A few quotes from books I’ve been browsing through recently
October 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
It is not that religion is delusional by nature, nor that the individual, beyond present-day religion, rediscovers his most suspect psychological origins. But religious delusion is a function of the secularization of culture: religion may be the object of delusional belief insofar as the culture of a group no longer permits the assimilation of religious or mystical beliefs in the present context of experience.
– Michel Foucault (1962), Mental Illness and Psychology, p. 81, used as an epigraph for Religion and culture, edited by Jeremy R. Carrette
Once inside the house again I remembered to try not to listen to the sound of the machines so long as all those others so I would be smarter when I got older and less hurt inside for certain whiles about the way things went on without me in the daily organism, though as that went on too I began to feel too I wasn’t changing and anyway the effect of our inbred-from-Adam-and-Eve origins were beginning more and more to make effect in all of us. Some days inside the house the days inside the house went on so long and still the digits on the machines’ clocks would not blink; I could feel inside me, as the time stayed like that sometimes for some great lengths, the old National Anthem squirting through my organs into the surrounding furniture and glass, sucked out of my teeth and face in all its daily iterations of ads and silent thinking and holy money, into the house where then the house would chew it up; soon each time the house would kill the Anthem into a silence longer than all my cells lined up one after another in a queue inside my wanting and that silence was the new Anthem and that was warm.
– Blake Butler, 300,000,000 (pp. 10-11)
Life became severe for Marius; eating his clothes and his watch was nothing, but he also went through that indescribable course which is called “chewing the cud.” This is a horrible thing which contains days without bread, nights without sleep, evenings without candle, a house without fire, weeks without work, a future without hope, a threadbare coat, an old hat at which the girls laugh, the door which you find locked at night because you have not paid your rent, the insolence of the porter and the eating-house keeper, the grins of neighbors, humiliations, dignity trampled under foot, any work taken, disgust, bitterness, and desperation. Marius learned how all this is devoured, and how it is often the only thing which a man has to eat. At that moment of life when a man requires pride because he requires love, he felt himself derided because he was meanly dressed, and ridiculous because he was poor. At the age when youth swells the heart with an imperial pride, he looked down more than once at his worn-out boots, and knew the unjust shame and the burning blushes of wretchedness. It is an admirable and terrible trial, from which the weak come forth infamous and the strong sublime. It is the crucible into which destiny throws a man whenever it wishes to have a scoundrel or a demi-god.
– Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, Part III, Book V, Chapter I
My grandmother tells us
it’s the way of the South. Colored folks used to stay
where they were told that they belonged. But
times are changing.
And people are itching to go where they want.
This evening, though,
I am happy to belong
– From “at the end of the day,” Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming (p. 54)