Life was taking its vengeance on me, and that vengeance consisted merely in coming back, nothing more. Every case of madness involves something coming back. People who are possessed are not possessed by something that just comes but instead by something that comes back. Sometimes life comes back. If in me everything crumbled before that power, it is not because that power was itself necessarily an overwhelming one: it in fact had only to come, since it had already become too full-flowing a force to be controlled or contained - when it appeared it overran everything. And then, like after a flood, there floated a wardrobe, a person, a loose window, three suitcases. And that seemed like Hell to me, that destruction of layers and layers of human archaeology.
Many [Tudor-era religious radicals] believed then, exactly as Christian fundamentalists do today, that they lived in the 'last days' before Armageddon and, again just as now, saw signs all around in the world that they took as certain proof that the Apocalypse was imminent. Again like fundamentalists today, they looked on the prospect of the violent destruction of mankind without turning a hair. The remarkable similarity between the first Tudor Puritans and the fanatics among today's Christian fundamentalists extends to their selective reading of the Bible, their emphasis on the Book of Revelation, their certainty of their rightness, even to their phraseology. Where the Book of Revelation is concerned, I share the view of Guy, that the early church fathers released something very dangerous on the world when, after much deliberation, they decided to include it in the Christian canon."[From the author's concluding Historical Note]
There are matters in that book, said to be done by the express command of God, that are as shocking to humanity, and to every idea we have of moral justice, as any thing done by Robespierre, by Carrier, by Joseph le Bon, in France, by the English government in the East Indies, or by any other assassin in modern times. When we read in the books ascribed to Moses, Joshua, etc., that they (the Israelites) came by stealth upon whole nations of people, who, as the history itself shews, had given them no offence; that they put all those nations to the sword; that they spared neither age nor infancy; that they utterly destroyed men, women and children; that they left not a soul to breathe; expressions that are repeated over and over again in those books, and that too with exulting ferocity; are we sure these things are facts? are we sure that the Creator of man commissioned those things to be done? Are we sure that the books that tell us so were written by his authority?...The Bible tells us, that those assassinations were done by the express command of God. And to read the Bible without horror, we must undo every thing that is tender, sympathising, and benevolent in the heart of man. Speaking for myself, if I had no other evidence that the Bible is fabulous, than the sacrifice I must make to believe it to be true, that alone would be sufficient to determine my choice.
She sat back, eyeing the flames now leaping upward to lick at the wooden beams of the ceiling. "If this fire gets out of hand, or if the guards take too long to come, you and I may be in a lot of trouble.""We are already in a lot of trouble.""That was my reasoning, too. Of course, if that happens and the fire gets too big before the mighty citizens of Ringhmon stop it, it'll also gut this little palace and destroy everything inside it. Including the enormously expensive Model Six that I just fixed, which they'll be responsible for paying fo, and probably the other Model Six that they openly own." She shrugged, trying to appear unworried. "That'll teach them to kidnap me. But that won't happen. We'll be fine.""You say that and yet you are frightened.""Yes, I'm frightened! I admit it! Happy? No, wait, Mages are never happy. Just try not to die, all right? I don't want that to be my fault."Alain thought through her words. "I will attempt not to die. Your plan appears to be sound, as well as potentially very destructive. I see that it is a mistake to offend you.
Any philosophy, whether of a religious or political nature - and sometimes the dividing line is hard to determine - fights less for the negative destruction of the opposing ideology than for the positive promotion of its own. Hence its struggle is less defensive than offensive. It therefore has the advantage even in determining the goal, since this goal represents the victory of its own idea, while, conversely,it is hard to determine when the negative aim of the destruction of a hostile doctrine may be regarded as achieved and assured. For this reason alone, the philosophy's offensive will be more systematic and also more powerful than the defensive against a philosophy, since here, too, as always, the attack and not the defence makes the decision. The fight against a spiritual power with methods of violence remains defensive, however, until the sword becomes the support,the herald and disseminator, of a new spiritual doctrine.
