Twenty five years ago mankind mustered an army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.
Still reading Atlas Shrugged (been about two months now) and I came across this part of John Gault’s speech.
Close to the finish now but I still don’t want this book to end…
“Did you wonder what is wrong with the world? You are now seeing the climax of the creed of the uncaused and unearned. All your gangs of mystics, of spirit or muscle, are fighting one another for power to rule you, snarling that love is the solution for all the problems of your spirit and that a whip is the solution for all the problems of your body – you who have agreed to have no mind.
Granting man less dignity than they grant to cattle, ignoring what an animal trainer could tell them-that no animal can be trained by fear, that a tortured elephant will trample its torturer, but will not work for him or carry his burdens -they expect man to continue to produce electronic tubes, supersonic airplanes, atom-smashing engines and interstellar telescopes, with his ration of meat for reward and a lash on his back for incentive.
“Make no mistake about the character of mystics. To undercut your consciousness has always been their only purpose throughout the ages -and power, the power to rule you by force, has always been their only lust.
“From the rites of the jungle witch-doctors, which distorted reality into grotesque absurdities, stunted the minds of their victims and kept them in terror of the supernatural for stagnant stretches of centuries- to the supernatural doctrines of the Middle Ages, which kept men huddling on the mud floors of their hovels, in terror that the devil might steal the soup they had worked eighteen hours to earn -to the seedy little smiling professor who assures you that your brain has no capacity to think, that you have no means of perception and must blindly obey the omnipotent will of that supernatural force:
Society-all of it is the same performance for the same and only purpose: to reduce you to the kind of pulp that has surrendered the validity of its consciousness.
“But it cannot be done to you without your consent.
If you permit it to be done, you deserve it.
This excerpt is taken from The Talisman. It’s just after Jack took possession of the fabled treasure and he realised that he was holding the axis mundi.
Lev Nikolaevich (Leo) Tolstoy (1828–1910). A Russian novelist, reformer, and moral thinker.
Tolstoy was born at Yasnaya Polyana, the Tolstoy family estate a hundred miles south of Moscow, on August 28. He died on November 20 at a nearby railroad station, having fled in the night from an increasingly contentious marriage and a set of familial relationships that had been hardened in large part by Tolstoy’s attempts to apply his radical moral beliefs to his own life. In the intervening eighty-two years Tolstoy became perhaps the most prominent novelist in an age and place of great authors as well as a vociferous critic of science and modernization.
Tolstoy’s international fame rests primarily on two novels, War and Peace (1865–1869) and Anna Karenina (1875–1877). His fictional works also include short masterpieces such as “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” (1886), “The Kreutzer Sonata” (1889), and “Master and Man” (1895). In addition he wrote autobiographical accounts of his childhood (Childhood, Boyhood, Youth[1852–1857]) and his experiences as a soldier in the Crimean War (Sevastopol Sketches ).
With regard to issues of science, technology, and ethics Tolstoy’s most relevant writings include a variety of short, passionate non-fiction works, particularly “What I Believe” (1884), “What Then Must We Do?” (1887), “On the Significance of Science and Art” (1887), “What Is Art?” (1898), and “I Cannot Be Silent” (1908), all of which address a confluence of moral and intellectual errors he perceived in modern life and thought at the turn of the twentieth century.
The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.
Like his contemporary Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821–1881), whom he never met, Tolstoy was broadly concerned with the spiritual future of the human race. He attempted to confront the gradual movement away from traditional values with an almost Aristotelian emphasis on the permanent relationships of things, promoting the universality of natural and religious values of love and labor to which he believed the human heart responds.
Although the West now knows him as the writer of large and perhaps infrequently read novels, his influence on writers and political dissidents such as Mohandas Gandhi (1869–1948) and Alexander Solzhenitsyn (b. 1918) has been enormous, and his thought provides resources for ethical assessments of science and technology that have not yet been explored fully.
All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.