3. The pain-bearing obstructions are — ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion and clinging to life.
These are the five pains, the fivefold tie that binds us down, of which ignorance is the cause and the other four its effects. It is the only cause of all our misery. What else can make us miserable? The nature of the Soul is eternal bliss. What can make it sorrowful except ignorance, hallucination, delusion? All pain of the Soul is simply delusion.
Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms, Chapter II – Concentration: Its Practice (in Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga)
There is a land in which no tree groweth, and where the warbling of the birds is as a forgotten dream. There is a land of dust and desolation, where no river floweth, and where no cloud riseth from the plains to shade men’s eyes from the sand and the scorching sun. Many are they who stray therein, for all live upon the threshold of misery who inhabit the House of joy.
Aleister Crowley, The Temple of Solomon the King, Book I, The Slave
Strong as a man, the Queen strides in.
Even she shrank frighted! – my aspect
More dreadful than all shapes of sin
Her dreams might shape or recollect,
Hideous with fasting, madness, grief,
Beyond all speaking or belief.
Aleister Crowley, Ahab, Part II
There is a law governing all things. There is a connecting link between earth, air and sea, between flowers, beasts and birds, between mankind and all animals, and inanimate things, a mysterious joining of mind to matter. It is an intangible something, perhaps an electrical current, but certain it is that the line is there and unbroken, and between every human creature whom God has made, there is the same unbroken chain, which can be followed up link by link, step by step, until we find ourselves on the boundaries of the next world and perhaps beyond; who can tell? The chain may be unbroken even then.
Lydia Leavitt, Bohemian Society [Amazon, Amazon (Dodo Press), Bookshop (Dodo Press, Gutenberg, Local Library]
After the War people said he was different. I, myself, think he was. But I can’t help feeling that with all his gifts he ought to have been doing bigger work. All that Britannic Majesty stuff isn’t my idea of a great man’s career. And Conway was—or should have been—great.
James Hilton, Lost Horizon [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]
Len Deighton was not an author of spy thrillers but of horror, because all Cold War–era spy thrillers rely on the existential horror of nuclear annihilation to supply a frisson of terror that raises the stakes of the games their otherwise mundane characters play. And in contrast, H. P. Lovecraft was not an author of horror stories—or not entirely—for many of his preoccupations, from the obsessive collection of secret information to the infiltration and mapping of territories controlled by the alien, are at heart the obsessions of the thriller writer.
Charles Stross, The Atrocity Archives [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]
I crave the small, tactile simplicity of my new Kindle Paperwhite in its purple leather cover, which is currently home to what would make up around three boxes of physical books, but whose screen’s digital imprint is flattened of all memory and association. It’s soulless and almost weightless. On the other hand, the smug little ereader has not broken my spirit and my knees in the way that disposing of half my library has done, driving me to tears, rage and paracetamol.
Linda Grant, I Murdered My Library [Amazon]
“One cannot be careful enough in selecting one’s guides,” continued the stranger. “There are at present so many false prophets and guides. All the world is at present crazy for poking their noses into the mysteries of the astral world. Everybody wants to be taught witchcraft and sorcery. Secrets, which for thousands of years have been wisely kept hidden before the eyes of the unripe and profane, are now bawled out from the housetops and sold at the market-place as objects of trade. Hundreds of self-appointed ‘masters’ and guides speculate upon the selfishness and ambitions of their disciples, and, the blind leading the blind, they both come to grief. If only all the seekers for truth were like you, they would not be deluded by false promises held out to them for attaining adeptship.”
Franz Hartmann, With The Adepts [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library, Hermetic Library]
I’d come to live as a human, to experience all the human traditions. And spending many a beautiful afternoon cooped up at the library service desk in order to make sure a bunch of middle schoolers weren’t playing dirty dating sims on the computers apparently counted as one.
B L Lacertae, DORIANA: Succubus At Large! [Amazon]
From the time I was bedridden I had awakened into a strange and unbelievable world in which I had no need for the world of the rabble—a world that was within me, a world full of unknowns, and it was as if I was forced to examine and inspect all its cracks and crevices.
Sadegh Hedayat and Naveed Noori, The Blind Owl [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]