July 4, 2018 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

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