You see, I had already begun to justify myself – this is the first step when one intends to venture upon something crooked. Strangely enough, no one can simply go ahead and do another person harm. You first have to convince yourself that the other has deserved it. Even a holdup man, about to rob a stranger, will first start a quarrel with him in order to work himself up to real anger.

pg. 25, The Glass Bees

As I said before, we live in times when words have lost or changes their meaning and have become ambiguous. This also holds true for the word “house,” formerly the very essence of stability and permanence. For some time now a house has become a sort of tent, but without giving the freedom enjoyed by nomads. Buildings are pushed up high, and jerry-built structures rise by the thousands. This would not be so bad if, at least for a short while, one could feel safe in one’s own and untouchable home. The opposite is true: today the man who has the courage to build himself a house constructs a meeting place for the people who will descend upon him on foot, by car, or by telephone. Employees of the gas, the electric, and of the water-works will arrive; agents of life and fire insurance companies; building inspectors, collectors of the radio tax; mortgage creditors and rest assessors who tax you for living in your own home.

pg. 51, The Glass Bees

They were hired to do piecework, which was beneath a man’s dignity. It could have been done just as well by a woman or child, or even by a part of the machinery at which they worked.
What they had done in their youth, and what for milleniums had been man’s vocation, joy, and pleasure – to ride a horse, to plow in the morning the steaming field, to walk behind the oxen, to mow the yellow grain in the blazing summer heat while streams of sweat poured down the tanned body and the women who bound the sheaves could hardly keep in step with the mowers, to rest at noon for a meal in the shade of green trees – all this, praised by the poets since time immemorial, was now past and gone. Joy in labor had disappeared.

pg. 72, The Glass Bees