Look at your hand. Its structure does not match the structure of assertions, the structure of facts. Your hand is continuous. Assertions and facts are discontinuous.... You lift your index finger half an inch; it passes through a million facts. Look at the way your hand goes on and on, while the clock ticks, and the sun moves a little further across the sky.
Look at your hand. Its structure does not match the structure of assertions, the structure of facts. Your hand is continuous. Assertions and facts are discontinuous... You lift your index finger half an inch; it passes through a million facts. Look at the way your hand goes on and on, while the clock ticks, and the sun moves a little further across the sky.
I stand by my assertions that although you can know what happens to any individual species that you modify, you cannot be certain what will happen to the ecosystem. Also, we have a strange situation where we have malnourished fat people. It's not that we need more food. It's that we need to manage our food system better.
From this we conclude, that, to live in harmony and peace... we must trace a line of distinction between those (assertions) that are capable of verification, and those that are not; (we must) separate by an inviolable barrier the world of fantastical beings from the world of realities.
Islamophobia, in all its guises, seeks to minimise the importance of the individual and maximise the importance of the group. Yet our instinctive stance ought to be one of suspicion towards such endeavours. For individuals are undeniably real. Groups, on the other hand, are assertions of opinion.
We make assertions and denials of what is next to [the Divine Nature], but never of It, for It is both beyond every assertion, being the perfect and unique cause of all things, and, by virtue of Its preeminently simple and absolute nature, free of every limitation, beyond every limitation; it is also beyond every denial.
If reading becomes a bore, mental death is on the way. Children taught to read by tedious mechanical means rapidly learn to skim over the dull text without bothering to delve into its implications -- which in time will make them prey to propaganda and to assertions based on scanty evidence, or none.
The belief that value judgments are not subject, in the last analysis, to rational control, encourages the inclination to make irresponsible assertions regarding right and wrong or good and bad. One evades discussion of serious issues by the simple device of passing them off as value problems, whereas, to say the least, many of these conflicts arose out of man's very agreement regarding values.
Animal rights activists talk about cruelty and torture, some backing their assertions by publishing out-of-date photographs of 'experiments' banned long ago. This is a misrepresentation. The work we do is performed with compassion, care, humanity and humility. I have never seen an animal suffer pain.
Hence intellect[ual perception] is both a beginning and an end, for the demonstrations arise from these, and concern them. As a result, one ought to pay attention to the undemonstrated assertions and opinions of experienced and older people, or of the prudent, no less than to demonstrations, for, because the have an experienced eye, they see correctly.
Religion, like science, is only noteworthy when it emphasizes a matter of what is true rather than whose belief is greater or lesser or which deity works for whom. Sincere religion and tested science are similar in that their assertions can be argued logically and objectively; otherwise, we get false cults and babble.
It is sweet to see how soon a spring becomes a rill, and a rill runs on into a rivulet, and a rivulet swells into a brook; and before one has time to say 'what are you at?' - before the first tree it ever spoke to is a dummy, or the first hill it ever ran down has turned blue, here we all have airs and graces, demands and assertions of a full grown river.
So many things which once had distressed or revolted him - the speeches and pronouncements of the learned, their assertions and their prohibitions, their refusal to allow the universe to move - all seemed to him now merely ridiculous, non-existent, compared with the majestic reality, the flood of energy, which now revealed itself to him: omnipresent, unalterable in its truth, relentless in its development, untouchable in its serenity, maternal and unfailing in its protectiveness.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Her professors were astonished by her leaps of thought, by the finesse and elegance of her insights. She arrived at hypotheses by sheer intuition and with what eventually one of her mentors described as an almost alarming speed; she was like a dancer, he said, out in the cosmos springing weightlessly from star to star. Drones, merely brilliant, crawled along behind with laborious proofs that supported her assertions.
The fate of the physiology of the brain is independent of the truth and falsity of my assertions relative to the laws of the organization of the nervous system, in general, and of the brain in particular, just as the knowledge of the functions of a sense is independent of the knowledge of the structure of its apparatus.
Franz Joseph Gall
Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it-that no substitute can do your thinking-that the vilest form of self-abasement and self-destruction is the subordination of your mind to the mind of another, the acceptance of an authority over your brain, the acceptance of his assertions as facts, his say-so as truth, his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence.
Lakoff's idea is that most of our thought is guided by underlying conceptual mappings between two domains that share some content, that overlap in the sets of their attributes. ... Contrary to the assertions of Lakoff and some of the cognitive metaphor theorists, people can read through to an underlying mapping, but only when the surface metaphor is new to them.
