Friday, March 7, 2014
There is no religion without magic any more than there is magic without at least a trace of religion. The notion of a supernature exists only for a humanity which attributes supernatural powers to itself and in return ascribes the powers of its superhumanity to nature.
Claude Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind 221
I am the sum of all these people, and all their knowledge. I am all-seeing. I am everywhere and nowhere. That has often served as a definition of God.
John Boorman, Zardoz
He can neither believe nor be comfortable in his unbelief.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, describing Herman Melville
All astronomers are amateurs. When it comes to the heavens there's only one professional.
Curt Siodmek, The Wolfman
There's a blind man here with a brow
As big and white as a cloud.
And all we fiddlers, from highest to lowest,
Writers of music and tellers of stories,
Sit at his feet,
And hear him sing the fall of Troy.
Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology 75
If we cannot comprehend God in his visible works, how then in his inconceivable thoughts, that call the works into being?
Edgar Allan Poe, "The Imp of the Perverse"
All great religions, in order to escape absurdity, have to admit the dilution of agnosticism. It is only the savage, whether of the African bush or the American gospel tent, who pretends to know the will and intent of God exactly and completely. "For who hath known the mind of the Lord?" asked Paul of the Romans. "How unsearchable are His judgments, and his ways past finding out!" "It is the glory of God," said Solomon, "to conceal a thing. "Clouds and darkness," said David, "are around him. "No man," said the preacher, "can find out the work of God..." The difference between religions is a difference in their relative content of agnosticism. The most satisfying and ecstatic faith is almost purely agnostic. It trusts absolutely without professing to know at all.
H.L. Mencken, Damn, A Book of Calumny 95
Sluggish and sedentary people, such as the ancient Egyptians--with the concept of an after life journey through the field of reeds--project onto the next world the journeys they failed to make in this one.
Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines, 230.