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Distance reminds us that there’s a lot more to the universe than just people—that there’s even a lot more to people than just people. It reminds us that there are mental spaces inside our skulls as enormous as the spaces out there. The experience of distance, of inner distance and outer distance, of distance in time and distance in space–it’s the first and fundamental religious experience. ‘O Death in life, the days that are no more’–and O the places, the infinite number of places that are not this place! Past pleasures, past unhappiness and insights–all so intensely alive in our memories and yet all dead, dead without hope of resurrection. And the village down there in the valley so clearly seen even in the shadow, so real and indubitable, and yet so hopelessly out of reach, incommunicado. A picture like this is the proof of man’s capacity to accept all the deaths in life, all the yawning absences surrounding every presence.

– from The Island by Aldous Huxley