“…two thirds of all sorrow is homemade and, so far as the universe is concerned, unnecessary.”
“Give us this day our daily Faith, but deliver us, dear God, from Belief.”
“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksand’s all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling…”
“Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence—those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. If war, waste, and moneylenders were abolished, you’d collapse. And while you people are over consuming the rest of the world sinks more and more deeply into chronic disaster.”
“It isn’t a matter of forgetting. What one has to learn is how to remember and yet be free of the past.”
justified confidence in our capacity to know who in fact we are, to forget the belief-intoxicated Manichean in Good Being.”
“The more a man knows about himself in relation to every kind of experience, the greater his chance of suddenly, one fine morning, realizing who in fact he is…”
“We shall be permitted to live on this planet only for as long as we treat all nature with compassion and intelligence.”
“which is better – to be born stupid into an intelligent society or intelligent into an insane one?”
“One third, more or less, of all the sorrow that the person I think I am must endure is unavoidable. It is the sorrow inherent in the human condition, the price we must pay for being sentient and self-conscious organisms, aspirants to liberation, but subject to the laws of nature and under orders to keep on marching, through irreversible time, through a world wholly indifferent to our well-being, toward decrepitude and the certainty of death. The remaining two thirds of all sorrow is homemade and, so far as the universe is concerned, unnecessary.”
“Don’t try to behave as though you were essentially sane and naturally good. We’re all demented sinners in the same cosmic boat – and the boat is perpetually sinking.”
“Give us this day our daily Faith, but deliver us, dear God, from Belief.
Faith is something very different from belief. Belief is the systematic taking of unanalyzed words much too seriously. Paul’s words, Mohammed’s words, Marx’s words, Hitler’s words—people take them too seriously, and what happens? What happens is the senseless ambivalence of history—sadism versus duty, or (incomparably worse) sadism as duty; devotion counterbalanced by organized paranoia; sisters of charity selflessly tending the victims of their own church’s inquisitors and crusaders. Faith, on the contrary, can never be taken too seriously. For Faith is the empirically
“Nobody needs to go anywhere else. We are all, if we only knew it, already there. If I only knew who in fact I am, I should cease to behave as what I think I am; and if I stopped behaving as what I think I am, I should know who I am. What in fact I am, if only the Manichee I think I am would allow me to know it, is the reconciliation of yes and no lived out in total acceptance and the blessed experience of Not-Two. In religion all words are dirty words. Anybody who gets eloquent about Buddha, or God, or Christ, ought to have his mouth washed out with carbolic soap.”
“It must be something voluntary, something self induced – like getting drunk, or talking yourself into believing some piece of foolishness because it happens to be in the Scriptures. And then look at their idea of what’s normal. Believe it or not, a normal human being is one who can have an orgasm and is adjusted to society. It’s unimaginable! No question about what you do with your orgasms. No question about the quality of your feelings and thoughts and perceptions. And then what about the society you’re supposed to be adjusted to? Is it a mad society or a sane one? And even if it’s pretty sane, is it right that anybody should be completely adjusted to it?”
“Given the nature of spiders, webs are inevitable. And given the nature of human beings, so are religions. Spiders can’t help making fly-traps, and men can’t help making symbols. That’s what the human brain is there for – the turn the chaos of given experience into a set of manageable symbols.”
“Well… …That’s what you always forget, isn’t it? I mean, you forget to pay attention to what’s happening. And that’s the same as not being here and now.”
“That’s what the human brain is there for—to turn the chaos of given experience into a set of manageable symbols. Sometimes the symbols correspond fairly closely to some of the aspects of the external reality behind our experience; then you have science and common sense. Sometimes, on the contrary, the symbols have almost no connection with external reality; then you have paranoia and delirium. More often there’s a mixture, part realistic and part fantastic; that’s religion.”
“Dualism… Without it there can hardly be good literature. With it, there most certainly can be no good life.”
“Eating, drinking, dying – three primary manifestations of the universal and impersonal life. Animals live that impersonal and universal life without knowing its nature. Ordinary people know its nature but don’t live it and, if they think seriously about it, refuse to accept it. An enlightened person knows it, lives it, and accepts it completely. He eats, he drinks, and in due course he dies – but he eats with a difference, drinks with a difference, dies with a difference.”
“History is the record of what human beings have been impelled to do by their ignorance and the enormous bumptiousness that makes them canonize their ignorance as a political or religious dogma”
“One touches and, in the act of touching, one’s touched.”
“Science is not enough, religion is not enough, art is not enough, politics and economics is not enough, nor is love, nor is duty, nor is action however disinterested, nor, however sublime, is contemplation. Nothing short of everything will really do.”
“I fell,” he repeated for the hundredth time.
“But you didn’t fall very far,” Mary Sarojini now said.
“No, I didn’t fall very far,” he agreed.
“So what’s all the fuss about?” the child inquired.”
“Pully, hauly, tug with a will; the gods wiggle waggle, but the sky stands still.”
Democracy can hardly be expected to flourish in societies where political and economic power is being progressively concentrated and centralized. But the progress of technology has led and is still leading to just such a concentration and centralization of power.
People will come to love their oppression to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.
Technology has tended to devaluate the traditional vision-inducing materials. The illumination of a city, for example, was once a rare event, reserved for victories and national holidays, for the canonization of saints and the crowning of kings. Now it occurs nightly and celebrates the virtues of gin, cigarettes and toothpaste.
The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend
The most shocking fact about war is that its victims and its instruments are individual human beings, and that these individual beings are condemned by the monstrous conventions of politics to murder or be murdered in quarrels not their own.