This is not to absolve the world of its ugliness, or to deny that truly fearful things exist in it. But some of these things can be overcome–on the condition that we build an aesthetic on the overcoming rather than the fear.
I recently attended a gay dance/poetry performance of uncompromising hipness: the one black dancer in the troupe had to pretend to fuck a dead sheep.
Part of my self-induced stupidity, I confess, is to believe (& even feel) that art can change me, & change others. That’s why I write pornography & propaganda–to cause change. Art can never mean as much as a love affair, perhaps, or an insurrection. But…to a certain extent…it works.
Hakim Bey, The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Against the Reproduction of Death
they believe that Bush was chosen by God to lead the country against the infidels or whatever the fuck it is. Power needs a narrative to operate even if it only exists for its own sake, and this story never ends no matter how old it is.
Archons & War Pigs
What the man in the street means by Atheist is the militant Atheist, Bradlaugh or Foote; and it is a singular characteristic of the Odium Theologicum that, instead of arguing soberly concerning the proposition, which those worthies put forward, they always try to drag the red herring of morality across the track. Of all the stupid lies that men have ever invented, nothing is much sillier than the lie that one who does not believe in God must be equally a disbeliever in morality. As a matter of fact, in a country which pretends so hard to appear theistic as England, it requires the most astounding moral courage, a positive galaxy of virtues, for a man to stand up and say that he does not believe in God; as Dr. Wace historically remarked, ‘it ought to be unpleasant for a man to say that he does not believe in Jesus’; and my dislike to Atheism is principally founded on the fact that so many of its exponents are always boring me about ethics. Some priceless idiot, who, I hope, will finish in the British Museum, remarked in a free-thinking paper the other day, that they need not trouble to pull down the churches, ‘because they will always be so useful for sane and serious discussion of important ethical problems.’ Personally, I would rather go back to the times when the preacher preached by the hour-glass.
Aleister Crowley, Concerning “Blasphemy” in General & the Rites of Eleusis in Particular
Then he lay down on the kitchen floor and cried until the tears dried up and he was empty. The world was empty again. I believe. There is a place where happiness exists. A place, and a time.
John Ajvide Lindqvist, Handling the Undead [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]
Some believe any and every thing is symbolic, and can be transcribed, and explain the occult, but of what they do not know. (Great spiritual truths?) So argument a metaphor, cautiously confusing the obvious which developes the hidden virtue. This unnecessary corpulency, however impressive, is it not disgusting? (The Elephant is exceeding large but extremely powerful, the swine though odious does not breed the contempt of our good taste.) If a man is no hero to his servant, much less can he remain a mystic in the eyes of the curious; similarity educates mimicry. Decorate your meaning, however objectionable (as fact), after you have shown your honesty. Truth, though simple, never needs the argument of confusion for obscurity; its own pure symbolism embraces all possibilities as mystic design. Take your stand in commonsense and you include the truth which cannot lie; no argument has yet prevailed. Perfect proportion suggest no alteration, and what is useless decays.
Austin Osman Spare, The Book of Pleasure
This war is as ancient as the world; the Greeks figured it under the symbols of Eros and Anteros, and the Hebrews by the antagonism of Cain and Abel. It is the war of the Titans and the Gods. The two armies are everywhere invisible, disciplined and always ready for attack or counterattack. Simple-minded folk on both sides, astonished at the instant and unanimous resistance that they meet, begin to believe in vast plots cleverly organized, in hidden, all-powerful societies. Eugène Sue invents Rodin; churchmen talk of the Illuminati and of the Freemasons; Wronski dreams of his bands of mystics, and there is nothing true and serious beneath all that but the necessary struggle of order and disorder, of the instincts and of thought; the result of that struggle is balance in progress, and the devil always contributes, despite himself, to the glory of St. Michael.
Éliphas Lévi, trans Aleister Crowley, Liber XLVI The Key of the Mysteries
Magic was just something people liked to believe in, something they thought they could feel or sense, something that made everything more than just mechanical certainty. Something that made them more than flesh and bone.
C Robert Cargill, Sea of Rust
Sometimes you pray even when you think you don’t believe.
Karen Traviss, The Best of Us
Well, at some point, you almost just have to choose what you are going to believe or not believe.
J Kelley Anderson, Casting Shadows
Anyone who destroys more than he creates must be miserable beyond expression. Question what you see by all means, but believe in something first.
Ramsey Campbell, Demons by Daylight