Take one famous example: arguments about property destruction after Seattle. Most of these, I think, were really arguments about capitalism. Those who decried window-breaking did so mainly because they wished to appeal to middle-class consumers to move towards global exchange-style green consumerism, and to ally with labor bureaucracies and social democrats abroad. This was not a path designed to provoke a direct confrontation with capitalism, and most of those who urged us to take this route were at least skeptical about the possibility that capitalism could ever really be defeated. Many were in fact in favor of capitalism, if in a significantly humanized form. Those who did break windows, on the other hand, didn't care if they offended suburban homeowners, because they did not figure that suburban homeowners were likely to ever become a significant element in any future revolutionary anticapitalist coalition. They were trying, in effect, to hijack the media to send a message that the system was vulnerable -- hoping to inspire similar insurrectionary acts on the part of those who might be considering entering a genuinely revolutionary alliance; alienated teenagers, oppressed people of color, undocumented workers, rank-and-file laborers impatient with union bureaucrats, the homeless, the unemployed, the criminalized, the radically discontent. If a militant anticapitalist movement was to begin, in America, it would have to start with people like these: people who don't need to be convinced that the system is rotten, only, that there's something they can do about it. And at any rate, even if it were possible to have an anticapitalist revolution without gun-battles in the streets -- which most of us are hoping it is, since let's face it, if we come up against the US army, we will lose -- there's no possible way we could have an anticapitalist revolution while at the same time scrupulously respecting property rights. Yes, that will probably mean the suburban middle class will be the last to come on board. But they would probably be the last to come on board anyway.
And so we know the satisfaction of hate. We know the sweet joy of revenge. How it feels good to get even. Oh, that was a nice idea Jesus had. That was a pretty notion, but you can't love people who do evil. It's neither sensible or practical. It's not wise to the world to love people who do such terrible wrong. There is no way on earth we can love our enemies. They'll only do wickedness and hatefulness again. And worse, they'll think they can get away with this wickedness and evil, because they'll think we're weak and afraid. What would the world come to?But I want to say to you here on this hot July morning in Holt, what if Jesus wasn't kidding? What if he wasn't talking about some never-never land? What if he really did mean what he said two thousand years ago? What if he was thoroughly wise to the world and knew firsthand cruelty and wickedness and evil and hate? Knew it all so well from personal firsthand experience? And what if in spite of all that he knew, he still said love your enemies? Turn your cheek. Pray for those who misuse you. What if he meant every word of what he said? What then would the world come to?And what if we tried it? What if we said to our enemies: We are the most powerful nation on earth. We can destroy you. We can kill your children. We can make ruins of your cities and villages and when we're finished you won't even know how to look for the places where they used to be. We have the power to take away your water and to scorch your earth, to rob you of the very fundamentals of life. We can change the actual day into actual night. We can do these things to you. And more.But what if we say, Listen: Instead of any of these, we are going to give willingly and generously to you. We are going to spend the great American national treasure and the will and the human lives that we would have spent on destruction, and instead we are going to turn them all toward creation. We'll mend your roads and highways, expand your schools, modernize your wells and water supplies, save your ancient artifacts and art and culture, preserve your temples and mosques. In fact, we are going to love you. And again we say, no matter what has gone before, no matter what you've done: We are going to love you. We have set our hearts to it. We will treat you like brothers and sisters. We are going to turn our collective national cheek and present it to be stricken a second time, if need be, and offer it to you. Listen, we--But then he was abruptly halted.
Yes, an actual full-sized camel. If you find that confusing, just think how the criosphinx must have felt.Where did the camel come from, you ask? I may have mentioned Walt’s collection of amulets. Two of them summoned disgusting camels. I’dmet them before, so I was less than excited when a ton of dromedary flesh flew across my line of sight, plowed into the sphinx, and collapsed on topof it. The sphinx growled in outrage as it tried to free itself. The camel grunted and farted.“Hindenburg,” I said. Only one camel could possibly fart that badly. “Walt, why in the world—?”“Sorry!” he yelled. “Wrong amulet!”The technique worked, at any rate. The camel wasn’t much of a fighter, but it was quite heavy and clumsy. The criosphinx snarled and clawedat the floor, trying unsuccessfully to push the camel off; but Hindenburg just splayed his legs, made alarmed honking sounds, and let loose gas.I moved to Walt’s side and tried to get my bearings.