Thursday, July 15, 2010

Quotes w/comments

To be willing to die for an idea is to set a rather high price on conjecture.
           -- Anatole France

 I'm getting more and more around to the idea that even our seemingly most basic ideas are just beliefs and not to be trusted. I used to think that uncertainty was a weakness, now I'm suspecting that certainty is.

It's so easy to be wicked without knowing it, isn't it?
           -- L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, 1908

That's another thing it has come to seem to me, even though the quote is from a fictional character. Connected to the quote above in principle. You do/say something harsh, believing it's justified or even necessary due to how you view the world. I heard from a nun who used to work in one of the infamous Irish monestaries which were run like slave camps: we just believed it was necessary.

Never be a cynic, even a gentle one. Never help out a sneer, even at the devil.
           -- Vachel Lindsay

I have found that cynicism is a very dear habit to many of us, and very, very hard to excorcise. It's one it will pay vast dividends to be on continuous guard against, I believe.

The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn't behave that way you would never do anything.
           -- John Irving

Well, I'm not sure about this one. It works for some. Neil Gaiman at least said his thinking is always in writer's mode.  But I just re-bought Illusions by Richard Bach*, and he is the very successful author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. He only writes when he is "assaulted" by an idea.
Similarly the story which won the First Prize in the Writers Of The Future contest where I was a finalist years ago, is a guy who really does not write much. But when he does, it's exceptional stuff.
But perhaps most writers, like athletes, need to continually do their stuff to become Good and stay that way.

*After 25 years, because I realize my beliefs have changed much towards those the book talk about, so I thought it could be interesting. 


Al Wright said...

Did you enjoy 'Illusions'? I discovered it several years ago and have re-read it a couple of times.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I haven't re-read it yet. I read it once, twenty-five years ago, and while it was entertaining, it didn't fit with my beliefs. Now I've been remembering, because my belief have shifted to become much, much closer to Bach's.

Anonymous said...

Every writer has their own way of doing it I guess.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

"we just believed it was necessary."
No, lady, you just never stopped to ask yourself if this was really in the spirit of Jesus, or completely contrary to his teachings of gentleness, and "let little children come to me" and stuff.
You're easily wicked without knowing it, for the simple reason that you're wicked when you don't THINK about what you're doing!
And the reason you don't think about it, is grave sinful PRIDE. Ego. Visceral dislike towards looking at yourself and risking to see in the mirror something you don't like. It's called basic human narcissism. Comes from lack of spiritual maturity, and from poor character education by the parents.

This nun isn't giving us grounds for an EXCUSE, just an EXPLANATION. Like many, many other over-strict over-religious people, she's done immense damage to the faith she thought she was promoting.

Just two days ago, I had a chat with one highly religious aunt of mine, and she gave me that run-into-the-ground line about "blind faith". Risking to antagonize that woman who loves me to bits (literally: for years her hugs were crushers ;-), I insisted: "No. Faith should be enlightenment, an illumination that makes you see the Truth. When I open my eyes and see the spirit, that's when I choose to believe in something good. Blind belief is the best way to get misled by ignorant or bad people. Blind faith is precisely what BinLaden is counting on to recruit convinced suicide killers, with his constant holiest-of-all-holies way of talking. Blind faith is what will lead you astray from the Light."
(In retrospect, I should have reminded her that the Gospel keeps talking about "seeing the Light", and blind faith is really not the best method for that. ;-)

And that nun, I doubt that today she feels genuine remorse. At best, embarrassment. She's just saying this because the media are confronting her and she has to justify herself in front of the world. If she had had the same attitude -or even just readiness for it- in front of God, she would never have been harsh to children in the first place.

OK, I think I've ranted enough, don't you agree? :-)


Honetly, my friends, I rant at ideas, but I hold no real anger at people. Otherwise, I should absoutely hate that "simple-faithed" aunt whose bigotry bore heavily over my whole childhood. But how can I hate someone whom I understand? Are we not supremely indulgent with little children because we know it's in their nature to still be immature, naive?

I think the notion of God's Forgiveness and Love for all of us ["His CHildren", precisely!] is just the expression of that: the notion that He who UNDERSTANDS us, who knows that all evil is ultimately some form of immature, naive, childish IGNORANCE, can only feel pity for us. Not spite. And definitely not build us a place of Eternal Fiery Torment to punish the vast majority of us non-saints.

That aunt I just mentioned? She's almost a textbook caricature. She lectures the priests about proper impeccable mass liturgy! Highly rigid, the sort of people who are utterly incapable of LISTENING. Out of a very deep, secret terror of realizing they've been completely wrong about a lot of things. Rigid equals brittle. The harder, the more fragile. Like glass.

One who's ready to listen, think, and "maybe reconsider any belief" [the exact contrary of "blind faith"] is most unlikely to ever truly be wicked.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pascal [P-04referent] said...

My apologies, but really, "it wasn't MY fault!"

That double posting came from a Blogger glitch. I only ever clicked once, I swear to Zeus!

Here's a fun religious paradox I came up with:
- Initial axiom: we're reasoning within the Bible and Gospel here, and the classic christian catechism teachings.
- Hell is where God sends all His enemies, right?
- Satan is God's sworn adversary, and will try to overthrow God when Armageddon comes, right? With huge armies and all that shit, right?
- Satan is the king and lord of Hell, right?

So, like... if you were God, wouldn't you feel kinda stupid, sending your biggest sworn enemy billions and billions of recruits whom he can FORCE to enlist?...
Especiaslly if you consider that "only a small number shall be Saved". Things are not looking up, generals Michael, Gabriel and Uriel.
(Ulp!) No-no-no, I'm not questioning High Command's startegy, please don't smite me!

Paradox #2: if Armageddon is to come eventually, how can torment/punishment in Hell be ETERNAL???

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Good point.
And after, if they win, the sinners and demons will have the run of all of paradise.

Anonymous said...

Religious faith of any kind is bad, P-04.