Category Archives: quotes

>Finding meaning in the void

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”The flames sawed in the wind and the embers paled and deepened and paled and deepened like the bloodbeat of some living thing eviscerate upon the ground before them and they watched the fire which does contain within it something of men themselves inasmuch as they are less without it and are divided from their origins and are exiles. For each fire is all fires, the first fire and the last ever to be. By and by the judge rose and moved away on some obscure mission and after a while someone asked the expriest if it were true that at one time there had been two moons in the sky and the expriest eyed the false moon above them and said that it may well have been so. But certainly the wise high God in his dismay at the proliferation of lunacy on this earth must have wetted a thumb and leaned down out of the abyss and pinched it hissing into extinction. And could he find some alter means by which the birds could mend their paths in the darkness he might have done with this one too.”
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, 1985

As a way of finding some meaning to the void, as a way of understanding the eternal quest for the answer to the unfathomable ”Why?” question, here are some quotes of true mindfulness. If read carefully, you will see that they range from the pessimistic and hopeless to the exact opposites (well…), only to return to and end in the abyss of the void.
Pain and pleasure – life and death – indivisible.

”Brief and powerless is man’s life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way; for man, condemned today to lose his dearest, tomorrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness, it remains only to cherish, ere yet the blow fall, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day; disdaining the coward terrors of the slave of Fate, to worship at the shrine that his own hands have built; undismayed by the empire of chance, to preserve a mind free from the wanton tyranny that rules his outward life; proudly defiant of the irresistible forces that tolerate, for a moment, his knowledge and his condemnation, to sustain alone, a weary but unyielding Atlas, the world that his own ideals have fashioned despite the trampling march of unconscious power.”
Bertrand Russell, A Free Man’s Worship, 1903

”A vast, sepulchral universe of unbroken midnight gloom and perpetual arctic frigidity, through which will roll dark, cold suns with their hordes of dead, frozen planets, on which will lie the dust of those unhappy mortals who will have perished as their dominant stars faded from their skies. Such is the depressing picture of a future too remote for calculation.”
H.P. Lovecraft, Clusters and Nebulae, 1915

No one is accountable for existing at all, or for being constituted as he is, or for living in the circumstances and surroundings in which he lives. The fatality of his nature cannot be disentangled from the fatality of all that which has been and will be. He is not the result of a special design, a will, a purpose; he is not the subject of an attempt to attain an ‘ideal of man’ or an ‘ideal of happiness’ or an ‘ideal of morality’ – it is absurd to want to hand over his nature to some purpose or other. We invented the concept of ‘purpose’: in reality purpose is lacking.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, 1954

”By my thirteenth birthday I was thoroughly impressed with man’s impermanence and insignificance, and by my seventeenth […] I had formed in all essential particulars my present pessimistic cosmic views. The futility of all existence began to impress and oppress me; and my references to human progress, formerly hopeful, began to decline in enthusiasm.”
H.P. Lovecraft, A Confession of Unfaith, 1906

”But nothing good can be said of that cancerous machine-culture itself. It is not a true civilisation, and has nothing in it to satisfy a mature and fully developed human mind. It is attuned to the mentality and imagination of the galley-slave and the moron, and crushes relentlessly with disapproval, ridicule, and economic annihilation any sign of actually independent thought and civilised feeling which chances to rise above its sodden level. It is a treadmill, squirrel-trap culture – drugged and frenzied with the hasheesh of industrial servitude and material luxury. It is wholly a material body-culture, and its symbol is the tiled bathroom and steam radiator rather than the Doric portico and the temple of philosophy. Its denizens do not live or know how to live.”
H.P. Lovecraft, Selected Letters 1925–1929, p. 304

”Unless suffering is the direct and immediate object of life, our existence must entirely fail of its aim. It is absurd to look upon the enormous amount of pain that abounds everywhere in the world, and originates in needs and necessities inseparable from life itself, as serving no purpose at all and the result of mere chance. Each separate misfortune, as it comes, seems, no doubt, to be something exceptional; but misfortune in general is the rule.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, On the Sufferings of the World

