Language, Truth & Logic, Sir Alfred Ayer

For the fact that a conclusion does not follow from its putative premise is not sufficient to show that it is false. Consequently one cannot overthrow a system of transcendent metaphysics merely by criticizing the way in which it comes into being. What is required is rather a criticism of the nature of the actual statements which comprise it. And this is the line of argument which we shall, in fact, pursue. For we shall maintain that no statement which refers to a ‘reality’ transcending the limits of all possible sense-experience can possibly have any literal significance; from which it must follow that the labours of those who have striven to describe such a reality have all been devoted to the production of nonsense.

The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, George Orwell

War, it will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be quite simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society. What is concerned here is not the morale of masses, whose attitude is unimportant so long as they are kept steadily at work.

Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Wassily Kandinsky

Every work of art is the child of its age and, in many cases, the mother of our emotions. It follows that each period of culture produces an art of its own which can never be repeated. Efforts to revive the art-principles of the past will at best produce an art that is still-born. It is impossible for us to live and feel, as did the ancient Greeks. In the same way those who strive to follow the Greek methods in sculpture achieve only a similarity of form, the work remaining soulless for all time. Such imitation is mere aping. Externally the monkey completely resembles a human being; he will sit holding a book in front of his nose, and turn over the pages with a thoughtful aspect, but his actions have for him no real meaning.

Orlando Furioso, Ludovico Ariosto

Of loves and ladies, knights and arms, I sing,
Of courtesies, and many a daring feat;
And from those ancient days my story bring,
When Moors from Afric passed in hostile fleet,
And ravaged France, with Agramant their king,
Flushed with his youthful rage and furious heat,
Who on king Charles’, the Roman emperor’s head
Had vowed due vengeance for Troyano dead.
In the same strain of Roland will I tell
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme,
On whom strange madness and rank fury fell,
A man esteemed so wise in former time;
If she, who to like cruel pass has well
Nigh brought my feeble wit which fain would climb
And hourly wastes my sense, concede me skill
And strength my daring promise to fulfil

(It’s not poetry if it doesn’t rhyme.)

Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

So you think that money is the root of all evil?… Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or the looters who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil? … Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into bread you need to survive tomorrow. … Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men’s protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values… Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked: ‘Account Overdrawn’.

Father Goriot, Honore de Balzac

That word drama has been somewhat discredited of late; it has been overworked and twisted to strange uses in these days of dolorous literature; but it must do service again here, not because this story is dramatic in the restricted sense of the word, but because some tears may perhaps be shed intra et extra muros before it is over.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, Anonymous

We can now understand why the two heroes are described in the Pennsylvania tablet as alike, as born in the same place, aye, as brothers. Gilgamesh in the Epic is merely a reflex of Enkidu. The latter is the real hero and presumably, therefore, the older figure.100 Gilgamesh resembles Enkidu, because he isoriginally Enkidu. The “resemblance” motif is merely the manner in which in the course of the partly popular, partly literary transfer, the recollection is preserved that Enkidu is the original, and Gilgamesh the copy.

Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

Vladimir:
(advancing with short, stiff strides, legs wide apart). I’m beginning to come round to that opinion. All my life I’ve tried to put it from me, saying Vladimir, be reasonable, you haven’t yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle. (He broods, musing on the struggle. Turning to Estragon.) So there you are again.

Estragon:
Am I?

Vladimir:
I’m glad to see you back. I thought you were gone forever.

Estragon:
Me too.

Vladimir:
Together again at last! We’ll have to celebrate this. But how? (He reflects.) Get up till I embrace you.

Estragon:
(irritably). Not now, not now.

Vladimir:
(hurt, coldly). May one inquire where His Highness spent the night?

Estragon:
In a ditch.

Vladimir:
(admiringly). A ditch! Where?

Estragon:
(without gesture). Over there.

Vladimir:
And they didn’t beat you?

Estragon:
Beat me? Certainly they beat me.

Vladimir:
The same lot as usual?

Estragon:
The same? I don’t know.

The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon

A hundred hangups, permuted, combined sex, money, illness, despair with the history of his time and place, who knew. Changing the script had no clearer motive than his suicide. There was the same whimsy to both. Perhaps she felt briefly penetrated, as if the bright winged thing had actually made it to the sanctuary of her heart perhaps, springing from the same slick labyrinth, adding those two lines had even, in a way never to be explained, served him as a rehearsal for his night’s walk away into that vast sink of the primal blood the Pacific. She waited for the winged brightness to announce its safe arrival. But there was silence. Driblette, she called. The signal echoing down twisted miles of brain circuitry. Driblette!

*

Thus ends the story.

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