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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Not thou alone, but all humanity doth in its progress fable emulate. Whence came thy rocket-ships and submarine if not from Nautilus, from Cavorite? Your trustiest companions since the cave, we apparitions guided mankind's tread, our planet, unseen counterpart to thine, as permanent, as ven'rable, as true. On dream's foundation matter's mudyards rest. Two sketching hands, each one the other draws: the fantasies thou've fashioned fashion thee.
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History, unendingly revised and reinterpreted, is seen upon examination as merely a different class of fiction; becomes hazardous if viewed as having any innate truth beyond this. Still, it is a function that we must inhabit. Lacking any territory that is not subjective, we can only live upon the map. All that remains in question is whose map we choose, whether we live within the world's insistent texts or else replace them with a stronger language of our own.
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Murder, other than in the most strict forensic sense, is never soluble. That dark human clot can never melt into a lucid, clear suspension. Our detective fiction tells us otherwise: everything is just meat and cold ballistics. Provide a murderer, a motive and a means, and you have solved the crime. Using this method, the solution to the Second World War is as follows: Hitler. The German economy. Tanks. Thus, for convenience, we reduce the complex events.
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The disciplines of physical exercise, meditation and study aren't terribly esoteric. The means to attain a capability far beyond that of the so-called ordinary person are within the reach of everyone, if their desire and their will are strong enough. I have studied science, art, religion and a hundred different philosophies. Anyone could do as much. By applying what you learn and ordering your thoughts in an intelligent manner it is possible to accomplish almost anything. Possible for an 'ordinary person.' There's a notion I'd like to see buried: the ordinary person. Ridiculous. There is no ordinary person.
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Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night. Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It's us. Only us. Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world. Was Rorschach. Does that answer your Questions, Doctor?
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MEMORY'S SO TREACHEROUS. ONE MOMENT YOU'RE LOST IN A CARNIVAL OF DELIGHTS, WITH POIGNANT CHILDHOOD AROMAS , THE FLASHING NEON OF PUBERTY, ALL THAT SENTIMENTAL CANDY-FLOSS... THE NEXT , IT LEADS YOU SOMEWHERE YOU DON'T WANT TO GO... SOMEWHERE DARK AND COLD, FILLED WITH THE DAMP, AMBIGUOUS SHAPES OF THINKS YOU'D HOPED WERE FORGOTTEN.MEMORIES CAN BE VILE, REPULSIVE LITTLE BRUTES. LIKE CHILDREN, I SUPPOSE. HAHA. BUT CAN WE LIVE WITHOUT THEM? MEMORIES ARE WHAT OUR REASON IS BASED UPON. IF WE CAN'T FACE THEM, WE DENY REASON ITSELF! ALGHOUGH, WHY NOT? WE AREN'T CONTRACTUALLY TIED DOWN TO RATIONALITY! THERE IS NO SANITY CLAUSE! SO WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF LOCKED ONTO AN UNPLEASANT TRAIN OF THOUGHT, HEADING FOR THE PLACES IN YOUR PAST WHERE THE SCREAMING IS UNBEARABLE, REMEMBER THERE'S ALWAYS MADNESS.MADNESS IS THE EMERGENCY EXIT... YOU CAN JUST STEP OUTSIDE, AND CLOSE THE DOOR ON ALL THOSE DREADFUL THINGS THAT HAPPENED. YOU CAN LOCK THEM AWAY... FOREVER.
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I've proved my point. I've demonstrated there's no difference between me and everyone else! All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day. You had a bad day once, am I right? I know I am. I can tell. You had a bad day and everything changed. Why else would you dress up as a flying rat? You had a bad day, and it drove you as crazy as everybody else... Only you won't admit it! You have to keep pretending that life makes sense, that there's some point to all this struggling! God you make me want to puke. I mean, what is it with you? What made you what you are? Girlfriend killed by the mob, maybe? Brother carved up by some mugger? Something like that, I bet. Something like that... Something like that happened to me, you know. I... I'm not exactly sure what it was. Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another... If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice! Ha ha ha! But my point is... My point is, I went crazy. When I saw what a black, awful joke the world was, I went crazy as a coot! I admit it! Why can't you? I mean, you're not unintelligent! You must see the reality of the situation. Do you know how many times we've come close to world war three over a flock of geese on a computer screen? Do you know what triggered the last world war? An argument over how many telegraph poles Germany owed its war debt creditors! Telegraph poles! Ha ha ha ha HA! It's all a joke! Everything anybody ever valued or struggled for... it's all a monstrous, demented gag! So why can't you see the funny side? Why aren't you laughing?
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Since mankind's dawn, a handful of oppressors have accepted the responsibility over our lives that we should have accepted for ourselves. By doing so, they took our power. By doing nothing, we gave it away. We've seen where their way leads, through camps and wars, towards the slaughterhouse.
I don't think people realise how vital libraries are or what a colossal danger it would be if we were to lose any more. Having had a truncated school life myself, all of my education from the age of 17 has been self-taught. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it wasn't for the opportunities the library gave me.
The only reality we can ever truly know is that of our perceptions, our own consciousness, while that consciousness, and thus our entire reality, is made of nothing but signs and symbols. Nothing but language. Even God requires language before conceiving the Universe. See Genesis: 'In the beginning was the Word.
To me, all creativity is magic. Ideas start out in the empty void of your head - and they end up as a material thing, like a book you can hold in your hand. That is the magical process. It's an alchemical thing. Yes, we do get the gold out of it but that's not the most important thing. It's the work itself.
