Hell is probably quite similar to most Paris bistros ... a bit overheated, somewhat too crowded, and a little too noisy for my tastes. The waiters will surely treat you rudely and the cashiers will always add a few extra francs to your bill but ... and this is the important part ... the food will be marvelous.
A new world is not made simply by trying to forget the old. A new world is made with a new spirit, with new values. Our world may have begun that way, but today it is caricature. Our world is a world of things. What we dread most, in the face of the impending debacle, is that we shall be obliged to give up our gewgaws, our gadgets, all the little comforts that have made us so uncomfortable. We are not peaceful souls; we are smug, timid, queasy and quaky.
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If you are well off and can afford to spend ten or twenty-five dollars a day to hire some patient soul to listen to your troubles you can be readjusted to the crazy scheme of things and spare yourself the humiliation of becoming a Christian Scientist. You can have your ego trimmed or removed, as you wish, just like a wart or bunion.
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The American white man (not to speak of the Indian, the Negro, the Mexican) hasn't a ghost of a chance. If he has any talent he's doomed to have it crushed one way or another. The American way is to seduce a man by bribery and make a prostitute of him. Or else to ignore him, starve him into submission and make a hack of him.
Those who are truly decrepit, living corpses, so to speak, are the middle-aged, middle-class men and woman who are stuck in their comfortable grooves and imagine that the status quo will least forever or else are so frightened it won't, that they have retreated into their mental bomb shelters to wait it out.
The stabbing horror of life is not contained in calamities and disasters, because these things wake one up and one gets very familiar and intimate with them and finally they become tame again. No, it is more like being in a hotel room in Hoboken let us say, and just enough money in one's pocket for another meal.
Life, as we all know, is conflict, and man, being part of life, is himself an expression of conflict. If he recognizes the fact and accepts it, he is apt, despite the conflict, to know peace and to enjoy it. But to arrive at this end, which is only a beginning (for we haven't begun to live yet!), a man has got to learn the doctrine of acceptance, that is, of unconditional surrender, which is love.
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