“Fear of the truth may conceal itself from itself and others behind the pretext that precisely burning zeal for the very truth makes it so difficult, nay impossible, to find any other truth except that of which alone vanity is capable—that of being ever so much cleverer than any ideas, which one gets from oneself or others, could make possible. This sort of conceit which understands how to belittle every truth and turn away from it back into itself, and gloats over this its own private understanding, which always knows how to dissipate every possible thought, and to find, instead of all the content, merely the barren Ego—this is a satisfaction which must be left to itself; for it flees the universal and seeks only an isolated existence on its own account.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit (trans. J. B. Baillie)

“We may rest assured that it is the nature of truth to force its way to recognition when the time comes, and that it only appears when its time has come, and hence never appears too soon, and never finds a public that is not ripe to receive it.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit (trans. J. B. Baillie)

“Since the man of common sense appeals to his feeling, to an oracle within his breast, he is done with any one who does not agree. He has just to explain that he has no more to say to any one who does not find and feel the same as himself. In other words, he tramples the roots of humanity underfoot. For the nature of humanity is to impel men to agree with one another, and its very existence lies simply in the explicit realization of a community of conscious life. What is anti-human, the condition of mere animals, consists in keeping within the sphere of feeling pure and simple, and in being able to communicate only by way of feeling-states.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit (trans. J. B. Baillie)

“The first instinctive reaction on the part of knowing, when offered something that was unfamiliar, is usually to resist it. It seeks by that means to save freedom and native insight, to secure its own inherent authority against alien authority—for that is the way anything apprehended for the first time appears. This attitude is adopted, too, in order to do away with the semblance of a kind of disgrace which would lie in the fact that something has had to be learnt.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit (trans. J. B. Baillie)

“That the so−called proofs of propositions like that concerning the equilibrium of the lever, the relation of space and time in gravitation, etc., which applied mathematics frequently gives, should be taken and given as proofs, is itself merely a proof of how great the need is for knowledge to have a process of proof, seeing that, even where proof is not to be had, knowledge yet puts a value on the mere semblance of it, and gets thereby a certain sense of satisfaction. A criticism of those proofs would be as instructive as it would be significant, if the criticism could strip mathematics of this artificial finery, and bring out its limitations, and thence show the necessity for another type of knowledge.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit (trans. J. B. Baillie)

“Death, as we may call that unreality, is the most terrible thing, and to keep and hold fast what is dead demands the greatest force of all. Beauty, powerless and helpless, hates understanding, because the latter exacts from it what it cannot perform. But the life of mind is not one that shuns death, and keeps clear of destruction; it endures death and in death maintains its being. It only wins to its truth when it finds itself utterly torn asunder. It is this mighty power, not by being a positive which turns away from the negative, as when we say of anything it is nothing or it is false, and, being then done with it, pass off to something else: on the contrary, mind is this power only by looking the negative in the face, and dwelling with it. This dwelling beside it is the magic power that converts the negative into being.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit (trans. J. B. Baillie)

“What is ‘familiarly known’ is not properly known, just for the reason that it is ‘familiar’. When engaged in the process of knowing, it is the commonest form of self−deception, and a deception of other people as well, to assume something to be familiar, and give assent to it on that very account. Knowledge of that sort, with all its talk, never gets from the spot, but has no idea that this is the case. Subject and object, and so on, God, nature, understanding, sensibility, etc., are uncritically presupposed as familiar and something valid, and become fixed points from which to start and to which to return. The process of knowing flits between these secure points, and in consequence goes on merely along the surface. Apprehending and proving consist similarly in seeing whether every one finds what is said corresponding to his idea too, whether it is familiar and seems to him so and so or not.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit (trans. J. B. Baillie)

“Spirit is alone Reality. It is the inner being of the world, that which essentially is, and is per se; it assumes objective, determinate form, and enters into relations with itself—it is externality (otherness), and exists for self; yet, in this determination, and in its otherness, it is still one with itself—it is self-contained and self-complete, in itself and for itself at once.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit (trans. J. B. Baillie)

“When the Devil goeth about like a roaring lion, he goeth about in a shape by which few but savages and hunters are attracted. But, when he is trimmed, smoothed, and varnished, according to the mode; when he is aweary of vice, and aweary of virtue, used up as to brimstone, and used up as to bliss; then, whether he take to the serving out of red tape, or to the kindling of red fire, he is the very Devil.” – Charles Dickens, Hard Times

“Utilitarian economists, skeletons of schoolmasters, Commissioners of Fact, genteel and used-up infidels, gabblers of many little dog’s-eared creeds, the poor you will have always with you. Cultivate in them, while there is yet time, the utmost graces of the fancies and affections, to adorn their lives so much in need of ornament; or, in the day of your triumph, when romance is utterly driven out of their souls, and they and a bare existence stand face to face, Reality will take a wolfish turn, and make an end of you.” – Charles Dickens, Hard Times

