The unflagging pleasures of contemporary cities leave me unamused. The prevailing boredom — for oh, how desperately bored, in spite of their grim determination to have a Good Time, the majority of pleasure-seekers really are! — the hopeless weariness, infect me. Among the lights, the alcohol, the hideous jazz noises, and the incessant movement I feel myself sinking into deeper and ever deeper despondency. By comparison with a night-club, churches are positively gay. If ever I want to make merry in public, I go where merrymaking is occasional and the merriment, therefore, of genuine quality; I go where feasts come rarely.

– Aldous Huxley, “Holy Face”, Collected Essays (1958)

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