Eve: All this riot and uproar, V... is this Anarchy? Is this the Land of Do-As-You-Please? V: No. This is only the land of take-what-you-want. Anarchy means "without leaders", not "without order". With anarchy comes an age or ordnung, of true order, which is to say voluntary order... this age of ordung will begin when the mad and incoherent cycle of verwirrung that these bulletins reveal has run its course... This is not anarchy, Eve. This is chaos.
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I don't consider myself as a bad person, on the whole I consider myself a good person, I'm good to my parents. I treat my girl right , , , take her out and buy her stuff. And I go to church every Sunday, But I've decided that just once I wanna do a really bad thing. I mean a really seriously bad thing. 'cause, ya know, like, we're put on this earth with free will. We can choose to do this or that. We can choose to be good or bad. But sometimes I think most people are good and not bad only because they're scared they might go to jail or hell or someplace. Some guy once said: "Anything done out of fear has no moral value" Well, I think that's right. I figure the only way you can be truly good is if you've tried been good, and you've tried being good, and you've tried being bad, and being good feels better.
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Evey Hammond: Who are you? V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what and what I am is a man in a mask. Evey Hammond: Well I can see that. V: Of course you can. I'm not questioning your powers of observation I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is
LSD was an incredible experience. Not that I'm recommending it for anybody else; but for me it kind of - it hammered home to me that reality was not a fixed thing. That the reality that we saw about us every day was one reality, and a valid one - but that there were others, different perspectives where different things have meaning that were just as valid. That had a profound effect on me.
Reality, at first glance, is a simple thing: the television speaking to you now is real. Your body sunk into that chair in the approach to midnight, a clock ticking at the threshold of awareness. All the endless detail of a solid and material world surrounding you. These things exist. They can be measured with a yardstick, a voltammeter, a weighing scale. These things are real. Then there's the mind, half-focused on the TV, the settee, the clock. This ghostly knot of memory, idea and feeling that we call ourself also exists, though not within the measurable world our science may describe. Consciousness is unquantifiable, a ghost in the machine, barely considered real at all, though in a sense this flickering mosaic of awareness is the only true reality that we can ever know. 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. Material existence is entirely founded on a phantom realm of mind, whose nature and geography are unexplored. Before the Age of Reason was announced, humanity had polished strategies for interacting with the world of the imaginary and invisible: complicated magic-systems; sprawling pantheons of gods and spirits, images and names with which we labelled powerful inner forces so that we might better understand them. Intellect, Emotion and Unconscious Thought were made divinities or demons so that we, like Faust, might better know them; deal with them; become them. Ancient cultures did not worship idols. Their god-statues represented ideal states which, when meditated constantly upon, one might aspire to. Science proves there never was a mermaid, blue-skinned Krishna or a virgin birth in physical reality. Yet thought is real, and the domain of thought is the one place where gods inarguably ezdst, wielding tremendous power. If Aphrodite were a myth and Love only a concept, then would that negate the crimes and kindnesses and songs done in Love's name? If Christ were only ever fiction, a divine Idea, would this invalidate the social change inspired by that idea, make holy wars less terrible, or human betterment less real, less sacred? The world of ideas is in certain senses deeper, truer than reality; this solid television less significant than the Idea of television. Ideas, unlike solid structures, do not perish. They remain immortal, immaterial and everywhere, like all Divine things. Ideas are a golden, savage landscape that we wander unaware, without a map. Be careful: in the last analysis, reality may be exactly what we think it is.
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You were already in a prison. You've been in a prison all your life. Happiness is a prison, Evey. Happiness is the most insidious prison of all. Your lover lived in the penitentiary that we are all born into, and was forced to rake the dregs of that world for his living. He knew affection and tenderness but only briefly. Eventually, one of the other inmates stabbed him with a cutlass and he drowned upon his own blood. Is that it, Evey? Is that the happiness worth more than freedom? It's not an uncommon story, Evey. Many convicts meet with miserable ends. Your mother. Your father. Your lover. One by one, taken out behind the chemical sheds... and shot. All convicts, hunched and deformed by the smallness of their cells, the weight of their chains, the unfairness of their sentences. I didn't put you in a prison, Evey. I just showed you the bars.' 'You're wrong! It's just life, that's all! It's just how life is. It's what we've got to put up with. It's all we've got. What gives you the right to decide it's not good enough?' 'You're in a prison, Evey. You were born in a prison. You've been in a prison so long, you no longer believe there's a world outside. That's because you're afraid, Evey. You're afraid because you can feel freedom closing in upon you. You're afraid because freedom is terrifying. Don't back away from it, Evey. Part of you understands the truth even as part pretends not to. You were in a cell, Evey. They offered you a choice between the death of your principles and the death of your body. You said you'd rather die. You faced the fear of your own death and you were calm and still. The door of the cage is open, Evey. All that you feel is the wind from outside.
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It's funny, but certain faces seem to go in and out of style. You look at old photographs and everybody has a certain look to them, almost as if they're related. Look at pictures from ten years later and you can see that there's a new kind of face starting to predominate, and that the old faces are fading away and vanishing, never to be seen again.
If you look at that incredible burst of fantastic characters that emerged in the late 19th century/early 20th century, you can see so many of the fears and hopes of those times embedded in those characters. Even in throwaway bits of contemporary culture you can often find some penetrating insights into the real world around us.
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