”Pessimismen verkar skadebringande och förstörande endast när den stammar ur ett svagt, slappt gemyt. Det starka lifsföraktet har en tändande, eggande verkan. Igenom de högsta alstren af den isländska diktningen, i den fornskandinaviska lifskänslan öfverhufvud, sjunger en hvinande ton af hårdnackadt, desperat trots mot lifvets makt och lifvets meningslöshet – densamma tonen som en gång klang så gällt, och väl ännu är kvar, i Strindbergs verk. — Endast vår feghet, vårt ringa sanningsbegär, vår dumma sentimentalitet är det, enligt honom, som förhindrar oss att inse att lifvet har sin källa i det onda, att det onda är lifvets herre. Hvad mängden kallar ‘ödet’, ‘gud’ o.s.v., det är mörkret, Ariman, fienden till allt framsteg, allt verkligt värde, all sann förtjenst. Ariman – det är dumheten och råheten, hvilka alltid ha högsätet i denna den bästa af alla världar. Och detta förhållande är konstant af evighet, den mänskliga karaktären skall aldrig ändras, lifvets princip är evigt en, det onda.”
Vilhelm Ekelund, Det ondas religion, 1923

”Tradition means nothing cosmically, but it means everything locally and pragmatically because we have nothing else to shield us from a devastating sense of ‘lostness’ in endless time and space.”
H.P. Lovecraft, Selected Letters 1925–1929, p. 356–357

”The sinister, the terrible never deceive: the state in which they leave us is always one of enlightenment. And only this condition of vicious insight allows us a full grasp of the world, all things considered, just as a frigid melancholy grants us full possession of ourselves. We may hide from horror only in the heart of horror.”
Thomas Ligotti, The Medusa, 1991

”That cult would never die till the stars came right again, and the secret priests would take great Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth. The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.”
H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu, 1926

”I have tried to show that the Outsider is a man with an unusual and acute need for a sense of values. It has been objected that almost everybody asks himself at some time: What is life all about? And that therefore everybody is, in some degree, an Outsider. But this is only a failure to understand the spiritual condition of a man who feels a perpetual gnawing instinct for meaning, a hunger and thirst: a thirst that can be so acute that its frustration can lead to insanity. […] The Outsider has a feeling that there are certain things that are absolutely important, and that, quite literally, should occupy the mind all the time, and be perpetual standard of referens for all other feelings.
The only other man who shares this belief with him is the religious man. Religion makes precisely the same demands for meaning and purpose as the Outsider. The Outsider is therefore akin to the religious man.”
Colin Wilson, The Outsider, 1954

”Att vara outsider i ett sjukt samhälle måste vara något starkt och bra, eller hur?”
Bruno K. Öijer

”My assertion that today there is no political system, no formation, and no party whatsoever worth devoting oneself to, and that everything existing must be denied, has disconcerted many. However, this denial and non-commitment do not derive from a lack of principles, but from the possession of principles, which are precise, solid and not subject to compromise. […] In the life of today it can be appropriate, for many, to withdraw in order to settle in a more interior line of trenches, so that that which we cannot do anything about cannot do anything against us.”
Julius Evola, 1964

”The press today is an army with carefully organized weapons, the journalists its officers, the readers its soldiers. The reader neither knows nor is supposed to know the purposes for which he is used and the role he is to play.”
Oswald Spengler, 1918

”Tension without cosmic pulsation to animate it is the transition to nothingness.”
Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, Vol. 2: Perspectives of World History, 1923

The human phenomenon is but the sum
Of densely coiled layers of illusion
Each of which winds itself on the supreme insanity
That there are persons of any kind
When all there can be is mindless mirrors
Laughing and screaming as they parade about
in an endless dream  
Thomas Ligotti

>We had all the momentum

>

Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seemed like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era — the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run… but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant…

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of ‘history’ it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time — and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights — or very early mornings — when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L.L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder’s jacket… booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got through the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change)… but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that…

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda… You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning…

And that, I think, was the handle — that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave…

