I liked Durrell’s simple assessment of two building blocks of a recovering civilization after the ravages of war: a functioning post office and a few working street lamps.
See also Stefan Zweig’s comments on the difficulties of communicating during war time, and Iris Origo’s similar comments.
Let’s not take our freedom to communicate for granted. Nor the other freedoms of peace time.
The post office has started to work, and has been inundated with remittances from Dodecanesians all over the world. One street lamp in ten has been persuaded to light after dark. These are not small things – they are part of that unknown quantity, civilization – for the street lamp brings order, and the post office confidence.
Source: Lawrence Durrell, Reflections on a Marine Venus (London: Faber & Faber, 1960), p. 77
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