The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. — Henry MillerIn writing about the power of the Norman cathedrals, particularly Notre-Dame de Chartres, the late Harvard historian Henry Adams believed that the Virgin Mary was the force behind the art:
"the highest energy ever known to man, the creator of four-fifths of his noblest art, exercising vastly more attraction over the human mind than all the steam-engines and dynamos ever dreamed of … All the steam in the world could not, like the Virgin, build Chartres…. Symbol or energy, the Virgin had acted as the greatest force the Western world ever felt, and had drawn man's activities to herself more strongly than any other power, natural or supernatural, had ever done; the historian's business was to follow the track of the energy…."Author Thomas Cahill goes on to say that Mary was not mysterious, but was accessible to every old peasant woman, to the humblest of the church.