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

>Emot världen, emot livet

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Universum är bara en flyktig uppsättning elementarpartiklar. En övergångsform mot kaos. Som till sist kommer att segra. Det mänskliga släktet kommer att försvinna. Andra släkten kommer att uppstå, och försvinna i sin tur. Himlen kommer att vara iskall och tom, genomstrålad av det svaga ljuset från till hälften slocknade stjärnor. Som också de kommer att försvinna. Allt kommer att försvinna. Och mänskliga handlingar är lika fria och meningslösa som elementarpartiklarnas fria rörelser. Gott, ont, moral, känslor? Rena “viktorianska påfund”. Endast egoismen finns. Kall, intakt och strålande.

Michel Houellebecq
H.P. Lovecraft – Emot världen, emot livet

>How can it feel this wrong?

>

Till Maria

Oh, can’t anybody see,
We’ve got a war to fight,
Never found our way,
Regardless of what they say.

How can it feel, this wrong,


From this moment,
How can it feel, this wrong.

Storm,


In the morning light,
I feel,
No more can I say,
Frozen to myself.

I got nobody on my side,


And surely that ain’t right,
Surely that ain’t right.

>Nietzsche: Ny moral

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 ‘I haven hört, att det var sagt de gamle: Du skall ej röva, du skall ej dräpa. Men jag frågor eder: var på jorden fanns det någonsin värre rövare och dråpare än just sådana heliga ord?’ Dessa Nietzsches ord har i kälkborgarens ögon en djupt omoralisk klang, fastän de blott säga, att den, som vigt sitt liv åt ett stort och ädelt mål, ej får låta sin handlingskraft söndersmulas av de tusen hänsyn, som trycka den kortsynta och egoistiska vardagsmänniskan ned i gruset. En sådan idealism är allt annat än immoralisk; den ställer tvärtom betydligt högre och hårdare krav på sin man än de kristna husdjursdygderna, och den smutsas aldrig ner av tankar på tack och vedergällning.
Bengt Lidforss, 16 december 1902

>Paradise — Disease and death and the rotting of the flesh

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 But the love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what  is always beyond reach: it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need — only if we had the eyes to see. Original sin, the true original sin, is the blind destruction for the sake of greed of this natural paradise which lies all around us — if only we were worthy of it.
Now when I write of paradise I mean Paradise, not the banal Heaven of the saints. When I write “paradise” I mean not only apple trees and golden women but also scorpions and tarantulas and flies, rattlesnakes and Gila monsters, sandstorms, volcanos and earthquakes, bacteria and bear, cactus, yucca, bladderweed, ocotillo and mesquite, flash floods and quicksand, and yes — disease and death and the rotting of the flesh.
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitarie (1968)

>The Road — A neverending well of bliss

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Since I like photos of endless, desolate roads and The Road so much, I once again give you a grim motherfucker of a Cormac McCarthy quote from hell. Or something like that.
I just got a hold of some of the songs from the soundtrack composed by the master duo Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, and I’ll be damned if this film won’t do it for me. The songs are close to perfection. The book is close to perfection. But the trailer is not that good, actually. Hopefully there’ll be a lot more mysticism, ashes, darkness and melancholy involved. As for the mysticism aspect, one of the great things about the book is that you never know what really happened, what caused the apocalypse.
The horror! The horror!

 When your dreams are of some world that never was or of some world that will never be and you are happy again then you will have given up. Do you understand? And you cant give up. I wont let you. 

[…]

Things will be better when everybody’s gone.
They will?
Sure they will.
Better for who?
Everybody.
Everybody.
Sure. We’ll all be better off. We’ll all breathe easier.
That’s good to know.
Yes it is. When we’re all gone at last then there’ll be nobody here but death and his days will be numbered too. He’ll be out in the road with nothing to do and nobody to do it to. He’ll say: Where did everybody go? And that’s how it will be be. What’s wrong with that?

[…]

Do you think that your fathers are watching? That they weigh you in their ledgerbook? Against what? There is no book and your fathers are dead in the ground.

[…]
 
Everything was covered in ash.

