Tangibility. That is the word he uses most often when discussing his ideas with his friends. The world is tangible, he says. Human beings are tangible. They are endowed with bodies, and because those bodies feel pain and suffer from disease and undergo death, human life has not altered by a single jot since the beginning of mankind. Yes, the discovery of fire made man warmer and put an end to the raw-meat diet; the building of bridges enabled him to cross rivers and streams without getting his toes wet; the invention of the airplane allowed him to hop over continents and oceans while creating new phenomena such as jet lag and in-flight movies – but even if a man has changed the world around him, man himself has not changed. The facts of life are constant. You live and then you die. You are born out of a woman’s body, and if you manage to survive your birth, your mother must feed you and take care of you to ensure that you go on surviving, and everything that happens to you from the moment of your birth to the moment of your death, every emotion that wells up in you, every flash of anger, every surge of lust, every bout of tears, every gust of laughter, everything you will ever feel in the course of your life has also been felt by everyone who came before you, whether you are a caveman or an astronaut,  whether you live in the Gobi Desert or the Arctic Circle.

Πολ Όστερ, Sunset Park


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