Pure mathematics consists entirely of assertions to the effect that, if such and such a proposition is true of anything, then suchand such another proposition is true of that thing.... Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.
Despite the modern dogma to the effect that women were a subject sex until the nineteenth century 'emancipated' them from history, women in history had demonstrated strong wills and purposes, had made assertions, and had directed or influenced all human destiny, including their own, since human life began.
Mary Ritter Beard
Truth is one of the realities covered in the eclectic religion of our fathers by the idea of God. Awe very properly hangs about it, since it is the immovable standard and silent witness of all our memories and assertions; and the past and the future, which in our anxious life are so differently interesting and so differently dark, are one seamless garment for the truth, shining like the sun.
Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it-that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life-that the vilest form of self-abasement and self-destruction is the subordination of your mind to the mind of another, the acceptance of an authority over your brain, the acceptance of his assertions as facts, his say-so as truth, his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence.
The problem is, is the White House and this administration have created a war against police officers in this country, with their allegations and false assertions that there's widespread and pervasive racism in the United States of America that lives in the heart and minds of the men and women in blue. This is a false narrative. It is dangerous. It is reckless. It has resulted in the loss of lives. They are not being held accountable.
Rifkin's assertions bear no relationship to what I have observed and practiced for 25 years ... Either I am blind or he is wrong - and I think I can show, by analyzing his slipshod scholarship and basic misunderstanding of science, that his world is an invention constructed to validate his own private hopes ... Rifkin shows no understanding of the norms and procedures of science: he displays little comprehension of what science is and how scientists work.
Stephen Jay Gould
From study of known normal brains we have learned that there is a certain range of variation. No two brains are exactly alike, and the greatest source of error in the assertions of Benedict and Lombroso has been the finding of this or that variation in a criminal's brains, and maintaining such to be characteristic of the 'criminal constitution,' unmindful of the fact that like variations of structure may and do exist in the brains of normal, moral persons.
Edward Anthony Spitzka
A letter is not a dialogue or even an omniscient exposition. It is a fabric of surfaces, a mask, a form as well suited to affectations as to the affections. The letter is, by its natural shape, self-justifying; it is one's own evidence, deposition, a self-serving testimony. In a letter the writer holds all the cards, controls everything about himself and about those assertions he wishes to make concerning events or the worth of others. For completely self-centered characters, the letter form is a complex and rewarding activity.
Ordinary people do not question the commonly accepted version of reality. They conform to the standard values of subduing enemies and cherishing friends and family. Materialism, ambition and mundane achievements are the worldly hallmarks of success. We experience the phenomenal world and our minds as solid and truly existent. Very few people doubt these assertions and question their solidity. Yet, the process of disbelief is the first step on the spiritual path.
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Pure mathematics consists entirely of assertions to the effect that, if such and such a proposition is true of anything, then such and such another proposition is true of that thing. It is essential not to discuss whether the first proposition is really true, and not to mention what the anything is, of which it is supposed to be true. [... ] Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. People who have been puzzled by the beginnings of mathematics will, I hope, find comfort in this definition, and will probably agree that it is accurate.
Every dictator is a mystic, and every mystic is a potential dictator. A mystic craves obedience from men, not their agreement. He wants them to surrender their consciousness to his assertions, his edicts, his wishes, his whims - as his consciousness is surrendered to theirs. He wants to deal with men by means of faith and force - he finds no satisfaction in their consent if he must earn it by means of facts and reason.
As presidential authority expands, and the role of Congress diminishes, the American people continue to lose control over their government. Today's assertions of executive power are indeed a nightmare and Peter Shane's extremely readable and well-informed book describes this disturbing transformation in frightening detail. For anybody who cares about our constitutional system of protected liberties, this book is indispensable. I couldn't put it down and grew angrier, and more concerned, with every page.
...contemporary physicists come in two varieties. Type 1 physicists are bothered by EPR and Bell's Theorem. Type 2 (the majority) are not, but one has to distinguish two subvarieties. Type 2a physicists explain why they are not bothered. Their explanations tend either to miss the point entirely (like Born's to Einstein) or to contain physical assertions that can be shown to be false. Type 2b are not bothered and refuse to explain why.
All our thoughts and concepts are called up by sense-experiences and have a meaning only in reference to these sense-experiences. On the other hand, however, they are products of the spontaneous activity of our minds; they are thus in no wise logical consequences of the contents of these sense-experiences. If, therefore, we wish to grasp the essence of a complex of abstract notions we must for the one part investigate the mutual relationships between the concepts and the assertions made about them; for the other, we must investigate how they are related to the experiences.
