Human In Scale

In a sense the car has become a prosthetic, and though prosthetics are usually for injured or missing limbs, the auto-prosthetic is for a conceptually impaired body or a body impaired by the creation of a world that is no longer human in scale…. It is the unaugmented body that is rare now, and that body has begun to atrophy as both a muscular and a sensory organism. In the century and a half since the railroad seemed to go too fast to be interesting, perceptions and expectations have sped up, so that many now identify with the speed of the machine and look with frustration or alienation at the speed and ability of the body. The world is no longer on the scale of our bodies, but on that of our machines, and many need—or think they need—the machines to navigate that space quickly enough.

— Rebecca Solnit in Wanderlust: A History of Walking (2000), via Topology Magazine

One thought on “Human In Scale

  1. I wonder how running fits into this story? I am thinking especially of mass participation marathons and ultras. Finding our bodies too slow to take us anywhere, we travel by car to join thousands of others running slowly in a circle!

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