>The Road

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I still return to The Road, now probably because the movie is just around the corner, but ever since I first read it in December 2006 (read more here) I’ve been reading bits and pieces over and over again. Just like one does with good poetry. The way that Cormac McCarthy deals with the love and the darkness of mankind just overwhelms me every time. There are many passages where the dialogue between the man and the boy is so sparse, yet so very tense. There is all the room in the world for long and intricate conversations, but there are none. Simply because they are getting ready to die in a world where everything is lost, where everything is ashes and darkness and hopelessness.
The mother of the boy chose suicide when she realized that this was the end, when she watched distant cities burn. This makes the tenderness and the love shared between father and son even more heartwrenching. The post apocalypse has never been better.

This excerpt, where the man and the boy meet up with a lone traveller, a very old and torn man, is a good example of how the atmosphere, the cold, wet, ashen landscape, slowly devours the human bodies, but cannot fully erase the human emotions. Mind over matter.

 How long have you been on the road?
 I was always on the road. You cant stay in one place.
 How do you live?
 I just keep going. I knew this was coming.
 You knew it was coming?
 Yeah. This or something like it. I always believed in it.
 Did you try to get ready for it?
 No. What would you do?
 I dont know.
 People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didnt believe in that. Tomorrow wasnt getting ready for them. It didnt even know they were there.
 I guess not.
 Even if you knew what to do you wouldnt know what to do. You wouldnt know if you wanted to do it or not. Suppose you were the last one left? Suppose you did that to yourself?
 Do you wish you would die?
 No. But I might wish I had died. When you’re alive you’ve always got that ahead of you.
 Or you might wish you’d never been born.
 Well. Beggars cant be choosers.
 You think that would be asking too much.
 What’s done is done. Anyway, it’s foolish to ask for luxuries in times like these.
 I guess so.
 Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave. He lifted his head and looked across the fire at the boy. Then he looked at the man. The man could see his small eyes watching him in the firelight. God knows what those eyes saw. He got up to pile more wood on the fire and he raked the coals back from the dead leaves. The red sparks rose in a shudder and died in the blackness overhead. The old man drank the last of his coffee and set the bowl before him and leaned toward the heat with his hands out. The man watched him. How would you know if you were the last man on earth? he said.
 I don’t guess you would know it. You’d just be it.
 Nobody would know it.
 It wouldnt make any difference. When you die it’s the same as if everybody else did too.
 I guess God would know it. Is that it?
 There is no God.
 No?
 There is no God and we are his prophets.

>Eric Arthur Blair

>

 One must choose between God and Man, and all “radicals” and “progressives”, from the mildest liberal to the most extreme anarchist, have in effect chosen Man.

Eric Arthur Blair, British writer, better known as George Orwell, died at age 46. He was one of the best when it comes to explaining the brutal consequences we face when turning away from the truth.
If you still haven’t read Nineteen Eighty-Four — published in 1949 — now is the time.

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

>The louse of holy name

>

 How much longer will you keep up the worm-eaten cult of this god, who is insensible to your prayers and to the generous sacrifices that you offer him as an expiatory holocaust? Can you not see that this horrible manitou is not grateful for the bowls of blood and brains which you lay on his altars, piously decorated with garlands of flowers. He is not grateful… for earthquakes and tempests have been raging uninterruptedly since the beginning of all things. And nonetheless (this is a spectacle worthy of observation), the more indifferent he is, the more you admire him. It is clear that you are wary of his attributes, which he hides; and your reasoning is based on the consideration that a divinity of such extreme power can only show disdain for the faithful who obey the commandments of his religion. For that reason different gods exist in each country: here, the crocodile, there, the prostitute.

But when it comes to the louse, of holy name, the nations of the earth, one and all kissing the chains of their slavery, kneel together in the august sanctuary before the pedestal of this shapeless and bloodthirsty idol. Any people that did not obey its own grovelling instincts and made as if to rebel, would sooner or later disappear from the face of the earth like an autumn leaf, destroyed by the vengeance of the inexorable god.
Lautrémont, Maldoror 1868–1869
[more here]