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I was asked to memorize what I did not understand; and, my memory being so good, it refused to be insulted in that manner.
Existence, as we know it, is full of sorrow. To mention only one minor point every man is a condemned criminal, only he does not know the date of his execution. This is unpleasant for every man. Consequently every man does everything possible to postpone the date, and would sacrifice anything that he has if he could reverse the sentence. Practically all religions and all philosophies have started thus crudely, by promising their adherents some such reward as immortality. No religion has failed hitherto by not promising enough the present breaking up of all religions is due to the fact that people have asked to see the securities. Men have even renounced the important material advantages which a well-organized religion may confer upon a State, rather than acquiesce in fraud or falsehood, or even in any system which, if not proved guilty, is at least unable to demonstrate its innocence. Being more or less bankrupt, the best thing that we can do is to attack the problem afresh without preconceived ideas. Let us begin by doubting every statement. Let us find a way of subjecting every statement to the test of experiment. Is there any truth at all in the claims of various religions Let us examine the question.
If one had to worry about one's actions in respect of other people's ideas, one might as well be buried alive in an antheap or married to an ambitious violinist. Whether that man is the prime minister, modifying his opinions to catch votes, or a bourgeois in terror lest some harmless act should be misunderstood and outrage some petty convention, that man is an inferior man and I do not want to have anything to do with him any more than I want to eat canned salmon.
Indubitably, Magic is one of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgment and practice than in any other branch of physics.
It sometimes strikes me that the whole of science is a piece of impudence; that nature can afford to ignore our impertinent interference. If our monkey mischief should ever reach the point of blowing up the earth by decomposing an atom, and even annihilated the sun himself, I cannot really suppose that the universe would turn a hair.
Men and women are not free to love decently until they have analyzed themselves completely and swept away every mystery from sex; and this means the acquisition of a profound philosophical theory based on wide reading of anthropology and enlightened practice.
Modern morality and manners suppress all natural instincts, keep people ignorant of the facts of nature and make them fighting drunk on bogey tales.
The essence of independence has been to think and act according to standards from within, not without. Inevitably anyone with an independent mind must become "one who resists or opposes authority or established conventions": a rebel. If enough people come to agree with, and follow, the Rebel, we now have a Devil. Until, of course, still more people agree. And then, finally, we have ---Greatness.
The essence of independence has been to think and act according to standards from within, not without. Inevitably anyone with an independent mind must become "one who resists or opposes authority or established conventions": a rebel. If enough people come to agree with, and follow, the Rebel, we now have a Devil. Until, of course, still more people agree. And then, finally, we have --- Greatness.
The joy of life consists in the exercise of one's energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.
The supreme satisfaction is to be able to despise one's neighbor and this fact goes far to account for religious intolerance. It is evidently consoling to reflect that the people next door are headed for hell.
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