Perusing my long ago moth-balled Tumblr, I was reminded of the following passage from Simone Weil’s Oppression and Liberty (1955).
Never has the individual been so completely delivered up to a blind collectivity, and never have men been less capable, not only of subordinating their actions to their thoughts, but even of thinking. Such terms as oppressors and oppressed, the idea of classes–all that sort of thing is near to losing all meaning, so obvious are the impotence and distress of all men in face of the social machine, which has become a machine for breaking hearts and crushing spirits, a machine for manufacturing irresponsibility, stupidity, corruption, slackness and, above all, dizziness. The reason for this painful state of affairs is perfectly clear. We are living in a world in which nothing is made to man’s measure; there exists a monstrous discrepancy between man’s body, man’s mind and the things which at present time constitute the elements of human existence; everything is in disequilibrium.
I initially stumbled upon this passage in Henry Finch’s Simone Weil and the Intellect of Grace (1999). Finch adds, “We are crushed by paradoxes: never was our power so great and never were we so powerless; never was there so much control and never were we so vulnerable to accidents; never so much interdependence and so much fragmentation.”
It would be hard, I think, for us to overestimate the problem of scale.