Life is a lot more interesting if you are interested in the people and the places around you. So, illuminate your little patch of ground, the people that you know, the things that you want to commemorate. Light them up with your art, with your music, with your writing, with whatever it is that you do.
The Here-and-Now demands attention, is more present to us. We dismiss the inner world of our ideas as less important, although most of our immediate physical reality originated only in the mind. The TV, sofa, clock and room, the whole civilisation that contains them once were nothing save ideas.
Swamp Thing, in Hell: "Demon... How... could God... allow such a place? Etrigan: Think you God built this place, wishing man ill and not lusts uncontrolled or swords unsheathed? Not God, my friend. The truth's more hideous still: These halls were carved by men while yet they breathed. God is no parent or policeman grim dispensing treats or punishments to all. Each soul climbs or descends by its own whim. He mourns, but He cannot prevent their fall. We suffer as we choose. Nothing's amiss. All torments are deserved...
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If you wear black, then kindly, irritating strangers will touch your arm consolingly and inform you that the world keeps on turning. They're right. It does. However much you beg it to stop. It turns and lets grenadine spill over the horizon, sends hard bars of gold through my window and I wake up and feel happy for three seconds and then I remember. It turns and tips people out of their beds and into their cars, their offices, an avalanche of tiny men and women tumbling through life... All trying not to think about what's waiting at the bottom. Sometimes it turns and sends us reeling into each other's arms. We cling tight, excited and laughing, strangers thrown together on a moving funhouse floor. Intoxicated by the motion we forget all the risks. And then the world turns... And somebody falls off... And oh God it's such a long way down. Numb with shock, we can only stand and watch as they fall away from us, gradually getting smaller... Receding in our memories until they're no longer visible. We gather in cemeteries, tense and silent as if for listening for the impact; the splash of a pebble dropped into a dark well, trying to measure its depth. Trying to measure how far we have to fall. No impact comes; no splash. The moment passes. The world turns and we turn away, getting on with our lives... Wrapping ourselves in comforting banalities to keep us warm against the cold. "Time's a great healer." "At least it was quick." "The world keeps turning." Oh Alec- Alec's dead.
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Thermodynamic miracles... events with odds against so astronomical they're effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing. And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter... Until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged. To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold... that is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermodynamic miracle. But... if me, my birth, if that's a thermodynamic miracle... I mean, you could say that about anybody in the world!. Yes. Anybody in the world... But the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget... I forget. We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from the another's vantage point. As if new, it may still take our breath away. Come... dry your eyes. For you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes... and let's go home.
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402Emotional position is part of it, but as an individual you are not your emotions, neither are you your intellect. These are things that you have. They're not things that you are. Therefore you have to start to become aware of the different requirements that human beings have, the different areas that they like to be satisfied in. Which means becoming aware of yourself. I mean, as a writer you're gonna have to understand pretty much the whole universe. But the best place to start is by understanding the inner universe. The entire universe - for one thing - only exists in your perceptions. That's all you're gonna see of it. To all practical intents and purposes this is purely some kind of lightshow that's being put on in the kind of neurons in our brain. The whole of reality. So. To understand the universe there's worse advice than that which was carved above the shrine of the Delphi oracle. Where it just said: 'Know thyself'. Understand yourself. Know thyself is a magical goal, but like I say to me there is very little difference between magic and creative art in any sense - the laws of one apply perfectly well to the other.
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Emotional position is part of it, but as an individual you are not your emotions, neither are you your intellect. These are things that you have. They're not things that you are. Therefore you have to start to become aware of the different requirements that human beings have, the different areas that they like to be satisfied in. Which means becoming aware of yourself. I mean, as a writer you're gonna have to understand pretty much the whole universe. But the best place to start is by understanding the inner universe. The entire universe - for one thing - only exists in your perceptions. That's all you're gonna see of it. To all practical intents and purposes this is purely some kind of lightshow that's being put on in the kind of neurons in our brain. The whole of reality. So. To understand the universe there's worse advice than that which was carved above the shrine of the Delphi oracle. Where it just said: 'Know thyself'. Understand yourself. Know thyself is a magical goal, but like I say to me there is very little difference between magic and creative art in any sense - the laws of one apply perfectly well to the other.
