Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stanislaw Lem, "Die Kultur als Fehler" in A Perfect Vacuum page 133

(Cross-posted from Commonplace)

Animals, Klopper observes, make no distinction between feces and carrion: they steer clear of both the one and the other as the evacuations of life. For a consistent materialist the equating of a corpse with excrement ought to be just as valid; but the latter we dispose of furtively, and the former with pomp, loftily, equipping the remains with a number of costly and complicated wrappings. This is required by culture, as a system of appearances that help us reconcile ourselves to the despicable facts.

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