Conservatism, Power, Individual & Political Bias | Virgil / George Eliot / M. Twain / Erich Fromm / George Orwell / H. James / Evelyn Waugh

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bankers Trust, Manhattan, N.Y. 1960 


“The authoritarian character worships the past. What has been, will eternally be. 
To wish or to work for something that has not yet been before is crime or madness. 
The miracle of creation—and creation is always a miracle—is outside of his range 
of emotional experience.”

Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom, 1941


“Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals.” 

Mark Twain, 1835-1910


“Expect poison from the standing water.” 

William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-93


“All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, 
comes invariably from people who are not fighting. Political 
language...is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder 
respectable, and to give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind. 
War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed 
classes think they are going to profit from it. Nationalism is power 
hunger tempered by self-deception. War is peace. Freedom is 
slavery. Ignorance is strength. (On the manipulation of language 
for political ends.) ” 

George Orwell, Facing Unpleasant Facts, 1937-39


“Evil is nourished and grows by concealment.” 

Virgil, 70 -19 BC


“The frightened individual seeks for somebody or something 
to tie his self to; he cannot bear to be his own individual self 
any longer, and he tries frantically to get rid of it and to feel 
security again by the elimination of this burden: the self.” 

Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom, 1941


“The new high-class lively evening paper which was 
expected to meet a want felt in circles increasingly 
conscious that Conservatism must be made amusing, 
and unconvinced when assured by those of another 
political colour that it was already amusing enough.” 

Henry James, The Lesson of the Master, 1888


“Before you take anything away you must 
have something better to put in its place.” 

 Arthur Schopenhauer, 1788-1860


“[Dagley] had also taken too much in the shape of muddy political talk, 
a stimulant dangerously disturbing to his farming conservatism, which 
consisted in holding that whatever is, is bad, and any change is likely 
to be worse.” 

George Eliot, Middlemarch, 1871-72 


“Liberty is the hardest test that one can inflict on a people.” 

 Paul Valéry, 1871-1945


“Power does not alter a man's character. It merely reveals it.” 

Carlos Fuentes, Terra Nostra, 1975


“For a few days after getting into the water the toad 
concentrates on building up his strength by eating small 
insects. Presently he has swollen to his normal size again, 
and then he goes through a phase of intense sexiness.”

George Orwell, Facing Unpleasant Facts, 1937-39


“The word power has a twofold meaning. One is the possession of 
power over somebody, the ability to dominate him; the other 
meaning is the possession of power to do something, to be able, to 
be potent. The latter meaning has nothing to do with domination; 
it expresses mastery in the sense of ability.” 

Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom, 1941


“A forced kindness deserves no thanks”

 Thomas Fuller, 1608-61


“As far as the mass of the people go, the extraordinary swings 
of opinion which occur nowadays, the emotions which can be 
turned on and off like a tap, are the result of newspaper and radio 
hypnosis.” 

“Everyone writes of them in one guise or another. It is simply a 
question of which side one takes and what approach one follows. 
And the more one is conscious of one's political bias, the more 
chance one has of acting politically without sacrificing one's 
aesthetic and intellectual integrity.” 

George Orwell, Facing Unpleasant Facts, 1937-39


“Destructiveness is the outcome of unlived life.” 

Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom, 1941


“To understand all is to forgive all.” 

Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred & 
Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder, 1945



Dominoes | Syd Barrett, 1970

 Fernandez Arman (1928-2005), Dominos


It's an idea, someday
in my tears, my dreams
don't you want to see her proof?
Life that comes of no harm
you and I, you and I and dominoes, the day goes by...

You and I in place
wasting time on dominoes
a day so dark, so warm
life that comes of no harm
you and I and dominoes, time goes by...

Fireworks and heat, someday
hold a shell, a stick or play
overheard a lark today
losing when my mind's astray
don't you want to know with your pretty hair
stretch your hand, glad feel,
in an echo for your way.

It's an idea, someday...

It's an idea, someday
in my tears, my dreams
don't you want to see her proof?
Life that comes of no harm
you and I, you and I and dominoes, the day goes by...


Syd Barrett


Take 2, recorded 14 July 1970 2:36 acoustic version

Take 3, recorded 14 July 1970 4:08

[Features a backwards guitar solo by Barrett, organ and rhodes by 
Richard Wright, and drums by David Gilmour]



Also:


Stereosc2pe + Butterflies | Odilon Redon / Georges Lepape, 1912

Georges Lepape, Butterflies (detail), 1912                                                                                   Odilon Redon, Five Butterflies, 1912


“Butterflies are self propelled flowers.” 

Robert A. Heinlein, 1907-1988

The Book & the Movie: Nightmare Alley | William Lindsay Gresham,1946 / Edmund Goulding, 1947

^ William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley, 1946                                  ^ Nightmare Alley (1947) Director: Edmund Goulding



"But people were a lot alike. What you told one you could tell nine out of ten. And there was on 
out of five that would believe everything you told them and would say yes to anything when 
you asked them if it was correct because they were the kind of marks that can’t say no."

William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley, 1946


"It’s funny how you can see a girl every day for months and yet not see her, Stan thought. 
Then something will happen–like the way Molly’s mouth presses together when she holds 
the arc points and the fire starts to fly. Then you see her all different."

William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley, 1946


"How helpless they all looked in the ugliness of sleep. A third of life spent unconscious and
 corpselike. And some, the great majority, stumbled through their waking hours scarcely more
 awake, helpless in the face of destiny. They stumbled down a dark alley toward their deaths."

William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley, 1946



"The earth doesn’t age as fast as the things man makes."


"Because if that man loves you–” Zeena paused for breath and then rushed on. “If that man
loves you it don’t matter whether he makes a living or not. It don’t matter if he stays sober
or not. If you’ve got a man that really loves you, you hang on to him like grim death for better
or worse.” There was a catch in her voice and for a long moment silence hung in the air over
the waiting crowd. “Hang on–because you’ll never regret it as much as you’ll regret sending
him away…"

William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley, 1946



- How can a guy sink so low?
- He reached too high…


 “The rest of them drink something else: they drink promises. They drink hope.
And I've got it to hand them.”

William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley, 1946



“What sort of God would put us here in this goddamned, stinking slaughterhouse of a world?”

William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley, 1946


Nightmare Alley (1947)
Director: Edmund Goulding
Writers: Jules Furthman (screenplay), William Lindsay Gresham (novel)
Cinematography: Lee Garmes
Stars: Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray

 Tyrone Power and Coleen Gray in Nightmare Alley, 1947


 "As a portrait of the human condition, Nightmare Alley is 
a creepy, all-too-harrowing masterpiece.”

Washington Post book critic Michael Dirda



Also: 


Between Going and Staying | Octavio Paz, 1914 – 1998

Octavio Paz, Mexico, 1938


Between going and staying
the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.

All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can’t be touched.

Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.

Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.

The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.

     I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.

The moment scatters. Motionless,
              I stay and go: I am a pause.                        


Octavio Paz, Between Going and Staying 


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