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Shortfall of 'Icarus'

In response to the summer 2019 Bulletin column about the “Fall of Icarus”: As far as I remember, this part of the story of Daedalus and his son was traditionally interpreted as an object lesson in hubris. ... Therefore, I must object to your idea that, without the humanities, “we float uninformed into the universe and, like Icarus, into dangerous territory without the benefit of the right tools.” What Icarus lacked was not the right tools—his wings permitted him to escape from the labyrinth—but respect for the limits of his abilities and those set by nature. What makes the universe dangerous is creating and using tools for a vain or destructive purpose.

—JEAN-MARIE CLARKE ’74, Staufen, Germany