The prudent man always studies seriously and earnestly to understand whatever he professes to understand, and not merely to persuade other people that he understands it; and though his talents may not always be very brilliant, they are always perfectly genuine. He neither endeavours to impose upon you by the cunning devices of an artful impostor, nor by the arrogant airs of an assuming pedant, nor by the confident assertions of a superficial and imprudent pretender. He is not ostentatious even of the abilities which he really possesses. His conversation is simple and modest, and he is averse to all the quackish arts by which other people so frequently thrust themselves into public notice and reputation.
The word God has become empty of meaning through thousands of years of misuse... By misuse, I mean that people who have never glimpsed the realm of the sacred, the infinite vastness behind that word, use it with great conviction, as if they knew what they are talking about. Or they argue against it, as if they knew what it is they are denying. This misuse gives rise to absurd beliefs, assertions, and egoic delusions, such as "My or our God is the only true God, and your God is false," or Nietzsche's famous statmeent "God is dead.
The critical habit of thought, if usual in society, will pervade all its mores, because it is a way of taking up the problems of life. Men educated in it cannot be stampeded by stump orators... They are slow to believe. They can hold things as possible or probable in all degrees, without certainty and without pain. They can wait for evidence and weigh evidence, uninfluenced by the emphasis or confidence with which assertions are made on one side or the other. They can resist appeals to their dearest prejudices and all kinds of cajolery. Education in the critical faculty is the only education of which it can be truly said that it makes good citizens.
William Graham Sumner
According to your holy book, every single Buddhist, Jew, Hindu, Muslim, follower of various minor traditions or sects, those who do not affiliate themselves with a religious tradition and the approximately 2.74 billion humans who have never had the 'privilege' of hearing the word of your Messiah will be sentenced to eternal damnation in a lake of fire-regardless of moral standings or positive worldly accomplishments. If this sounds like a fair proposition to you, then I bite my tongue-but I honestly believe that the majority of Christians do not agree with these doctrinal assertions, and instead categorize themselves as 'Christians' out of cultural familiarity or perhaps out of complete ignorance in regards to the topic.
David G. McAfee
Each religion makes scores of purportedly factual assertions about everything from the creation of the universe to the afterlife. But on what grounds can believers presume to know that these assertions are true? The reasons they give are various, but the ultimate justification for most religious people's beliefs is a simple one: we believe what we believe because our holy scriptures say so. But how, then, do we know that our holy scriptures are factually accurate? Because the scriptures themselves say so. Theologians specialize in weaving elaborate webs of verbiage to avoid saying anything quite so bluntly, but this gem of circular reasoning really is the epistemological bottom line on which all 'faith' is grounded. In the words of Pope John Paul II: 'By the authority of his absolute transcendence, God who makes himself known is also the source of the credibility of what he reveals.' It goes without saying that this begs the question of whether the texts at issue really were authored or inspired by God, and on what grounds one knows this. 'Faith' is not in fact a rejection of reason, but simply a lazy acceptance of bad reasons. 'Faith' is the pseudo-justification that some people trot out when they want to make claims without the necessary evidence. But of course we never apply these lax standards of evidence to the claims made in the other fellow's holy scriptures: when it comes to religions other than one's own, religious people are as rational as everyone else. Only our own religion, whatever it may be, seems to merit some special dispensation from the general standards of evidence. And here, it seems to me, is the crux of the conflict between religion and science. Not the religious rejection of specific scientific theories (be it heliocentrism in the 17th century or evolutionary biology today); over time most religions do find some way to make peace with well-established science. Rather, the scientific worldview and the religious worldview come into conflict over a far more fundamental question: namely, what constitutes evidence. Science relies on publicly reproducible sense experience (that is, experiments and observations) combined with rational reflection on those empirical observations. Religious people acknowledge the validity of that method, but then claim to be in the possession of additional methods for obtaining reliable knowledge of factual matters - methods that go beyond the mere assessment of empirical evidence - such as intuition, revelation, or the reliance on sacred texts. But the trouble is this: What good reason do we have to believe that such methods work, in the sense of steering us systematically (even if not invariably) towards true beliefs rather than towards false ones? At least in the domains where we have been able to test these methods - astronomy, geology and history, for instance - they have not proven terribly reliable. Why should we expect them to work any better when we apply them to problems that are even more difficult, such as the fundamental nature of the universe? Last but not least, these non-empirical methods suffer from an insuperable logical problem: What should we do when different people's intuitions or revelations conflict? How can we know which of the many purportedly sacred texts - whose assertions frequently contradict one another - are in fact sacred?
