"Inventions have destroyed invention"

“INVENTIONS have destroyed invention. The big modern machines are like big guns dominating and terrorizing a whole stretch of country, within the range of which nothing can raise its head. There is far more inventiveness to the square yard of mankind than ever appear under that monopolist terror. The minds of men are not so much alike as the motor cars of men, or the morning papers of men, or the mechanical manufacture of the coats and hats of men. In other words, we are not getting the best out of men. We are certainly not getting the most individual or the most interesting qualities out of men. And it is doubtful whether we ever shall, until we shut off this deafening din of megaphones that drowns their voices, this deathly glare of limelight which kills the colours of their complexions, this plangent yell of platitudes which stuns and stops their minds.

"All this sort of thing is killing thoughts as they grow, as the great white death ray might kill plants as they grow. When, therefore, people tell me that making a great part of England rustic and self-supporting would mean making it rude and senseless, I do not agree with them; and I do not think they understand the alternatives or the problem. Nobody wants all men to be rustics even in normal times; it is very tenable that some of the most intelligent would turn to the towns even in normal times. But I say the towns themselves are the foes of intelligence, in these times; I say the rustics themselves would have more variety and vivacity than is really encouraged by these towns. I say it is only by shutting off this unnatural noise and light that men’s minds can begin again to move and grow. Just as we spread paving stones over different soils without reference to the different crops that might grow there, so we spread programmes of platitudinous plutocracy over souls that God made various, and simpler societies have been made free."

~G.K. Chesterton: The Outline of Sanity.

Farmer Inserting a Graft on a Tree, by Jean-François Millet.
Oil on canvas, 1865; Neue Pinakothek, Munich.

The Angelus, by Jean-François Millet; Oil on canvas, 1859-60.
Musée d'Orsay, Paris.