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The age of plenty

People shopping at the Bluewater mall in Kent are happy, peaceful and rich. If 2,500 years of intellectual and physical struggle were not meant to achieve this, what were they meant to achieve?

By Bryan Appleyard   May 1999

“Renewed by everything, I thought I was a ghost.”

John Ashbery

The television advertisement shows a flat blue screen so blank that it demands explanation. This blue is not of the sky, nor of the sea, nor of any flower. It may be that of a swimming pool on which a hot sun shines. There is a summery, Mediterranean aspect to this blue. But it does not seem like water. There is no movement, no reflection; only this steady blue. Perhaps there is an error in the transmission or in the set, and this blue is the default mode of…

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