No-knock police raids destroy Americans' right to privacy and safety. People's lives are being ruined or ended as a result of unsubstantiated assertions by anonymous government informants. ... Unfortunately, no-knock raids are becoming more common as federal, state, and local politicians and law enforcement agencies decide that the war on drugs justified nullifying the Fourth Amendment. ... No-knock raids in response to alleged narcotics violations presume that the government should have practically unlimited power to endanger some people's lives in order to control what others ingest.
But into the first decades of the twentieth century, even at the New York Times, it was uncommon for journalists to see a sharp divide between facts and values. Yet the belief in objectivity is just this: the belief that one can and should separate facts from values. Facts, in this view, are assertions about the world open to independent validation. They stand beyond the distorting influences of any individual's personal preferences. Values, in this view, are an individual's conscious or unconscious preferences for what the world should be; they are seen as ultimately subjective and so without legitimate claim on other people. The belief in objectivity is a faith in "facts, " a distrust of "values, " and a commitment to their segregation.
Male supremacy is fused into the language, so that every sentence both heralds and affirms it. Thought, experienced primarily as language, is permeated by the linguistic and perceptual values developed expressly to subordinate women. Men have defined the parameters of every subject. All feminist arguments, however radical in intent or consequence, are with or against assertions or premises implicit in the male system, which is made credible or authentic by the power of men to name. No transcendence of the male system is possible as long as men have the power of naming... As Prometheus stole fire from the gods, so feminists will have to steal the power of naming from men, hopefully to better effect.
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis argues that human beings cannot be truly good or moral without faith in God and without submis- sion to the will of Christ. Unfortunately, Lewis does not provide any actual data for his assertions. They are nothing more than the mild musings of a wealthy British man, pondering the state of humanity's soul between his sips of tea. Had Lewis actually famil- iarized himself with real human beings of the secular sort, per- haps sat and talked with them, he would have had to reconsider this notion. As so many apostates explained to me, morality is most certainly possible beyond the confines of faith. Can people be good without God? Can a moral orientation be sustained and developed outside of a religious context? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes.
To explain the matter I will employ a simile, which yet, I confess is very dissimilar; but its dissimilitude is greatly in favour of my sentiments. A rich man bestows, on a poor and famishing beggar, alms by which he may be able to maintain himself and his family. Does it cease to be a pure gift, because the beggar extends his hand to receive it? Can it be said with propriety, that 'the alms depended partly on THE LIBERALITY of the Donor, and partly on THE LIBERTY of the Receiver,' though the latter would not have possessed the alms unless he had received it by stretching out his hand? Can it be correctly said, BECAUSE THE BEGGAR IS ALWAYS PREPARED TO RECEIVE, that 'he can have the alms, or not have it, just as he pleases?' If these assertions cannot be truly made about a beggar who receives alms, how much less can they be made about the gift of faith, for the receiving of which far more acts of Divine Grace are required!
We hear a great deal about the rudeness of the ris- ing generation. I am an oldster myself and might be expected to take the oldsters' side, but in fact I have been far more impressed by the bad manners of par- ents to children than by those of children to parents. Who has not been the embarrassed guest at family meals where the father or mother treated their grown-up offspring with an incivility which, offered to any other young people, would simply have termi- nated the acquaintance? Dogmatic assertions on mat- ters which the children understand and their elders don't, ruthless interruptions, flat contradictions, ridicule of things the young take seriously some- times of their religion insulting references to their friends, all provide an easy answer to the question "Why are they always out? Why do they like every house better than their home?" Who does not prefer civility to barbarism?
Every dictator is a mystic, and every mystic is a potential dictator. A mystic craves obedience from men, not their agreement. He wants them to surrender their consciousness to his assertions, his edicts, his wishes, his whims-as his consciousness is surrendered to theirs. He wants to deal with men by means of faith and force-he finds no satisfaction in their consent if he must earn it by means of facts and reason. Reason is the enemy he dreads and, simultaneously, considers precarious; reason, to him, is a means of deception; he feels that men possess some power more potent than reason-and only their causeless belief or their forced obedience can give him a sense of security, a proof that he has gained control of the mystic endowment he lacked. His lust is to command, not to convince: conviction requires an act of independence and rests on the absolute of an objective reality. What he seeks is power over reality and over men's means of perceiving it, their mind, the power to interpose his will between existence and consciousness, as if, by agreeing to fake the reality he orders them to fake, men would, in fact, create it.
