Saturday 17 December 2022


“Hearts that are delicate and kind and tongues that are neither - these make the finest company in the world”

Logan Pearsall Smith

"The historian's task is to complicate, not to clarify. He strives to celebrate the diversity of manners, the opacity of things, the variety of species. He is barred, thereby, from making a frontal assault on his topic. Like the pilgrim, the historian is obligated to approach his subject obliquely. He must circumambulate the spot several times before making even the most fleeting contact. His method, like that of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, is that of the digression.

"The historian's manner of speech is often halting and provisional. He approaches his data with that same erotic tentativeness expressed in the well-known colloquy from the "Circe" episode of Joyce's Ulysses:
You may touch my ....
May I touch your?
O, but lightly!
O, so lightly!"

Jonathan Z. Smith, Map is Not Territory: Studies in the History of Religions (1978)

"Nothing odd will do long. Tristram Shandy did not last."

Dr Johnson

'The paradoxes of today are the prejudices of tomorrow, since the most benighted and the most deplorable prejudices have had their moment of novelty when fashion lent them its fragile grace.'

Marcel Proust

“In reality we have no experience of anyone liking badness just because it is bad. The nearest we get to it is in cruelty. But in real life people are cruel for one of two reasons—either because they are sadists, that is because they have a sexual perversion which makes cruelty a cause of sensual pleasure to them, or else for the sake of something they are going to get out of it—money, or power, or safety. But pleasure, money, power, and safety are all, so far as they go, good things. The badness consists in pursuing them by the wrong method, or in the wrong way, or too much. I do not mean, of course, that the people who do this are not desperately wicked. I do mean that wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of goodness in the wrong way. You can be good for the mere sake of goodness: you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. . . . Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness. . . . Evil is a parasite, not an original thing.”

C.S. Lewis. Evil exists but is negation.
Psychopaths are not really sadists, because they don't care enough about other people. They think they are motivated by desire for power but really by an urge to destroy.

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