Three Variations on the Crowd
"We won't find ourselves in some retreat, but on the road, in the town, in the midst of the crowd, a thing among things, a man among men."
(Jean Paul Sartre, "Intentionality", Martin Joughin (Trans.), 1939, in Jonathan Crary and Sanford Kwinter (Eds.), Zone 6: Incorporations, Urzone, New York, 1992, p. 391).
"She is waiting to file past Master and sees him with the single floating eye of the crowd, inseparable from her own apparatus of vision, but sharper-sighted, able to perceive more deeply. She feels intact, rayed with well-being. They all feel the same, young people from fifty countries, immunized against the language of self. They're forgetting who they are under their clothes, leaving behind all the small banes and body woes, the daylong list of sore gums and sweaty nape and need to pee, ancient rumbles in the gut, momentary chills and tics, the fungoid dampness between the toes, the deep spasm near the shoulder blade that's charged with mortal reckoning. All gone now. They stand and chant, fortified by the blood of numbers."
(Don DeLillo, Mao II, Vintage, London, 1992, pp. 7-8).
"Crowd theory: Claustrophobia masquerading as agoraphobia or even, conceivably, Malthusianism"
(J. G. Ballard, "Project for a Glossary of the Twentieth Century", in Jonathan Crary and Sanford Kwinter (Eds.), Zone 6: Incorporations, Urzone, New York, 1992, p. 271).