When one takes into account also His reiterated assertions about His Divinity - such as asking us to love Him above parents, to believe in Him even in the face of persecution, to be ready to sacrifice our bodies in order to save our souls in union with Him - to call Him just a good man ignores the facts. No man is good unless he is humble; and humility is a recognition of truth concerning oneself. A man who thinks he is greater than he actually is is not humble, but a vain and boastful fool. How can any man claim prerogatives over conscience, and over history, and over society and the world and still claim he is 'meek and humble of heart'? But if He is God as well as man, His language falls into place and everything that He says is intelligible. But if He is not what He claimed to be, then some of His most precious sayings are nothing but bombastic outburts of self-adulation that breathe rather the spirit of Lucifer than the spirit of a good man. What avails Him to proclam the law of self-renouncement, if He Himself renounces truth to call Himself God? Even His sacrifice on the Cross becomes a suspect and dated thing, when it goes hand in hand with delusions of grandeur and infernal conceit. He could not be called even a sincere teacher, for no sincere teacher would allow anyone to construe his claims to share the rank and the name of the Great God in heaven.
Fulton J. Sheen
I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest-and scientists have to be-we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can't for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows so much misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors He might have prevented. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit. Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards-in heaven if not on earth-all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.
Paul A.M. Dirac
Thus, by science I mean, first of all, a worldview giving primacy to reason and observation and a methodology aimed at acquiring accurate knowledge of the natural and social world. This methodology is characterized, above all else, by the critical spirit: namely, the commitment to the incessant testing of assertions through observations and/or experiments - the more stringent the tests, the better - and to revising or discarding those theories that fail the test. One corollary of the critical spirit is fallibilism: namely, the understanding that all our empirical knowledge is tentative, incomplete and open to revision in the light of new evidence or cogent new arguments (though, of course, the most well-established aspects of scientific knowledge are unlikely to be discarded entirely)... I stress that my use of the term 'science' is not limited to the natural sciences, but includes investigations aimed at acquiring accurate knowledge of factual matters relating to any aspect of the world by using rational empirical methods analogous to those employed in the natural sciences. (Please note the limitation to questions of fact. I intentionally exclude from my purview questions of ethics, aesthetics, ultimate purpose, and so forth.) Thus, 'science' (as I use the term) is routinely practiced not only by physicists, chemists and biologists, but also by historians, detectives, plumbers and indeed all human beings in (some aspects of) our daily lives. (Of course, the fact that we all practice science from time to time does not mean that we all practice it equally well, or that we practice it equally well in all areas of our lives.)
The television commercial has mounted the most serious assault on capitalist ideology since the publication of Das Kapital. To understand why, we must remind ourselves that capitalism, like science and liberal democracy, was an outgrowth of the Enlightenment. Its principal theorists, even its most prosperous practitioners, believed capitalism to be based on the idea that both buyer and seller are sufficiently mature, well informed and reasonable to engage in transactions of mutual self-interest. If greed was taken to be the fuel of the capitalist engine, the surely rationality was the driver. The theory states, in part, that competition in the marketplace requires that the buyer not only knows what is good for him but also what is good. If the seller produces nothing of value, as determined by a rational marketplace, then he loses out. It is the assumption of rationality among buyers that spurs competitors to become winners, and winners to keep on winning. Where it is assumed that a buyer is unable to make rational decisions, laws are passed to invalidate transactions, as, for example, those which prohibit children from making contracts... Of course, the practice of capitalism has its contradictions... But television commercials make hash of it... By substituting images for claims, the pictorial commercial made emotional appeal, not tests of truth, the basis of consumer decisions. The distance between rationality and advertising is now so wide that it is difficult to remember that there once existed a connection between them. Today, on television commercials, propositions are as scarce as unattractive people. The truth or falsity of an advertiser's claim is simply not an issue. A McDonald's commercial, for example, is not a series of testable, logically ordered assertions. It is a drama-a mythology, if you will-of handsome people selling, buying and eating hamburgers, and being driven to near ecstasy by their good fortune. No claim are made, except those the viewer projects onto or infers from the drama. One can like or dislike a television commercial, of course. But one cannot refute it.
