Monthly Archives: November, 2012

Losing our brains to security

The recent spate of news stories about how we are growing less intelligent because we no longer have to contend with a hostile environment reminds of Belgian-born poet Henri Michaux’s description of an imaginary people, the Hacs:

“The Hacs make sure every year to raise a small number of child-martyrs, whom they subject to harsh treatment and blatant injustices, inventing alibis and deceptions and forcing them to grow up in an atmosphere of terror and mystery.

Charged with this task are hard-hearted men, brutes under the command of cruel and malicious leaders.

In this way they have formed great artists and poets, but unfortunately also assassins and especially reformers, fanatics ready to die for their causes.

If a change is made to their customs or social regime, it’s because of them. If, in spite of their small army, the Hacs have nothing to fear, again, they owe it to them. If anger streaks like lightning in their precise and lucid tongue, beside which the saccharine wisecracks of foreign writers is only so much insipid gruel, it is again because of them, these few ragged, wretched, hopeless kids.”