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Janey accuses me of chasing jailbait. She bursts into angry tears, asking if it's because she's getting older. It's true. She's aging more noticeably every day-while I am standing still. I prefer the stillness here. I am tired of Earth. These people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.
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LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! YOU'VE READ ABOUT IT IN THE NEWSPAPERS! NOW, SHUDDER AS YOU OBSERVE, BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES, THAT MOST RAREAND RAGIC OF NATURE'S MISTAKES! I GIVE YOU... THE AVERAGE MAN! PHYSICALLY UNREMARKABLE , IT HAS INSTEAD A DEFORMED SET OF VALUES. NOTICE THE HIDEOUSLY BLOATED SENSE OF HUMANITY'S IMPORTANCE. THE CLUB-FOOTED SOCIAL CONSCIENCE AND THE WITHERED OPTIMISM. IT'S CERTAINLY NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH IS IT? MOST REPULSIVE OF ALL , ARE ITS FRAIL AND USELESS NOTIONS OF ORDER AND SANITY. IF TOO MUCH WEIGHT IS PLACED UPON THEM... THEY SNAP. HOW DOES IT LIVE , I HEAR YOU ASK? HOW DOES THIS POOR, PATHETIC SPECIMEN SURVIVE IN TODAY'S HARSH AND IRRATIONAL WORLD? THE SAD ANSWER IS 'NOT VERY WELL.
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Now, as I understand it, the bards were feared. They were respected, but more than that they were feared. If you were just some magician, if you'd pissed off some witch, then what's she gonna do, she's gonna put a curse on you, and what's gonna happen? Your hens are gonna lay funny, your milk's gonna go sour, maybe one of your kids is gonna get a hare-lip or something like that - no big deal. You piss off a bard, and forget about putting a curse on you, he might put a satire on you. And if he was a skilful bard, he puts a satire on you, it destroys you in the eyes of your community, it shows you up as ridiculous, lame, pathetic, worthless, in the eyes of your community, in the eyes of your family, in the eyes of your children, in the eyes of yourself, and if it's a particularly good bard, and he's written a particularly good satire, then three hundred years after you're dead, people are still gonna be laughing, at what a twat you were.
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When the gap between the world of the city and the world my grandfather had presented to me as right and good became too wide and depressing to tolerate, I'd turn to my other great love, which was pulp adventure fiction. Despite the fact that [he] would have had nothing but scorn and loathing for all of those violent and garish magazines, there was a sort of prevailing morality in them that I'm sure he would have responded to. The world of Doc Savage and The Shadow was one of absolute values, where what was good was never in the slightest doubt and where what was evil inevitably suffered some fitting punishment. The notion of good and justice espoused by Lamont Cranston with his slouch hat and blazing automatics seemed a long way from that of the fierce and taciturn old man I remembered sitting up alone into the Montana night with no company save his bible, but I can't help feeling that if the two had ever met they'd have found something to talk about. For my part, all those brilliant and resourceful sleuths and heroes offered a glimpse of a perfect world where morality worked the way it was meant to. Nobody in Doc Savage's world ever killed themselves except thwarted kamikaze assassins or enemy spies with cyanide capsules. Which world would you rather live in, if you had the choice?
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It does not do to rely too much on silent majorities, Evey, for silence is a fragile thing, one loud noise, and its gone. But the people are so cowed and disorganised. A few might take the opportunity to protest, but it'll just be a voice crying in the wilderness. Noise is relative to the silence preceding it. The more absolute the hush, the more shocking the thunderclap. Our masters have not heard the people's voice for generations, Evey and it is much, much louder than they care to remember.
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