Darwin, with his Origin of Species, his theories about Natural Selection, the Survival of the Fittest, and the influence of environment, shed a flood of light upon the great problems of plant and animal life. These things had been guessed, prophesied, asserted, hinted by many others, but Darwin, with infinite patience, with perfect care and candor, found the facts, fulfilled the prophecies, and demonstrated the truth of the guesses, hints and assertions. He was, in my judgment, the keenest observer, the best judge of the meaning and value of a fact, the greatest Naturalist the world has produced. The theological view began to look small and mean. Spencer gave his theory of evolution and sustained it by countless facts. He stood at a great height, and with the eyes of a philosopher, a profound thinker, surveyed the world. He has influenced the thought of the wisest. Theology looked more absurd than ever. Huxley entered the lists for Darwin. No man ever had a sharper sword - a better shield. He challenged the world. The great theologians and the small scientists - those who had more courage than sense, accepted the challenge. Their poor bodies were carried away by their friends. Huxley had intelligence, industry, genius, and the courage to express his thought. He was absolutely loyal to what he thought was truth. Without prejudice and without fear, he followed the footsteps of life from the lowest to the highest forms. Theology looked smaller still. Haeckel began at the simplest cell, went from change to change - from form to form - followed the line of development, the path of life, until he reached the human race. It was all natural. There had been no interference from without. I read the works of these great men - of many others - and became convinced that they were right, and that all the theologians - all the believers in "special creation" were absolutely wrong. The Garden of Eden faded away, Adam and Eve fell back to dust, the snake crawled into the grass, and Jehovah became a miserable myth.
Robert G. Ingersoll
It is already the fashion to diminish Eliot by calling him derivative, the mouthpiece of Pound, and so forth; and yet if one wanted to understand the apocalypse of early modernism in its true complexity it would be Eliot, I fancy, who would demand one's closest attention. He was ready to rewrite the history of all that interested him in order to have past and present conform; he was a poet of apocalypse, of the last days and the renovation, the destruction of the earthly city as a chastisement of human presumption, but also of empire. Tradition, a word we especially associate with this modernist, is for him the continuity of imperial deposits; hence the importance in his thought of Virgil and Dante. He saw his age as a long transition through which the elect must live, redeeming the time. He had his demonic host, too; the word 'Jew' remained in lower case through all the editions of the poems until the last of his lifetime, the seventy-fifth birthday edition of 1963. He had a persistent nostalgia for closed, immobile hierarchical societies. If tradition is, as he said in After Strange Gods-though the work was suppressed-'the habitual actions, habits and customs' which represent the kinship 'of the same people living in the same place' it is clear that Jews do not have it, but also that practically nobody now does. It is a fiction, a fiction cousin to a myth which had its effect in more practical politics. In extenuation it might be said that these writers felt, as Sartre felt later, that in a choice between Terror and Slavery one chooses Terror, 'not for its own sake, but because, in this era of flux, it upholds the exigencies proper to the aesthetics of Art.' The fictions of modernist literature were revolutionary, new, though affirming a relation of complementarity with the past. These fictions were, I think it is clear, related to others, which helped to shape the disastrous history of our time. Fictions, notably the fiction of apocalypse, turn easily into myths; people will live by that which was designed only to know by. Lawrence would be the writer to discuss here, if there were time; apocalypse works in Woman in Love, and perhaps even in Lady Chatterley's Lover, but not n Apocalypse, which is failed myth. It is hard to restore the fictive status of what has become mythical; that, I take it, is what Mr. Saul Bellow is talking about in his assaults on wastelandism, the cant of alienation. In speaking of the great men of early modernism we have to make very subtle distinctions between the work itself, in which the fictions are properly employed, and obiter dicta in which they are not, being either myths or dangerous pragmatic assertions. When the fictions are thus transformed there is not only danger but a leak, as it were, of reality; and what we feel about. all these men at times is perhaps that they retreated inso some paradigm, into a timeless and unreal vacuum from which all reality had been pumped. Joyce, who was a realist, was admired by Eliot because he modernized myth, and attacked by Lewis because he concerned himself with mess, the disorders of common perception. But Ulysses , alone of these great works studies and develops the tension between paradigm and reality, asserts the resistance of fact to fiction, human freedom and unpredictability against plot. Joyce chooses a Day; it is a crisis ironically treated. The day is full of randomness. There are coincidences, meetings that have point, and coincidences which do not. We might ask whether one of the merits of the book is not its lack of mythologizing; compare Joyce on coincidence with the Jungians and their solemn concordmyth, the Principle of Synchronicity. From Joyce you cannot even extract a myth of Negative Concord; he shows us fiction fitting where it touches. And Joyce, who probably knew more about it than any of the others, was not at tracted by the intellectual opportunities or the formal elegance of fascism.