Hatred we can manage. The tension of human nerves during noise, danger, and fatigue, makes them prone to any violent emotion and it is only a question of guiding this susceptibility into the right channels. If conscience resists, muddle him. Let him say that he feels hatred not on his own behalf but on that of the women and children, and that a Christian is told to forgive his own, not other people’s enemies. In other words let him consider himself sufficiently identified with the women and children to feel hatred on their behalf, but not sufficiently identified to regard their enemies as his own and therefore proper objects of forgiveness.
~ Letter 29
As if it were an ostinato providing the bass accompaniment to a musical composition, she kept silently repeating to the rhythm of her motion: I will fight, I will fight, I will fight, and she was sure that she would win. Just open any dictionary. To fight means to set one’s will against the will of another, with the aim of defeating the opponent, to bring him to his knees, possibly to kill him. “Life is a battle” is a proposition that must at first have expressed melancholy and resignation. But our century of optimism and massacres has succeeded in making this terrible sentence sound like a joyous refrain. You will say that to fight against somebody may be terrible, but to fight for something is noble and beautiful. Yes, it is beautiful to strive for happiness (or love, or justice and so on), but if you are in the habit of designating your striving with the word “fight”, it means that your noble striving conceals the longing to knock someone on the ground. The fight for is always connected with the fight against, and the preposition “for” is always forgotten in the course of the fight in favor of the preposition “against.”
~ Milan Kundera, Immortality,(1990)
Watching the children, he noticed two things especially. A girl of about five, and her sister, who was no more than three, wanted to drink from the pebbled concrete fountain at the playground’s edge, but it was too high for either of them, so the five-year-old…jumped up and, resting her stomach on the edge and grasping the sides, began to drink. But she was neither strong enough nor oblivious enough of the pain to hang on, and she began to slip off backward. At this, the three-year-old…advanced to her sister and, also grasping the edge of the fountain, placed her forehead against her sister’s behind, straining to hold her in place, eyes closed, body trembling, curls spilling from her cap. Her sister drank for a long time, held in position by an act as fine as Harry had ever seen on the battlefields of Europe.
But, Catherine, everything’s that true despite us - the things they’re talking about, natural laws - will always remain true despite us. What matters is what’s true because of us. That’s what’s up for grabs. That’s where the battle is. One remembers and values one’s life not for its objective truths, but for the emotional truths…The only thing that’s really true, that lasts, and makes life worthwhile is the truth that’s fixed in the heart. That’s what we live and die for. It comes in epiphanies, and it comes in love, and don’t ever let frightened people turn you away from it.
~ Mark Helprin
If we look through the aperture which we have opened up onto the absolute, what we see there is a rather menacing power—something insensible, and capable of destroying both things and worlds, of bringing forth monstrous absurdities, yet also of never doing anything, of realizing every dream, but also every nightmare, of engendering random and frenetic transformations, or conversely, of producing a universe that remains motionless down to its ultimate recesses, like a cloud bearing the fiercest storms, then the eeriest bright spells, fit only for an interval of disquieting calm. We see an omnipotence equal to that of the Cartesian God, and capable of anything, even the inconceivable; but an omnipotence that has become autonomous, without norms, blind, devoid of the other divine perfections, a power with neither goodness nor wisdom, ill-disposed to reassure thoughts about the veracity of its distinct ideas. We see something akin to Time, but a Time that is inconceivable for physics, since it is capable of destroying, without cause or reason, every physical law, just as it is inconceivable for metaphysics, since it is capable of destroying every determinate entity, even a god, even God.
~ Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude (p. 64). (via manymanywolves)