"Only part of us is sane.
Only part of us loves pleasure
and the longer day of happiness,
wants to live to our nineties
and die in peace,
in a house that we built
that shall shelter those who come after us.
The other half of us is nearly mad.
It prefers the disagreeable to the agreeable,
loves pain and its darker night, despair,
and wants to die in a catastrophe
that will set life back to its beginnings
and leave nothing of our house
save its blackened foundations."
-- Rebecca West / BLACK LAMB AND GREY FALCON --
"There is an overwhelming desire at moments to escape personality,
to revel in the action of forces that have no respect for ego,
to let the tides flow, even though they flow over us."
-- William James --
"There are souls which, crablike, crawl continually toward darkness,
going back in life, rather than advancing in it;
using what experience they have to increase their deformity;
growing worse without ceasing,
and becoming steeped more and more thoroughly
in an intensifying wickedness."
-- Victor Hugo --
"Theirs be the music, the color, the glory, the gold.
Mine be a handful of ashes, a mouthful of mold;
of the maimed, of the halt and the blind
in the rain and the cold."
-- John Masefield --
"Latent in every man is a venom of amazing bitterness,
a black resentment;
something that curses and loathes life;
a feeling of being trapped,
of having trusted and been fooled;
of being the helpless prey
of impotent rage, blind surrender,
the victim of a savage, ruthless power
that gives and takes away,
enlists a man, then drops him,
promises and betrays,
and -- crowning injury --
inflicts on him the humiliation of feeling sorry for himself,
and of regarding this 'power'
as an intelligent, sentient being,
capable of being touched.
In each of us, this venom is always ready to germinate in secret,
to permeate the organism, darken the sun, change true to false
and false to true, an hour into eternity;
and to turn all our thoughts into the fuel of a somber fire,
consuming indiscriminately our flesh,
or reason, talents, and instincts,
and sometimes even that self-love which is all-powerful in man."
-- Paul Valery / ANALECTS --
"We would rather be ruined than changed;
we would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment,
and let our illusions die."
-- W.H. Auden --