In "pity this busy monster, manunkind," how does this phrase relate to Cummings' criticism of perceived scientific "progress"?    "progress is a comfortable disease"

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the poem, Cummings draws a clear distinction between the natural world and what he sees as the artificial world of science and technology created by mankind. As he writes, "A world of made / is not a world of born." Science and technology are interpreted as the means through which man has perverted nature, creating a world no longer worth inhabiting: "listen: there's a hell / of a good universe next door; let's go." The idea of "progress" then assumes ironic significance. It does not represent the improvement or enhancement of human life through applied science; scientific progress is instead a "disease" that corrupts the body of mankind. It is a "comfortable" disease in that mankind is unaware of its destructive properties and feels blind intellectual pride while busily subverting nature.


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