“There is only one word for a woman who has sex without belonging to a man or without acquiescing to the burden of motherhood, and that word is witch. Or perhaps it is slut. Either way, it is terrifying, for it means that perhaps women don’t need men; and if we merely choose them, they might just owe their existence not to necessity or fate, but to the will of a woman. Suddenly there is nothing more lethal in the world, nothing as unbearable as the black flame of women’s desire. No, you were not meant to be; yes, your mother could just as well have dispensed with you—she could have simply not felt like it. Now do you see why we are hated so? Do you understand the smell of singed flesh burning at the stake, the breaking voice of the lawmaker as he screams out what our bodies should and should not do? The hatred of women for themselves, for others? Now do you see why we so fear the free? Yet rambunctious, light-headed sex alone does not a witch make. Where the traditional slut inspires hate and pity, the witch shines by eliciting fear and rage. One becomes a witch by way of discovering, inside herself, a thing that wants independence and freedom more than it wants water or air, a thing that wants to tell the world: ‘look at me, it is I, the self.’ ” – Marie Baleo, “Desert Animals” (emphasis in original)

“1841, June 20: The Texas-Santa Fe Expedition leaves Austin for Santa Fe. Historians argue over whether it was a trading force or an armed invasion. Anyway, General Hugh McLeod commanded 300 Texans. Three Texas commissioners tagged along to carry out the political aims of the invading/trading caravan. However, the expedition lost its way and was starving near modern-day Tucumcari, New Mexico, when it surrendered in October to a much smaller Mexican force. A death march then started toward El Paso, Chihuahua. Texans who died along the road had their ears cut off and strung on a piece of rawhide as proof that none had escaped.” – Leon Metz, El Paso Chronicles

“If you make the slightest move
To do anything of any significance in this world
The world will throw a codified book at you,
Tailored exactly for you, consisting of documentation for
Citations, writs, notices of violations,
Late income tax notices, lien notices,
Car tax notices, property tax notices,
Military draft notices, phone bills, light bills, food bills,
Natural gas bill, propane bill, fuel oil bill, pet bill, lawyer bill,
Doctor bill, pill bill, hospital bill, psychiatrist bill,
Sanitarium bill, psychiatric hospital bill,
And finally your funeral bill, which by the grace
You won’t have to see.”

– Bradley Thomas, “The Codified Book”

“A hypothetical analogy, based on American history, may help to shed light on the historicity of Exodus. Imagine a book based on the following outline: first, a section on the American Revolution, with some biographical material on a few of the Founding Fathers, focusing mostly on the outbreak of the war and the key battles; second, a description of the Constitutional Convention, including some of the more important speeches and discussions; third, the test of the Constitution itself; and finally, L’Enfant’s original blueprints for the building of the new capital, Washington, D.C., interspersed with accounts of the first few presidents’ inaugural addresses. What would be the underlying message of such a book? We are certainly dealing here with more than a straight journalistic description of the events, more than a legalistic discussion of constitutional law, and more than a technical presentation for architects. Such a book would actually be presenting the ideals of America’s self-image: a nation founded on the willingness to fight for particular rights against Old World tyranny, established under democratic laws based on reason and providing governmental checks and balances, and whose ideals would be embodied in the construction of a brand-new, centrally located capital city that used classically grounded forms of architecture to express grace and reason as the basis for the new society.” – Everett Fox, The Five Books of Moses

“To suggest that a creative writer, in a time of conflict, must split his life into two compartments, may seem defeatist or frivolous: yet in practice I do not see what else he can do. To lock yourself up in an ivory tower is impossible and undesirable. To yield subjectively, not merely to a party machine, but even to a group ideology, is to destroy yourself as a writer. We feel this dilemma to be a painful one, because we see the need of engaging in politics while also seeing what a dirty, degrading business it is. And most of us still have a lingering belief that every choice, even every political choice, is between good and evil, and that if a thing is necessary it is also right. We should, I think, get rid of this belief, which belongs to the nursery. In politics one can never do more than decide which of two evils is the lesser, and there are some situations from which one can only escape by acting like a devil or a lunatic. War, for example, may be necessary, but it is certainly not right or sane. Even a General Election is not exactly a pleasant or edifying spectacle. If you have to take part in such things—and I think you do have to, unless you are armoured by old age or stupidity or hypocrisy—then you also have to keep part of yourself inviolate. For most people the problem does not arise in the same form, because their lives are split already. They are truly alive only in their leisure hours, and there is no emotional connection between their work and their political activities. Nor are they generally asked, in the name of political loyalty, to debase themselves as workers. The artist, and especially the writer, is asked just that—in fact, it is the only thing that Politicians ever ask of him. If he refuses, that does not mean that he is condemned to inactivity. One half of him, which in a sense is the whole of him, can act as resolutely, even as violently if need be, as anyone else. But his writings, in so far as they have any value, will always be the product of the saner self that stands aside, records the things that are done and admits their necessity, but refuses to be deceived as to their true nature.” – George Orwell, “Writers and Leviathan”

“Group loyalties are necessary, and yet they are poisonous to literature, so long as literature is the product of individuals. As soon as they are allowed to have any influence, even a negative one, on creative writing, the result is not only falsification, but often the actual drying-up of the inventive faculties.” – George Orwell, “Writers and Leviathan”

“A modern literary intellectual lives and writes in constant dread—not, indeed, of public opinion in the wider sense, but of public opinion within his own group. As a rule, luckily, there is more than one group, but also at any given moment there is a dominant orthodoxy, to offend against which needs a thick skin and sometimes means cutting one’s income in half for years on end.” – George Orwell, “Writers and Leviathan”