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The events of human life, whether public or private, are so intimately linked to architecture that most observers can reconstruct nations or individuals in all the truth of their habits from the remains of their public monuments or from their domestic relics. Archaeology is to social nature what comparative anatomy is to organized nature. A mosaic reveals an entire society, just as a skeleton of an ichthyosaur suggests an entire creation. Everything is deducible, everything is linked. The cause allows one to guess the effect, just as each effect allows one to reconstruct a cause. The scientist can resuscitate in this manner even the warts of ancient times. From this comes without doubt the prodigious interest that an architectural description can inspire when the writer's fantasy is faithful to its basic elements. Cannot each person reattach it to its past by rigorous deductions? And as for man, does not the past singularly resemble the future? Tell him what was and is this not almost always the same thing as telling him what will be?
-Honore de Balzac, The Search for the Absolute