All the lies and evasions by which man has nourished himself civilization, in a word is the fruits of the creative artist. It is the creative nature of man which has refused to let him lapse back into that unconscious unity with life which characterizes the animal world from which he made his escape.
Here is the life you have tried to throw away. Here is your second chance. Here is the destiny you have tried to shake off by inventing a hundred false roles, a hundred false identities for yourself. It will look at first like disaster, but is really good fortune in disguise, since fate too knows how to follow your evasions through a hundred forms of its own. Now you will become at last the one you intended to be.
If it were true that conservatives were racist, sexist, homophobic, fascist, stupid, inflexible, angry, and self-righteous, shouldn't their arguments be easy to deconstruct? Someone who is making a point out of anger, ideology, inflexibility, or resentment would presumably construct a flimsy argument. So why can't the argument itself be dismembered rather than the speaker's personal style or hidden motives? Why the evasions?
He who wishes to maintain that the past of mankind no longer has any absolute value in lifemust also be ready to deny his ownlife until the present moment, indeed in advance until the last moment, as worthless. He who realizes that culture is the giving of form will also see that the highest forms that it is given to the human spirit to recognize have always been, psychologically considered, such evasions from the present. Considerations such as these do not at all square with the direction of America's mind.
Collins and Morales represent a segment of society which, if attacked with the weapons society sanctions, one finds buffered by innumerable layers of law, bureaucracy, lies, evasions. They rest secure within their palaces, confident that they possess defenses against all possible attacks within the rules of the game, yet willing to violate those rules themselves... We both know that although it is not listed in the rules, a player can end the game by kicking over the board and throttling his opponent.
It is my secrecy which makes you unhappy, my evasions, my silences. And so I have found a solution. Whenever you get desperate with my mysteries, my ambiguities, here is a set of Chinese puzzle boxes. You have always said that I was myself a Chinese puzzle box. When you are in the mood and I baffle your love of confidences, your love of openness, your love of sharing experiences, then open one of the boxes. And in it you will find a story, a story about me and my life. Do you like this idea? Do you think it will help us to live together?
At root, evangelical anti-intellectualism is both a scandal and a sin. It is a scandal in the sense of being an offense and a stumbling block that needlessly hinders serious people from considering the Christian faith and coming to Christ. It is a sin because it is a refusal, contrary to Jesus' two great commandments, to love the Lord our God with our minds. Anti-intellectualism is quite simply a sin. Evangelicals must address it as such, beyond all excuses, evasions, or rationalizations of false piety.
It is difficult to find a reputable American historian who will acknowledge the crude fact that a Franklin Roosevelt, say, wanted to be President merely to wield power, to be famed and to be feared. To learn this simple fact one must wade through a sea of evasions: history as sociology, leaders as teachers, bland benevolence as a motive force, when, finally, power is an end to itself, and the instinctive urge to prevail the most important single human trait, the necessary force without which no city was built, no city destroyed.
A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics'. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer.
GUIL: It [Hamlet's madness] really boils down to symptoms. Pregnant replies, mystic allusions, mistaken identities, arguing his father is his mother, that sort of thing; intimations of suicide, forgoing of exercise, loss of mirth, hints of claustrophobia not to say delusions of imprisonment; invocations of camels, chameleons, capons, whales, weasels, hawks, handsaws - riddles, quibbles and evasions; amnesia, paranoia, myopia; day-dreaming, hallucinations; stabbing his elders, abusing his parents, insulting his lover, and appearing hatless in public - knock-kneed, droop-stockinged and sighing like a love-sick schoolboy, which at his age is coming on a bit strong. ROS: And talking to himself. GUIL: And talking to himself.
Grover spit expertly between his teeth. "You know, Nerburn, " he said, "you're like those treaty negotiators we used to have to deal with. Always in a hurry. Sometimes there are preliminaries." "There are preliminaries and there are evasions, " I said. "Look out there." I swept my hand across the blazing, parched horizon. "We've got to get moving if we want to get up there before it's a hundred and ten degrees." "Just relax. He's just doing it the Lakota way, by laying out the history. That's how we remember our history, by telling our story, " "But does every story have to start with Columbus?" "Everything starts with Columbus. At least everything to do with white people." "But what's with the French fries?" "He likes to get rid of the salt." "No, the piles. First he insists on getting exactly twenty-eight, then he divides them into piles. It doesn't make any sense." A small smile crept across Grover's face. "How many piles?" he asked. "Four." He spit one more time onto the ground. It made a small puff of explosion in the dust. "Mmm. Twenty-eight French fries. Four piles of seven." He made a great charade of counting on his fingers. "Let's see. Four seasons. Four directions. Four stages of life. "Seven council fires. Seven sacred rituals. The moon lives for twenty-eight days. Yeah, I guess that doesn't make any sense." "That's crazy, " I said. "What is it? Some kind of Lakota French fry rosary?
I have often been asked why I maintained such a non-compromising antagonism to government and in what way I have found myself oppressed by it. In my opinion every individual is hampered by it. It exacts taxes from production. It creates tariffs, which prevent free exchange. It stands ever for the status quo and traditional conduct and belief. It comes into private lives and into most intimate personal relations, enabling the superstitious, puritanical, and distorted ones to impose their ignorant prejudice and moral servitudes upon the sensitive, the imaginative, and the free spirits. Government does this by its divorce laws, its moral censorships, and by a thousand petty persecutions of those who are too honest to wear the moral mask of respectability. In addition, government protects the strong at the expense of the weak, provides courts and laws which the rich may scorn and the poor must obey. It enables the predatory rich to make wars to provide foreign markets for the favored ones, with prosperity for the rulers and wholesale death for the ruled. However, it is not only government in the sense of the state which is destructive of every individual value and quality. It is the whole complex of authority and institutional domination which strangles life. It is the superstition, myth, pretense, evasions, and subservience which support authority and institutional domination. It is the reverence for these institutions instilled in the school, the church and the home in order that man may believe and obey without protest. Such a process of devitalizing and distorting personalities of the individual and of whole communities may have been a part of historical evolution; but it should be strenuously combated by every honest and independent mind in an age which has any pretense to enlightenment.