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Religion, like nations and individuals, passes through the regular gradation, first of infancy, when religious ideas and thoughts are crude in the extreme; the age of Puritanism, when innocent women and children are burned at the stake for witchcraft, when with gloomy faces and in unsightly dress the poor fanatics sacrificed every pleasure on the altar of duty; the time when Sunday was a day of horror to children from its gloom, a day when every innocent amusement was forbidden. After religion’s infancy comes youth. At that stage, the absurd dress and gloomy faces were not considered essential adjuncts to religion, but free discussion was not allowed upon religious subjects. Everything must be taken for granted, without any investigation on the part of the people. After youth comes manhood, the time when reason has full sway, when superstition and credulities form no part of religious teaching and thought. People are able to think, to reason for themselves. After the age of manhood, comes old age and that is the stage of agnosticism. Questions are being asked, and ideas propounded which must not be overlooked nor treated with contempt. All questions asked in a fair spirit, must be answered in a fair manner. It is not sufficient to say, “it is so”, but good and tangible reasons must be given to prove the truth of an assertion. We are now in the stage of “old age.” Agnosticism and Infidelity are wide spread. After old age comes decay and the decline of the absolutely orthodox. From time immemorial, every religion has passed through the same gradation, of infancy, youth, old age and decay finally comes philosophy.

Lydia Leavitt, Bohemian Society [Amazon, Amazon (Dodo Press), Bookshop (Dodo Press, Gutenberg, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Leavitt Bohemian Society agnosticism infidelity wide spread decay decline absolute orthodox every religion finally comes philosophy

He paused for a second, and asked, “Why did you work on the bomb?” Bryce thought for a minute. Then he laughed at his situation: using a Martian, in a bar, for a confessor. But perhaps it was appropriate. “I didn’t know it was going to be a bomb at first,” he said. “And in those days I believed in pure science. Reaching for the stars. Secrets of the atom. Our only hope in a chaotic world.” He finished the martini. “And you don’t believe those things anymore?” “No.”

Walter Tevis, The Man Who Fell to Earth [Amazon, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Tevis The Man Who Fell to Earth why work on bomb martian bar confessor didn't know first believed pure science reaching stars secrets atoms hope chaotic world don't believe anymore

Haiti was the only place in the world with a widespread belief in zombies. And what the dead need when they return to the world of the living is sea water. In all mythology there is some kernel of truth, otherwise it would not survive. So therefore…

John Ajvide Lindqvist, Handling the Undead [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Lindqvist Handling the Undead haiti only place world widespread belief zombies dead need when return living sea water all mythology kernel truth otherwise survive therefore

but I see, at a great distance, a new world stirring in the ruins, stirring clumsily but in hopefulness, seeking its lost and legendary treasures. And they will all be here, my son, hidden behind the mountains in the valley of Blue Moon, preserved as by miracle for a new Renaissance

James Hilton, Lost Horizon [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Hilton Lost Horizon great distance new world stirring ruins clumsily hopefulness seeking lost legendary treasures hidden preserves miracle new renaissance

Any given man sees only a tiny portion of the total truth, and very often, in fact almost … Weh! steck’ ich in dem Kerker noch? Verfluchtes dumpfes Mauerloch, Wo selbst das liebe Himmelslicht Trüb durch gemalte Scheiben bricht! Beschränkt mit diesem Bücherhauf, Den Würme nagen, Staub bedeckt, Den bis ans hohe. … perpetually, he deliberately deceives himself about that little precious fragment as well. A portion of him turns against him and acts like another person, defeating him from inside. A man inside a man. Which is no man at all.

Philip K Dick, A Scanner Darkly [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Dick A Scanner Darkly man sees tiny portion total truth perpetually deliberately deceives himself defeating from inside man inside man no man at all

They who know of no purer sources of truth, who have traced up its stream no higher, stand, and wisely stand, by the Bible and the Constitution, and drink at it there with reverence and humanity; but they who behold where it comes trickling into this lake or that pool, gird up their loins once more, and continue their pilgrimage toward its fountainhead.

Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Thoreau Civil Disobedience no purer sources truth wisely stand bible constitution drink reverence humanity continue pilgrimage fountainhead