Alfred Korzybski with eyes of Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler

Bruce Kodish is writing the first full-length biography of Alfred Korzybski, author of “Manhood of Humanity and Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics.”

He directed my attention to a post in his blog in which Korzybski contemplates the relative size of a city (Manhattan) and us puny humans. It is indeed fascinating that we with our small human bodies move so much mass – look at the immense masses of the whole of Manhattan that was piled up by these little ants that fill it’s street now with life.

In his post Bruce shows the following 1921 film Manhatta created by Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler. I just love the work of Paul Strand and so I just had to post that video here as well…

One scene really drove it home for me how small we are really in relationship to the things we construct, and that was one worker swinging a sledge hammer and chipping off minor pieces of concrete. So little effect, but still, after many of these hammer swings – and some other actions I have to admit, a much bigger goal is reached. For me that was a great lesson what you can accomplish with perseverance.

I am still struggling with sizes changing with the distance – I had thoughts about this a few times when watching a big plane fly by. There are, from my vantage point, these very small units of life in this metal tube high up in the air. I am sure that they are not really aware how small they are, but they probably still take themselves very seriously.

No, I actually don’t have a point here, it’s just something I have not really understood yet – maybe you have an idea…