Such feelings have been commonplace for some time now. They show that men everywhere are by no means slow to catch up and adjust to scientific discoveries and technical development, but that, on the contrary, they have outsped them by decades. Here, as in other respects, science has realized and affirmed what men anticipated in dreams that were neither wild nor idle. What is new is only that one of this country's most respectable newspapers finally brought to its front page what up to then had been buried in the highly nonrespectable literature of science-fiction. . . . The banality of the statement should not make us overlook how extraordinary in fact it was; for although Christians have spoken of the earth as a prison of mind or soul, nobody in the history of mankind has ever conceived of the earth as a prison of men's bodies or shown such eagerness to go literally from here to the moon. Should the emancipation and secularization of the modern age, which began with a turning-away, not necessarily from God, but from a god who was the father of men in heaven, end with an even more fateful repudiation of an earth who was the mother of all living creatures under the sky?
The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition, and earthly nature, for all we know, may be unique in the universe in providing human beings with a habitat in which they move and breathe without effort and without artifice. The human artifice of the world separates human existence from all mere animal environment, but life itself is outside this artificial world, and through life remains related to all other living organisms. For some time now, a great many scientific endeavors have been directed toward making life also "artificial," toward cutting the last tie through which man belongs among the children of nature. . . . There is no reason to doubt our abilities to accomplish such an exchange, just as there is no reason to doubt our present ability to destroy all organic life on earth. . . .
--Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition