An aspiring writer fascinated by what we simply are.
I’m terrified at the moral apathy, the death of the heart, which is happening in my country. These people have deluded themselves for so long that they really don’t think I’m human. I base this on their conduct, not on what they say. And this means that they have become, in themselves, moral monsters.”
— James Baldwin
We are all such as He was—the inheritors of sin; we must all bear and bear and expiate a past which is not ours; there is in all of us—ay, even in me—a sparkle of the divine.”
— Robert Louis Stevenson, Olalla
All the time I pray to Buddha I keep on killing mosquitoes.”
— Kobayashi Issa
Never before had I so realized the miracle of the continued race, the creation and recreation, the weaving and changing and handing down a fleshly elements. That a child should be born of its mother, that it should grow and clothe itself (we know not how) with humanity, and put on inherited looks, and turn its head with the manner of one ascendant, and offer its hand with a gesture of another, are wonders dulled for us by repetition.”
— Robert Louis Stevenson, Olalla
It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.”
— James Baldwin, Collected Essays
During the ’60s, the great majority of us accepted the way of peace, the way of love, the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence as a way of life, as a way of living. There’s something cleansing, something wholesome about being peaceful and orderly, to stand up with a sense of dignity, and a sense of pride, and never hate. And Dr. King said over and over again, ‘Hate is too heavy a burden to bear.’ The way of love is a much better way.
And that’s what we did…Yes, I was beaten, left bloody and unconscious. But I never became bitter or hostile, never gave up. I believe that somehow and some way if it becomes necessary to use our bodies to help redeem the soul of a nation, then we must do it. Create a society at peace with itself, and lay down the burden of hate and division. Dr. King would say, violence and evil, it must stop someplace along the way, and we became disciples of the movement. Disciples of Martin Luther King, Jr., and of the great teacher, to do what we could to leave our society better than we found it.”
— Rep. John Lewis
Of course I have been writing as though society was an organism in which people were in harmony with each other, in which they cooperated with each other and in which they were not waging wars of aggression against each other and were not in conflict with each other. But in actual fact and in terms of human history such harmony has not been the case.
In human history, we see that society has been broken up into classes, into antagonistic ethnic and economic groups that struggle against each other for survival as each sees it. They enslave each other and make their living at the expense of other groups, special interest groups are formed, etc. So that in reality we have to look at our own situation, have to look at the situation that exists in the economic base in terms of the class struggle, also in terms of the ethnic struggles that have gone on.”
Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course or that a man should tell a lie? We have never seen, in our time, nature go out of her course. But we have good reason to believe that millions of lies have been told in the same time. It is therefore at least millions to one that the reporter of a miracle tells a lie.”