Plato – Phaedo

That will do as well, he said. But first let us take care that we avoid a danger.

Of what nature? I said.

Lest we become misologists, he replied, no worse thing can happen to a man than this. For as there are misanthropists or haters of men, there are also misologists or haters of ideas, and both spring from the same cause, which is ignorance of the world. Misanthropy arises out of the too great confidence of inexperience;—you trust a man and think him altogether true and sound and faithful, and then in a little while he turns out to be false and knavish; and then another and another, and when this has happened several times to a man, especially when it happens among those whom he deems to be his own most trusted and familiar friends, and he has often quarreled with them, he at last hates all men, and believes that no one has any good in him at all.

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J. Genet – Our Lady of the Flowers

What is a malefactor? A tie dancing in the moonlight, an epileptic rug, a stairway going up flat on its belly, a dagger on the march since the beginning of the world, a panicky phial of poison, gloved hands in the darkness, a sailor’s blue collar, an open succession, a series of benign and simple gestures, a silent hasp.

 

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L. F. Céline – Journey to the end of the night

I hadn’t conceived even one good, sound idea, like his idea of getting himself bumped off … That idea was bigger than my big head, bigger than all the fear that was in it, a fine, a magnificent idea to die with . . . How many lives would I need to make myself an idea more powerful than anything in the world? No saying. A flop! My ideas went rattling around in my head with lots of space between them. They were like faint, flickering little candles, trembling throughout a lifetime in the middle of a ghostly, abominable universe.

 

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C. Nooteboom – Rituals

It is all connected with the tea ceremony and therefore with Zen. He lives in his own Japan, our friend. What do you think of it?”

“It doesn’t really mean much to me,” said Inni. “Strange wisdoms from the Far East being sold to the unhappy Western middle classes. But I daresay it’s better than heroin.”

 

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K. Vonnegut – Breakfast of Champions

If they studied their paper money for clues as to what their country was all about, they found, among a lot of other baroque trash, a picture of a truncated pyramid with a radiant eye on top of it, Not even the President of the United States knew what that was all about. It was as though the country were saying to its citizens, ” In nonsense is strength”

 

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