I remember very well, when I was at Oxford, an old gentleman said to me, Young man, ply your book diligently now, and acquire a stock of knowledge; for when years come upon you, you will find that poring upon books will be but an irksome task.
Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
Republics abound in young civilians who believe that the laws make the city, that grave modifications of the policy and modes of living and employments of the population, that commerce, education and religion may be voted in or out; and that any measure, though it were absurd, may be imposed on a people if only you can get sufficient voices to make it a law. But the wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand which perishes in the twisting; that the State must follow and not lead the character and progress of the citizen; that the form of government which prevails is the expression of what cultivation exists in the population which permits it. The law is only a memorandum.
It struck me that the movies had spent more than half a century saying, They lived happily ever after and the following quarter-century warning that they'll be lucky to make it through the weekend. Possibly now we are now entering a third era in which the movies will be sounding a note of cautious optimism: You know it just might work.
It is surprising to me that one of the great crimes of history has gone unnoticed; the abduction of god by religions. This slight-of-hand has been the cause of countless blood-shed and has been found at the root of innumerable acts of evil. The argument continues today, as to which religion the true god belongs, when what would be most healing and empowering is to free god from the shackles of religious limitation and judgment. It is by emancipating god from the ignorance of our ancestors that we become empowered to explore and express our own relationship with what god may or may not be.
Then, instead of telling her that where there was life there was hope, or to let a smile be her umbrella, or that it was always darkest just before the dawn, or anything else that had just lately fallen out of the dog's ass, she simply held her. Because sometimes only holding was best. That was one of the things she had taught that man whose last name she had taken for her own--that sometimes it was best to be quiet; sometimes it was best to just shut your everlasting mouth and hang on, hang on, hang on.
However sugarcoated and ambiguous, every form of authoritarianism must start with a belief in some group's greater right to power, whether that right is justified by sex, race, class, religion or all four. However far it may expand, the progression inevitably rests on unequal power and airtight roles within the family.