Below is an excerpt from the book One-Way Street (1927) by German philosopher and cultural critic, Walter Benjamin (1892-1940). The short book is mostly a montage of random thoughts and observations (kind of like this blog). This quote reminded me of an exhibit at the Museo de la Filatelia (Stamp Museum) in Oaxaca City, Mexico that I visited a few years ago. Good thing I saved these two pictures on my cell phone.
Stamps bristle with tiny numbers, minute letters, diminutive leaves and eyes. They are graphic cellular tissue. All this swarms about and, like lower animals, lives on even when mutilated. This is why such powerful pictures can be made of pieces of stamps stuck together. But in them, life always bears a hit of corruption to signify that is composed of dead matter. Their portraits and obscene groups are littered with bones and riddled with worms.
Earlier in the same piece entitled "Stamp Shop" Benjamin talks about that in a pile of old letters that the stamp "says more than a reading of dozens of pages." Something to consider when you think about writing a letter to an old friend instead of sending an email.